This is not you run-of-the-mill End of the World dream.
My wife is not there and neither is my son. We are at my parent’s home in the suburbs and there is rioting in the streets. For some reason images of the end of Apartheid flood through my head, and a part of me recalls a specific story about a relative’s friend who died in the violence.
I watch from my old bedroom window as storms of people with sticks and Molotov cocktails swarm down the street chanting and shouting and I hope they will pass us by. In fact, it seems that they will.
Then we are on the road. My sister and I, my parents, and an unidentified younger cousin. There is traffic downtown and we fear the worst as we approach an offramp jammed with cars. But we soon make it to the airport.
It is chaos. There are lines of people attempting to escape. We still do not know the damage. Unreadable headlines scroll across screens floating midair behind panicked airline employees, desperately attempting to calm the crowd.
My uncle sits across from us at a small table and is taking snapshots with an old SLR. And we are smiling for some reason. I snatch the camera and switch to the other side of the table, asking my uncle to pose.
Slithering ghost creatures begin to crawl from the carpeted floor and we all jump to our feet and head for higher ground.
In the confusion, the strange civil war has mutated into plague. Images of dogs turning into ravenous beasts now populate the floating screens, and we are shown how our own bodies must change in the coming days (a beast resembling a chimera, only with the head of a monstrous fish, and eight legs).
My mother is crying and telling me I must apologize to my sister for what I have said, but I can’t recall what it was. And I am too angry to care.
We split up in search of food, and I realize I must be a child. I am asking uniformed people for help and they direct me to a small line forming. Child workers sit on the floor with crayons and take my order. I sit next to one as she draws a giant circle in the concrete and directs me to the next child who is laboring over some figures.
I am now in a car, once again, but with cartoon hands and cartoon dials and there is a wet something beginning to fill up in the front seat and the radio is telling us that radiation has reached peak levels and we must turn the dial to the correct station to blast the plague with some frequency or other.
I fumble helplessly with the dial…