I’ve had nightmares before. I mean, who doesn’t? I still have those infrequently, but I had taught myself to deal with whatever scenario my mind come up with logically. Having a gun usually solves half the problems a typical nightmare would present… and if that doesn’t work, bring more guns, or some kind of monster hunting weapon, or bring more friends and allies.
Maybe my brain loves challenges. I manage to come up with a dream that gets more horrible the more I think about it, long after I’m fully awake and the imagery of the dream reduced to a fictional scenario.
As far as I can remember, the dream began as something else – not worth mentioning because they’re mostly irrelevant and also for personal reasons. At any rate, it was daybreak. I was riding back home on a motorcycle from a concert that I attended, and went over a small hill into a slightly foggy area. Traffic had ground to a halt to my left all this time, and soon as I rode over the hill a macabre scene unfolded: a man, perhaps another motorcyclist, impaled himself on a pole of some sort and blood was everywhere. A few people had gotten out of their vehicles but nobody did anything about the man… I got off my bike, thinking that saving or doing something about this man might at least give me enough good karma to cover something unsavory I had done earlier in the night. I scanned quickly for someone who might have called the cops already. One person had his car door open on the passenger’s side, but he seemed to have passed out and his face was sickly purple. Another man covered his face and stood next to his car. I waved at that man and approached him.
“Did you call the cops, or…” I asked as I pulled out my cell phone.
“You had best get out of here”, he replied, “there’s a chemical leak I think yesterday, and I’m not sure what it’s doing to me, or anyone else around here. I’m feeling pretty sick right now…”
Instinct kicked in and I stopped bothering to listen to the rest of that conversation. I pulled my bike around, crossed the lanes to reach the other side, and drove off from the from the area as quickly as possible. And that’s when I woke up.
After I woke up, there’s a few things that I can deduce from what I’ve seen:
– That was no morning fog, that must have been the chemical that was leaked thick enough to be visible to the eye.
– If the chemicals had started leaking yesterday, either it didn’t spread fast enough to cover my house the day before or I had also ingested a full day’s worth of the chemicals, for better or worse.
– Judging from the people who looked unnaturally sick, I would say that at best the chemical would make you very sick and at worst kill you, then turn you into a zombie…
Could it be Solanum? But that particular virus can’t be transmitted airborne, so the concentration must have been either ridiculously huge or it was another kind of virus altogether.
Either way, the first thing to consider is the most logical destination I would have headed for. I know how to get to my grandfather’s home which is a few more blocks away, but if the fog reached over that area also I’ll probably have to try and get to Irvine, where I can find refuge with my brother or my friends.
I would next try to contact my parents, but that’s when I realized the true horror of the nightmare. Let’s not mention that in an emergency like this the phones are all likely jammed with signals (damn AT&T) – even if I can get a call through to my parents, what am I going to tell them? That they should get out of the house as soon as possible when I know the roads are already a congested death trap? Should I tell them to walk out of the area and ingest chemicals all the way? Should I tell them to follow the instructions of the authorities, which is likely to be “stay home and barricade your house and wait for help to arrive”, when I know that it’ll be far too late when the authorities arrive? Should I give them a Hollywood farewell, about how fortunately it is that at least the next generation lives on, when I’m fully aware that I had contacted a small amount of chemicals myself and am likely a carrier of the virus?
Without knowing the true nature of the chemicals, I wouldn’t know the first thing about how to deal with myself either. Should I stay at a place of people I know if there’s a chance that whatever I carry is infectious? Should I tell anyone about it, or head to a hospital, which is about to get overrun soon if it is indeed a zombie virus? Then again, if it is a zombie virus then it would have been best that I had to a place like the hospital, where I can be wiped with the rest of the zombie gang as opposed to beginning a new outbreak starting with my family or friends. Would I really have the bravery to walk off to certain death, though, if I’m not sure if what I contacted would have an enough dosage to infect me in the first place?
I can only imagine the international response to such a disaster. A chemical that is too sophisticated to develop or manufacture anywhere but in first world countries could only mean that the US had been developing secret chemical weapons all this time. Any talk of disarmament would instantly melt down. Any sympathies toward America would soon disappear. If the world effectively barricades the United States, a good chunk of the country would soon cease to operate. Besides losing all sources of imported oil, basic supplies such as grain and corn would suddenly become strained. The spirit of globalization would soon turn into an atmosphere of fear and distrust. If society doesn’t break down from the outbreak, the entire world would start to shift and become something entirely unfamiliar. In the rare chance that the chemical doesn’t kill me, I would probably be unable to find suitable employment for a long, long time.
The feeling of helplessness is perhaps what cinched the scenario for me – helpless to save my parents, helpless to save myself, and should I become infected and die, helpless to save whoever I’ve reached for shelter and safety. It is the kind of horror that can’t be brought down with a gun or a stakethrower; all you can do is to sit and wait for the worst.