(Female, 40′s) I’ve been watching *Lost* on dvd so maybe that’s what brought on this dream about a group of zombie apocalypse survivors.
My partner and I were on a camping trip in a mountainous area. We had put up our tent and were making dinner when a group of armed people came into our camp. They started asking us questions like who we were and what we were doing there. When we answered them, they seemed relieved. They explained that now they knew that we were okay. Because we could talk, we weren’t zombies. Somehow my partner and I had missed the news reports that there was a zombie outbreak in this place. We weren’t safe in the woods, they said, so those people led us out of the mountains and back into town.
The town had a large university campus, and most of the survivors had moved to this area, we were told. Everything looked normal, but we were not to let that fool us. Danger was everywhere and especially after dark. Zombies were fast and clever but unable to talk.
My partner and I stayed at the university. We made a few friends and got to know the area. We went out to the bars with friends in the evening. I didn’t understand how life could appear to be going along normally if there was this zombie problem. Everything looked like it was working normally: the university had classes, the electricity was on, college students were playing frisbee and getting suntans.
My view of that relative ‘safety’ changed abruptly. My partner and I were walking home from the bar with four friends and a zombie appeared. We all ran as fast as we could. Someone fell down, and someone ran back to help him, hitting the zombie with a shovel. Then we all ran into a house and collapsed in the chairs and on the floor, gasping and trying to catch our breath. We looked at the friend who fell. “Are you alright?” someone asked him. He just nodded, out of breath. We should have been worried at that point, but we weren’t paying attention.
My partner and I went into the kitchen for a drink of water and so did two of the others, leaving the falling down guy and another guy alone in the living room. When we came back into the room, we realized our mistake. Both of them were silent, staring at us, hungry-looking.
We had been told that zombies couldn’t talk, but no one had told me they could communicate. As we watched, one guy’s head turned into a gray wavering smokey head sitting on his shoulders, and the other guy opened his mouth wide and inhaled this entire head, nodding like he understood. He exhaled the smoke, and the head materialized like normal. Then the second guy’s head turned into the same kind of gray wavering smoke, and the first breathed him in. This was how the zombies communicated. If we hadn’t been so utterly fascinated, we would have hauled our asses out of there, but we survivors just stood there watching.
When the zombies turned toward us and started to advance, we scrambled out of the house, pulling the door shut and holding it. “Hurry! Get the fire department!” the guys holding the door shut told me. The fire department would come and set the house on fire. That was a change, right? But it was the only way to deal with zombies.
(Male, 30′s) This was one of those classic nightmares, the kind everyone talks about having but it was so vivid, so real. It didn’t seem like a joke at the time. I was really on edge.
I was walking down a hallway very similar to the hallways at the place where I work but it was crowded. It felt like there were hundreds of people trying to go one way or the other in the hallway. People were desperate. It struck me as not very professional.
I finally got to the room where I was headed and I sat down. Then I realized it was a chemistry lab, a high school chemistry lab. I remembered that I had enrolled in a science class and that I guess I hadn’t attended in months. I recognized the room but I didn’t know anything about what was going on.
The teacher started off with a game. I sort of caught on and I thought, maybe, I could fake my way through the whole class period. Then the teacher handed out the test.
It was actually kind of cool. We each pulled a plastic figurine out of a large cardboard box and we had to describe its molecular structure… that is, pretending that it represented a molecule. The guy next to me had something that looked like a clear glass giraffe. Even I knew that was supposed to be CH4 – which is a “realization” that is simply hilarious in retrospect.
The thing I pulled out looked like a sea anenome with maybe a dozen long spikes pointing out of it, some of which had jointed articulations. Even the teacher seemed to think I’d selected a hard one. I was confused and I started to panic a bit. It got worse when I realized I hadn’t brought any paper or even a pen. I do all my work on a computer so it’s probably been a week or so since I’ve used paper as part of my job.
I looked up at the door. It seemed so far away. Just then two of my actual co-workers walked by. They looked in at me and just shook their heads in pity. These are two people who I admire and the way they looked at me was crushing. I found that part the most disturbing.
I looked around the room. I was wearing a suit and tie, a normal business suit and I was crouching on this chair that was too small, sitting in a room full of teenagers in jeans and greasy hair. Teenagers who also seemed to know more chemistry that I did. The teacher was collecting the tests. I still didn’t even have a paper to hand in. The creature I had selected was beautiful, intriguing but it wasn’t a chemical. I think it might have actually been alive. I held it in my hand even though I knew its long spines might prick me.
I woke up just as I was about to be found out as a fake.
“…I looked at the wallet of a soldier I had killed earlier in the day. I was an assassin! …”
(Male, 40′s) I tried to tell this nightmare to someone and they just laughed because it sounded too much like slapstick comedy. But it was scary when I was having the dream. I also woke up in the middle of the night and had to go to the bathroom but thought twice about it, y’know, because of the zombies.
I was driving a twenty year old station wagon that used to belong to my Mom. I was going to a rock concert that was being held in an abandoned factory but to get there, I had to cross a lane of freeway exit ramp traffic that was moving very quickly. I gave up on the concert.
And somehow I ended up at the junior high school where my dad used to teach. Both my mom and dad are dead. The place was trashed, probably because of the zombie apocalypse, now I think of it. There was a demonstration happening in my dad’s old classroom. There was someone showing, I think, how to make gasoline or something. Where most science experiments would involve tiny beakers of chemicals, this guy was using huge vats of chemicals that sputtered and splashed from one container to the other. He concluded quickly, saying “I hope you all paid attention because you’re all on your own now.” The zombies had found our location.
We all exited the classroom quickly. As I passed a display case that was smashed in, I took a large ceramic chicken award. It was pink and it weighed a ton. I thought it might be a good weapon. We continued to move through the dark school and we got ourselves trapped in a glassed in hallway. There were zombies trying to get in at either end and there was another batch of zombies outside the windows trying to get in. I had an idea so I got on the loudspeaker and somehow made it sound like we were all in the auditorium. And for whatever reason, the zombies all ignored us and started shuffling off toward the auditorium. I thought this would be our opportunity to pick them off, one by one. I tried to sneak up behind one of the zombies and bash its brain in with the large ceramic chicken. This task proved much more difficult than I expected. After about a half a dozen blows, the zombie was no closer to being neutralized and in fact, I’d started to attract the attention of other zombies. I decided to join the others but they were gone.
“…I see something small hanging on a chain in the opening, dark against the sky…”
(Male, 30′s) It is the end-of-the-day school assembly, a routine gathering of students in the gym bleachers. Here we chat and laugh and have the energy of a group of young people who’ve been told to be patient. We are gathered in self imposed groups; athletes, clowns, the ill-tempered. I’m well liked, others are turned toward me, wanting to talk, tell me a joke, listen to mine, or look at drawings I’ve made in the spiral notebook, where biology notes should be. Over the PA system, music is heard. The song is Bernadette by the Four Tops. I can’t seem to find one of my classmates.
A bell rings, and we all stand as in church and wait until the row of kids before us files out before us. The way out of the gymnasium, and out of the school altogether, is a ladder made of mud and sticks, a kind of crude hillside with steps carved into it. You climb up and out through a small hole, a burrowing animal would make. I get to the ladder and begin my climb, I see something small hanging on a chain in the opening, dark against the sky. It’s been quickly, hung there, it’s a book, taped open to a certain page, so you must see it, even read it before leaving the school. I see outside on the lawn, a splitting of the student body- with boys going off right, the girls stepping left and waiting in a long line. I move in line with the girls to see what they’re doing, but no one speaks. It is the 18th Century. The girls do not speak. All are dressed in drab, homespun dresses, with green felt scarves, a kind of puritan school uniform. We are all in a line that leads to the doors to the tower. It is a severe structure, dark, mottled with years of weather, with tin gray shutters at the top and a long spiked steeple, but otherwise featureless. There is no church connected to it. We enter and ascend a long ladder to climb to the top, up and out one of the open windows, a look out perch, where one can see miles of spring green trees and the harbor beyond. I’m suddenly next in line. The wind up here is strong. In front of me is a girl I know. She’s pretty, about 8, much younger and is greeted by a sobbing woman who is at the top. The woman is a servant of mealtimes at the school. She is horrified to see her daughter is next in line for this moment. It is known that we are forbidden to speak during such trials. The girl quietly takes the rope and a short wooden sled that’s given to her. She ties it around her waist. How is it that such young hands are to affix a thick rope in a safe manner, secure enough to allow her to climb down outside the steeple in such a wind? The knot she makes is absurd, like a pretzel. She pulls back from the reaching hands and sobbing face of her mother safe within the tower’s shadow. The girl climbs over a short railing and begins her spider like descent. The knot immediately fails and the girl and the board both fall from the great height to the church yard below. There is no scream. Just the rope dangling in the wind. I pull it back in, crying and hand it back to the woman who numbly readies it for the next girl in line.
What happened was this; a young student, angered by something said to him during the day by a girl, hung the book of verses in the doorway, open to a certain passage; a challenge, a proverbial task designed to prove one is under, and worthy of the hand of Grace. In our time, in our world any open page from this book, must be read, understood and acted upon immediately.
It is the 18th Century’s version of the Columbine massacre.