Pitch Black

I was watching the news when one of the two news anchors reported that the monsters from the latest movie Pitch Black had escaped and would be up and around come sunset.  The anchors talked about this situation as though it were no big deal – a daily occurrence – and they nodded and smiled casually.

“Yes,” said the other anchor.  “Apparently something went wrong with the monsters they were making for that film – a [glitch].”

“Yes, apparently,” responded the first anchor.  “So just keep your lights burning and don’t wander outside by yourself at night – they tend to pick off the stray ones.”

I was a bit frightened but not panicked.

The next thing I knew, my parents and I were trying desperately to find a hiding place in our house – but we had no fire.  Light from a lightbulb would only hinder the monsters.  We were sitting on our family room floor and I was punching telephone numbers into a cellphone to try and reach friends to see whether they had fire and if so, whether we could drive over and hide with them.  But all the numbers I dialed were busy.  Outside the windows, I could see the sun going down and the gray back of one of the monsters as it walked along just outside the windows.

“Oh!  We’re running out of time!” [m]y mother said to me in Taiwanese.

We could hear people being eaten alive out on the streets.

Suddenly, my dad dashed out the front door.

“Dad!” I cried.  “Don’t go outside!”

But he ran back in, through an adjacent door – right next to the front door – the very next instant with what looked like misshapen cardboard boxes in his hands.  One of them was a distinct red.

I thought, when I looked at them, Oh!  E-mail equipment!  We could try to e-mail our friends and contact them that way!

[…] [A]t a computer, [we] work[ed] on the Internet.  But that didn’t work, either.  We still were not able to contact anyone with a fireplace or torches […].

[…] [O]n the floor, [I] peel[ed] back the carpeting.  I knew there was a hidden door underneath – leading to a cellar where we could possibly hide.  I ripped away at the carpeting until I revealed the door – an old, wooden thing with a black, metal ring […].  I opened it to find a pitifully small space […] that looked like a ripped hole, as if someone had pushed a pencil straight through a sheet of paper, leaving behind a hole with tattered edges – only, it was big enough so that I could’ve [lay] down within it […].

Then I became aware that a group of mailmen were inside our house delivering mail.  They were standing behind the couch, the back of which faces the kitchen – so, in fact, they stood in our kitchen, milling about.  I leapt onto the sofa and spoke to one of them.  “Excuse me, Sir.  But would you happen to have a few torches you could lend us?”

“Of course!” he said.  He was a round, jovial man with a bald head, wearing blue mailmen attire.  He pulled from his pocket two unused torches that looked like rolled up sheets of paper ripped from magazines.  These men had to travel the streets because of their job and so […] they knew how to […] keep the monsters at bay.  “You could travel with us!” [t]he jovial man said.

I knew that I would be safe traveling with them, but for some reason I was reluctant to go.

Then they left and all of a sudden our house was filled with people needing a place to hide. […]

“We’ll hide in the basement!” I told them, since the cellar was far too small.  I remember being a bit apprehensive since the basement was a dark place, but we had no choice.  I glanced furtively at the front door, knowing that the monsters could break it down with ease.  Then I herded them […] down into the basement and turned on all the bare light bulbs – but it […] wasn’t enough light.

I ran back up the basement stairs and turned on the kitchen lights, since the monsters would have to pass through the kitchen before reaching the basement entrance.  Then I saw, filling the entire kitchen floor and extending into the family room, a large number of […] people kneeling in prayer.  They were frightened and praying for their lives – mothers, fathers, children – crouching on the floor.

I closed the basement door as I went back down the basement steps.  I could feel that time was running out – the monsters were going to come any second.  Scrambling down the twisting staircase, I closed door after door behind me – three thin, wooden doors in all, built at regular intervals on the stairs – hoping to slow the monsters as they came.  I thought about the helpless people praying on my kitchen floor, […] Good.  The monsters will eat them first and it’ll buy us more time to get to safety.

I was getting more and more frightened […].  A boy I knew – [Nate] – thirteen years of age in real life but a couple of years younger in my dream – he approached me at the bottom of the basement stairs.  He was with a few children around three years old and they all wanted to go upstairs to find people they knew.

“No, [Nate]!” I cried, roughly seizing his sleeve and pulling him back.  “You can’t go upstairs!”  I was so frustrated because it seemed […] nobody was listening to me or helping […].  Everything was […] becoming hectic and chaotic – and the basement was getting dark.

Suddenly, there were terribly loud screeching sounds as a monster crashed through the first basement door.  I picked up two of the very young children, shouting for [Nate] to take the others to someplace safe – although where that was I [didn’t know].  I ran through the darkness of the basement to where my mother was, standing at a counter performing […] work that involved making some mechanical contraption.  “Where are the torches!” I screamed at her, for I remembered having given them to her.  But she didn’t know and was angry that I had expected something so much from her.

“Well, why don’t you do it, then!” she retorted.

I turned and saw that some of the people were fleeing through a door into a room connected [to] the basement – like a storage room.  But there was no light in the room […].  Even so, the storage room was better than nothing.  “C’mon!  They’ve found a place!” I told my mother.  But she ignored me and turned back to her work.

I didn’t try to persuade her further […].  Still clutching the children, I ran into the storage room where the people were hiding between giant mats lying on the floor.  [Nate] was lying there and I made him move over to make room for me and the kids.  I [lay] there in a fetal position between the mats, horrified that the monsters would find me.  I could feel them right outside the storage area – they had made it down to the basement […].

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The Eskimo and the Stars

I remember seeing a lot of My Little Ponies dancing […] animated and full of color.  It was like I had fallen straight into a cartoon of My Little Pony.  There was one that […] was white with a purple mane and just one silver hoof in front, while all her other hooves were white.  When she dug this silver hoof into the cartoon dirt, the hoof sparkled […].

At some point, [I found myself in] a cold, wintry landscape covered with a thick layer of snow and ice.  Cutting through the middle of this frozen landscape was a great chasm bridged by a […] little wooden bridge that was old, rickety, and worn down by the ice that clung to its surface .  All this was beneath a sky that was pale blue and grayish – stark […].

I saw an Eskimo girl riding through the snow […] on a great wooden sled that was not like a sled at all.  It was huge […] – much larger than the girl – composed seemingly of a loose, shaky bunch of wooden crates and wooden boards that shook violently as this odd sled skimmed across the snow at a dangerously fast pace.  A large chunk broke off the back of her sled and […] I remember wondering whether she was able to handle the sled by herself […].  This small girl took the leather reins in her hands and pulled on them […] – and for an instant I thought that she would be okay.  But then [the] […] towering sled skidded across the ice and tipped over, sending the girl plunging into the abyss […].  She clung to the edge of the other side of the rift, her brown gloves gripping at the ice. […]

The next I remember, I was running beneath a clear night sky […].  I had a feeling that I was running towards the stars and if I reached them, I could be free, and it felt like I was getting closer […].  I sang to the stars as I ran […].  I knew that there were a few trees scattered among several modest houses behind me – that I shouldn’t be running from these things – but I had to run – the stars drew me out.  I was also aware that there was a little girl running behind me, trying to keep up.  She was small and afraid and she didn’t want to run.  It was hard to run, the houses and the trees drew me back, but I pushed forward […].

It felt like I was getting closer to where the sky arched over the earth and the closer I got to the stars the more vivid their constellations became to me.  They formed […] sparkling shapes […].  Silver lines connected the stars across the night sky, defining the constellations […].  A few of these silver lines became flashes of brilliant scarlet that streaked across the blackness – thin, red lines that seemed to rain onto the earth.  I watched as these constellations shifted before my eyes as if I was standing inside a kaleidoscope of stars.

A red streak flashed in the sky and […] an identical streak flashed beside me.  I heard the little girl behind me call my name frantically.  “We’ve gone beyond the bounds!” she cried.  […] Perhaps she was the Eskimo girl […].  I knew she was my friend and that she was telling me we had to go back.

And so we went back […] to the trees and the little wooden shacks.  Inside one of the shacks was a pair of bunkbeds […] directly after one passes through the front screen door.  It was a dirty place.  I sat down on one of the bunkbeds – the lower bunk – while the girl sat in the other lower bunk.  Instead of mattresses, there were those Japanese bamboo mats – “ta ta mis.”  The blanket was made out of wood too, as was the house and the […] bunkbeds.  As I sat down,  I remember thinking about torture and punishment, but I was more annoyed than afraid.  I […] knock[ed] a China bowl filled with dead insects onto the floor […], where it tipped over and spilled its contents out.  Those things had been on my bamboo bunkbed and they were used to torture us.

It wasn’t long before two men burst into the room and screamed, “You’ve been out of bounds!” […].  They talked with each other to decide who would administer the torture.  But then they didn’t seem to care anymore.  They seemed more like friends or acquaintances than captors.  I pointed at something out the window to distract them and they […] left.

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