A Stephen King novel meets A Game of Thrones. A cold fog is sweeping through the town. Anyone it touches, anyone who walks into it, is taken by the cold and they cannot ever leave. They can only move within the confines of the ever-expanding, cold fog.
Vans and removal trucks speed along the street. They growl and swerve as they race to get out of town.
I am in a position of responsibility, perhaps the sheriff. In my attempts to protect people, I end up standing in the street with the fog approaching. I end up walking into it. Just a few feet.
An unseen wind blows through me. It chills my ribs and my spine. I imagine leaves and dust blowing between my bones. My flesh feels as insubstantial as air.
I look back at my team and other onlookers.
"Get back!" I say as the fog continues to creep toward them.
After a few more seconds, the fog stops. It roils, but doesn't advance any further.
In the mist, like the white walkers in A Game of Thrones, trapped people wonder within the fog. They are wearing what they were wearing when it enveloped them.
I'm in uniform. That's me in uniform forever.
I don't feel like I'm losing my mind yet. The others, however, look gone mentally. I wonder how long that takes. I wonder what that feels like.
A man straight out of a Stephen King novel approaches through the fog. He is wearing brown, leather boots. Something about me being captured has changed things and, talking to the people outside the fog, he offers a truce between his fog and the rest of the world.
As long as no-one tries to get anyone out of the fog, he says, he'll let the rest of the world survive. Anyone who enters the fog of their own volition, however, will be his.
"How come you can turn into a werewolf AND other things?" someone asks. It seems impertinent, like, unnecessary right now.
"I shapeshift into a wolf," he answers quickly. "From my wolf form, I can shapeshift into many things."
He moves on quickly, physically, as if to avoid questioning. It seems like we've found a plot hole in the story and he wants to gloss over it.
Gone, the evil man lets us mull over his deal.
I consider my life in the cold.
It's not as cold as I thought it would be.
But it does look like forever.
Those in the fog have given up, but those on the other side are trying to think of solutions. I admire them and I think I might be in a unique position to help from here.
In a camp of survivors, I'm having a laugh with three soldiers when I realize that the leader is watching.
The soldiers have become fat and soft over the last few months, but this will not do. I turn nasty on them, but they think my yelling and admonishments are part of the joke. I try to whisper to them that this is just for show and that they need to play along, but they only laugh at me. Until I hit one of them.
They look upset. I'm upset. They stand up straight.
Later, during a military training exercise, the leader takes his large army bag and I know he's leaving. He looks like the guy who used to do The Daily Show. He hugs me and then he's gone.
Later still, people realize the washing still needs doing.
I organise the taking down and folding of half a load of washing. My friend folds with me.
Downstairs, I hear a tape recording. A deep voice booms:
"Don't forget your keys."
"Don't close the door."
"Take your keys with you."
"The door locks automatically."
On cue, I hear a loud CLICK and then a guy yells: "Shit! Fuck! Fucking fuu-ck!"
My old flatmate stomps up the stairs, cursing under his breath. He turns on heavy metal music. I don't know whether this is to calm him down or to help him think.
Outside, I'm impressed by this workplace/living area.
We are on communal land, owned by a rich, young visionary; on a hill, with an exceptional view.
The main house is all dark glass at the front, on three floors. Modular buildings stand In a rough semi-circle on the land in front. Each unique building has its own character and looks as if it were designed by an architect. Each is owned by a different group and is overseen by the main house.
A woman in a leather apron stands outside her workshop, a one-story building with a pink, sloping roof.
This is beautiful. I want to stay.
Kevin Spacey is a lighting salesman.
My two friends - a man and a woman - and I are close enough to talk to each other without looking at each other and to have some witty banter with some gentle mockery,
The man tests some of the lights as he walks around the store. He hits upon one that has various attachments. It changes from a downcast light to uplighting that illuminates the corner of the massive showroom in a weird way.
Large, leafy plants in the corner suddenly glow, alien-like. Changing the switch of this light is like having the room re-interpreted by a different artist.
I ask Spacey how much it costs. He says the words, but there is so much excitement that I don't hear him the first time. On asking him to repeat himself, I brace myself, and he says:
"Three thousand three hundred pounds," with a straight face, with no expression at all.
My friends make some mocking noises, but I keep playing with the light.
It's the one. It's perfect.
I begin to tell them that I have an idea about a dream home, and while I can't afford this today, maybe one day ... but I know that voicing that is the ideal way to kill the dream. Instead, I look around and wonder if a place like this ever has a half-price clearance sale, in which case ...
On the way out, I thank Kevin Spacey and I reach into my silver business card case. My cards (IRL and ITD) are deliberately sparse, but I've pre-annotated the first one (IRL and ITD) with my full contact details. I start pulling it out but hesitate.
I realize that if Kevin Spacey is serving me, then I must be in a movie. And if I'm in a movie with Kevin Spacey, I probably don't want to be giving the Kevin Spacey character my full contact details.
Unable to hide what I'm doing, I switch cards for a sparse one that just has one phone number and an email address.
He takes it the way a man takes a business card when he has a courtesy case full of business cards at that which he never looks.
He watches us go with that empty expression. The alien leaves glow in the background.
A little boy is in a room with several other kids. They ask me to wait until he's outside, and then I can escort him to the bathroom.
As a joke, I sing to him through the keyhole. My voice is high and ethereal, but I can't hit a note.
I decide to take out my tablet and load up Etherpad, but there's a box of stuff on top of it. I have to excavate the junk to get to it. Fortunately, the screen is intact.
I talk to the guy next to me about Etherpad. He's retirement age and he's not that interested until I start playing. Then, he raises his eyebrows and watches.
My playing is interupted, however, by a video.
In the video, people (pedestriants, commuters, sightseers) are sleeping on an interactive 911 monument in London. The monument is made of leather cushions the size of small sofas with several gigantic blankets thrown over them.
The person videoing the scene pulls a blanket off someone. The guy who was disturbed quickly covers himself back up, irritated. Hilarious.
When the video ends, I close the window and play some more Etherpad, but I fall asleep waiting for the boy to come out.
On waking, the boy is gone. His mother took him home. The man next to me is gone too.
Now it's just me and the tablet and the remaining kids, sleeping.
I play Etherpad some more.
Dean's Dream Journal
I'm often inspired by dreams.
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