A dream I had in April 2009
A New World
Just a few more steps and I would reach the edge of the clearing. I was used to walking in darkness, alone. It had become a way of life to move about unseen, unheard . . . undetected. The scissors, though covered with small spots of rust, would bring something in return. Perhaps a shirt or a pair of shoes. The massive oak tree marked the beginning of the clearing. I was almost there. I stopped for a minute to listen. Nothing. A few steps more and I heard a twig crunch under my heel. Oh my gosh, don’t do that. Then I heard the sound of them coming.
I turned and ran as fast as I could through the brush, feeling the pain of countless twigs breaking under my feet. My heart was pounding. I could hear the snorting and growling behind me, but I couldn’t stop. I had to make it to my box before they caught up to me. Running in the darkness of the woods. Running toward the burned out structure I called home. Running, gasping for air, hoping not to trip over the rocks or the pieces of wood near the entrance. Falling down would be the end of my scissors. They would take them. I would have nothing left to trade. It would be over.
They were gaining on me as I reached the entrance. In complete blackness, I scrambled to the back of the building where I kept my box. I slipped the scissors inside, pushed it back under the boards, and turned just as they reached me. They didn’t see, right? They didn’t see. As I stood there trembling and out of breath, one of them approached me. Even in the darkness I could see the red glow in its eyes. I could smell the its awful breath. Towering over me, maybe seven feet tall, with enough power to crush me in one blow, it looked directly in my eyes. I could see its breath billowing out in front of me from inside the black helmet. Its massive body covered in armor. Each hand was larger than my head. Sharp nails extending from its gloves. I stood there frozen in fear for what seemed like an hour as it looked all around me for the box. Then it turned and disappeared into the night. I dropped to my knees in exhausted relief.
A few hours later, after I felt confident they had moved on, I pulled my box from beneath the boards. Only the scissors inside. I had run dangerously low this time. If I had nothing to trade, I would not survive. I would simply die, as was their plan for all of us who survived the initial attack. Their method of extermination was not to snuff us out directly, but strip us of any means to survive. Countless times they had taken my things in the clearing as I was moving about in the darkness for a trade. Now, with only my scissors left, I had to make it to the trading place. I could get food there, and water. I had to make it there.
I decided to move through the woods this time, in spite of the dangers. It would be more risky to walk along the clearing. I lifted the scissors, then pushed my empty box under the board. The air was totally silent, so I stepped outside, and turned right, into the woods. Without the clearing’s edge to guide me, it was difficult to get my direction, but tried to walk straight, only going left or right to move around a tree or thick brush. It was completely black around me. I could only feel what was in front of me, beside me, and underfoot. My feet hurt with each hard, prickly thing I stepped on.
Inside the other building, people were moving about. The sound of muffled human voices was comforting. This was a safe zone. Nothing was allowed to harm you here or take your things. No one lived in this building, but came here to trade, eat, and find comfort in one another. Some, like me, brought items to trade. Some brought food, and others brought water – but everyone brought something to trade. If you didn’t have anything to offer, it was best not to come. It was also a good idea to leave in time to be safely home before dawn. The daylight brought unimaginable dangers to those who wandered away from their home areas. Daylight was no longer a privilege to humans, but only to be enjoyed by those creatures in black armor. The world was now theirs, and humans were like cockroaches scurrying into cracks and crevices when the lights came on. There would only be one chance for human freedom, but you had to know the rules, and had to get it right.
The morning of freedom. We all journeyed by night along a path that would finally lead to a long, narrow hill with valleys on either side. Humans gathered on both sides of the hill, at night, waiting for the sun to rise. I could see the sky becoming light, and heard human voices reciting the rules to make sure they could make it into the circle. One at a time, I could see people running to the top of the hill, joining hands and moving around slowly in a circle. First there were two. They joined hands, and began walking in a circle. Then a third came and joined the circle. The main rule, however, was to make it to the top of the hill before the circle was full – that is, if you wait too long, there would be room for no more, and you would be left on the hillside to be crushed by the armored creatures.
I continued to watch the people move to the hilltop, joining hands. Then I, too, ran to the top, joined hands, and began walking in the circle of safety. I made it. Freedom. Security. Peace.
The human circle moved to the right, along the hilltop, continuing to go round and round until we finally reached a place of eternal safety. No more creatures. No more fear. Our hearts stopped pounding feverishly. Our breathing no longer labored. Peace covered us entirely like a soft, warm blanket of love. I could see hills and valleys, trees, birds, animals, and flowing water. Small stone buildings here and there would make cozy homes for us. Men and women paired up, according to what gift they had shared with someone when gathering by the hill. I hadn’t shared a gift with anyone. I was alone.
There was a man who seemed to be watching me all day – as if he was looking out for me. He had been given a gift by someone else at the hilltop gathering, so he was already spoken for. He approached me, sat down on the bench beside me, and we began talking. I felt comfortable with him, but kept a reasonable distance because he was promised to someone else. That evening, it was time for everyone to retire to their own areas in the park. The woman who gifted him at the hill walked up. “I know I am supposed to go home with you since I gave you a gift, but . . . ,” then he broke in. “Here is your gift. You don’t have to go with me.” He handed the gift back to her, and she walked away.
We both got up from where we were sitting, and he turned to me and looked straight into my eyes. “I would like you to come home with me, and stay with me.” He took my hand, and I felt peace like I had never felt before. We walked along the path to his home area, and I felt completely safe. We approached the entrance to his area. Then I woke up. --Janet Ng