This is a short story I wrote based on dreams I had in 2007. I’ve worked it over quite a few times, trying to achieve a sort of episodic account of events from a couple of points of view. All events are part of the same conflict. It’s violent, but hey – that’s dreams for you.
First there were days of bloodshed, the sun ever rising and setting on carnage and sacrifice. And with all the Good having given themselves to a purpose, then began the days of death where reason had abandoned mankind and all that was left was an unhindered thanatos. I lived and died in those days, as many times as the sun reached its lagging zenith.
They came with guns and restraints, without any warning. We were to clear out immediately. Hand on our heads. They wore suits and uniforms and guns large enough to need straps. We were taken to an airfield in trucks and put on our knees on the runway. And then we were shot in the face.
“We’ll go in here, here, and here, but we’ll have to be silent. On the mark we’ll start in – take down anyone you see. Guards, soldiers, secretaries, anyone. They want some of us alive, I think. They took Jere off in a truck.”
“That’s because his parents work at…”
“His parents are dead. Jeremy was took alive because he was took alive. But that don’t matter – we want them all dead, got it? Anyone you leave alive is going to kill one of us, so don’t let it happen.”
We never really figured out who they were or what they wanted or what we’d done. It was never really clear who we were either. It wasn’t about anything really except getting them before they got us. And they had the advantage of the initial strike. It had been a massacre. We were pretty sure we weren’t going to let that happen again with us, like it had on that runway. Whatever they wanted from us, we weren’t going to give them. And whatever they took from us, we were going to take it back.
And so we went in through the loading dock, the side door and the roof and killed as many of them as we could. And in the first ten minutes, it was a lot. Doctors, nurses, patients. We killed them where they stood. Our dark clothing of brown and green and grime stood out in the stark hospital halls of mint and taupe and sky blue. Our energy surging into the corridors, pushing out the sick, calm air. Some of us sacked supplies. Then the soldiers began to flood in. There were many of us, but they were many more. And all of them big and trained. They killed some of us with the butts of their guns. I got shot in the leg twice and ducked into a closet. They didn’t hit the bone. The soldier fired into the closet door. I came out and thrust a broom handle through his eye socket.
The bull crashed through the wall of my bathroom from the firelight outside. The thrashing corpse demolished the sink, the toilet and killed my cat before it died in a bloody mountain in the doorway. It was black and glistening with ichor and blood. It already stunk. And as I turned down to look at the agents on the pavement of the driveway, dark-suited men with pistols in their hands shot at me. I heard orders to go inside and fetch me. I climbed over the bull, and with a running leap over the rubble, I opened fire with my brother’s national guard issue rifle. I must have surprised them, because I got off five rounds before they started firing back. They had another bull down there, raging, wrecking havoc in the parking lot of the hospital. Trucks worked to corral it, soldiers fired into it, but it raged on as if only anger fueled it, not even flinching at the barrage of bullets into its side, its face, its chest. For a moment, he and I ran on the same fuel, both beasts unhindered.
I was nine years old, and dark-skinned. A boy made feral by blood. I trotted up the wide bright staircase. They opened fire, hitting me in the chest, the gut, the legs and arms. I crumpled to the ground and held myself as they continued to fire into my child’s body. I forced myself to look as dead as I wished I was, like the big boys told me, lying there on the cold linoleum.
“If they knows you’re dead,” they said, “they won’ be waste they’s bullets.”
The sun beat down on my top, my blood spread beneath me like a sanguine rug. A few more rounds and then, it stopped. And after the ringing in my ears faded I could hear them chatting about the siege last night on the dormitories. Their steps came towards me, halting above my head. I tried not to breathe, not to move. I tried to die right there as I lie. A noise that sounded as loud as a point blank explosion made me flinch and cover my head. An empty magazine fell onto me. I heard another one snap home. I didn’t hear the last shot go off.
It wouldn’t be budged, the beastly bullet in my shin. In the light of a ruined sun, I worked to dig it out with my knife. The dusty porch. Between my thumbnails, I dislodged the pustule cap and scab that had formed. I squeezed around it like a pimple and from the hole came a worm of red paste and flesh. I squeezed harder and wiped it on my sleeve. The bullet had not moved. I worked into the infection, the pain telling me I was only getting closer. The hole in my leg had grown from the size of a penny to a half dollar, a gaping bloody crater. My muscles surprised me, looking like ground beef, my bone as white as my teeth and as clean.
I took her dark, clean face in my hands.
“It won’t matter,” I giggled, “if you go along quietly.” She giggled back and we touched foreheads.
“They’ll just tie you up and shoot you in the face,” I laughed. “Just like they did Jere.”
“But why?” she said, still laughing.[/tab]
“It’s their modus operandi,” I told her, laughing more, Angels, the two of us, always laughing.
“That’s what they do, and they’ll do it to you.” I gave her the handgun. “So that’s why we have to do it to them.”
There was no more laughing. It was the end of those days.]
Being taken alive was a misnomer considering they’d kill you anyway. They wouldn’t shoot you in the face. They’d pen you up in the bottom of an empty swimming pool with one of their bulls. And if you somehow survived that, they’d shoot you in the face.
The south dormitory was ablaze with light and videogames and TV screens. The upper floors were lit like Christmas behind the blacked out, boarded up windows. The patrols outside would radio in if they saw a light seeping from a crack somewhere, if even a note of music found their ears where they crept about in the landscaping. All of the other dormitories were dark because of a series of massacres and failed sieges. But tonight was a night to celebrate. The raid on the hospital had been a success. We murdered scores of the assholes in their beds, and others as they stood on their feet. Fat men at their desks in their glass offices. And we broke many important things and as we made our retreat we set fire to the place. I laughed from room to room, taking heads in my hands and kissing them on the forehead. For Nate, I took his lips. All the weapons were unloaded, except for the guards on the roof with a full arsenal. With our unloaded pieces we mimicked the raid and paraded in hats mocking the soldiers who hunted us, and ‘shot’ ourselves in the face.
There was Hall Ball, and we slung the little rubber ball back and forth until it ricocheted down the stairwell into the dark, abandoned lower floors.
I trotted down to get it, creeping along in the dark.. From under one door at the far end of a hallway was a faint red glimmer that pulsed and danced as if made from a computer monitor, or diodes on a radar screen. Because that’s what it was. From the top of the door was a microphone taped to the ceiling, listening in on the party above. I stopped breathing and moved like a cat, putting my ear to the door. A sound of little engines turning, fans blowing into a CPU. And a crinkle of a burger wrapper. There was a man inside, balding in a sweaty white shirt and tie. He was spying on us. A leak. An infiltration sending the murderers intelligence on a stronghold in the dormitories. He would know if he’d been paying any attention that we’d been the ones to raid the hospital. And if he was worth anything, they’d already know too. I opened my mouth to yell, to sound the alarm, but the room patrol had already lit the alarms and the frantic static of the ground patrols filled the hallways. I could hear helicopters. And, at that moment, the door opened and out came the spy. He didn’t even see me there in the dark when I put his lights out.
I rolled him over and stomped the life out of his face. I went inside and tore the wires out of everything and took up the man’s rifle above the door. Upstairs glass was breaking and wood was splintering. And now, gunfire.