He thought he was waking in the night. There was an eerie quietness surrounding him and he felt chilled as if he had kicked the blankets off of him sometime during the night. His entire body was strangely numb and he could not seem to move his arms to reach the blanket and pull it back up over him. It was as if his arms were asleep from being pinned beneath him as he slept. Not only were his arms asleep, but also his legs and the rest of his body as he realized he could not turn over.
When he opened his eyes his first thought was that he must still be sleeping and that he was dreaming for it was not night, but daytime instead. The sun shone through drifting dust and particles in the air and he thought it must be mid or late morning. He seemed to be lying on a floor in a room or a building that was in shambles. There were bits of glass laid on top of brown tile in front of him and what looked like torn sheetrock in various sizes scattered throughout the room. There was a boy’s face turned toward him not too far away. His pleading eyes were looking directly at him. He face was covered in blood and his throat seemed to be ripped wide open. He could not hear any noise but his mouth seemed to be straining to say something or scream. His arms and legs appeared to be flailing uncontrollably for a few short moments and then they stopped. The boys eyes stayed locked on his own eyes, but his mouth suddenly closed and his face went slack.
Beyond the boy, he could see more blood and body parts. He was sure he was dreaming, now, but if he was, this was the strangest and the most realistic nightmare he could remember ever having. He was acutely aware of the silence in the room and his inability to move as well as the numbness and cold that fell over his entire body. He could see movement not too far away and someone crawling through the rubble beyond. Her face reminded him of his bistro at the coffee shop he visited each morning. As she crawled he could see her entrails trailing behind her and her breasts dangling by bits of skin and tissue and dragging on the ground beneath her. Her whole chest appeared to be ripped open and organs and large amounts of blood fell out beneath her body as she continued her agonizing crawl. She appeared to be screaming, but still he heard nothing. When she collapsed on the ground her body was still and she moved no more.
With great determination he tried to lift his head so he could see more around him, but his body would not respond to his commands. His view of the room remained the same and he could only sense the movement going on around him. There was a large twisted metal beam stretched out on the floor in front of him and he could imagine from the direction that it lay that it must continue across his body and that explained why he could not move. He had the sudden fear that he was paralyzed and he began to scream for help, but he could hear nothing come from his mouth. He was fully engulfed in silence.
The sky seemed to be open above him as the sunshine continued to drift in and out of the dust and floating bits of paper around the room. He could see more body parts strewn throughout the brown tile, sheetrock and shards of glass in front of him. There were several limbs and what looked like the back of a head separated from its body. There was what appeared to be a woman’s foot with painted nails covered in dust and spots of blood lying on a round black waitress tray as if it were being presented for dessert to diners.
Two feet shuffled through the rubble just beyond the fallen bistro. Slowly two arms came down and turned over the bistro and then the arms rose again and the feet shuffled on toward the boy. The arms came down again and then knees and a woman’s body and face came into view. She turned the boys face away from him and toward her and then she screamed, but again he heard nothing. She collapsed on top of the boy and protruding out of her back was a large piece of metal that looked like a piece of a window frame. Blood spurted from the wound in her back straight up in the air, six inches or more, in rhythmic waves, but slowly subsided and eventually, her body also became still.
He felt relieved that the boy’s eyes were no longer looking at him and he waited for the nightmare to end. He wanted to wake up, but the images surrounding him had appeared too vivid to be a dream and would not go away. He could recall having other dreams in the past where he was fooled into believing they were real, because of a similar vibrant, though he was sure less horrifying, imagery. He focused on the hope that it was a dream and waited to awake and move once more. But, in all of his memory he could never recall a nightmare that was this disturbing and chilling in its impact and he wondered what the meaning of it could be in relation to his life. Was the dead boy a symbol for his own childhood and the woman laying on top of the boy his own mother? Or, were they a symbol for his present life with his three children and wife. He felt a sudden urgency to wake and reach out for his wife lying next to him in the bed.
He wanted to run from his room to his each of his children’s bedrooms to see them resting peacefully in their own beds. He shut his eyes tight and waited, then slowly opened them and surveyed the same gruesome scene over again.
The dust and particles continued to drift in the air and the sun continued to shine bright between them. Suddenly, something large came into view several yards away. It was falling and appeared to be part of a wall. It hit the floor silently, but he felt the vibration through his cheek resting on the cold floor. A large plume of dust rose in front of it and slowly settled as the wall came to rest on the floor in front of him burying the bistro and the woman and child. The plume of dust and particles came toward him and then the sunlight was blocked out and he closed his eyes to shield them from the dust.
Seconds later he opened them and the room appeared darker, and the brown tile that lay in front of him was now covered completely in an inch layer of dust and he struggled to take a breath. There was still no sound, though he could sense that he was choking on the dust and wondered if he was dying.
Slowly the room turned and he could make out more of the sky and ceiling above him and then there was a man’s face staring in revulsion at him. He appeared to be screaming also, but again he could hear nothing. There was blood splashing against his face and on his clothes as if someone were spraying him with a squirt bottle or a squirt gun. Then, he realized that this blood must be coming from his own body and panic overwhelmed him. He wished, once more, that he would wake up.
He shut his eyes and then opened them again, hoping to see his room and his wife lying next to him, but the scene remained the same. The man’s face continued to scream as blood sprayed upon his face in spurts, silence continued to engulf him as the cold numbness remained over his entire body and the destroyed room with body parts and rubble scattered everywhere lingered on as dust particles floated nonchalantly through the air. And, then, as quickly as it began, the nightmare ended and he was dead.