Monday, February 27, 2012

Life! Death! PRIZES! (Part Two)

The dream-quest didn't stop when I gave birth to millions of tiny worms, far from it. The next night I was in a very different kind of city, one that I was much more used to. In most of my dreams I'm in a desert, or a small Midwestern town, or a combination of the two. I don't know why, but somehow I'm always stuck in the middle of psychedelic deserts. Last night was no different.

This town looks like the archtypical western hamlet; there's saloons in every direction and tumbleweeds go where they please with impunity. Every road is dirt and littered with artifacts from a carnival fair. Everywhere I go I step on bags of kettle corn and discarded corn dog sticks. Everywhere I look are groups of people having tailgate parties in the back of their trucks. The sound of laughter fills the air and there's no escaping the smell of cooking ribs. Again, everything seems so safe and tranquil.

But lo and behold: in the distance is a crowd of people running from something. That's when I see it: an enormous rodent-like creature, one could even say a rodent of unusual size. It's almost entirely bald with pale flabby skin covering it's bony, hunched over body. The only hair is along it's spine; a matted, shaggy coat of striped yellow hair that runs the entire length of it's body, down to it's scaly rat-like tail. It's head is huge in relation to the rest of it's body and full of jagged, crooked teeth.

I instinctively know that it's an extremely dangerous relative of the aardvark and native to Australia. Soon, more people see it and start to panic. The creature starts howling and snarling in the middle of the street as others flee. It stretches out it's legs and with a sickening crunching they dislocate from their joints. The creature is obviously in pain as it grows an extra pair of legs for a total of six, all ending in gnarly looking claws. It stands upright, having grown from merely unusual size to truly massive proportions. Then, like a bull it charges and catches a man in it's jaws, snapping him in one shake of it's huge bald head. I run for cover, diving into a nearby car. I find the driver inside, as we watch the beast we both agree that it must die.

Eventually any potential prey is either dead or has escaped. The creature calms down, returning to it's original shape and we study it's habits from the safety of the car. Eventually we just decide to get out of the car and sneak up on it. It notices us and starts to chase us all over town. I weave in between the buildings, the snarling of gnashing of teeth never far behind. I can feel it's hot breath on my neck as I dive past barbecue pits and popcorn machines in the waning light of the evening. Eventually, I find a pile of rocks and start throwing them at the creature.

One by one each rock pelts it on it's huge crocodilian head. Blood flows out of it's mouth, taking broken teeth with it. The creatures frantic running turns to a lumbering crawl as the rocks I throw slowly break open it's skull. Eventually it simply falls over, drowning in it's own blood on top of a pile of hot coals.

But I'm not fooled, I know it'll wake up soon. So I wander away from the creature's battered body and into the seemingly endless depths of the desert-city. The smell of roasting meat returns, so do the people. The party starts up again as children play on the lawns between the wooden buildings. The sky is filled with exploding fireworks and everywhere I look are the warm glows of burning campfires. It's like the entire city is celebrating the Fourth of July all year 'round. Since this is a dream I don't walk so much as float past the all-night funnel cake stands and into an arcade still under construction. Workers are still wheeling in game cabinets as I start dumping quarters in. Sadly, Polybius is nowhere to be found. But I do find a photo-realistic rail-shooter where the player is George Washington as the sheriff of a Western town and must shoot a legion of bandits. After a ride in a mine cart the game comes to the ending scene where the player realizes the woman that's been their sidekick was betraying them the whole time. I remember choosing to shoot her.

The game ends and I look around the empty arcade. Everyone's seemed to have left, not just the arcade, but the entire city seems deserted. But then I realize that I'm not actually alone; in the corner of the arcade is a dark figure, totally shrouded in an all-concealing darkness. It's as if light isn't just absorbed by them, but light ceases to exist around them altogether, leaving nothing but a pitch-black haze around the silhouette of someone in a wide brimmed hat and trench coat. I'm convinced we're friends and they seem to think the same.

Suddenly I wake up, staring at my hand. Then I realize that I didn't get to keep the bright orange revolver from the game and I'm more than a little disappointed.


mom said...

ohhh and YEAH for jobs!

Shadgrimgrvy said...

See! I'm not a manchild!

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