I awoke in my dream to find the snow falling. And I mean falling.
The storefronts were slowly covering with icy sludge, the sidewalk becoming more dangerous by the minute. I was riding in a rusty GTO, my ears ringing with the engine purring way too loud.
My wife, my boss, and an unnamed frail friend were the crew, and as we saw this apocalypse unfold around us, we drove on, furiously speeding away from the impending storm.
The flakes piled upon the window, the wipers trying to shield the clarity from the icy cover. And on we drove as the storm followed us, desperately trying to grip the car forever.
Behind us, a truck with overgrown tires and gun-toting rednecks in the back, pulled into the parking lot of a 7-11. They jumped out, springing for the door with evil in their hearts. I could feel it from here. We had to get away. And fast.
Out of the city, we started to make some distance between us and the storm. But it wouldn’t last forever. Soon it would overtake us for good. We had to find shelter.
Through the overgrown trees forming a canopy over the road, we saw our new sanctuary. An old library on the shores of a small pond waited to take us in. As we pulled in, the gas guage moved to empty and we coasted into one of the many vacant spots.
The door was open, so we made ourselves at home. Over the next few hours, more people walked through those doors, inexorably drawn to the culture contained in those books and stacks. There ended up being about 30 of us, all peaceful people happy to hole up during the storm.
Fights inevitably broke out, but they were easily quelled once we realized that only together we could reach the end of this apocalyptic journey. And soon, the snow stopped. After a week of icy dryness, the sun poked through the clouds and embraced the earth again. Little patches of green began to poke their heads out, and life, it seemed, would return to normalcy.
We decided I should man an expedition to the outside and see what had happened over the last month. So on we walked. Boarded up houses met our eyes, each one with a price tag on the door. Twenty dollars here, fifteen there, they seemed to be overly cheap to say the least, but I guessed the market had been hit pretty hard with the storm.
As we walked back to the library, distant engines could be heard slowly inching their way closer to our home.
I let everyone through the door, and was about to enter myself as I saw a truck pull into the library’s parking lot. Two men jumped out, each one carrying a rifle. I yelled back into the library for some of the men to come out here and greet our unwanted guests.
I remember them saying, “mornin’” as two more trucks pulled into the station, each with their own decorative gun-toters. I tensed up. And I could feel the weight of the others on me as I walked forward.
“Good morning to you. What can we do for you?” I talked to the little one in the front because he held a smaller gun.
“Well, we saw your place here and wanted to buy it.” Simple and to the point, he looked like a poor car salesman trying to bluff his way into a deal.
I laughed. “It’s not for sale, but thanks anyway.” I nodded to show him that he could leave, but he just smiled and looked back at the large man behind him.
“I wasn’t asking.” He cocked his small shotgun to illustrate precisely what he meant.
I knew I should’ve been afraid, but I wasn’t. I had spent the last bit of time building a community here. I felt for the lives of everyone in the library. I knew what we had sought when we found this edenic place. And I knew that we would fight for it. I turned around to see what my friends, my family, had brought to the confrontation. Blank stares and looks of hopelessness were all that greeted me. We had no guns.
“That’s what I thought.” He pulled up the gun, aimed it at my head, and with the shot ringing out, I found myself back in this room, covered in that so familiar cold sweat of prophecy.
This wasn’t the first vision, it wouldn’t be my last, but it still haunts me.