The place looked ever worse in the daytime, I had no idea where I was or how I got there or even what time it was.
My phone was GONE.
My Wallet was GONE.
I had my shoes on my feet, some cash in my socks and that was it.
I woke up in a bed, dressed and dry. I had no idea where I was, so I walked out of there and into some kind of slum. Everyone kind of looks the same, it was Morning, and the whole street is full of people doing the same as me. They are looking around, trying to figure out where they are and what happened.
Overhead, the sky is brown, and awful. Like the worse smog day ever. It’s HOT, too, humid. Everywhere is messed up, I’m noticing that I ache, so much. Around me I can hear people calling out for people, names and languages, nothing catches my ear.
I follow the smell of a diner cooking breakfast and coffee, and find it’s a stall at the end of a long line of flops. The guy behind the counter smiles at me with these metal teeth and he offers me this ATM skimmer and as I grab it my thumb hits the square and the words, paid pop up.
I don’t think anything about it, I take my coffee and a bagel (?) and step out again, looking both directions I realize that this isn’t a road, it’s more like a long alley. No cars.
Where the hell am I?
A few of the people wandering around like me have friends now, pairing up or are their buddies from last night catching up? There’s a couple people fighting now.
A woman stopped me and asked about Jeannie, I said that I didn’t know where she was and could she point me back to Home.
The Woman just sort of nodded and said she would, and she led me back to the place I had come out of. I told her that this wasn’t home.
Jeannie walked in the door I had just come in and put down a bag of something.
“Oh No! He’s missed a dose!”
She looked older, way older. Like … hold on.
She held out a pill to me and a glass of water and I took the pill and sat in a ratty chair.
It had been 20 years since the war was over and we lost.
I had been exposed to a neurotoxin something exotic, it robbed me of every memory between being infected and now. I remembered it all, crashing into it. This was home now, we were in a concentration camp of sorts.
They kept us with our families, and watched us from up on high, kept fed and secured, and lost.
As night fell and the patrols became more obvious, Jeannie sat and told me all of this, as my head re-sorted itself around the new normal. A World under the fist of an army no one could see anymore, kept like pets in massive slums, not even able to have kids anymore. The last kids were born 20 years ago.
In their Propaganda, they claim they are cleaning up the planet, and they will fix the damage their viruses and gene warfare did to humanity, but the more science-inclined among us noted that the insects and animals were unaffected by the alien warfare. This was a planned and targeted attack on humanity. And every few days, I forget.
Every few days I wake up, it never happened an I walk from a mystery bed into a hot and bright morning with other strangers who probably fought right next to me against a common enemy we should have seen coming.
Now there’s a daily walk of shame for all of humanity to remember.
There’s these towns that I dream about over and over, their geography is getting to be familiar to me, to the point that when I see the places that the dreams were inspired by, I get a little confused because I thought I dreamed them.
There’s an intersection that my family passed seemingly 100s of times on family trips here and there through my life, it’s not even a major intersection, but we passed it dutifully so many times that whenever I take a long road trip in a dream, I’m sure to pass by it. It marks the boundary between the known and the unknown, the familiar and the exotic. It’s an almost literal HERE and THERE sign in a dream for me.
There are a series of small towns that I dream of with peculiar hidden geographies, side streets and alleys and shopping bazaars. These always seem to involve a street that splits in two directions, in one direction is a familiar stretch with a post office, a carpet shop, a cinema, a chip shop and a toy shop. I’ve drifted down (or rather up) this stretch so often that I can envision the walk passed easily. Inevitably the dream will lead through some side street to “the other bit” where the mystery place will be, the thing the Dream is “about” will be in this other part of the town, a part you can only approach without going there.
The People of these towns don’t exist for the most part, they aren’t even “Dream people” more like “filling” that’s not true, there are these, I don’t know, characters that end up being around town. There’s a Hotel/Hostel/BnB at the far end of town that vacillates wildly from being a 70s Drama and a Turn of the 20th Century Flop House.
There’s a Massive house at the far end of the main strip, it houses the rich old town founders family, they never live there long, they always sort of wander out, leaving a hollowed out mansion full of empty rooms with no ceilings.
There’s a strip of roads that lead out of town in three directions, 2 south, 1 north. or 1 east west and 2 south.
That’s it, it’s always the same otherwise.
Sometimes there’s a curving road that leads up to a highway of sorts, sometimes the whole affair is perched on a cliff with a modern posh hotel slam in the middle.
There’s a Shopping center that services the whole district, it never changes, it’s perpetually under siege by pop singers.