A friend of mine has a fantastic term for the sleepless, tossing turning, nightmare nights of the full moon: Moonwracked. For me, most full moons are. Last night was no exception.
Last night I dreamed that I was stuck in a major city that I presumed to be New Jersey. It was life and death end of the world, and I was currently traveling with four strangers I had met as we all tried to survive.
In the grand scale of survival tools, our choice was shovels. We used them to dig, to move things from one location to another (ergo shoveling), to carry things, as a weapon, and as a way to keep zombies at bay. But the zombies were a secondary fear. The real danger was the Trollusk.
He was enormous and he was fast. He had come from Europe or Africa...some where over seas. He moved in silent, creepy, disjointed jerks striking at lighting speed and the zombie hordes were the remains of his meals reanimating.
One of the guys in our group didn't particularly like me and was an escaped convict. We happened to be scaling one of the tall buildings after fighting off the latest round of zombies. Three of our members were already up top. I was almost there and he was last behind me on the ladder when the gun he insisted on carrying in his pocket went off and shot him in the gut. Before he could fall off the building, I wrapped my arm around the ladder and snatched him close.
He insisted on passing all three of his shovels up for our group. As I was pulling him up and we reached the top, there was a brief moment when I thought, just for spite, that he might pull me and throw me off the building. I told him not to and we had a quick whispered conversation where he told me I was annoying enough he'd briefly thought about it, but living humans were getting scarce and it'd be better if I'd let him go instead.
Suddenly, we saw the Trollusk. On another lower part of the roof, the other lady in our group was by herself, pacing, crying, in shock. She'd just lost her brother to the zombies. She was looking off to the left, thoroughly consumed by her grief haze. But the Trollusk had just scaled the building on the right and was coming up fast on her...and she didn't notice.
The guy I was with started making a lot of noise. He was trying to get the Trollusk's attention and then intended to throw himself from the building to get it to follow him and try to buy us time to escape. But I grabbed his arm, hushed him and pulled his gun from his waist band, stalked towards the lower end of the building questioning if it would even work, then shot the Trollusk in the back of the head.
It feel down dead. I looked at its largely human face and quickly placed coins on its eyes and a sheet soaked in holy water over its body, but still I had not moved fast enough. The Trollusk's spirit snatched me to be witness bearer of its life and suddenly I was in a large grassy savanna, running at incredible speeds through the tall grass.
I was both hunter and hunted. I ran so fast I practically flew and it was exhilarating. It was eight tracks before I realized that there was a subtle difference. I realized I was running a loop over and over on repeat, but I was running the grass flat and starting to create a ten foot wide path in some spots and only a single person wide in others.
Still repeating. Still repeating. I began to listen. I could hear the crunch of the grass . The sounds of eating. These filled me with fear. This is what hunted me. I could smell deer. This filled me with hunger. This is what I hunted.
Repeating. Repeating. And now I see there's a dead deer in a portion of this loop that I keep jumping over.
Repeating. Repeating. Always running but looking for details. The sound of what hunts me getting louder. Getting closer. Always running, always repeating. More grass down, I'm easier to see, leap the dead deer, don't stop running.
Repeating, repeating but this time when I pass, the decaying deer picks its head up. Repeating, repeating, this time, it bleats in fear. Repeating, repeating, jump over the reanimating deer. Repeating, repeating, run _around_ the reanimated deer as it brings itself to a jerking lumbering stand and bellows in rage.
Repeating, repeating. Can't stop running. Can't change course. Not by enough. Through the wide gap, over the hill, down past the shrubs, and starting the curve that will take me back to the deer as the sounds of the Hunter consuming grow unbearably loud. I know for certain the hunter and hunted are one and the same and the residual sickness left within meals past means those meals awaken with my own hunger, and what has been eaten waits to eat.
Repeating, repeating, duck under the last bush, prepare to jump or dodge or die, the sound of eating unbearably loud, the fear making me jump, and suddenly
I'm awake in my bed, having actually jumped and startled myself awake, my heart pumping like I'd actually been running, wide awake and thankful to have found away to escape the zombie deer that waited for me in the tall grass.