It was the alien invasion one again.
It starts at night- it always starts at night- and it never turns to daylight no matter how much time spans throughout the dream. Daylight is not welcome. Christ, if only once there were sunlight during these things, there’d be the off chance I’d wake up knowing immediately that the pending death resting overhead like a mothership wasn’t actually real. I’d be able to differ the lucid and reality even before I woke up. Alas, the alien invasion dream has never operated on such terms.
It begins at what seems to be an outside bon fire in a cabin district. My family and I sit outside of our home log cabin, where seemingly the dozen of us all live- The damn thing is tiny and barely looks to fit a honeymoon, but apparently dreams make space for the incomprehensible. My friend and old co-worker from the Old Spaghetti Factory, Paul, is there for what seems to be perfectly natural in him joining my family. Ok, first indication this is not reality- Paul joining my extended family for a bon fire in the cabin district. But no, I’m still suspended in belief that this is real.
The aliens never show themselves. It’s never a “boo” or a hop out from behind the bush with a laser cannon- it’s a known. Our dinner round the campfire dissipates under the general understanding that “Oh shit, it’s about that time. The aliens are coming.”
A television lights up in the cabin with news reports of what we already know… because we’re psychic like that. The first to leave are my uncle Dave and his house members. His wife and kids somehow scurry into the bushes like snipers blurring with the background. Myself, Paul and my mother have no such skills. My sister and her husband go ninja vanish into the night air, while Paul and I remember the giant DIY laser cannon, the aliens left behind from the last invasion, is in the cabin.
I should remind you that I’ve only had this dream one other time, and I distinctly remember this device being left behind from the last invasion. Poor suckers, Paul and I were going to set this bitch off and give these bastards a taste of their own medicine.
Dragging the device near the fire, it looks to be an oversized propane tank. The liquid inside is yellow from the tint of the see-through shell, while the bottom half is pure metal with a vent outlying. Of course Paul muscles the thing to what he believes is the this-side-up way of setting it. “No, look at the directions, dammit Paul!” I yell. I look at the device closely. Broken English written backwards appears on the shell of it. One of two things is happening now- I can read alien, or the alien’s written language is that of backwards broken English.
Mind you at our moment of deciding which half is the bottom of the device, motherships are floating 400m overhead. Their lights bursting at the sight of earth’s surface dwellers, ready to colonize our cabin district, I fumble with the alien device and bump the top (or what I believe is the top) nozzle and it turns out of its own volition. It speaks to me where only I can hear it, Paul stands by. “Device now on, get ready for detonation” it murmurs. I hated the device now. We stored the damn thing from the last invasion, held onto it like a gun bestowed from Jesus in case the 2nd coming were to arrive, and this is how it repays me- in a miscommunicative nozzle nudge that’s now going to take me along with it in its detonation. Born for one thing: to shoot a lazer skyward. For a moment, Paul and I stand next to the device, now pointing up at the motherships hovering above, and feel a sense of union.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross said patients on their death bed have the profound ability to say “I love you” unfiltered with 100% compassion and presence. Living under the presumption you’ll live another day, confuses the words and intent. If it all went down tomorrow- fuck it, if it were to all go down in a few seconds I’d be able to look a few folks in the eye with undoubted contrition and say “I love you”.
Knowing we were about to go down with an alien laser cannon detonation, Paul and I didn’t say “I love you”, we just stared at the oversized-propane-tank looking device like it were a newly attached limb to our body- a necessary heart or artery soon to explode. We needed it, but it would be our undoing.
A yellow hue glows from the rim of the cannon. “You have 5 minutes” it murmurs in a female robotic tone of synthetic voice. The kumbaya moment shatters, Paul and I make a fucking break for it. He, one way; I, the other with my mother who was apparently somewhere nearby the entire time.
I run alongside my mom, who hobbles in stride with me. She’s keeping up amazingly well for the age of 60-something. Others, from the cabin district, scurry in our direction, passing us up, bumping into my mother.
Long jumping down a staircase, my mother and I are sprinting atop a portion of the cabin district made from wood bridges, pathways and steps. I easily adopted the underground Goblin Village from The Hobbit movie as the backdrop for this in the recess of my mind. Her leg goes through a faulty board while running down a staircase. People are in full sprint, now. The swarm of humans coast around us like flooding waters would a tree trunk. We’re stuck- well my mother is stuck.
It’s at this moment I realize the world is going to end.
Nothing is going to matter.
That damn device is going to fire off and take out at least one of the alien ships… but not enough to stop the rest of them from colonizing our planet.
The interstellar foreigners will whitewash our history from the galaxy, and not a single fucking thing will be remembered of the silly humans that thought they had a grasp on this thing called life and imperialism. We’ll be forgotten.
And that’s ok.
What isn’t ok, is if I leave my mother stuck in a floorboard before it all goes down. We’ll be forgotten, but I won’t forget this moment. I can make a break for it and suffer the world’s end for a few seconds more… alone, or I can suffer it a few seconds less and help my mom up and try to keep up with the crowd.
I choose the latter. She springs up, almost damn near twice as fast than before, and we find shelter in a cabin on the edge of the district near a body of water.
I peer my eyes open to a room. My room. Sunlight bleeds through broken shades onto unopened boxes and comic books. The alien invasion is a dream. Possibly a reoccurring mind-fuck to remind me that nothing is promised, and someday you might have to tell someone you truly love them when the time isn’t called for.
When the apocalypse strikes, bless it, nothing is going to matter after it goes down.
However, for now, a few things matter to me.