This was written in response to a Weekly Writing Prompt over at the wonderful Studio30Plus. Be sure to head over there and enjoy all the wonderful writers. Yes, it’s late, I know. I was trying to find a good picture of the Creature! Didn’t happen, enjoy it anyway.
I used to have a recurring dream that exemplifies “pandemonium” for me. I had this same dream for months, though not every night. I’m not big on dream interpretation, but perhaps one of you is and will share your insights in the comments. I’m sure it will be interesting, lol. This was easily 10 years ago, but I still remember 99% of the dream in startling, Technicolor clarity.
I find myself in a typical office/cubicle farm, situated in an apparent high-rise building in a coastal city. I only think it’s coastal because a message is playing over a loudspeaker that the water is rising/building is sinking into the water, and everyone is being urged to make their way to the roof for evacuation. Maybe we’re next to a lake. Maybe the dam burst and our valley is being flooded. I don’t recall. There are probably 20-30 other people scrambling about the office, which appears to take up an entire floor, and it seems we’re on the top floor, because there are a dozen or so hole in the ceiling above us, the only visible access to the roof and safety, according to the voice from the loudspeaker. The kicker is that in order to get up through the holes to the exterior of the (now noticeably listing) building you must pair up with someone, combine your equipment which will allow you to reach the surface.
You know how dreams are, stuff just pops in randomly sometimes. Well, each person in this office has either a step-ladder, or a length of knotted rope. You can’t reach the holes in the ceiling without both, and once they’re used they disappear. I told you, pandemonium. So, people are pairing off and climbing up and out, and I’m sort of stumbling around, trying to find someone to partner with. Yeah, I know, there’s no ominous psychological explanation for THAT circumstance looming over this dream. Right.
So as the crowd thins with most of us finding their way up and out to the roof, I am, of course, the last person left in the office. I can hear the bullhorn blasted directions and the helicopters whisking everyone away to safety. Everyone but me. At this point I’m suddenly viewing the building from outside, from a fair distance, and I can see the water swallowing it up. This was no 2-3 story building, we’re talking 15-16 stories here. I literally watch the building sink completely under the surface fo the water, knowing full well that I was still stuck inside. It is horrifying yet I don’t feel panic-stricken.
In fact, the entire rest of the dream plays out like a movie with me watching as a 3rd party viewer. But I’m still in the building. Sinking and drowning, one would think. It wasn’t as if I was magically teleported out, I’m very definitely still in there. Probably dead, I think to myself, and I’m not sure words here can convey that feeling of having a thought about yourself in that manner. You’ve all had dreams and probably know the feeling, but it was WEIRD. I remember how it felt- I can replay this entire thing in my head today even though the dreams happened years ago.
This is all happening at what I’ll call real speed. There’s no slo-mo, nothing out of the ordinary except for a few cut-shots I guess, jumping great physical distances in seconds to show the scene from a wider angle. I can still see the helicopters, the flashing lights, and even a mob of people gathered at the shore/edge of whatever malevolent body of water this was. I guess it wasn’t a tidal wave or dam break, ’cause I can see a whole town laid out before me (the camera I guess?) now, and it’s night, all the lights are on, it’s raining, and traffic is chaotically speeding through the streets. On the edge of town I can see what I guess to be the National Guard or the Army moving in- tanks, troop transports, Jeeps, and I think, “I wonder why they’re here, kinda late to the party if you ask me.”
I can see the soldiers massing in the streets down near the waterfront, trying to control the crowds. They look, I kid you not, exactly like the little green army men we used to play with as kids. No bases under their feet, but totally green, totally in all the poses, just kind of moving around, all stop-action like. It’s loud, people are shouting, pointing, and I can’t figure out what in the world everyone is so exited about (beyond the whole building sinking episode, of course) when the camera (my eyes?) pan over toward the water to see the surface roiling and churning, steam or something rising from it. Imagine something on the scale of say, Godzilla, but it actually looks more like the Creature From the Black Lagoon a la the Scooby Doo cartoon…
And the creature is ME! Yes, I’m still viewing this from afar, as a movie-goer would, but even so, I know that the creature is me, back from a watery grave to TEAR SHIT UP. It’s going to get ugly and fast, I can tell. So, I proceed to stomp my way through the people along the shoreline, kicking over emergency vehicles, swatting choppers out of the night sky like gnats, and basically inflicting more collateral civilian damage than a Michael Bay scene. I mean, I’m picking people up in handfuls and devouring them, screaming and kicking. The Army opens fire with all of their artillery- tanks, missiles, guns, grenades, all of it. There are explosions left and right. I’m still the creature stomping through the town’s buildings now, knocking over walls, tons of bricks burying people, and I’m also watching this and in a sort of halfway state between horror and elation. This creature guy (me) is a badass! He’s really taking it to the humans.
The only part of the dream I don’t really recall is the end, or whatever was happening when I woke up. Maybe it was a cool fade to black or something, but I know up until that moment the place was rockin’. It was a madhouse. IT WAS PANDEMONIUM.