Photo Courtesy of Jake Roach
The sky was black and heavy. Gray ash fell like a light snow all around her. It settled softly on her skin, leeching the color from her body, making her almost invisible. She took no note of the buildings that she passed. Hollow, empty, jagged specters rising from the crippled ground, silently watching.
Her eyes never left her purpose, a tall tower in the distance. It stood above all the other structures, a framework of steel and concrete, massive and ponderous. As she drew closer, she could hear the sound of angry voices raised, demanding something. She entered the tower through a long tunnel and then worked her way up a narrow winding stairway. As she climbed, her heart began to pound, not from fear, but in anticipation of something akin to going to battle.
She finally reached the top of the tower and found herself in a large circular room. One door lifted away from the floor and suddenly she was standing at the edge of a circular arena thousands of feet in the air. All along the inside were spaces carved into the concrete in which sat the owners of the demanding voices she had heard on the way in. A stone ramp moved beneath her feet and she was suddenly suspended in the air above the floor of the arena. As a unit, the angry voices became silent, all eyes turned to her, gleaming and cruel.
The door behind her slammed shut, echoing in the silence. Her skin crawled as she looked at the hooded eyes surrounding her. Her back was to the door and she tensed as she heard a grating sound from behind. She glanced over her shoulder to see another smaller door opening over the larger one. A figure appeared in the opening. A small animated metal figurine, similar to those in a clock tower. It looked harmless enough, but she felt a foreboding as she spun to face it. It turned several times in a circle, with a mechanical whine. And then it stopped, facing her.
She felt, rather than heard, a combined intake of breath from those sitting in the hollowed-out boxes. It distracted her for a moment, and when her eyes again looked at the figurine, she saw that it had raised its hand and was pointing a small gun at her. She knew at once that this was her test. One chance, one opportunity to live or to die. She ran toward the figure but before she had gone three steps, a toneless sound rang in her ears and a light flashed in her eyes. She stopped with head thrown back and arms flung out to each side. She felt the bullet enter her body and make its way through her heart like a sharp needle moving through silk. And then the rusted iron taste of blood in her mouth. She stood with arms outstreched for seconds before she began to fall back into the open space beneath.
Her descent was slow and somber. Before her eyes closed, she could see the moon through an opening in the tower. A wolf moon, low in the sky. Thin jagged lines etched across it's surface, it seemed to move closer to her as she fell further from it. She could smell the dust from below rising to meet her as she fell and then, just before the impact of her body with the earth...
........She woke up. She turned on the light by her bed, picked up her journal and began to write furiously. The taste of iron in her mouth faded with each written word. And in the end..............just a dream.
[One word around which to write a story - "end". I've had this dream before, but it came back to me one day after I saw Jake's photo of the recent wolf moon. He kindly allowed me to use it here. The photo is wondrous. This is a very weak story, but I thought that if I put the dream into words, perhaps I wouldn't ever have it again. I didn't like it the first time and the second was just as unpleasant. And thank you to Lerrnst once again for "the word". ]