Smithy woke up for the second time in as many as three days from the same dream. It had been so real every time, in fact it got more vivid and prolonged each time. In the dream he knew he was in his neighborhood but sometime in the future. He also knew that the year was 2022 because for some strange reasons he knew he was ten years older. Most of the houses were abandoned; some were not even standing, like an earthquake had leveled them flat. His was one of the two that were in a slightly habitable fashion and that left a lot to be desire. All the windows were boarded with plywood or old storm shutters with small peep hole for looking out. The roof had multiple leaks and water would pour whenever the torrential rains made their way across the sky; even though for some strange reason they never lasted more than an hour. The humidity was unbearable after the rain stopped and with no electric there were no fans or air conditioning. Smithy was all alone and found himself scrunching for every bit of food. The water was undrinkable and the sun was hotter than he had ever felt it. The only neighbors were heavily armed and shared nothing they had and seem to have been prepared for this period of time. North, east, west and south in every direction the roads were not drivable and not that he had any gas for his old Dodge charger which he had purchased back in 2007. The only safe time to move around and look for food or any items to make life a little more bearable was at night. For some strange reason he knew he had to still be careful not to be seen or worst, captured. There were soldiers in gray uniforms who drove around in gray army jeeps and trucks. While he was awake and in the now, the present he could not recall ever seeing this type of uniforms. All his research turned up nothing of this military attire or any armed forces here on earth. For the fifth night he was back in the future and was being chase by two men and a woman in those infamous uniforms. He could not remember being so terrified or scared in all his thirty two years though ten of them he couldn't remember ever living them. He turned a corner and heard someone in a low voice and then in a soft but audible whistles calling him. Having no option he turned and headed in the person's direction. The woman with her five year old child in tow pulled him into a house that was barely standing, yet in the total darkness they knew exactly where they were going. The three hunkered down in a back room lid by a single candle. There was a bed and a few shelves that held can goods and other supplies. “Stay still and don't make a sound and they won’t find us” whispered the woman. Her son seem to know the routine because he quickly and silently took a corner of the bed, folded his legs and brought his knees up under his chin and rested his head there. He then closed his eye and seems to be praying in silent mood. The sound of footsteps could be heard on the outside wall and the woman who had introduced herself as Carol, leaned forward and blew out the candle leaving them in absolute darkness. Smithy woke up from all the light coming through the slats in his mini blinds, “I have to hang some sun block curtains one of these days” was his first thought. The final scenario of his dream was his second thought and trying to make sense of it was becoming a daily labor.
After seven days of constant dreaming, Smithy began to wake up exhausted like he had spent every sleeping minute awake, living a second life. The dreams had become more intense and so real that he would wake up sweating like he had run a marathon. At work his coworkers started to ask questions when they caught him day dreaming. The dreams had started to affect his real life. He began to get paranoid not knowing at times when he was awake and when he was dreaming. His two worlds began to merge together and he felt like he was losing his mind.
Two weeks had now passed and still the dreams. Carol had become part of that world and during his waking moments he could not stop worrying about her and her son. He felt stupid and yet he couldn't help worrying about her. To him she had become as real as the flesh he could pinch. Not being able to focus at work, Smithy left early that Friday and went straight home. He was exhausted, so he showered and laid on his couch to watch TV. After an hour he had been dozing on and off and knew he had because the programs had changed. Finally sleep got the better of him and he found himself once again in the small dark room with Carol and her son Kenny. The three were eating food from a can and planning to make a run for more food that night. Carol was explaining to Smithy that unless they went to one of the new government buildings, which really weren't new but building the government had taken over for their own use and got a stamp on the right hand or their forehead; that they couldn't buy food or walk around freely. “Then let's do that and we wouldn't have to hide all the time” Smithy replied not understanding what the problem was and hearing this for the first time. “You mustn't do that” she said with a sense of urgency. “If you let them stamp you, it's as good as selling your soul to the devil, and you can’t ever change your mind or remove the stamp. I rather starve and die then give into them, they brain wash you into believing that it's the right thing to do, and then you realize that it's all a lie. You might as well see the lie for what it is and try making it to the end.” Smithy stared at the woman before him with her unkempt dirty blond hair and her baggy clothes which were two sizes too big for her frame and knew that in better times she had to have been stunning. Her eyes were true deep blue like that of the sky on a cloudless day right before darkness arrives. She asked, “Why are you staring at me like that?” He snapped out of the trance she held on him at the moment and was a little embarrassed to even answer. The words came out before he knew he had said them, “Because you’re beautiful.” Politely she replied, “Thank you smithy, but as for beautiful, that would be a piece of fruit if we found one to eat.” They both laughed and he realized that it was the first time they had laughed since they first met two weeks ago, when she had saved his life. Smithy noticed that it was also the first time that it was daytime in his dream world. He also wondered why they weren't outside so he asked, “Why are we stuck inside when it's light out?” Immediately she answered his question, “because we would be captured for sure and we would be forced to get stamped or they will kill us if we refuse.” He studied her for a minute and saw that she was serious, but had to ask anyway. “You're not joking are you?” he stared at her and waited for her answer. “No,” she replied, “where have you been for the last six years under a rock? If we survive one more year and the chances are we won't, this will all be over.” She sat there and a tear ran down her face. “How do you know all this?” He asked. “Because I was raised in a Christian home, and I wouldn’t listen to my parents who told me this would happen.” They both fell silent for a moment and then he asked, “Where are your parents now?” she quickly answered “In heaven” more tears wet her eyes but she wiped them back. “I don't understand” he replied but didn't get an answer because someone banged on the door and woke him up. In a way he was relieved to be back, but Carol was always at the forefront of all his thoughts. He got up, walked over to the front door and found his mother stranding there looking a little irritated. “I’ve been wondering where you been at lately that you haven’t taken a minute to call your mother” were the first words out of her mouth. “Hello, to you too mother” he replied and held the door open for her to enter. She followed him into the living room and sat on the Ez-chair and he sat on the couch he’d been sleeping on. “Mother do you think you can answer a question for me?” He asks her with a serious look on his face. “Well first you have to ask and I’ll see if I have the answer” she replied. “Do you know anything about a stamp that people have to take on their bodies in order to buy food or other goods in the future; I’m talking about the future?” His mother took a deep breath before she answered, “Well not really, just what I’ve heard from bible thumpers. They have this myth that the world is going to end soon, though they have been spreading this kind of nonsense for the last few centuries and we are still here. Why do you ask, is this what’s been bothering you so much that it’s been weeks since you called your mother. And that’s why I’m here, because I was worried about you.” She sat there staring at him with a smile. “I’m okay” he replied and then continued, “I’ve just been having these recurring dreams that are too real to ignore. Why was it that we never went to church?” He asked without taking his eyes off his mother. She lowered her head as she gave her reply; “I did when I was young and found that it wasn’t for me. They always try to scare you into believing that we go to hell if we are not one of them, that’s all.” They sat there without saying a word before he broke the silence. “Well I need to find out the truth because I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep unless I do.” After another fifteen minutes his mother got up to leave, walked over to him and warned him not to stay out of touch for any length of time, she kissed him on the forehead and left him where he was sitting.
That Friday night was the first time in over three weeks that Smithy slept through the entire night without spending a minute in his dreams. Saturday though he woke up with an air of uneasiness that he had never felt in all his twenty two years. He took a bath and dress, got his car keys and stepped outside. He walked over to the car which last month he had made the last payment and opened the door. Without a clue as to a destination he started the engine and headed south. A mile south he jumped on the expressway with three quarters of a tank and decided to drive till he was close to empty, then fill up and turn back. This had been his way of thinking things through since buying his Charger five years ago. His father had co-signed the loan for him when he graduated from high school and after all these years the car still looked new. He always enjoyed driving the car but today it didn’t feel like pleasure but a mission. What the mission was he had not a clue, but it would give him time to think and try to make some sense of these dreams; why they had stopped or at least for one night, because tonight might be a different story. After two plus hours of driving, Smithy looked down and saw that he was down to less the a quarter tank of gas and he was not one to drive his car close to empty. He pulled off the expressway and into a gas station. He cut the engine, stepped out and inserted his debit card at the pump and followed the instructions on the key pad. He flipped the handle and stuck the other end in the opening to the tank and left it running to fill and stop on its own. He walked across the lot and into the Quick Mart. The attendant said a polite “Hello” and asked if he needed any help. Smithy asked for a place to get a bite and was told to go east about a mile to Dale’s Dinner on the right side of the road. He got back out to his car replaced the pump and the cap back on his tank, fired up the engine and headed east. He found the dinner and it had a homier look than expected and hunger called so he parked and went inside. The place was empty except for a couple in the far left corner. He walked to the right and sat at an empty booth. There were two waitresses and the one came over with a menu and placed it in front of him. Without looking up, he thanked her and opened it to read and see what caught his attention and appeal. “May I bring you something to drink, coffee, water or a soda?” She asked looking down at him. He raised his head to answer but just stared and she was doing the same. He looked at her eyes and was speechless for a few second before just saying, “coffee please.” Smithy felt like getting up and running, for sure his dreams had become his reality. The waitress returned to deliver his coffee and take his order but he was staring at the menu just as she had left him a minute ago. She placed the cup in front of him and he looked at her and said, “thank you, and what do you recommend?”She replied “The meatloaf, mash potatoes and gravy” She spoke more like a robot and still playing the stare game with him. “That would be fine” Smithy said without any thought and quickly looked down at his cup of coffee. The waitress turned around after writing on her order pad and went off to place his order. Fifteen minutes later she returned with his food, put it on the table and quickly walked away without saying a word. Smithy ate at a slow pace and with almost no desire except to satisfy the hunger. The waitress came back with his bill and to collect the empty dishes, he handed her his credit card and off she went again. Five minutes had passed and she had not returned with his receipt and credit card. It was another two minutes before she returned and this time she sat right across from him. Smithy stared at her eyes and yes, they were the same eyes that he saw when he slept and even when he was awake. They sat there in silence for a minute before she asked, “Have you been dreaming lately or more like daily?” The question didn’t surprise or stun him and she knew that indeed he was the man in her dreams. Smithy didn’t answer so she went on, changing gears a little just to change the subject for a minute, she asked, “And where are you from?” after a minute of staring and then thinking he might be appearing rude he replied “Boston” but nothing else came out. “How long have you been having those dreams, Smithy?” she asked. “Why do you ask, and how do you know my name or about my dreams?” She looked at him with a little sympathy and a smile that spoke trust, and replied, “Because I’m the girl of your dreams, and hopefully together we can figure out how not to live through the real, Great Tribulation.”
A Multitude from the Great Tribulation9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,
10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
If you stopped by leave a comment I would love to hear from you..God Bless