On the morning of Saturday, February 9th, 2002, I had a dream. It was an odd dream, to tell the truth, as dreams are wont to be. It took place in some sort of massive, oddly-designed complex… an amalgamation of a warehouse, an office building, and a factory, with wildly outsized proportions and bizarre design. If anyone has played Quake II, it was similar to that environment. Some areas were enormous chambers with thick pipes and heavy machinery littered about the place… other places were long, wide, and tall hallways, bare and mostly featureless. However, the complex seemed designed with no intentions for ease of travel, meaning that sometimes there would be really odd methods of traversing from room-to-room… doors would be placed twenty feet up with a pile of rubble and scrap metal laying in front of them, to provide access.
I don’t know why I was in this complex… that is how things are in dreams. Many people were with me, good friends, old friends, new friends. The cast of Done to Death, for example, came and went at various intervals. Other people, I did not recognize. We were scattered about the place very haphazardly, as if we had been dropped in a breeze into this complex.
The trick of the dream, however, is that a sort of infestation was attacking the complex… whether it was supposed to be alien or terrestrially engineered, I don’t know. But this infestation, it consisted of some sort of microscopic entity – a virus or bacteria, or nanotech constructs, I don’t know – that would get into one’s body, grow and grow and grow, and eventually take that body over. The person would still be conscious, and he would still know what he or she was doing, but his entire personality and attitude would change. He would suddenly have the desire to eliminate or “infest” regular folks, for whatever reason.
In any case, all that information I will find out later. As it is, the earliest part of the dream I recall being in a huge factory-type area, similar to the sets seen in the movie Virus, but much more brightly lit. A bunch of people were mulling about – I distinctly recall seeing David Ritterband, Liz Mitchell, Ryan, and Gil in the area, and a bunch of other people I don’t know – when a bunch of weird-looking people stormed into the area. Most of them looked like regular people with odd-colored skin and, um, “claws”. But some of them were downright inhuman looking… standard horror movie monsters, I suppose.
Anyway, these infested people began attacking, tackling some of the non-infesteds and dragging them away (or killing them). I managed to maintain enough clarity to run away just as one of them was leaping towards me. I rallied a good number of the remaining people, and we all ran towards a far door. We had a good enough lead on the infesteds, and we all managed to slip out before they could catch up with us. I turned and slammed the door shut, and locked it.
We found ourselves in one of many overly large hallways, with support beams and such knocked to the ground, creating a sort of obstacle course of blockades we had to crawl over to escape. There was an underlying sense of panic in all of us as we scrambled away.
Just like in cheesy monster movies, the infesteds managed to keep catching up with us. We’d turn a corner, and there they’d be. I recall seeing David Ritterband, once one of the regular people, as an infested, grinning at us as he came toward us. Other people that I thought I saw get captured were similarly infested.
Just like a true hero, I always insisted on being at the end of the party as we ran away. However, people from our group kept getting picked off as we tried desperately to escape. In one instance, for example, we had taken shelter in yet another large factory-like room, to catch our breath and take stock of the situation, when the infesteds dropped down from the ceiling. Several people were taken instantly, while we ran back out the door and into the large, debris-filled hallways. Again I was at the rear of the group, and almost a dozen of the infesteds came within a few meters of catching me as I sprinted towards the door. Again, I managed to slam it shut and lock it before they could catch me, and again I was running through the hallways.
It was just after that experience when I ran into Chris and Brian in the hallways. They seemed very unperturbed by what was going on around them… Brian was smoking a cigarette. I stopped in front of them, breathing hard, and tried to explain to them what was happening in the complex.
“Oh, we know,” Brian said, nodding. “It’s hard to miss, you know.”
Still out of breath, and full of adrenaline, I grabbed both their arms and tried to drag them along with the group of panicked people. But they both wouldn’t budge, and they even laughed condescendingly at my efforts.
“You’re not going to get away,” Brian scoffed. “You really can’t. You know how these things go. Guys like you never win.”
The two of them started laughing at that, and, wide-eyed and damn scared out of my mind, I went back to running. Brian went back to smoking his cigarette, and he and Chris resumed talking.
I found myself in a hallway with three-foot-high “hurdles” spaced every ten feet or so. I had to climb over each one as I tried to catch up with the group ahead of me. But each time I glanced up to see them, they were always farther ahead, and there were always fewer and fewer of them. Finally, they came to the end of the hallway, where a large pile of beams and metal plates that sloped up to a doorway. We scrambled up this pile of rubble, all the while noticing that some more infesteds were running down the corridor to us. Again, however, we managed to slip through the door and close it behind us.
The room we found ourselves in was small… but there were only about six of us left. And there didn’t seem to be any way out, until, in classic Aliens fashion, we decided to go through the ventilation shafts. We pulled a grating out of the ground and we all jumped in. The shafts were very narrow, requiring us to be on our bellies and inching along by our hands. My claustrophobia got the better of me at some points, and I felt myself begin to panic. It wasn’t helped by the fact that I began hearing some of the infesteds laugh, quite loudly, as we went along.
We finally emerged from the shafts into a sort of tiny office… quite normal looking compared to the alien environment we had just been in. Strangely, in that office were six guns… the exact number of us that were left. And, strangely, Kia had appeared in the group, even though she wasn’t there before. But that’s how dreams go. Now, these guns were standard sci-fi automatic weapons, not real weapons like M-16’s or anything. But we all hoisted them up and left the office.
These new hallways were a bit smaller, and darker, but felt just the same as the larger ones did. The floor was covered in a grating, and below was just empty space for as far as we could see. A light thrum echoed through the place, like heavy machinery that was pounding away off in the distance.
We wound our way through all sorts of different rooms, looking for a way out. Strange rooms that didn’t belong there… sometimes a classroom, sometimes a homely kitchen, sometimes a bathroom with the toilets mounted on the ceiling (it’s okay, those bathrooms had zero gravity). Finally we came to a chapel, except it didn’t look like a chapel… it looked like a cavern that had been formed out of a massive chunk of rock, except the floors were tiled, the ceilings had wooden beams forming a pointed room, and large chandeliers hung down… and, somehow, I knew it was a chapel (dreams are weird that way).
We were walking to the far end of the chapel when the infesteds came at us again. They began pouring through the doorways, small holes in the ceiling, and charged at us. We fired our guns, taking down dozens upon dozens of them, but there were too many. One of our party went down… I saw Kia pick up his gun and leap up onto the podium, firing both the weapons, Rambo-style, screaming and grinning like a maniac.
Finally, however, she ran out of ammo… and as the infesteds began swarming up on her, she pounded away at them with her fists. I tried to help her, but there were just too damn many targets between her and me. Finally, she went down and was lost.
For some reason, after that I turned around and fired at the blank wall behind us. It crumbled after only a few shots, and we escaped through it into the usual massive hallways that we had come to know and love. We ran, ducking around support pillars and large protrusions of metal, firing at the swarm that chased after us. Finally, we passed into a sort of hangar… with huge, thick blast doors at the entrance. We ran through, and then I hit the control panel on one side… and the gigantic doors closed shut, sealing us away from the infesteds.
I paused just long enough to take stock in the situation. There were four of us left, and just about all our guns were out of ammo (except, strangely, mine). They discarded theirs and followed after me. We ran across the hangar towards another similarly large hallways entrance.
We ran, and we ran, our lungs burning, but we kept going, through large, weird hallways. Sometimes we would hear the infesteds laughing loudly, but we never saw them. We passed through some more factory-like rooms, occasionally having to scramble across overhanging equipment several hundred feet up from the floor, sometimes having to weave our way through narrow mazes of crates and heavy machinery. All in all, it was like a chaotic, techno-gothic nightmare.
Finally, we came across yet another huge hallway… but down at the end, I saw it curve around, and natural light was shining in. I shouted, “Looks like we found our way out!” and sprinted even faster. However, when I got to the corner, I turned to look at my comrades, smiling… but that was when I realized they were all gone. Confused, I looked around to try to find them… but, as things go in dreams, they were gone, apparently for no reason. Depressed, I walked towards the exit to the complex.
I got there… the hallway just came to an abrupt end, and beyond that was dirt and rock. Outside I could only see a barren wasteland, the sky as red as blood, the sun looking like a dying star, wind blowing up sandstorms… an inhospitable place, entirely. I walked out, wanting to get away from the infesteds, but also not wanting to be trapped in a desert. When I had gotten about fifty feet away from the entrance, Brian and Chris appeared again.
“You don’t want to go out there, trust me,” Chris said. “The whole place is fucked up. Just nothing, nothing, nothing as far as the eye can see.” He had a look of concern on his face, his brow all wrinkled up.
“Then were can I go?” I asked.
“You really can’t go anywhere,” Brian said. “Like I said, this was inevitable. You’re stuck.” He took a few puffs off his cigarette.
“There has to be some way,” I insisted. “There always is.”
Brian shook his head. “Nah, not really. Trust me, there’s nothing out there. Never has been, never will be. Your best bet would be to go back inside and just wait for what’s coming.”
I didn’t want to argue – hey, it was Brian, he wouldn’t lie to me – so I turned around and went back into the hallways.
I was tired at this point… this whole writing hasn’t been very long, but by this point it had been several days since the infesteds first attacked us. I knew what Brian had meant… sooner or later, they were going to catch me. So I decided that I wasn’t even going to bother trying to get away… I might as well embrace my fate. So I began walking back through all the miles and miles of tunnels, chambers, and such. Strangely, I wasn’t harassed by any of the infesteds as I went. Finally, I got back to the factory-like room where everything had started. Several dozen infesteds were in the place, but they paid no heed to me. I walked in… and, once again, noticed that Chris and Brian were there.
“What are you doing here?” I asked. “Aren’t they going to try to take you?”
“Nah,” Brian replied.
“We’re neutral,” Chris added.
I was puzzled. “Neutral?”
“That means they won’t try to take us.”
“I want to be neutral,” I exclaimed, thinking I had found my way out.
But Brian just shook his head. “Only two people can be neutral. In order to go neutral, one of us will have to become non-neutral, or one of us would have to be killed.”
“Yeah, sorry bro,” Chris said. “We would have taken you with us… but we didn’t make the rules.”
I stood staring at them for several minutes. Finally, I said, “Well, shit.” I turned around and left them.
Finally, one of the infesteds approached me… it was Kia.
“So you’ve finally come back,” she said to me.
“Yeah… look, I’m tired,” I answered. “I don’t wanna try to escape anymore… there’s really nowhere to go. Why don’t you guys just take me?”
“All right…” she replied. “It’s really fun, actually. You think like the rest of us do, you’re always surrounded by people, you have a goal and a purpose and things to do… it’s quite fun. There’s a lot of us, you know.”
“I noticed,” I mumbled.
“You’re not going to mind a bit,” Kia continued. “It’ll hurt at first, it’ll feel strange at first, but you’ll get used to it.”
Note: The actual conversation – and my previous conversations with Chris and Brian – were much longer in the dream… upwards of half an hour or more. But I don’t remember everything that was said, so I just included what I do remember and tried to get the gist of the rest.
Anyway, I finally said to her, “Look, just go ahead and do it, and let’s get this over with.”
Shrugging, she extended a claw and pricked me in the arm. It hurt at first… but then, as the microbes/nanobots/whatever began to spread, it hurt even more. It’s hard to describe… it was quite frightening, being able to actually feel these things spreading through me. The skin on my arm became hardened and rough, like sandpaper, and it really hurt for several seconds. The pain, finally, began to dull as the feeling extended to my hand and traveled up my arm, ultimately becoming a bit of numbness.
A stark, raving fear overtook me, but I tried to keep myself calm. I began to shiver and shake uncontrollably, and I fell to my knees, sweating with dread. Finally, after an agonizingly long time, I began to feel the infestation affecting my brain… a euphoric exhaustion spread over me, and I felt the need to lie down and sleep. I collapsed to the ground, realizing that I would never be the same again, knowing that my fate was sealed, trying desperately to stay awake and alive as the infestation spread throughout my body, as it began to take over my thoughts and my personality.
“It’ll be fine in a little while, you’ll see,” I remember hearing Kia say. “You’ll take a little nap, and wake up feeling just fine.”
I don’t remember waking up.
Wake up from this dream!
Copyright © 2002 JMSPOOFE. All rights reserved.