post-apocalyptic dream

I don’t remermber having a dream this strange before in such a long time. I guess because I don’t really remember any of my other dreams anymore when I wake up.
But I think this one is different. I just had to write it down. I just had to write it down now, just as I woke up. I want to remember this dream.

It started out with me in some sort of mall. I was walking round, doing some window shopping I guess. I don’t know which mall it was exactly but it looked something like Robinsons Galleria, or some other mall that looked like it.
There was some sort of commotion that was going on outside, so I decided to check it out. Somewhere outside, someone was shot. Point blank range, in the middleof the street. There were a lot of kibitzers but not too much that I wasn’t able to see the dead body on the street. Most of the people just stared at him/her without really talking. Some tried to call the cops. I guess about a couple of them came. Then there were a couple of media. But the weird thing was, most people acted like it was no big deal.
I kept walking. I decided to go to the other mall across the street. It was SM Megamall, that I am sure of. That’s why I thought the first mall tat I came from was Robinsons Galleria. It’s a dream anyway so I guess it doesn’t matter. But I had to walk through this underpass to get to the other side. Like the one in Quiapo but not really that fancy. So I went to the underpass and headed for SM Megamall.
When I emerged out of the underpass, there was also another commotion similar to the one on the other side. But then it was not just one person dead, a small group was. I think it was a family or something, maybe a group of friends. But the kbitzers did the same, they just stared at the dead bodies. I thought there’s something really freaky going on so I walked faster. I guess that was another 5 minutes until I got to the middle entrance of the mall, past the parking lot. But even before I got there, I heard several more gunshots, people were dropping like flies. After shooting their victims the people just stood there like zombies, no, they stood there like they were praying or something or in very deep thought about what they just did. But their faces showed no guilt. Just blank faces in deep thought. Scary.
I got in the mall and strangely it was a bit dimly lit. Like there was some sort of power outage or they were running on backup power. I felt uneasy in the mall, remembering what just happened outside. I caught some news on some TV on display that there was some mass forming outside the mall, huge group apparently shooting everyone else. It was something like a flash mob of some cult or extremist group. Odd enough, they were described as very conservative. I think I am tempted to say that they were members of this real religious group, but I don’t know. Let’s just say that they were a very Bible-centric group. The reporter also mentioned something about the group taking the streets and the malls hostage. They were able to take most of Galleria hostage already and at the same rate, their numbers were growing outside of Megamall already and they were starting to take over this mall too. The reporter got shot.
I decided to go up the stairs instead of taking the escalator. I don’t know why I went up, I just did. I saw some women held up hostage on the third floor, so I turned around right away before they could see me. I went back down the stairs and I saw some people doing the same. They looked pretty normal to me, they looked as nervous and scared as I was. I think that was how we knew we weren’t part of the cult. Some guy in the stairwell mentioned that the basement was a safe place to go, so we went straight down to the basement.
True enough, it felt safe. At the base of the stairwell, there were mall guards mixed with cops/soldiers guarding the area. They had to shake our hands to know that we weren’t part of the cult. I don’t know how or why, I was only dreaming it. But they were able to screen people that way, that was fine with me. There were quite an number of people in the basement already, all normal. Most of them were part of the mall’s staff and personnel and then some third was made up of other pedestrians like me. I had a few of my friends there too. Apparently they were also in the mall when everything started and just got caught in the mess just like me. I felt a slight relief.
I remember trying to call home. I spoke to my mom and she did say that it was happening all over the city. I told her I was fine so far and everthing was… and then the line got cut. Some security guy told me to fork over the phone since it’s no use anyway. The cult was invading most of the city and it wasn’t a good idea to call people since they might be tapping on to the lines or something. I gave him my phone. Another security peron ushered us to a corner of the basement near the exit and had us hold on to a chain. They were asking everyone to line up and hold on to this chain. i think they were locking us into the chain or something, but I didn’t ask why. I figured these guys knew what they were doing, and they did plan to get us out of the mall, using the chain somehow. It was human chain, in a literal sense. They wanted to make sure that everyone was part of the chain before we went for the exit. Weird? Yes. And it didn’t end there.
So we started filing through the exit, I could see some of the cult members and their big guns outside. My heart was beating through my chest. The plan was to walk very slowly through the exit, get through the underpass and then to Galleria. Apparently there was a group waiting for us there, much like in the same situation but they had already setup some sort of relief and command center on the other side. I guess the reason why we were chained together was so that the cult members would let us pass. Again, I don’t know why that worked, I was just dreaming everything.
So we walked out, slowly towards Galleria. We mostly kept our heads down, and we were whispering silent prayers while we walked. We walked huddled together and kept the group tight. I thought if any one of us suddenly got shot, we’d have to drag their bodies along, but I thought too, at least we’d be able to account for everyone that way and maybe get some help for anoyne who was wounded instead of leaving them behind. I called out to God quietly as everyone else did. “God is good,” I kept saying to myself while we walked on to the underpass. A friend of mine was calmly appealing to the cult members as we walked on, some guy in our group told her to shut up but she kept going.
We got to the underpass, there was no one there, no normal people, no cult members, so we just walked on. We were expecting some shooters on the other side so staying here without supplies was really not an option. The goal was to get to Galleria alive.
We came out of the other side of the overpass and true enough, the shooters were there. They came from different walks of life, the shooters. They all seemed  like pretty normal people, except they had handguns and rifles and armalites. they watched us intently as out huddled in group emerged out of the underpass and walked towards the Galleria entrance. One friend of mine was chained next to some kid. The kid I guess was walking a bit slower than the group so my friend tripped.
“Ano ba?” she said. As soon as the shooters heard it, they started shooting at us, so we walked faster. Running was not an option, with all of us chained and huddled together we were looking at a pile of dead bodies in no time. And we didn’t want to provoke more cult shooters so we just walked on at a faster pace. I did seem to work but some of the shooters were still firing at us.
Finally, we got into Galleria. There were some normal people waiting there for us, and I saw other small pedestrian groups who also took refuge. It felt like some sort of bunker inside. They unchaned everyone in my group and assessed the casualties. No one died, but some of us got shot, including a close friend of mine.  We tried to help those who were shot but we were told that the help would come soon so we just made them at least a bit more comfortable. The shock of it all made everyone appear calm in spite of everything, so it was not like someone was wailing in pain in some corner or anything.
Then the help came. I think she was a nurse or something although she wasn’t dressed like one. She did talk like one. She came to our group and apologized for not getting there earlier. She said something about “the mess upstairs” and that the whole situation left them with a lot of “cleaning up to do.” Fine, we said, as long as she was going to help those whoe were shot in the group. She walked towards a middle aged man who walked with us and was shot in the shoulder. She looked at the wound and nodded. And then out of the blue, she whipped out a handgun and shot the man. Twice, in the head. She made sure he was dead.
Even before anyone could react, actually only the civilians did try to react, the security/military people seemed to know that was going to happen and just looked away as the shots were fired, she walked on to each of the people who was shot and fired at them, making sure they were dead. After shooting, she wiped her handgun clean with a towel and went on to shoot the next. At the back of everyone’s mind, they were trying to make sense of why she killed those who were wounded, maybe because there wasn’t really anything that they can do for them anyway, there was no real help, and that these people would only slow the whole group down or something like that. I never knew why; she never explained herself in my dream, really.
Seven dead bodies, just like that. She was about to shoot at my friend who was wounded on the leg, when my friend stood up as if she was okay. She tried to pretend that she was not shot, somehow the color of her pants hid the blood stains. So the ‘nurse’ skipped shooting her.
“Meron pa ba?” the nurse asked. Silence. She took that as a yes and turned to walk away. My friend tried to walk over to me, pretending to be okay.
“Tara, hanap tayo ng mapapanuod na cartoons, bored na ako,” my friend said. The nurse heard her and turned back to us.
She saw my close friend limp over to me and noticed that she had been shot. The nurse took her handgun out again and shot my close friend in the head, twice, point blank, in front of me.
I started crying. I couldn’t describe how I felt. What the hell was wrong with everyone?! What kind of hell did I get myself into?! A hundred thoughts raced through my mind at that moment, none of them made sense. Nothing did. Afterall, it was a dream. But I didn’t know it yet.
The nurse pointed her gun at me and her eyes seemed to ask, “May problema ka?”
“Patayin mo na lang ako, please!” I said.
“Okay,” the nurse said nonchalantly. In fairness to her, I didn’t think she was trigger-happy or anything, she was just doing her job. This might have been the “clean-up” she was referring to earlier.
I closed my eyes and put my hands together at once, knowing that she would not hesitate in shooting me and she wasn’t going to waste time making a ceremony out of killing me as well. She fired her gun. Three shots, I felt them, one on my leg, two at my chest. So this was how a bullet felt though the body. I was still thinking too much to feel most of the pain, but in my mind I definitely felt the bullets break through my skin and push my flesh apart.
I swear I heard another shot, that must have been the one at my head, but that I didn’t feel.
I woke up.

I’m sorry if it was long or if the whole thing sounded awkward. I’m not really that much of a storyteller. But I did try to get most of the details down. Come to think of it, this is the most detail that I was ever able to remember in a dream in a very very long time.
At the back of my mind, it would have stretched longer if I had not asked the nurse to kill me. I just had to ask to die. That must be my subconscious going back to the film Inception at the back of my mind.
Or, this dream must be that Bicol express I had when I got home from work.
Hmmm… Go figure.


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