Dec 2, 2020
Photo by Xiaocong Yan on Unsplash
The wind is howling outside. It’s more of an eerie sound than a whistle. I’m sitting at my desk typing a report for work. I’m engrossed in my task, not thinking too much about the noise but concentrating on a looming deadline. If I were to stop and really listen, I would question what's going on out there. Is it the wind? Is it some kind of aircraft hovering above? Is my world safe or is it under siege?
I stop typing to decide what thought I should record next, to substantiate the point I’m trying to make. I relax and hope the words will come to me on their own. My mind wanders away somewhere else. For a moment, the wind has my attention. I look out the window and see that the sky is unusually dark for this time of day. Many of my neighbors are outside their houses looking up. What are they looking at? How many movies have been made where a spaceship is hovering above a town or city? Is that what's happening here?
My heart is beating rapidly and my breaths are shallow and fast. Hopefully, I’m not going to hyperventilate. Should I go out and look, or do I need to hide? Now I’m conflicted. If I go look and it's nothing, I will feel better and can get on with my work. If there's something extraterrestrial out there, it’s probably the end so why do I need to know? The pounding in my chest is now debilitating. I can’t breathe and I'm unable to move forward out of fear.
From far away, I hear a series of explosions one after the other. Oh no! What is that? My adrenalin kicks in and I am suddenly no longer frozen. I run to the door and look out to see what’s going on. Off in the horizon, I observe what looks like a bunch of towers with windows at every level and the same circumference all the way up. They are exploding one by one. There’s nothing in the sky so the explosions are not coming from above but below or inside of them. There are no houses in front of mine. Where am I. This is not my neighborhood. There should be houses there, not towers. Why are they exploding. Is my house going to be threatened? What do I do? Where do I run?
I turn around and my house is gone too. Have I been transferred to another place? Is it another world or just another city or country? I stop wondering what’s going on and start to run. I have to get away before the flames and the explosions reach me or I will be killed. Which way should I Go? Oh yes, obviously in the opposite direction. I run away to my right as fast as I can but am stopped by the lake. There’s nowhere else to go. What should I do now?
I jump into the lake. I’m not a strong swimmer but I can usually keep my head above water. I think about kicking off my shoes but I’ll need them on the other side if I make it. I work diligently to move across the shallow lake without losing them. It’s not a large lake, really just a small reservoir. However, with all my clothes and my shoes still on, it takes time to get to the other side. All the while, explosions are coming closer and debris is raining down all around getting nearer and nearer to me. Finally, I reach the shore opposite from where I entered the lake.
I turn back to see what's happening and am horrified by the destruction. Are those towers inhabited? I hope not because they would house millions and they would all be dead. Where am I? What's going on? Did I die already and this is Hell? Am I destined to be trapped in this place forever constantly running from perils that are just missing me by a few footsteps? I stop thinking about it and begin to run again.
As I reach the embankment and climb to the top, I have a much better view of my surroundings. I still see only towers as far as the horizon extends, blowing up, one after the other, causing the sky to turn red and black and the noise level to be deafening. I suddenly wonder about my family. Where are they? Why are they not with me? When I left the house which no longer seems to be where it was, I sensed that it was empty and I was alone. Was I wrong? Did I fail to look for them when I could have helped to save them? Is that why I’m being punished in Hell?
The explosions are getting closer even though they are still on the other side of the lake. I turn and run in the opposite direction to get away. I don’t know where I am running to, just where the towers are not. I look around. They are everywhere. The structures in front of me are not blowing up but are standing tall and proud against the sky which is still blue in that direction. Will they explode eventually also? I have nowhere else to go but to run toward them, getting away from the obvious danger and looking for help.
As I reach the base of the first tower and circle around it, I realize there is no entrance. I will not find help or cover here. I probably would not have gone inside anyway. This one may just blow up like the others. I move on, continuing to run through the forest of concrete towers which are now all around me. I look up again and see that they have changed. They are huge stately windmills dotting the landscape all across the horizon. Were the others on the opposite side of the lake also windmills? I don’t think so. These are tapered like huge candles with blades on top twirling in the wind.
I pause in my flight. Are these windmills dangerous? Who built them and where are they? How will I get home? Where is my home? I’m able to slow my pace and walk continuously away from the direction I had come. I need to find someone who can explain to me what is going on. There seems to be no live beings here. There are no people, no animals, no birds, not even any bugs. Once again I speculate about where I could be. Wait! I feel alive, not any different from an hour ago. My breathing is labored from the running I’ve been doing. All I did was walk out my front door. Am I dreaming?
The windmills begin to spin faster. They continue speeding up, faster and faster and faster. What’s going on now? Will they break? I can feel the wind created by them. Aren’t they supposed to move with the wind, not make the wind? Wherever I am, the world seems to be vastly different. Towers don’t just explode for nothing and windmills are not supposed to make wind. What is going on? I continue moving forward afraid that those blades are going to move too rapidly, get disconnected and fall to the ground. There are so many of them, I wouldn’t have a chance.
I start running again. What? Over on my left, on the top of that hill, another explosion. This time the top of the hill has blown off knocking the windmills over. Now, lava is spewing out of the hill. What the heck? How long will it take the smoldering lava to get to where I am now standing. It’s moving fast. I need to move faster but this much running is hard. I start walking again, swiftly. I seem to be moving faster than the lava but how can I be sure?
I look up. Clouds are beginning to form overhead. They are dark and menacing but welcome because of the lava. Maybe rain will cool it off so that it will no longer be dangerous. I keep walking swiftly and shortly start feeling raindrops on my head and shoulders. Soon, it is no longer drops but a deluge of water falling all around me. That’s scary. Where will it all go? I can no longer see more than a few feet in front of me. I don’t know which way to go because I can no longer see the horizon. What next? Will I ever get away from this constant state of disaster?
I am suddenly hit by a huge wall of water filled with debris. It sweeps me away and I am struggling to breathe. I grab on to a huge candle-like pole of a windmill as it is floating by me. I feel safer but not out of the woods yet. Something hits me in the head and then nothing. Darkness. I wake up at my desk and continue on with my report.