• Dzama

Real Dreams

Mal bit the side of her cheek to stay awake. As the rhythmic noise of the subway shuddering down the tracks lulled her, she bit and felt the sharp pain of her teeth grinding her own flesh. But just as her eyes closed again there was a terrible squeal and an explosion of glass as giant, papery arms burst through the windows, cutting down passengers at random with blue laser beams firing from twisted, writhing fingers. Mal stood and almost slipped on the rushing river of blood. She took hold of one of the giant monster arms and tore at the paper skin with her nails, ripping holes in it. The monster’s gelatinous blue blood sprayed on her white blouse and her face. She half-expected it to melt her skin but it didn’t, and the little that had landed on her lip tasted like cupcake frosting. The arm she’d torn then swung and knocked her off her feet. She landed hard on one of the benches then tumbled down to the bloody floor.

The train screamed to a halt at 14th Street. Firemen and police had arrived on the station platform but the creature made mincemeat out of them- severed body parts bouncing in every direction. The bulbous head with its six rotating eyes jammed in through the broken subway window, searching for Mal. She was now trembling in the gore, crawling away sideways like a crab. The thing then burst into flames and the platform and subway car filled instantly with black smoke. Mal sprang up and felt her way toward a broken window in the back, stepping over slippery body parts. Just as she climbed through the window the subway lurched forward again and she landed hard on the platform.


When her eyes opened in the darkness she saw a beam of outside light filtering down through the haze. She could just make out the half-dead monster writhing back in the shadows. She got to her feet and stumbled toward the light. The staircase leading up to the street was littered with laser-cut arms and legs but strangely no torsos or heads. She stepped gingerly over the appendages, some which were still clutching police-issue firearms, and finally reached the light of day. A few young paramedics rushed past her, back down in the tunnel. That won’t do any good, she whispered to herself.

Even outside the air smelled toxic but everyone on the street went about their business as though nothing had happened. Mal stepped into a nearby pizza joint and wiped blue monster blood off her face with a handful of napkins. Take it easy on those! the unshaven man behind the counter said. Two—she started, finding it hard to talk. Two cheese– and she had a coughing fit before she could continue.

Just then a monster arm smashed through the back door of the pizzeria, spinning lasers cutting through stacks of cardboard pizza boxes. When the pizza guy’s head tumbled off his shoulders Mal took off running, not stopping until she was ten blocks away, running up the stairs of her grandmother’s brownstone. She pounded on the door. Let me in, she screamed, her voice hoarse. Finally she heard the chain slide and locks clicking.

There, there, her grandmother said, pulling her into a tight hug. I seen it all happening then I just closed the blinds, love. Sometimes you just need to close the blinds and pray when they get you it’ll go quick.

Mal sat down to a plate of her grandmother’s spaghetti and budget cola. There was a comedy on TV about clownish Nazis. She wanted to whistle along to the show’s theme song but she found herself nodding off. Screams from down in the street faded as her real dreams finally took over.



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