This one is technically another post-apocalyptic dream, though that wasn’t the main focus. When I climbed out of the survival shelter, everybody was gone. There were no bodies even, and stranger still everything looked severely aged.
I’d only been in the shelter overnight. Yet everywhere I went, buildings were crumbling or overgrown with vines. It would make sense of the absence of bodies, except there were no bones anywhere either. The only thing I could find to eat was fruit, and it wasn’t cutting it.
I decided I needed to find out if the whole world was like this. I could find no working cars, even if they hadn’t been so decrepit the gas in their tanks was nearly solid sludge by now. So I made a long, strenuous journey to the airport.
There I found the planes left where they would have been on a busy day. Somehow the luggage conveyors were still working, though I could not imagine where power was coming from. I do live near a hydro electric dam, that could be it. After amusing myself with that, I headed out to the tarmac.
Just one rusted out plane after the next. Sitting there, uselessly. I checked one after the next in hopes that somehow I’d find one better preserved than the rest, but I didn’t. Defeated, I doubled back the way I came. On the way, I glimpsed a human figure retreating into the woods.
I gave chase. It was after all the only other person I’d seen. Dodging between trees as I ran, I soon came upon a narrow passageway lined on either side with delicate vines. There was a wooden bridge here, then a rope overhead at the end of it that I had to traverse hand over hand.
At last I came to a hideout, densely shrouded by foliage. And there was a wild man of the woods. Decked out in skins with a long, bushy beard. He stared at me with a tense expression. I asked who he was. He didn’t answer. When I demanded it, he flinched. “Not me too. I didn’t do anything. Please.”
What a weird thing to say. I asked where everybody went. He sneered, and told me that I made them go away. That because it’s my dream, every time somebody got angry or impatient with me, I made them vanish. Then I got so used to that power, I began making people disappear for smaller and smaller infractions.
“Then you discovered you couldn’t bring them back. I suppose you must feel guilt, because you couldn’t live with that knowledge. Somehow, you erased your memory of it. You would then wander around trying to understand how the world got this way.
I’ve been following you, watching. Hoping to learn of some way to reverse what you did. Every time you eventually you find me, I tell you it was you that did all this, and the anguish drives you to erase your memories again.”
I could not bear it. But he insisted it was the truth. I was tempted to just erase my memories again after returning to the shelter. He implored me not to. “If we work together, maybe we can find-” He blinked out of existence. With him gone, there would be no one left to remind me.
I retraced my steps back to the survival shelter, with an armload of fruit in tow. I then lay in bed, pulled the covers up over me and prepared to erase my memories of the day. Better not to know, I decided. Better by far, in the end, to simply never know.
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