Dream Of Grey
The girl ran in the large hallway of a long dead darkened shopping centre,
the black haired girl floated quickly behind her, her face intent and calm,
in a quick concentrated approach. I watched her grab that fake red head by her
short cropped greasy hair and pull her towards her and off her feet unemotionally.
The girl thrashed under her and she tightened her fist scrunching the girls
hair between her knuckles, twisting the girl's face into tears. Her body went
limp and her legs trembled. But the hand held her there, now weak and tired,
only able to move the muscles that let her shake and whimper and cry.
"Now you will get what you deserve", her voice resonated in her throat, like an eighty year old man who had been smoking since he was in the trenches. The girl screamed and began to thrash under her hand again, life suddenly springing back into her, tears running down her face now. I couldn't tell what she was feeling. Maybe she was scared or maybe she was angry, but I knew she was desperate, desperate to get away from the tall raven. And still I watched.
The girl's hair finally gave way from her scalp and she fell limp to the floor, still screaming, unchanging in level or pitch despite the chunk of skin she'd lost. The raven dropped her arm to her side and watched her now, her face the same as ever, the bleeding piece of skin still bunched in her tight fingers. Then, for some reason the girl stopped crying, and her face became caught in that pose, as if the wind had suddenly changed and for once it'd had the effect your elder's always told you about.
Her body quivered and shifted, changing and rolling all in one. Her skin sprouted orange fur, and her neck made an odd popping sound. She shrunk and swelled, her hands becoming round and compact. The change seemed to flow, as if it was meant to but not. And still I watched.
When it was done, the girl was something new. So much so that if a deaf man had stepped around the corner to empty his bladder before it happened and just looked back, it would require some very delicate explaining. Especially considering he was deaf and I didn't know sign.
She was feline now. Her face long and triangular, her fur the same red she had dyed her hair. She probably had a tail under those pant's but I didn't care. Her body was only about a metre or so long and for some reason I suddenly pitied her. She had never liked cats.
"Hello Christian", the raven spoke to me in that odd hurt voice, I looked up from the cat girl the raven had made, her hand raised gesturing hello.
"Hey Renee", I raised my hand and waved back half heartedly, too tired to care much anymore. I knew she was done and I turned back to go to my car. But the car park had swallowed it, in grey ash. The hill was flat and only raised at curves and dropped at grates. Well as flat as a hill could be I guess. I sighed, no lump that should have been my car remained on the soft landscape.
The world did that now, took thing's away from you when your back was turned, not a sound, not an inkling of what was happening would you feel. You'd just turn around and what you had would be gone.
I did the first thing that came into my head. I walked down the footpath, the footpath that remained uncovered by the grey that hugged the ground around me. Spared as if by some cruel twist of fate, left alone so the concrete could add to the different shades of grey that would surround you had you walked the path I did now. I was tired, but I didn't sleep anymore, so that was to be expected.
A man stood outside the bottle shop, a shotgun leaning against his shoulder, a beer gut leaning over his waist. His arms hung huge trapped in a tight black and blue flannel shirt that would have hung heavy on me, his legs looked to be almost the same diameter as his arms giving him an odd stumpy look. He nodded and smiled at me as I walked pass him, and turned to face me as I leaned against the clear wall with him.
"Saw you drive up, shame about the car, I'd like to go somewhere", he pulled a small box from the
upper layer of shirts he wore, offering me a cigarette after taking one for himself. I slowly pulled the cylindrical piece of paper, now filled with dead plant from the box. Blinking, as it made a horrible slipping sound in the choking silence as it left it's comrades and the safety of the thin cardboard room.
"Not much point standing still anymore, the food's on the move, you have to be too huh", I nodded as he struck the lighter and hid it between his hands, supporting the rifle with his shoulder, like I could never do with a phone. I mirrored his movements, sparking the flame in my cupped hands and burning the end of the paper. He did it because he probably smoked, force of habit to hide it from the wind, even though there was no wind. I did it so he'd assume I smoked so he could more easily trust me. Or maybe I wanted him to like me, after all, he had a gun.
"You want to get a drink or something? my treat", I looked at the burnt out empty store, the walls were black like the rest of the building, eaten out by some over zealous lover called fire long ago. There weren't any bottles or cans or casks in the ash, only shelves and signs and empty fridges. I looked up at the grey sky, past the glass cover that sheltered us from the ash above, and couldn't help but wonder, why didn't it rain.
"I don't drink", he nodded at me as he let the smoke furl out of his nostrils, filling the world with another shade of grey.
"Hear that man, very sorry for you, come on I got something I want to show you", he put his free arm over my shoulder and walked me down the end of the path. The walls had things written in the black that covered them. I didn't see the words, only the glimpses of what was inside, more burnt shelves and signs and fridges, hidden in there own black light, the dust drifting peacefully in the air like tiny clumps of the ash that laughed at us out here.
Turning left you could smell the sewage still, strong enough to make your mind reel at the thought, but leaving your body still and uncaring in it's wake and just around the bend you could see something out of an art book. The ash stopped at a half wall, the bricks covered in ash, only slightly, leaving the grooves of the joins on horizontal and vertical surfaces alike. Past that was green, a park, where the ash seemed to stop and where the grass was covered in dew.
"Everything's dead here except us, and everything's alive there except us", I looked at him, hearing some kind of warning in his words. I blinked again, my eyes feeling suddenly dry. I nodded to him and patted him on the chest as I walked towards the park. I stomped off the path and watched as the ash rose and fell under my foot, like light grey water, floating slowly done to cover my boot only slightly.
A loud bang echoed behind me and I looked back, to see my new friend with his rifle pointed past me. He grinned at me manically.
"Don't worry man, I got your back", I looked to where his gun was pointing and saw a grey figure in the ash, already covered by the grey snow. The ash lay undisturbed around him and I looked at it wondering if the ash had covered him at all. I nodded back to my friend and took another step into the ash, the figure that lay in the ash now gone, to leave that flat soot that clung to everything that wasn't covered by something.
I walked as only a tired man could, every step meant nothing, yet every step took me closer to the green that laughed at the grey from it's shore's. Another crack ripped at the still air behind me and I looked to see a man made of ash fall into the ground and sink calmly, softly into the ground.
I walked again, calmly and almost serene as another ashen figure leapt out at me and as another shot flit past me and into the figure. The bullet hit it and it rippled and fell apart flimsy as it could be. Falling back onto the bricks and sat there, supported by some invisible barrier holding it away from even crossing over the green.
I stepped onto the path I had seen and felt a tug at my shoes. The ash pealed off them as I crossed over onto the still grey path, a lot like the one I had just left. I heard the wind and the birds and the noise of water hitting more water in the distance. The background noise made me feel dizzy. Looking back I could see my friend, dancing and cheering, although silent to me, waving his gun in the air, like some crazy old drunk.
He levelled his rifle again and shot another ashen figure watching him from across the road, yelling at it manically, that grin plastered over his face as if it'd never come off. He raised his gun at me in both hands and yelled something. But I didn't her, I watched him as he ran to the edge of the path and leaped over the ash I had walked through. Figures rose up like angry spirits from the ash and grabbed at him. But his bulk pulled their light frames into the barrier that had stopped the ash crossing onto the grass and they fell and screamed at us with noiseless mouths.
He stood up next to me, and shook some invisible weight off himself rapidly. He grinned at me and gave the ashen ghosts the finger.
"Fuck you and your fucking dry grey mother. You crispy cunts", they didn't care, only rolled and fell back into the ash. He shoved the gun into my hands and I took it awkwardly as he sauntered over to the invisible barrier like a cowboy and quickly fiddled with his pants. A yellow stream soon followed, hitting the ash and causing it to reel back and reveal the black road. He tilted his hips and arched his back causing the stream to arc higher and land further away, separating and splitting the ash, to show pieces of glass, plastic and metal on the bitumen.
He stood there, pissing on the retreating ash and laughing deep inside himself, making a low grumbling sound. But when he finally slowed then stopped he sighed, almost content with himself and his work. He stretched his arms and shoulders back like I used to sometimes when I woke up in the morning, cracked his neck and then zipped up his pants.
He turned back to me and took his gun, fishing some rounds from out of another pocket in one of his many shirts that were hidden underneath that black and blue flannel one and began feeding them into the breach of the old bolt action rifle.
"Where to now little trooper", I laughed and smiled at him and looked around, it was loud here and I wanted to know where that water was, "well if you can't decide I will, I need to replenish the fluids I just lost, so let's find where that water is"
I smiled and nodded, happy in my daze that he was doing what I wanted to and wondering if he would've argued if I had suggested it.
I wrote this when I was fresh out of high school. Well give a few months, makes little difference. I remember the girls in my dream and who they were. I changed the names obviously, but this freaked the shit out of me, but I woke up feeling so happy. Chances are I left alot out. I only remember bits now, but I remember alot more emotion than I put in this. Oh well too late to correct it now :P - Wayfaerer