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Because

Another disturbing dream

By TANIKA SMITH WHEATLEYPublished about a month ago 9 min read
Author and Artist Tanika Smith Wheatley

This is a variance of a recurring dream titled: Because

"I bought a house…" my husband said without enthusiasm.

"After all these years," I answered, also unenthusiastically. We’d been talking about moving forever. "Where?" I continued, as we’d discussed moving to England, his home country, New Zealand, my home country, Australia, because a lot of family live there, and the north of Italy, because that is our favorite place…

"Not far from here," he took my hand and led me from the home we already had and loved and had renovated together over the years. I glanced back, as we left - our Polynesian styled tropical (our friends call it a Bali Resort) home and garden that we both loved so much - but we had reasons for moving - the high pitched squealing of the nearby freight train gave me headaches, my husband was pining for his home country, which I also love, I was homesick for my country, which he also loved, we loved being with family in Australia of course, and we both loved Italy - especially north Italy - so I was a little surprised when he answered, "not far from here…"

It was easy to forget we were in a city suburb, because it is so green - there were dense areas where you couldn’t see any other houses for the trees, our existing house included, yet knowing we were surrounded by them gave us a sense of both living alone in the woods, but not alone - independent, yet secure in the neighborhood community - one of the many things we loved about living in this area. And the undulating landscape provided both breathtaking views, mainly trees upon trees that went on and on in all directions on the rises, or being surrounded and sheltered by - yes, more trees in the valleys - the main reason people, including us, chose to live here - right now, my husband was leading me through a slight upwards rise in a lovely leafy reserve - I knew the place, we often took walks around this area and my heart lifted, as we’d always thought this was a lovely spot - then we went down a street, and up another, and through another reserve (there are several in this area) and I was glad, because we were far away from the train track - I chose not to remark on the obvious, that if we continued living in this suburb, at least we’ll be further from the train that went through it - the only sounds were of the variety of birds, and I didn’t want to ‘break the spell’…

Then suddenly, he stopped - I had been so entranced with the beauty of the landscape and bird sounds that it took me a moment to realize we were standing in front of a house - my heart sank - surely not - he knows I don’t like modern cold looking concrete boxes - he didn’t have to say anything - I knew we were looking at our new home. He had always liked modern square houses, with equally square systematically landscaping. I have always preferred old fashioned, traditional, cosy, warm looking homes with curved paths and rounded cottage gardens. I like lush plants; he likes almost desert like yards with the odd well planned tree as a single, statuette feature.

But I tried to hide my disappointment, as he looked upon the monstrosity before us with pride and joy. I also felt as though I could not complain, because although our 'Bali Resort' style home was a compromise of both our personal likes, it was more my style, than his. Still, I wondered if he’d sold our pretty place, and I wondered if I could actually leave it, for this...

So it was with some surprise, when he led me (he hadn’t let my hand go since we started walking) through the house that I experienced an instant calming, almost mesmerizing feeling as we roamed through what I had already named in my mind, as the 'cell block'. I even reached out with my free hand and let it slide along the cold concrete wall…

A smile must have been on my face, because he said, 'you like it…"

I looked at the sterilized kitchen, I looked out the sliding glass walls to the forest beyond, and nodded - and shrugged, and nodded - "I think I do…"

"Now," he pulled me down a hallway, "I have something important to show you…"

"What?"

"Wait…"

He started turning a door handle.

"An indoor pool?" I tried guessing.

He shook his head.

"A spa? Sauna?"

He didn’t reply as he opened the door. I gasped. It took a moment before I could say anything at all. "I know you liked the 'Avatar' movie, but…that’s a big...toy…"

He let my hand go and went to stand beside it, and proudly looking it over, shook his head. "It…it’s not a toy…"

"What?"

We were looking at the only thing in this concrete windowless room. A large army looking robotic metal machine in the image of a man, whereby a man can get into it from the back, and shoot 'machine guns' from the machine’s arms.

"I didn’t know those robot-like machines were real…"

"They’re not - well, not officially. I know a guy…"

He always seemed to ‘know a guy’ when it came to bargains, or having things made. I swallowed. "But…why?"

He looked back at me, as if it was obvious, "for defense…"

I knew the future looked bleak, with terrorists overtaking the world, governments collapsing, and people getting desperate, but…"I have a gun…"

We looked at each other and laughed. I have an assortment of weapons and know how to use them.

"But they will be futile, especially when you’re alone…" I knew what he meant - his cancer had returned…

And indeed, it was not long before I found myself alone, in my concrete block. I had grown to love my modern cold looking home, having a lovely cozy warm place was no longer important to me. I found comfort in my bleak square house. I never seemed to feel the cold. I never seemed to feel anything anymore, at all. I found myself wandering the sterile inside rooms, and along the straight concrete paths outside, sitting on my square concrete outside seated area, next to a ‘Private Property’ sign that my husband also believed might help. No pretty flowers. No lush plants. Not even a solitary statuette feature tree. But we were surrounded by the lush forest of the area, so I suppose we didn’t really need any trees of our own, on our own property. And there, I would sit for hours - for most of the day - rain or shine - I loved it when it was grey, overcast, and cloudy - I always have, brightness hurts my eyes, but I loved it even more so, nowadays - it suited the concrete house, it suited the stone dullness of life without my husband.

It was on one of these overcast days, when I went to sit on my favorite outdoor seat, that I came across a young man sitting there. I was taken by surprise. No-one ever came past my place, let alone take a seat on my property.

"This is a private property," I pointed to the sign, "a private residence…"

With the uncaring arrogant attitude of today’s youth, he shrugged and answered, "so?"

"So…you’re trespassing…"

He laughed and looked around. Others, obviously friends of his, came out from between the trees on the nearby reserve. "Hear that?" He asked them all, ‘we’re…trespassing…"

They all laughed.

I stepped closer. "Yes, you are…and I’m nicely, asking you all to leave…"

It was obvious he hadn’t expected me to approach him, he thought I’d be afraid of him. But at my age, and after losing my husband, I no longer felt anything - I had become as cold, and as grey, as my cold, grey house. For a moment, he was uncertain, and ran his hands through his unruly black hair. He blinked up at me, and his dark eyes squinted as he wondered what to say next.

He decided to laugh. His friends were coming closer, and they laughed as well. There were lots of them. They kept coming from the trees. They thought if the leader’s voice didn’t scare me, sheer numbers might. Still, I did not cower, or try to run back inside. With this amount of people, no locks will keep them from crashing in.

I cleared my throat and repeated myself. "You must all leave! Now!"

More laughter.

I pointed to the sign. "This is not a public place. This is my home. I asked you nicely to leave, now I’m ordering you to! All of you! Go! Now!"

The leader finally re-found his voice. He mimicked me. "Go! Now!" He shifted on the seat. That was a good sign. He was starting to feel uncomfortable. Maybe they will leave now. But instead, he looked up at me and grinned. "Or what?"

"What?"

"Or what?" He pointed to our Private Property sign. "What are you going to do? Shoot us?"

"Shoot you?"

They all laughed again.

"Yea," he went on, "shoot us?"

He was enjoying himself. They all were.

I cleared my throat. "You…want me to…shoot you?"

They were laughing so much that they were hysterical.

The leader looked at the others. "Yea," he said again, "we’d like to see you try to…shoot us…"

More hysterical laughter.

I joined in with the laughter. I haven’t laughed or even smiled for a long time. "Really? You really want me to…shoot you?"

More laughter. "Yea…" the leader almost choked he was laughing so much, "we would like to see you try to shoot us…"

I was enjoying myself as much as they were all enjoying themselves. "Cool. OK. I’ll be right back…"

More hysterics. "Cool." The leader mimicked me. "Cool…"

I stopped laughing. "I won’t be long…"

The leader was just about peeing himself. "I won’t be long," he mimicked.

They were still laughing when I returned in my husband’s big machine. I’d never been in it before. It was easier than I’d imagined it to be. There was an ‘on/off power’ button. My own feet in its feet walking guided it through the house - my own hands in its hands held onto the machine guns. I’d expected them to run at the sight. They didn’t. They hesitated for a moment, then laughed some more at the sight. Like my own first reaction, they thought it was a toy.

"Oh; that’s priceless," said the leader, "that’s real…cool…"

"One last warning," I said as I turned the guns in his direction.

Now he was laughing so much that he fell off the chair.

Some of the others started looking uncertain, but no-one left.

But I had to be sure. "So, you really want me to shoot you?"

The leader was the only one laughing now, but he replied, "yes…"

And I replied, "OK…" and shot - I purposely missed him, thinking he and the rest of his mates would run, but he laughed some more - he didn’t take me seriously.

"Ooops, missed…" then I pointed the guns right at his head. "You’re sure you want me to shoot you…?"

"Yes…"

"OK." I did.

I walked towards the others. They started to run. I shot as many as I could. Only a few escaped out of range.

Later, when I was arrested, I was asked, "why?"

I shrugged. I was on my way to another cold 'cell block'. I simply put my hands out to make it easier for them to put the handcuffs on, and replied, "because…they wanted me to…"

Short Story

About the Creator

TANIKA SMITH WHEATLEY

When I was a child, I would wake up in the night because of nightmares. As time went on, I realized that I was looking forward to my dreams. Now, I write them, among other stories as well.....

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    TANIKA SMITH WHEATLEYWritten by TANIKA SMITH WHEATLEY

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