Today, I spent the last minutes of my morning (I woke up at 11:30 AM) in bed trying to make sense of things. I’d had the strangest dream—beating out the one I’d had last week of being Ellen DeGeneres’ spy sidekick juggling the draining tasks of stabbing henchmen, refusing to become an organ donor, and saving little girls from rivers—and after a grueling process of deep inner reflection, I concluded that my efforts were for naught and penned the sequence of events in my dream for later analysis.
You know you have a winner when you spend entire paragraphs just summarizing the dream in your iPhone Notes.
Anyway, based off my notes and what I remember, I’ve recreated as much of it as I can below.
… [dream] …
The setting is a dystopian society. This fact isn’t advertised anywhere, and it’s not obvious from the group of normal-looking kids accompanying me in this empty gray room, but I just know. I’m not aware of why it’s a dystopian society, but that why also wasn’t made apparent in the Divergent series—as far as I know, considering how I never made it to the second book—and those books seem to be doing all right, so it’s fine.
But whatever dystopian society I’m in is not a very successful one, because one of us gets up and finds that the door isn’t even locked.
We emerge into what appears to be a hotel lobby, complete with scenic glass windows and overdone ceiling lights. Three sleek elevators hum softly as someone summons one to our floor.
The one in the center opens and we file in. I’m the last to do so, and the second I’m inside, the lights flicker. We stare at each other and collectively decide to ignore what just happened. The lights flicker again. “NOPE,” I say loudly, my voice jarring against the silence. “I know exactly how this ends. Nope. NOPE.”
I and another girl—I feel like her name was Alicia—hop out to wait for the next elevator, but the same thing happens. And then the floor begins to shake.
The next minute sees us flying down the stairs, screaming “EARTHQUAKE” at the top of our lungs. (In hindsight, that probably wasn’t the best idea as we must’ve notified the token bad guys that we were out of containment, but as we’ve already established, the whole dystopia thing hadn’t been fleshed out enough and I didn’t have time to be smart.)
I rush out into the streets, Alicia hot on my heels. There’s considerable traffic outside, but I’m just focused on putting as much distance between myself and the tall building as possible. There’s open land up ahead, but it’s fenced off and there’s a considerable drop.
I continue running without stopping once to hack up a lung, which is yet another clue that this isn’t real. The street begins to morph into something that would be so much easier to describe if I’d actually paid attention in World Geography. I call it a ravine not because I actually know what that is, but because it’s easier to say than hanging-side-of-a-small-rocky-mountain-but-not-a-cliff or really-ugly-half-gorge.
Gunshots sound in the distance and now we’re running from that, too. Either we (Alicia and I) have been running in place for a while or the others have upgraded into sprinters, because the shouting gets really close, really quickly.
Someone from our initial group calls out to us after we round the corner. I look back in time to hear more gunshots and see six kids running the other way. The guy who yelled approaches us, alone and smiling, and in a moment of uncharacteristic clarity, I realize that something is sketchy. The only reason why the others turned tail could only have been…
“Did you shoot at them?” I ask, warily. It doesn’t add up, but my eyes are glued to his right hand, stuck in his pocket.
“Why would I do that?” He innocently returns, but I know what is coming. I leap over and wrestle with him for the gun. I realize belatedly that you’re only supposed to do that if you are actually capable of wrestling and don’t possess useless, twiggy arms, but at least I have the element of surprise.
“Why?” I shout, outraged at his betrayal even though I can’t even remember his name.
The guy shrieks: “Who said Taiwan was a part of China?”*
“I,” I pause, taken aback, “I, uh, don’t think anyone said that.” If someone did, it certainly wasn’t me.
We stare at each other for a bit. “So, why?” I somehow twist the weapon from his fingers. And stare in horror as I notice what he’s holding in front of him.
The guy’s got Cat. My fluffy, pretty (useless) white cat is trussed up like a turkey, yowling and spitting in his arms. It’s Cat, but also not her, because Cat is a nonconfrontational pacifist (to the point of occasional stupidity) and this cat is a rabid, screaming hellcat.
He doesn’t answer the question, at least not to my satisfaction. “I haven’t been good,” he gasps.
A couple things then happen at once. Cat makes a leap at me. I realize that she’s not in her right mind: either the guy’s done something to her or she’s in great pain. I shoot three times, in a quick triangle, to put her out of her misery—another undeveloped plot point that isn’t explained, just known. This is starting to feel like a poorly written action sequel—and her limp body floats down the ravine. Alicia, who has done absolutely nothing to help me so far, clocks the guy in the back of the head, knocking him out.
“Happy birthday,” she whispers to me as she hoists him over her shoulder and darts in the direction the others went.
Alone, I stare down at Cat’s unmoving form a couple hundred feet below. Some omnipresent narrator sighs wistfully and says something along the lines of “the death of innocence is the cruelest death of all” in the voice of Morgan Freeman.
I think to myself that I can certainly come up with crueler deaths, but proceed on my way to reunite with my little brother in another abandoned building.
… [reality] …
The first thing I did after rolling myself out of bed was, of course, recount my entire dream to Mom. No detail was spared.
But her reaction to all this probably surprised me more than my dream surprised her. She didn’t comment on how dreams are a manifestation of the soul and, considering that, how disturbing mine was. She didn’t comment on the Taiwan thing, on which she has a strong opinion. She didn’t comment on all the unnecessary violence. She didn’t even comment on the fact that I’m an only child.
What she did comment on, well…
“How could you kill the cat?” Mom asked, outraged.
*look up Taiwan’s beef with China and you’ll understand