January 25, 2010

a good ol' fashioned nightmare

I was at some place I don't know, just hanging out in a large lobby of some institution or venue with an acquaintance's on again/off again boyfriend. I rarely ever see him in real life so it's already kind of weird that he's starring in this dream I am having. He's a funny guy in real life so he's pretty much the same in my dream. We're shooting the shit about random things and he's making funnies and I am vaguely aware that something is amiss and I want him to tell me what it is.

Andrew-- that's his name-- casually mentions that in this new jam everybody's undergone some "initiation" which consists of using this plastic triangle with a blade on one side to slice open the back of your neck and bleed you dry to serve the community (a community of vampires, demons, bloodthirsty weirdos-- whatever, I  don't know). That the community was a high-functioning society that thrives on this sort of violent sacrifice. These milky white-colored plastic knifey devices are mass produced and everybody has them. Everybody has like three just for the hell of it. Because you can never have too many I guess.

"Okay, no thanks I'm good," I say to Andrew. This is crazy. He is probably just joking because he does that a lot. He starts playing with two triangle blades, somewhat menacingly, and starts fidgeting. It's creeping me the fuck out.

"Hey maybe you wanna put those away, huh?" I suggest nervously.
"Alright, alright," he says, exasperated. "I don't know why I put it the way that I did. Could you move your hair please from the back of your neck?"
"Why?"
"Because I wanna see."
"Put the knife away."
"I'm not gonna do anything, I promise."
"I don't believe you. Just lose the knives, okay?"
"You're making this difficult."
"Making what difficult?"
"Okay so basically, you pretty much have no choice. They know you're here and if I don't do this now, they will."
"What do you mean 'they?'"
"Everybody."
"Everybody?"
"Like everybody-everybody."

Andrew makes a move and I make a run for it. I don't know where I'm going but I haul ass to get away from triangle-hands over there and find someone who can tell me what the hell this sick joke is. I don't really remember the in-between parts but there's a lot of running and hiding. Not just through places but also through time. At one point I'm in the neighborhood I grew up in, on my block in my neighbor's house that I use to visit all the time as a child and knew they never ever locked their front door. I come across a few sane people who haven't been neck-slit yet. I know them because they aren't carrying plastic triangle knives. They don't help though, they just tell me that I can't stop here. One of them alludes to a way out. In an aquarium.

A Trader Joes employee in a Hawaiian shirt casually points me in the direction of said aquarium.
"Find the shark tank. But not the regular one, the one where they keep the mutant sharks that isn't open to the public yet."
"Okay, then what?"
"Then just jump in the tank and you'll come out the other side."
"What? The other side of what? Mutant sharks?"
"Yeah, it'll probably be guarded. But maybe not, I donno, they're pretty lax about it sometimes. Just mind the mutant sharks and keep swimming down and you'll resurface where it's safe."

Just then our little conversation is interrupted when Andrew shows up again in the front foyer of my neighbor's house. He goes after the Trader Joes dude. The dude is upset at his capture but somehow not surprised.
"Here let me show you," Andrew says. He takes his triangle knife and makes a deep inelegant horizontal cut on the back of the guy's neck. It makes a thick scraping sound like nails on a chalkboard. Bone. He's screaming and pleading as blood is escaping enthusiastically from his body. I am freaked out and terrified. There's a group of people coming down the stairs of the house now excited to restrain me. FUCK THAT.
"Remember... the shark tank!" The guy says now cheerfully. He's turning into one of them I think.
I make another break for it and run past Andrew to the house next door. Andrew chases me and it comes to a half-hearted tussle. Either he's not really trying or I'm way better at self-defense in my dreams. I'm surprised because even in nightmares where my life is in danger from some menace I always seem to give up because there's always some sense in my head that knows that this is so absurd it can't be real. It's not really dying if there's no real pain sensations. I run inside the house next door and it's a factory inside. A large white warehouse where they manufacture the triangles.

There's a girl I went to college with but never befriended despite having numerous friends in common. She's quiet, she always was. To the point of being awkward and personality-less, in spite of her good looks. Like Winona Ryder styled by American Apparel. She isn't saying much, but she knows I'm here and she's flipping a triangle in her hands, appearing quite indifferent. I'm actually kind of annoyed by this.

"Hey, so you wanna tell me where the shark tank is?" I say, not caring that I'm coming off rude and bitchy.
"No, why would I do that? I'm stationed here to stop you," she says with equal attitude.
"Yeah... not happening," I retort. She's obviously not going to help me, not that I really expected her to. But she's very petite so she's not exactly intimidating. I'm sure I could take her in a scrap and I'm sure I'd feel damn good about it. So good, that I don't even think twice about provoking her.
I walk right past her nonchalantly. She grabs my wrist and slices it as if to say "I mean it."
Okay, I am pissed. Not only did the bitch cut me, she did it in such a passive-aggressive way. Why didn't she go straight for the neck? Instead pulls some pussy move and makes some minor incision in my wrist? Not even the suicide side of the wrist! It doesn't hurt (because this is a dream and there isn't really the sensation of pain in my dreams, just meta-pain) but it's bleeding so I'm concerned. I punch her in the face more times than necessary to immobilize her and take her triangle and keep going.

I push open an old wooden barn door and it swings open to an unkempt yard in which there is indeed a very large tank of murky water. I don't see mutant sharks but somehow I know this is it. I hear a clamor behind me. Shit, they caught up. Well, no time to back out now. Assuming Trader Joes employee is correct, I approach the tank, which looks more like a concrete park fountain. It's the size of an Olympic swimming pool. I wade in timidly. They won't follow me in the water. No one would willingly go into a tank full of mutant sharks, is my logic. This is like "base" in a game of tag. The water is knee deep but looks way deeper and the bottom is not visible and feels silty.
 How am I supposed to swim down if it's only up to my knees! I make a gamble and start swimming across. The ground slopes down and soon I'm wading and then full-on swimming in dark water.

The angry mob is now here, led by Andrew who is holding a bloody carcass dressed in a Hawaiian shirt. This is an absolutely gory and terrifying sight. The body is mangled beyond recognition. In fact, I notice that every other person is holding a bloody carcass. The carcasses don't seem dead though because their eyes are open and moving and mouths are gaping in silent horror. I swim the fuck away, more flailing than swimming. Still no mutant sharks.
Then the water begins to churn. I feel a sucking sensation from below. The mutant sharks are actually not even in the water. They're hanging out on some nets draped on the wall of a green wooden fence several stories high separating the yard from another warehouse. They notice I'm in their tank and suddenly they're very interested. I go under. I try to swim down but the water current is all over the place and is determine to push me to the top. I fight the current with all my might, waving around the triangle knife still in my hand for good measure, why not. The blade makes contact several times with hands that are grabbing at me.
I'm still flailing and kicking when I resurface and think "Well shit, I guess I didn't make it." Except when I open my eyes I'm in a swimming pool in a gym or a water park. I climb out of the water and a middle-aged man with premature white hair, dressed in a ship captain's uniform helps me out. And we leave the pool room onto a beach boardwalk. The water is lapping underneath and seagulls and pelicans are flying around. The sun is setting. In the other world the sky was perpetually overcast.

"Ah, very well then," he says amicably, as if nothing is wrong. "You didn't bring any of them back with you, did you?"
"I don't know," I sputter. He gives me a very stern disapproving look. "No," I say with finality.
"Good. We've been trying to patch up this portal for quite some time now," he informs me. "Sometimes people still come back though.
"There's still normal people in there, but I saw a lot of them were killed."
He eyes the triangle in my hand and extends his hand for it. I hand it over and he throws it into the ocean. He leads me to a dock where a gaudy yacht is docked and tells me that's my ride.

"I hope you had a fun visit," he said cheerily. "And don't forget-- tell anyone what's here and I'll come for you and kill you myself."

The yacht is very crowded. It's dinner time and everyone is dressed in their formal wear, laughing and having a good time with cocktails, making their way to the dining room. It's like a cruise ship. It's like Disney World.

I wake up.

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