I don’t know about you, but I can get some pretty vivid dreams while laying in bed at night. I think they’re pretty cool, exciting, and adventurous. Some of them I’ve even written down because they’d make great novels someday. If you don’t mind, I would love to share one pretty vivid and actiony dream I had back when I was in college. I still remember it. I’ve told the story of it enough times that it’s stayed with me. I’m sure I could turn it into a novel, but zombies were never my thing, and I think you all would get a kick out this tale now instead of having to wait however many years for it to get written and published. Some say dreams come from what you experience throughout the day. Well, the only way I can explain this dream is that my old roommate and I used to play a lot of video games.
Imagine, if you will, a desolate city. The zombie apocalypse has occurred and there aren’t too many of us left. Cars sit abandoned on the side of roads, buildings are broken into, shattered glass covers the sidewalks, and “people” are lingering about moaning, groaning, and hungry for brains. My roommate and I hadn’t seen anyone that didn’t want to eat us for months and we’d grown reliant on each other. We were restocking supplies by looting an abandoned lab when all of a sudden we come across two guys who didn’t want to suck our brains out. They seemed pretty fit and were clearly surviving well, but before we could chitchat, a wave of zombies invaded the lab–I blame the guys for luring them to us. We fought back. There were two entrances to the lab and between the four of us we were able to cover them. We killed a few zombies and thought we were in the clear for a bit. My roommate was still covering the door the two of us were holding while I went to pack up the rest of the supplies, but as for the two guys who joined us? They got a little TOO relaxed.
Another wave of zombies hit us and they hit us hard. I saw one of the guys go down as the mindless monsters came barging in through their door. My roommate and I took cover behind different desks. We knew we had to fight back, but we needed a chance to get weapons again. She got clever and used chemicals found in the lab to fight back. I don’t know my chemicals that well, so I just grabbed the first bludgeoning item I could find…which turned out to be a femur.
Think about it, you’re in the middle of a zombie attack and while you’re in a lab full of potentially dangerous equipment, you decide to use the femur of a rotting skeleton you found under a desk as a weapon. Not my proudest moment, but you know what? It worked out. The femur was still in pretty good shape and I smashed the head of it into the heads of many zombies. We killed them all and found a lull period in between the waves. There was no discussion, we needed to get out of here. The two guys with us miraculously survived and though they weren’t very helpful, I suggested we team up. Four heads are better than two, right? Plus, I thought my roommate and I could do a better job at keeping them alive than they could at keeping themselves alive. They decided they didn’t want to team up and they left us immediately after the zombie attack was over. My roommate and I shrugged it off and we wished them best. I returned the femur back to the skeleton and we headed out.
The streets were empty of zombies and people. Nothing but abandoned vehicles, trash blowing through the streets, and useless blinking spotlights lined the city. Our plan was to get into the country. Get out of the city where less zombies paraded at night. We were trying to decide on a car. We had our pick of anything on the street. No. We didn’t know how to hotwire one, but abandoned vehicles come with abandoned keys.
The vehicle we chose was a big, red semi-truck. I didn’t think it was a good idea. Neither of us have experience driving something that big. Plus, it was a stick shift–which my roommate can’t drive. My truck is stick, so I could potentially drive this giant semi-truck, but I didn’t want push my luck. Yet, my roommate convinced me. This semi had an extended cab we could hunker down in and we could store things in the trailer attached to it (which I don’t even know if we looked to see what was in there in the first place). Next thing I know, I’m driving this big ol’ truck out of the city and I’m having a blast running over every zombie we came across.
Eventually, we make it to the country. Wide, green plains with one lane highways and the bright, shining sun overhead. When it gets dark, we park the truck under an overpass, sleep, and move on the next day. We didn’t have a destination in mind, we enjoyed the freedom of the open road, filled up gas when we needed too and kept on trucking.
In the middle of nowhere (and I literally mean nowhere), we find this giant antique-style mansion. This massive house just sitting on a wide open plain. Nothing around it except the highway which has no cars except for my semi. Seeing no harm, my roommate and I decide to go explore it. We’re in the zombie apocalypse, so it’s likely that no one is home and the worst that could happen is we walk right into a mansion full of zombies.
What we found was something MUCH worse.
The mansion was fascinating! There were a bunch of antiques in it that had to be worth thousands of dollars if not more. We explored it carefully, the porch creaked, the furnishings were elegant and fit for English royalty, and there were no zombies. Much to our surprise, there were no zombies! We determined that this place was a safe spot to hang out for a bit, so we started to relax. We’re fawning over the antiques we found and going from room to room to see what we might be useful to take with us when we suddenly saw HER at the end of the hall.
It was like in one of those horror movies where the jump scare gets you. The camera is focused on the main characters and suddenly it flashes to the end of a long, dark hallway and the flickering lights reveal the monster at the end. Except our monster was a woman and from the moment I saw her, I had a deep sense of dread in my gut. Even though I had never seen her before, I knew what she was. She was a witch.
She was beautiful for a witch. Not your typical old hag with warts on her pointed nose and wrinkly eyes. No. Our witch was tall and skinny. She looked as if someone had taken Cruella DeVil and blended her with Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. She gave us a pleasant smile. That kind where you know she’s up to no good, but she faking it so well that you’re second guessing yourself. My roommate hesitated, but I didn’t. I grabbed my friend’s arm and bolted out of there. We’re flying down staircases, heading for the front door and I hear the witch laugh behind us. It scared the living daylights out of me and I was cursing myself because I should’ve known better than to trespass on some strange, giant mansion in the middle of literal nowhere! My roommate had gotten ahead of me and the front door was in our sights when I suddenly felt heavy. My steps slowed and exhaustion hit me so hard that I was struggling to remain on my feet. My roommate made it out and didn’t realize I fell to my knees when my feet couldn’t support my weight anymore. I knew the witch had cast some sort of spell and I knew I couldn’t resist it as much as I wanted too. I was trying to crawl my way out. I fought with every haggard breath, dragged myself on my elbows! Yet, the front door drew no closer and my roommate didn’t return. My head hit the carpet. I was too tired to continue and I knew I didn’t have a choice in the matter. The witch’s red high heels crossed in front of my vision before I blacked out.
I woke up in a log cabin of some sort, like one of those buildings from the 1850s. I was laying on a cot made out of straw and animal fur and I might as well have been wearing Little House on the Prairie. You know, one of those old, heavy farm gowns from the 1850s? I didn’t wake up alone. Someone was watching over me, obviously waiting for me to wake. It should’ve been strange to see him, but I treated it like an every day occurrence. I woke up to a Khajit watching over me (a Khajit is a catfolk from the Elder Scrolls Game series). He had white fur with black lynx markings and his name was Purple (weird, right?). He was very kind and I immediately considered him a friend. He told me that I was now in a compound, protected by the outside world (zombies). He said the compound was created by the one they gratefully serve and honor: the witch.
That should’ve had bells and whistles going off in my head that I was in some sort of prison camp, but it didn’t. Instead, I smiled back at Purple and agreed with him! I told him I owed the witch my life because she saved me! It still makes my skin crawl to this day to think that I had a dream where I went from running from an obviously evil witch to believing she somehow saved my life (but you gotta admit, this is like good story material here)!
Purple told me that everyone in the compound had a role and I had one as well. He showed me around and the compound was basically a village from the 1850s with towering log walls surrounding it to “protect us from the outside world.” Everyone in the village was happy and content within their roles. It like everyone was Joo Dee from Avatar; the Last Airbender, and I was now one of them–content and okay with being a part of the witch’s little compound. Purple showed me what my role was. I was to work with him in the grain mill. We worked well together and the days were all the same: wake up before sunrise, head to the mill, go to bed at sunset. Everything was predictable. Everyone did the same thing everyday, ate the same thing, and pretty much said the same thing like we were all NPCs (non-playable characters) from a video game. Well, one evening, while Purple and I were working, Purple got called away for a reason I never learned. I was left alone in the mill and something invaded the clockwork of the day to day.
I was minding my business and grinding grain when I heard the wall creak. Now, the grain mill is make out of wood like everything else in this compound, so creaky buildings isn’t unnatural, but this one was. It was long and hesitant as if someone was trying not to make the wall creak. I turn my head to find a modern-looking girl slowly pushing open one of the wall panels. When she saw me, she flushed with relief and a bright smile spread her lips. “I finally found you!” she exclaimed quietly. Purple started coming back, so she had to hide back in the wall panel. “Don’t worry,” she whispered. “I’m going to get you out. Don’t trust anyone!”
I asked Purple about her, but he was genuinely confused at what I was talking about. He didn’t look like he believed me when I said I saw the girl, and I didn’t blame him. Everyone knew everyone in the compound and the only people in here were who the witch brought in. Which had me thinking that the girl somehow snuck in.
I couldn’t shake the unease brought on by the girl’s words. Back at Purple and mine’s cabin, I thought it over. I had a sinking feeling that she was an enemy of the witch we so faithfully served and revered. That should’ve made her my enemy as well, but I felt no ill toward the girl. I kept thinking about what the girl looked like. She was in a rag-tag t-shirt and jeans, her hair in a low ponytail and mud and blood(?) streaked on her face. There was something familiar about that. She looked like a fighter…a survivor…and she was looking for me…?
The realization clicked in my brain so fast and so hard that I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. That girl was my roommate! And I remembered seeing her flee out the door as we were running away from…from the witch.
A cold sense of dread layered upon my skin. I remembered everything! The zombie fight. The semi-truck. The witch’s mansion. I finally understood what happened to me after I blacked out. I had been brainwashed by the witch and Purple and everyone else in this compound was under the exact same influence. I considered Purple a friend, so I wanted to save him, but I knew I needed to find my roommate and formulate a plan. I wanted to make the witch pay by tearing down her entire scheme and freeing the compound–I wouldn’t mind killing her in the process either. The next day, I would find my roommate and whatever allies I could get. A world with zombies was dangerous enough without a witch brainwashing everyone who was left.
Unfortunately, this was the part where my dream ended. I like to think that my roommate and I defeated the witch and freed the compound, but it wasn’t a reoccurring dream, nor one that continued the next night. If I wanted too, I could type up an ending, finish the story my subconscious so graciously gave me, but there are other stories I’d rather write, and I thought you would enjoy the pondering of a story with no ending. You can decide how ends. Maybe I was able to escape and my roommate and I drove our semi-truck through the walls of the compound? Or we headed back to the witch’s mansion and discovered those antiques were actually magical artifacts and we used them again her? Or maybe something completely new occurred like we found a bunker of non-brainwashed people to help us? Maybe we tamed zombies and used them against the witch? The story is yours to decide. It’s definitely something to think about. I just hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.