Friday, August 16, 2013

Chemicals of War

My friend and I were discussing World War I, and it was as if we were right there, witnessing it all first hand.  We stood on a high hill where we had a view of the whole battlefield of Europe laid out before us, the soldiers all digging row upon row of those endless trenches beneath the broiling late afternoon sun, all the vast preparations for war.  My friend nudged me and told me that the army issued many of these soldiers such substandard equipment that often times they ended up being exposed and dying from the gas themselves as they were releasing it on the enemy.

As I considered this unpleasant piece of information, I found myself in a dark place, lost amid piles of skulls and bones piled higher than I could strain my neck to see, pile high enough to block out the light and the sun.  I could hear the awful rasping rattle of someone's dying breath, all sick and muffled.  I turned and saw a gas mask staring out at me from one of the piles, the eyes black and empty. 

I knew that the gas had been released in the air.  I tried to hold my breath and run.  But I just kept hearing that rattle, right over my shoulder, right at my ear, dogging my heels.  I kept seeing those black-eyed masks staring out at me from every pile.  I ran on and on, but there were just more and more piles, and I knew I'd never make it.  I'd never escape the gas before my lungs gave out and I'd be forced to take a breath.

9 comments:

  1. Freaking eek.... After a dream like that I might never sleep again.

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    1. Ha! Eventually you get very, very sleepy ....zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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  2. Very creepy and well told. It's funny that you don't often hear about the horrors of World War I, though you'll hear the horrors of just about every other war in the past century. Not sure why that is.

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    1. I've always had a certain fascination with WWI ever since I was a kid. Despite all the atrocities surrounding WWII, the war itself has taken on an almost sentimental or even romantic mystique. WWI, on the other hand, just feels like an awful, deeply disturbing, nightmare. Nothing romantic about that one at all.

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  3. Topical. Do you often have dreams prophetic of the next day's news items?

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    1. Why? What happened? I don't actually follow the news much.

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    2. Since you reminded me, I did some digging and found this dream from the Summer of 2001:

      "I was sitting in a tattered old armchair under a reading lamp, shaking my head over the state of the world. The unfolded newspaper sat in my lap. 'Who rules the world today?', the title of an editorial asked. Well, according to page one, it was the terrorists. There was a story about how eleven people had died from a terrorist attack on a plane flying from Florida to Pennsylvania. The nature of the attack wasn’t mentioned, but there was a nice meaningless illustration of a giant plane superimposed over a map of the eastern seaboard."

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  4. Oh my. I'm really glad I haven't had any dreams like that. Eek.

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    1. Eek is correct.

      I had an interesting one yesterday, but it was so convoluted, I'm not sure where I would start. Sometimes with ones like that I can just take one part of it (which is what I did here actually -- there was a bit more to this), but it was just crazy through and through. Happens sometimes ;)

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