January 21st, 2015

It was dark and dusky, as I hid between the old bureaus and bed frames, wooden and covered in dust.  The light streamed weakly in through the lace curtains, swaying in the faint breeze.  Tattered with age.

They were coming for me.  I was among the few remaining inhabitants, and a threat to their system.  I was an anomaly and outsider, and it set a sour taste upon their tongues- the knowledge of my existence. I knew I had little time, so my mind danced and raced over all that I knew.  All I could do.  What should I keep? Should I even bother wasting my time mulling over objects, or simply run with my life?  No, they feared me with reason, did they not? I crept over the rickety floorboards, attempting to make as little sound as I could, towards the little glass jar I had always kept near.  It rested low on a shelf in the corner of the room, the thick glass coated with a beautifully cut tin filigree pattern, and an intricate lid tightly fixed atop of it.  The glass was milky and old, with a coppered hue from the aged metal around it.  But you could still see the yellow faintly through to the inside.  That beautiful flutter of golden sun. If anything was worth keeping; worth risking what little time I had left before they arrived, it was this.

 

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sub/consciousness

So this being my last semester on campus (at least as an undergrad, who knows), I’m taking quite a number of classes, finishing up my credits to graduate.
I had two extra credits to fill (since this school likes to be ridiculous and take as much of the money I don’t have as it possibly can, and therefore wouldn’t let me transfer in a couple of courses) so I’m doing a directed study, as they call it, with an awesome professor.
It’s a project-based DS, because I want to make something tangible of my work.  Something that I’d actually be willing to spend my time, energy, and (lack of- ha!) funds on.  Something I won’t regret afterwards, and perhaps will even LIKE.

This is something I’d been thinking of and working on for a while.
It’s a book.
But not one long narrative, as I have always played around with (and have yet to pass the 36-microsoft-word-page threshold on)- it’s a compilation of shorter pieces, paired with my own photography.
I’d decided to use my dreams as narratives for this work, since I have so many dreams and enjoy writing them down.  The thing is, a lot of my dreams are difficult to put into words, and so I fear I may not have enough of these stories that are purely from my sleeping mind.
This has driven me, as of late, to think about the validity of including other works into this book.
All of my short stories are from my wandering mind, usually rooted in a dream or seven I’d experienced recent to their being written.  I’ve never been one to simply sit and plot and plan out characters and situations- they’re generally ideas that emerge from the back of my mind, that come waltzing into my consciousness at their own leisure.

Does this, then, entitle them a place in my book of dreams?

No, seriously- tell me.

canis lupus

So last night I had another of my (incredibly numerous) odd/ridiculously detailed dreams.
Have you ever tried to write out your dreams? It’s actually really difficult to put them properly into words (or at least, it is for me!).

Something is happening.
I am running.
I don’t know what led up to this.

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night number 3

So.. this is the third night in a row that I’ve had a dream like this. A kill or be killed dream.
The first two weren’t organized the same, but I still feel like this was related. Some kind of continuation…

But this time, I was part of an army- all pretty young like me.
We traveled through really dense fog or mist of some sort that had horrible visibility, in a giant group.
Our leader was named “Hero”.
And we had a collection of little dolls that represented real people. They would be brought as “spectators”- representing our loved ones and innocents back home.
And if something happened to the doll- it happened to the person.. So it was in no way a good thing. It was cause for anxiety.
We would march to a location where we suspected the enemy.
Then we would line up- out soldiers split in half, each half facing the other like a sickening mirror. Then the lasers would touch you; a small iridescent beam hitting your chest- it’s color giving orders. Green was safe- you were to stand back and watch things unfold. Usually on the ship (which was black and rusty and cloaked so as not to be seen). Red was active- you were part of the attack/defense on this particular wave. Purple was special- you would be given individual orders for your current mission. Generally something like a sniper or enemy infiltration.
And you did as your color indicated. I don’t know yet what the repercussions for failure to comply are, but they’re obviously not good if I didn’t notice anyone ignoring their orders.
I had dolls for some of my family members in Japan. Luckily I had an officer as a friend who would watch over them for me. When I had that sickly feeling that we weren’t alone he gave them to me and I raced backwards, down the old stone stairs, to my host mother Emi, who was not a fighter but for some reason made to join us on this damned pilgrimage.
I headed back, fighting off the first wave from a distance. Not doing too much for I was not purple.

After the first wave we regrouped, facing each other, and I did not receive a color.  Panic settled over me. I asked those around me and they looked sympathetic, saying they hadnt seen anything on me either.

Then the next wave hit and I moved impulsively.
Like I had received orders my conscious self hadn’t been aware of.
I was purple. But not a simple assignment had been forced upon me. I was no mere  sniper.
I bolted.
I ran full-force towards the attack.
I spotted a particular target, incredibly muscular with a wild look in his eyes and a demonic demeanor. He was way too confident and had eyes such a bright aqua-blue color that they seemed to be lit from behind.
I followed him around the corner of a black metal monstrosity (the form and use of the building I could not tell) and saw him take down a purple before I got there. He held his victim in his inhumanly strong arms, putting his mouth to a particular spot on his neck, and breathing in- as if pulling the vein to the surface of the skin with a vacuum until the man fell limp. I assumed the carotid artery had burst with the pressure.
I barreled into him, with an insane lack of fear. We tumbled around for a bit, and I was shocked to realize he wore no armor. He held me as he did his last victim, and I made sure he couldn’t reach my neck. In fact I went after his. Before his grip ensnared me too tightly, I wrapped me legs around him to gain some leverage.  I searched for the same approximate place on his neck and I bit, and I bit hard. I could notice the shock register in his muscles. But damn it, what was this guy made of? He was crushing some other pressure point of mine as I bit down, fighting the blackness of unconsciousness while trying to send him into that dark place first.
And finally I felt my teeth pierce through, and he started to go limp, but kept on attacking me- so I didn’t stop there. I bit down with all the force I could muster as his grip slowly weakened, but those eyes. Thy never changed. They were simply disturbing.
I stared into them, biting, until they finally shut.
I grabbed him by one of his ridiculously thick arms. Holy shit- did I seriously knock him out? I was suddenly panicking that he’d wake up as I moved him, and that I wouldn’t be able to fend him off a second time.
I quickly dragged him out into the fray, which was unsettlingly empty. I searched for the ship to drag him to, which was confusing since I COULDN’T SEE IT. I was waved over by a slightly aged gentleman, obviously a higher ranked officer, so I headed to him as my deadweight luggage fitfully began his return to consciousness.
When I was close other men appeared to take him off my hands; I had reached the ship. But those uniforms- the hell? They weren’t of our military’s.
Damn it.
This was an enemy ship.
I was so confused- what the hell was going on? Why were they doing this? I was obviously not one of their own.
The man who had flagged me down gave me a warm drink and a towel. We watched as my captive was detained in a glass cylinder.
Inhuman indeed.
Apparently this army had been using experimental procedures on select soldiers, enhancing their capabilities with the risk of serious side effects. Only those deemed the most fit, stable, and worthy contenders were chosen to be lab rats.
And were immediately  released into the field.
This one I had brought back was not selected for these qualities. He was a hotheaded scrawny soldier with an ego unfit for his weak body. Why had he been allowed to change?
It hadn’t gone well. When he was injected the aqua color came to his eyes and shone through his veins. His spindly left arm had torn itself completely off just above the elbow, but when medical assistants stepped closer to intervene, the word “no” could be heard amidst his screaming. His body contorted and his muscles spasmed, the “whites” of his eyes bulged and glowed that sick aqua color as they rolled to the back of his head. His skin took on a grossly blue hue and thickened like rubber. His arm snaked around and contorted, obviously the most painful part of this stage, as his bones cracked and jutted forth; a new arm grew into place.
This was how he went out.
This was the monster I had somehow managed to take down.
And for some reason was being helped by his creators?
Some secret faction of the enemy’s side that wasn’t exactly.. Enemy.
The man brought me further back in the ship and asked if I had a way of contacting my officers. I mentioned the military sanctioned phone I carried and pulled it out of a pocket in my uniform. It was a small black flip phone that glowed red. I opened it and chose the contact “Hero”. My benefactor guided me to a small restroom behind the office, telling me to be quiet and keep an eye on the lock.
I entered, locked, and dialed. Standing against the dark wall, facing the door I had come through.
The ringing stopped but I heard no voice. I spoke quietly into the device telling of my placement on an enemy ship. I did not want to be reported dead.. Also I wanted to get the hell out.
A girl knocked on the door and I asked for a minute. She was polite and walked away.
I redialed and while leaving my second message, a second girl came around. This one not so polite. She asked “are you talking to someone?” And wouldn’t just let me be. She ended up sneaking something Into the lock, drawing a piece of the mechanics back until it opened, and barged her way in. She was a tall blonde girl with a long ponytail. Obviously an officers daughter as she was too clean for fighting and too self absorbed to be treated less than daddy’s little princess.
She crossed her arms and challenged my words, but somehow I got her to drop the suspicion and she led me back to her place like a stray dog.  A new toy to play with.
We crossed borders to a new ship; a civilian ship. She led me to her home, a bright Victorian with wide staircases, lively paint and warm blankets  tossed over homey couches.
She led me up a staircase to her room, obviously hungry for a friend her own age. Surprisingly nonchalant. She didnt care that I was in fatigues ripped and covered in mud and blood. Luckily so much so that you couldn’t tell that they were distributed by another military.
Her family was packing that night to go on a vacation. She wanted to go to the gym and since I said I needed to get back to that other ship soon she said she’d take me to see the “institutional” gym on the way since it was located on that ship.

cement city

I was in Boston, but not Boston as we know it.  I was in an apartment that my boyfriend Adam was living in.  He had moved into it after starting his new job; it was his “work buddy”’s apartment.  I had come to the building to see it for the first time.  It was dark, and there were random odds and ends everywhere- undoubtedly his room-mate’s.  And then I met her.  A pretty, skinny blonde.   She introduced herself but I forgot the name- I was mortified.  I had been trying to get Adam to get an apartment with me for years, and now he’s living with some other girl? What the hell? I was so mad.  He was oblivious like an idiot, and didn’t even seem to understand the scowl on my face when we were alone in one of the apartment’s dim rooms.

“What?” he asked, which just made me all the more mad.

“You’re living with another girl?” My gosh. Furious.

“What? She has a boyfriend.” This is just too much.

“I don’t care if she has a boyfriend! You’re living with another woman! What the hell Adam? “ I took a deep breath to try and calm myself.  It didn’t work, “I’ve been trying to get you to move into an apartment with me for years.  You won’t live with me but you’ll live with her?!”

“What? It’s a big space- her boyfriend stays over all the time, depending on what hospital he’ll be working out of”.   Apparently her boyfriend was a doctor, moving between Tufts and Mass General.  He had his own place but stayed over frequently.  He stayed in his girlfriend’s room though, leaving one free of an occupant.

“What if I live here?  She has a spare room, and I can pay rent” I offered… Somewhat defiantly.  Arms crossed.

Speak of the devil, “Mmm. no” she said, passing through the room, a “sweet” little smile on her annoyingly pretty mug, “I like having an extra room for my stuff”.  That’s loosely translated to squirm, bitch, squirm.

Her boyfriend came out of the spare room and introduced himself to me. Mark, he said was his name.  He was a pleasant, tall man with grey eyes and light blonde hair that moved as he shook his head.  So for right now he’s the only person in this place that I’m not angry with.  He politely finished his chat with me and headed to the bathroom to shower before rounds.

“I’m taking a walk” I stated, walking stiffly to the door, closing it a little harder than necessary once I was in the hall.  All around me was concrete.  The hall was cramped and cold, clammy even.  There were spiral stairwells made only of metal rods winding to the other floors.  I followed a man that looked around my age down the small stairwell at the end of the hall (only about 10 feet from the door I just came out of.  I wasn’t kidding about it being cramped).  I followed the spiral down seven floors to the building’s exit.  The last of the steps opening up into a wide tunnel, also cement, but circular- as if I had just walked into a giant drainage pipe.  Which I probably had.  The city had come to “recycle” these sorts of things during construction.  The result was pretty dingy in my opinion.  It made me feel like a street rat, all this living in cement blocks and walking through pipes and tunnels.

The tunnel stretched out to either side of me.  Left or right, I had forgotten from which way I had come.  I decided on left, and passed a small convenience store built into the wall on my left.  It didn’t look like a very welcoming place, so I kept walking.  On my right stood two older men, one African-American with a graying beard, and a white man with a navy beanie on his head.  They leaned against the far wall.  The bearded man had a cigar between his teeth, and they both eyed me wearily for a couple of seconds before returning to their slow conversation.  Their presence didn’t exactly comfort me either, so I continued a bit more hurriedly down the tunnel.

Ahead on my left was an old basketball court, cut out of the left of the tunnel.  It was still completely closed off to the outside world, as if a cement box had been fused to the side of the tunnel, and the portion of wall between the two had been cut out.  A group of young men paused their game to watch as I walked by.  The boy with the ball had his hoodie pulled up over his head, keeping the ball bouncing slowly as the group’s attention focused elsewhere.

I fought the urge to speed up, looking straight ahead and trying my hardest not to look like I was nervous walking past.  Just ahead was a pair of deep green doors, the only windows being small, barred, and higher than I could reach.  I passed through them, after a decent amount of effort to get them open.  They weren’t just large, they were thick too.  But just after entering I recognized it for what it was: a high school building.  So I slowly turned around and forced open those big old doors again.  This time, on my way back, I did hurry.  I didn’t care so much about what those men all thought as I passed them.  I was passing them again anyways, so they’d know I’d gotten myself lost taking a wrong turn somewhere.

When I got back to the stairwell I headed back up.  I was still angry and now embarrassed and a bit frightened, so I decided it best for me to just go somewhere I know…Not to mention that it had been planned (before I knew of this girl situation)  for me to stay the night.

When I got back I walked straight to the spare room without saying a word to anyone.  My backpack was leaning up against the yellow couch, and I curled up and pulled the flannel blanket over me.  And stared, straight ahead.  I didn’t want to talk.  I didn’t want to look at anyone in this place.  I wanted to be alone, and I wanted to calm down.

And that girl was seriously annoying.  The only real things in this room was the couch and a television..  Which she had out in the living room as well.  Why not add these to her room?  Or move them out somewhere?  Other than that the only things in the room were junk and clothes, scattered about, but not so many that they warranted their own space.

Mark came and sat on the edge of the couch, resting his hand on my blanketed leg.  Seriously, why is this guy being so friendly with me?  Does he not notice that I hate his girlfriend?  But whatever.  If Adam can live with another woman, I can be close on the couch with another man.  “ I’m sorry about this,” he said.  That surprised me a bit, “Hanna can be pretty cruel sometimes, but your boyfriend won’t cheat on you”.

I was still mad.  “There’s still no reason for him to be living here.  Especially when he would never get an apartment with me.  Saying that he wants to save money,” I said, still facing the television, not that I was watching it.  Mark was rubbing my leg now, trying to comfort me.  Is this what it’s like to have an older brother?  I mean, usually, you’d think this picture would have some kind of sexual tension- beautiful blonde man comforting the small-statured eternally “cute” girl on the couch in a dim apartment.  But it didn’t- so perhaps it was more familial?

He leaned towards me, hovering, as if to make sure that I pay attention to his following words, “Sometimes we just aren’t aware of the reasons” he said, holding my gaze.  I didn’t want to hear it.  What reasons could he possibly have? And why wouldn’t he have given them to me when I asked?  Instead of saying that it was a big space.  What the heck.

drafted

This was the dream that I had last night.

The time was now (I was still a 20 year old college student), but our country was in a heightened state of war.  The draft was being used again, and I was drafted.  We were in such a war that it became necessary to even draft women, although still in fewer numbers than the men.

My family was really upset when I was drafted, and it didn’t really hit me until I had landed in my first battle.  My sisters tried to take my place, but the government’s choice was final, and there was nothing they could do.  My family had always been protective of me, because I am small and meek.
I do not quite remember my first battle; only that it was awful, and truly disheartening.  While our country seems to always win its wars, this one was taking out our soldiers with a fervor rarely witnessed by men.   When my platoon was loaded up into our train, I took out one of the photographs I kept in my pack.  This one of Witchaya and I before he had left for his study abroad in the summer to Japan.  I wished that I could call him and tell him everything, and assure him that I was safe for another day.  But these thoughts were overshadowed by doubt- the doubt that I would live through another battle.  The general expectancy from the time you land is two weeks.  Two weeks before you die and another is drafted to take your place.
I couldn’t even contact him if I tried- it was forbidden.  Our rails were hidden so that the enemy could not predict our movement.  Everything was on a need-to-know basis, and cellular phones would interfere with the cloaking devices if used within their range.  The enemy was always on the lookout for us, and any signal from electronics not rationed by the military would be traced.
My friend, Kaden Mylle, from training came over to sit with me as we moved to our next undisclosed location.  I tried to look out the window, but they were tinted so dark that the only thing you could detect was motion.  We were not to know where we were.  He sat with me most of the time, even though the other men missed his company.  He was my age, but unlike me, he looked it.  He was tall and broad-shouldered, with brown eyes and light brown hair.  Like the other men, he had stubble shadowing his face.  He pulled out a picture of his own, of a girl back home that he’d been going to school with.  Arielle Woodrich.  He’d had a crush on her since freshman year, but had never gotten up the courage to say it.

We sat there, both looking at our loved ones’ faces.  We had long ago (about two months- in our situation, that was a long time to know someone) told each other our stories.  We were lucky to have been grouped together after training- it was our only source of comfort.  Of normalcy.  We were war-siblings.  Every time we loaded up, we sought out each other, a wave of relief washing over us as we realized that we were not among those who were missing from our ranks.

We landed in a small city.  If you asked me where, I would not be able to tell you.  It was dusty and just about deserted, which was not exactly rare these days.  The war had caused evacuations all over the world.
Our latest barracks were in a square building, four stories high.  It looked vacant from outside, which was good for us.  Even though we had come in the middle of the night, we were still wary of being seen.  As military operatives, we were never out of danger.  We were always being hunted.

Although from the outside the building looked run down, caked with mud on the lower levels and spattered with dust, the inside was completely white.  The walls were cement, painted with a thick white paint, and the floors were a shiny white linoleum.  There were no windows leading to the outside.  The walls were doubled, so within the walls you see from the outside, silent with windows like dead eyes, were the walls we saw as we walked to our rooms.

I bunked with the Chinese girl, Lao, who usually sits in front of us on the train.  I did not know her first name.  She was quiet, which suited me just fine.  I did not need to talk.

I stripped off my jacket and boots, leaving me in my undershirt and pants.  I put my boots under the bed and rested the jacket over the rail at the foot of it.  As I lay down on my bed, with my pack between my body and the wall, I heard Kaden laughing in the next room over.  Somehow the guys always seemed to find ways to entertain themselves.  Laughing as if they were not in their current situation.  He came in to check on me, which I appreciated.  He had his towel slung over his shoulder.  I hopped off my bed and grabbed my own towel from the small table at the end of the room, between Lao’s bed and my own.  He waited for me at the door as I took off my socks, placing them with my jacket.
We’d gotten in the habit of sticking together.  It wasn’t uncommon- many soldiers paired up.  It was kind of like when we were six and we used the buddy system to swim in the lake.
We walked through the corridors, Kaden slightly leading, until we ended up in the shower room on our floor.  I’d gotten over the whole shock of seeing naked men back in training.  The room was large, with both public and semi-private showers, and men were filtering in and out.  Kaden lead me over to the last stall-shower along the wall, which was gladly left open.  The men were always considerate enough to leave at least a couple open for the women to use.
I stepped into the stall and Kaden stepped forward just to the side of it, where one of the big public showers began.  It was just the same as the row of cubicle-style showers, just without the walls between them or the curtain behind.  I pulled the curtain shut behind me and stripped down, wrapping myself in my towel so I could bring my clothes out to a bench just outside the stall.  I folded my clothes and placed them next to Kaden’s.  When I returned to my stall I took off my towel and hung it over the sidewall, where Kaden had hung his as well.
Kaden and I talk as we shower, although my voice has to be raised closer to a yell, since I’m shorter than most and my head doesn’t reach up over the wall.  The showerhead beats down over the top of me, so my voice tends to get drowned out.  Another soldier, Davis, gets in next to Kaden and we both say hi.  He knows who I am without seeing me, and says “hey LaMier”.

After we shower we both head back to our rooms in our towels.  Lao is already in her v-neck and sleep shorts, and I close the door and change into the same.  I put my towel over my head and rub it for a bit.  That’s about all I ever do to my hair, since it had to be cut pretty short when I arrived for training a couple months ago.  Luckily, not as short as the men’s hair, we still have between one and two inches.  A little “pixie” cut, they called it.

We stay in these barracks for three days.  On the third night, the men are busy playing some videogame they found.  The room at the end of the hall, a few doors down from Lao and my room, is where the console is, with a ring of men around it.  They took a little while to figure out how to use it, and have since gotten pretty enthused about the game.  None of us speak the language it uses, so the constant foreign voice in the room adds to their amusement.
I had little interest in the game, so I really just wandered between my room and Kaden’s.  He said that he’s glad the game wasn’t in his room, because the constant milling about of players and onlookers had created a bit of a mess.  Not that we’d be here much longer.  We were never “safe” for long.

Early the next morning, as in 2am, a group of the guys decided to go out “recycling”, which is just a pretty way to say looting.
Not that anyone would miss anything- it was deserted.
It was a rule among us, though, that if you were going to sneak out, you do it in the middle of the night, and in numbers, just in case it’s not as deserted as you expected it to be.  You could never be too careful.

The boys were about two blocks away from the barracks, looking through an old convenience store.  Kaden, being popular, had been recruited for the night, and he in turn had brought me along.  I didn’t really mind it; I would be killed soon enough, so why not partake in a small venture?  I just wished that we were better armed.

We all had our small, personal guns, as we were to have them on our person at all times.  Kaden and another man, Thompson, had larger guns, which we usually couldn’t get ahold of while in the barracks.

I kept with Kaden and Davis, and we were the lesser adventurous of the group.  The others had fanned out and were looking for anything entertaining.  We stayed in a center aisle, slightly crouched, in the shadows, with a view of the windows.  Most of the men had moved outside of the shop into the streets and to other buildings nearby.  There were still a few of us in the store when I heard it.  The first shot being fired.

Thompson gave his whistle and men shuffled outside.  We were to check the perimeter and take out any targets.  Hopefully it was just a rogue or two, and not an ambush.

We left the store and got into an alley.  One of the men found his way over to us and informed us that it was just a single shooter.  Then he asked Kaden to take care of it.  He was good at staying hidden, and had incredible aim.  He used to hunt with his father in Texas.

Kaden left me with Davis and the messenger, saying that he’ll meet me back at the barracks.  A couple minutes later we were clear to move out onto the streets.  We came out cautiously, guns at the ready.  The shooter was still there, about 250 meters down the road, his gun on the ground.  I didn’t know what he was doing.

A couple of our men were closer, about fifty meters from him.

And then he began to unzip his dirty, green canvas jacket.

Davis yelled, Thompson fired, and the man hit the button.

I screamed for Kaden.  He had been sneaking in close.  He had been somewhere in the shadows trying to get a good shot.
And then the fire was catching on the buildings on both sides of the street, and the crates to the side of the road.  Two of the men that were closer were limping, shrapnel impairing their movements.
Davis pushed me up from my knees and grabbed my arm, almost dragging me back to the barracks.  I was shocked.
When we got back, everyone was awake.  We all grabbed our packs, put on our jackets and boots, and loaded up.  The train was outside without us needing to even say anything.  It was a frenzy, a panic- yet somehow, perversely routine.  It all seemed so fast, so numb, like someone else was moving my body for me.  In no time at all we were back on a train with black-tinted windows, sitting silently in our seats.

I sat facing the window, as I always did, hoping to see something.  Something to focus my mind on.  Something to take me away from my current situation.  I pulled out the photo of Witchaya and I that I kept in my pack.  Then I reached in my jacket pocket and took out the photo of Arielle that Kaden had always kept in his.  Davis had brought his pack with him on the train, and given me the picture and Kaden’s extra set of tags.

I still felt numb, just sitting there, staring out the window.  Then I heard an all too familiar thud in the seat next to me.  For some reason I got excited and turned around.
It was Lao.
“Hi” she said, somewhat shyly, with her hands clasped together in her lap, “I’m Lao, Katie Lao”.

I nodded, and after a few seconds successfully forced my name out of my mouth.

She paused, as if unsure of what to say, and then said “I’m sorry”, nodding towards the pictures I held in my hands.

Katie and I sat together on that train for hours, days.

Then it was as if we were coming out from inside of a tunnel, as the windows of the train began to lighten and become transparent.  We could see outside.  It wasn’t the best view; the corners of the windows had a charred look to them, like a vignette on a photograph.  Probably warped by whatever mechanism had been used to blacken them.

For so long I had wanted to see outside, watch the trees pass by as we moved along.  But I immediately took back the thought.  I didn’t want to see.  I didn’t want to see the fire, the ashes, the blackened sky.  The helicopters being ripped from the air.  I’m sure that if the train carrying us wasn’t soundproof, I wouldn’t want to hear anything either.

I couldn’t even tell where the ground was- it must have been covered with ashes, blood, and smoke.   There were incredibly tall structures looming all about.  But they were all broken up into parts.  It took me a minute to realize that they were those giant storage containers, a hundred meters long each, as best as I could tell.  Big, rectangular, metal cargo stacked one atop the other, towering above the ground.  It seemed that we were crossing through a valley, like a giant flame-filled bowl of war and metal and ash.  You couldn’t even see the sky- it just faded from the charred ground to the fires licking up the containers, military vehicles, and upward slope, and sizzling into the blackness above.  It was a horrific scene that made my heart race.  If this was where they were dumping us next, then I am definitely not coming out alive.

I’m writing a story.

Not that I haven’t made the attempt before, but this time I would really like to make a small novel.
Not that I have the confidence that my writing is good enough to be published, but because I love to read and write, and I always have stories in my head.
My parents always told me to write down my dreams if I woke up remembering them. That’s usually where my ideas spawn.
Granted, my dreams are generally convoluted and therefore not something I would write about – but there are a small few that (are lucid and) keep my attention.