I walked back to the park as soon as I woke up the day after I left this book there. I couldn’t bear anyone reading it and figuring out who I am. I really was, and maybe still am, sure I’m insane for thinking any of my dreams could be real. I was worried someone who knows me would come across it and have me committed. I thought maybe they should.
Before I awoke I was dreaming of the city again. I could see a vacant street with abandoned cars along its length. Broken glass lay in front of gaping store windows. The stores were dishevelled and picked over for anything useful. The scent of sewage burst into my attention erratically, choking me and then letting me inhale some of the less offencive air a wind provided.
I saw two figures, a man and a woman, walking down the center of the street. They were cleaner than most of the inhabitants of the city had been for months. Worn, but recently washed jackets and jeans kept the cold air from ripping into the two bodies. The way they carried themselves said far more than anything else, though. They seemed confident, but did not have the violent confidence the city’s gangs had. It was a gentle posture that I had not seen in these dreams. An aura of compassion seemed to radiate from them, and I was spellbound by these people who were in complete contrast with the dead city.
I came to realize I was watching the street from the third story window of a building on this street. I could see the two nearing an alley across from me. I saw movement in the alley and was stunned to see someone crouching there in the dark.
It looked a lot like a man, but he was coated in dust and grime. I saw orange as he lowered his head and his hair became visible. I swear it was rusted barbwire. It was jagged, brittle yet fluid and tangled down his back. As he shifted, the dust moved over him and I could see flakes of rust coated his muscular body and had been hidden underneath the filth. He coiled on the trash and ripped garage bags, raised his head and looked to the street with fiery eyes.
The couple stepped in front of the opening to the alley, unaware of the man waiting there. A sick screech ripped through the air, as did the rusted man. He leaped at the man in the couple and raked his hands across the man as he turned. The man fell backwards to the ground, with long lines across his chest leaking blood. Dust fell from the rusted man onto the fresh wounds, and the fallen man had to be in excruciating pain.
The rusted man looked to the woman and let out a low growl. He swung at her with his huge, orange and grey left arm, but she spun low out of the way. Her back was against the wall when the rusted man lunged again. She dashed into the alley and brick chips flew as claws raked down a building instead of flesh. The woman was trapped in the alley, with the large rust man blocking her way out. He charged at her, running low with his forearm aimed to pin her to the wall.
I don’t know how she managed it, but she raised her body high with her arms braced on the walls. As the rusted man reached her, she placed a foot on his shoulder, kicked of it and leaped to the ground beyond him. She tried to make it to the open street, but an arm crashed back into her with amazing speed. She collided with the brick wall and was hit by the full force of the rust man. The sound alone made my bones ache. She dropped to the ground and lay in a twisted, unnatural looking heap.
I saw the long orange hair-wire and the back of the attacker as he knelt down and seemed to be biting, tearing at her lower leg. I watched with only the barest hope as her companion rose to his feet. His pain filled the air around him, but not as much as the fury that burst forth when he saw the woman fallen and being torn at. He picked up a piece that was half buried in the refuse-covered alley and held it with a white-knuckled grip. He walked forward and brought the end of the wood into the back of the rust man’s head.
The board slipped from the man’s hands and fell to the floor while the rust man fell onto the woman. Scattering pieces of rust and a film of dust onto her. Having lost the board, the man slumped against the wall, his blood collecting beneath his feet.
The rust man rose from where he had fallen and glared. I noticed that a fire escape ladder was now gripped by the bleeding man just before the rust man began moving toward him. Even with the dripping wound, the man somehow swung himself on the ladder rung and brought his knee to the head of the rust man. The rusted man stumbled backwards, but otherwise seemed unfazed by the blow. He swatted his arm, sending the other man and a stream of blood toward the street.
The battered man landed in a pile of trash, breaking a broom stick in two. The rusted man approached slowly, scowling with a mouth lined with glass shards. He extended one arm toward the throat of the prone man, its jagged nails creeping closer to the jugular and death.
I seemed to be viewing the scene in slow motion. A desperate scream rippled through the air, filling me with deep dread. The man forced his arm up and I saw that it clutched a end of the broom stick. It inched toward the rust man’s face, sinking into the orange eyes. A thick red splattered out from the eye as the stick sunk deep and the rusted man dropped to the ground.
I watched as the bleeding man crawled to his partner, leaving a red trail behind him. He found her hand with his own and collapsed into the rubble.
The dreams had never been that bizarre. How could I not believe I was insane after seeing that rust man? I knew it was real. I just could not shake that sense that it was going to happen just as it had in my dream. I was helpless, so I pulled on some clothes and ran all the way to the park, trying to get away from the feeling I had in my room.
I took the book from under the bench I had left it under and held it in my hands as I cried over it while the sun rose. I could still see the blood and each blow repeating over and over in my mind. I sat there for over an hour, practically comatose.
Eventually, I collected myself and walked on to work. I hid the book under the counter and tried to keep my composure throughout the day. I didn’t do very well at that, as I had to excuse myself from customers several times and hid out in the back room. I ended up leaving the book under the counter for the following week.
In the following nights I returned to more typical dreams. I was in the dead city, but the rust man and those two people who had spellbound me did not reappear. I was thankful not to see that violence again, but to know those two people who had radiated goodness were dead hurt me more than it seems it should.
I brought the book home on Monday and let it sit on the floor by my bed until tonight. I decided to read what I had written for no reason I can come up with. It was then that I noticed what you had written, Tainn.
It has given me comfort and hope to know that I might be able to stop these dreams, and that I’m not alone. Can you help me stop them? Can you tell me what I need to do? Can wee meet to talk about the dreams? Please. I know we don’t know each other, but I need to talk to someone who might understand some of this. I’ll leave the book under the bench again tomorrow night. I pray you’ll find it and reply.
A hopeful sunset soul,