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Friday, January 29, 2016

The Inverse Incursion

Also posted at SyfyDesigns.

Last night's dream was a neverending blitz after blitz and people running. It started with living in a big communal building about 4 or 5 floors up, my rooms were on the outermost corner on the main street side. It was like apartments had been gutted out and sort of repartitioned, no more locked doors, everyone was in the same boat, all work together through daily living kind of thing. Families intermingled, children especially coming and going as they played, and before it all started I remember several different supper smells going on and about ten people coming together for a meal in the rooms I lived in.

I happened to look out the window and caught a glimpse of a military ranked helio transport gunner and thought hell... I yelled for everyone to get to the inner rooms just as the blasting started, taking out the fronts of building all up and down the street, and the only reason we got away was because we were the last in the shooting lineup. Everyone knew their designated safe areas, top priority being inside and down, because the further into the building you could get, the more likely you would survive frontal assault. Everyone knew this. It didn't stop people from jumping out windows and hauling ass out doors and scattering across the streets, and as I got near the building center, a hole blasted through and I could see why- the entire building was being razed. Time to abandon the building.

One guy and I in particular wound up running the same direction. We'd known each other for years, each with our own families, each watching our families get picked and killed off over the years. We'd learned to cooperate through a number of challenges, but that never seemed to make us friends. We kept an inherent distrust in place between us, probably assuming it was an emotional safety mechanism. I didn't think about it beyond that. By the time I cleared the building, I knew my family hadn't, and by the time he caught up with me, I knew his hadn't, either. Everyone knew you never went back. Never looked back. The only way to keep surviving was to keep finding holes, keep running, keep looking ahead. People would drift from shattered groups to new groups, and groups were always changing. Everyone knew that.

He was easy to work with in crisis. He knew all the shortcut lingo, all the gestures, almost like we could read each other's minds. We both instinctively headed for higher ground just outside the residential district so we could look back and assess what had happened and maybe guess what would be coming next. The gaping carnage glancing back told us it was far from over, and as smaller helios spread out dropping teams nearby, we knew we had to breach whatever boundary they were about to set up as quickly as possible.

That meant changing direction and heading for the government buildings. A few of the closer refugees were already flooding into the front desk areas, so it was easy to duck in among them and then duck back out into back hallways and head for certain offices. I was surprised to notice he seemed to know the hallways as well as I did. Maybe better.

We managed to avoid being noticed, kept moving, ducking in and out of offices and hallways as the mad scramble for control of the surging masses emptied nearly all personnel areas. I'm not ashamed to say I grabbed as many snacks as I could stuff into my shirt from a break room, and nearly carried out a pot of coffee, but decided against it and set it down on a counter by the door as I glanced up and down the hallway. He was coming out of an office nearly opposite and motioned me over, whispered in my ear that what he'd found on a computer cinched what we'd been guessing- this was a coup. Collateral damage would be rampant, and this and other government buildings were probably next on the agenda. Apparently some of the personnel were figuring that out, too, and we ducked into their panicky race to flee their own building, getting outside in full view without a single glance our way.

I had about reached mind blown stage by the time we cleared the building and made it past a parking lot and a greenway, finally alone again. This guy. Who was he? And I guess he was arriving there, too, as we both reached for each other's shirts, got in each other's faces, suddenly demanding answers. I never got them. I woke up. But clearly we'd both worked as civil authority, clearly we'd both disappeared from our jobs and holed up hiding, and very clearly we had no clue whether we would kill each other or not. I realized I actually cared about this guy, didn't want to kill him, could probably be good friends with him, and maybe that's why he hesitated, too.

And that's all I know. I woke up, I'm here and not there, and I'll never know what happened. It felt too real to just make up the rest.


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