The spring afternoon was nothing out of the ordinary. Patches of high clouds dotted the relatively blue sky. People piled on to buses and subways, some waiting impatiently for their carpool to get off work. It was a normal uneventful day.
I was walking towards my kitchen sink, about to wash off a Braeburn apple I just purchased from the local produce stand. Audie always make sure to save the cream of the crop for yours truly. I’m a creature of habit and I have my rituals and routines. I’d ride my Trek 21 speed from work on exactly the same route every day. I’d pull off at Audie’s stand in time to hear his latest off-color joke and pick up my snack.
While I was washing my apple I started to notice a subtle change in the color of the sky. It was close to sunset. The oranges and reds slowly overtook the cool blues that inhabited the sky earlier. The sparse clouds began to multiply and collide together forming an impenetrable blanket. At first I thought it to be a normal spring storm. I made my way to the sliding glass door which overlooked my modest sized backyard. But the real treasure of the view was that of the harbor in the distance. Small cutters and fishing boats were scattered throughout. It seemed like a few of the smaller boats had decided to forgo their evening sail with the impending storm. I opened the sliding glass door to take in the crisp ocean breeze. Nothing was out of the ordinary.
My apple core lied in the waste basket as I finished up my shower. As I was toweling off noticing my ever increasing bald spot I heard something fall in the kitchen. It was followed by a rush of air down the hall. That gust cut through me as I stood naked and semi-wet. Goosebumps instantly covered my body. With a towel wrapped around my waist I walked into the open spaced living area. The waste basket had blown over and the remnants of my apple lied near the dining room floor.
As I walked to pick up the small mess I glanced outside. I don’t know if my first feelings were that of shock, denial, fear or utter surprise? But I know they all rushed through me in a split second. Across the other side of the harbor the oranges and reds of the setting sun were being devoured by black ominous clouds. I know shock came over me because I remember thinking, “These are clouds you’d see in the mid-west, not in California!”
Just as that thought entered my mind the funnel cloud began to form. I’m no expert in weather by any means, but I knew this was a rare occurrence. I forgot about how cold I was and race down the hall to grab my video camera. I stood at the edge of the sliding glass door filming as it touched down some fifteen miles from my backyard. I felt reasonably calm about my own safety. There was a large body of water in-between myself and the tornado. In the same instance I felt unbelievable sadness for the people who were in its path. The camera continued to roll… it seemed like an eternity but realistically I was only standing there for seconds when I noticed something strange. There seemed to be no destruction in the wake of the twister. And the flying debris that is usually associated with these natural wonders was non-existent.
Baffled as I was the unfolding events left no time for my brain to process what was occurring. I now feared for my own safety. The less than destructive tornado was still an intimidating and awesome sight; especially when it began to cross the harbor and headed straight for me. The boats seemed to be unharmed as it made its way quickly across the harbor. The waves hardly seemed affected by the surging winds. The winds were so tremendous my waste basket tipped over again and my hanging plants began to sway as if a frequented earthquake was taking place. I closed the sliding door but never took my cameras attention away from the approaching anomaly.
It was too late to run anywhere truly safe. So I did the best I could and braced myself in a doorway. Like I’ve mentioned, I live in California, it was grilled into me as a young boy. Earthquake, safest place is under a doorway. They’re structurally sound and will keep most of the ceiling from falling on you. Granted, this wasn’t an earthquake but old habits die hard.
At this point my camera was on the oak hallway floor, more or less pointed down the hall towards the sliding glass door. I felt the barometric pressure in the house increase tremendously. It felt like I had just dove twenty feet down in a pool of water. My ears popped and felt plugged. The tornado was right on top of my house. I blacked out…
When I came to, my house was bare. I mean everything except the structure was gone. Bowls, cups, plates, my flat screen T.V. No, not the flat screen! Pictures, even my waste basket was nowhere to be found. I had no clothes in the house except for the towel that was loosely wrapped around me. Everything that wasn’t part of the structure of the house was gone. Or so I thought. I saw on the dining room floor, the apple core. My plants swung gently from the ceiling. I investigated the rest of the house. The garage was empty. No car, no bicycle. Nothing. Even the light switches and fixtures, and as far as I could tell, even the wiring and plumbing just vanished.
I walked outside clinching my towel tight. My modesty was still intact at least. There was an eerie calm and stillness in the air. I stood just behind the large Sycamore tree in the front yard. Partly to hide my naked torso, as well as to hide in part of fear. I had no idea what had just transpired and what to expect next. Then the loud buzzing in my head began. There was a pressure inside me similar to what had just happened inside my house. I knelt down on the freshly cut grass anticipating the inevitable blackout…
I’m not sure if the following events were that of a lucid dream or a reality that I personally witnessed. But I know that that day the tornado came was absolutely real. I know this to be a fact. Across the world, infrastructures were unharmed yet possessions and technology were wiped from the earth. People slowly stared coming out of their houses and haring their experiences with each other. Slowly information from surrounding towns, cities, states and eventually countries came in. All told of the same story. A ‘selective tornado’ I heard one person call it. We slowly started to build our communities back up with necessary essentials. Clothing and food were of top priority. It took years to get there, but we managed. But I heard nobody mention what I had experienced after I blacked out the second time in my front lawn. I would hold that secret close to me until now.
It felt like I had awoken, but my mind was foggy and I was not in my front yard anymore. I was in the middle of Time Square. New York City. And if that wasn’t strange enough I had pajama tops and bottoms on. I guess they’d have been something Ozzie would have worn to bed back in the 50s show ‘Ozzie and Harriet’. It’s funny, but my attire was the first thing I noticed. Then Time Square, then the lack of people on the streets. When I say, “lack of people” I mean no one. Not a taxi, not a tourist, or a half-naked cowboy singing country songs. It was quiet. Then a door opened high above my head. High above the buildings. It was the sound of an enormous mechanized door. As it opened, the abundant white light flooded the ground. Something was descending from the light. I couldn’t make it out at first. The closer it got the more it began to resemble a formation of soldiers. But as they reached the ground they weren’t dressed in BDU’s but rather in a variety of business suits. Men and women in business attire. I was flabbergasted. And I found myself at a loss for words. I couldn’t utter a single word. A single sound. I approached the formation but no one averted their eyes from ready front. I got closer and was about to grab one of them to gain their focus but I recoiled in horror. The woman I was approaching had no moth. I looked from a distance at all the others… all the same. Where their mouths should have been was just skin. I wanted to scream and then I realized…
The formation did not move, but I could hear in the distance more and more mechanized doors opening. I had a vision of this happening in every village, town and city across the world. It was if I was watching a TV screen inside of my head. The pressure began to grow.
I’m lying in a bed. No more Time Square. No more formations. It looks and feels like my room but something isn’t right. I can’t wiggle my toes. I can’t move my legs, my arms… I can barely blink. I’m frozen in my bed. I’m frozen by fear. Something is in my room! SomeTHING'S are in my room! Those lanky gray bodies! Aaaaahhhh! I want to scream at them! Those damn black eyes! They’re all knowing and all encompassing! I fear them more than the devil himself! One approaches my bed and leans in closer to me. Its face is nearly pressed against mine. The long, now bluish silver finger touches my forehead… Darkness…
So, that’s basically a dream I had the other night.
Story (dream) written by,
Joshua J. Niehues (9/15/2010)