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Dreams of Rain

Rain, pouring down on the streets. Heavy, pounding, thumping rain. The kind of rain that feels like it’ll never end and rain and rain and rain until the whole world has been washed away. I stand underneath a tree, quietly, waiting for the rain to pass. But it doesn’t.

Across the street is a broken down car sitting under a neon blue sign. I look closer at the sign, straining my eyes to see it, but for some reason I can’t focus. Everytime I think that I have it,my eyes just slip off it, like water. It must be raining. I’ve never seen it fall so heavily before.

Lighting cuts through the sky, illuminating in a single moment the outlines of the concrete buildings towering over me. I look up at them. To me, the city always seems so full of life, filled with possibility. A patchwork of humanity, filling all possible space. In just one city block there might be at least a dozen apartment buildings, in each one at least a dozen floors, in each one at least a dozen souls. Thousands of people, each of them with a life, ambition, drive.

But as I look up at the monoliths around me I notice that each one is completely dark. Each window is thrown open, and no light comes from inside. I look back at the car and I notice that its windows are also rolled down, and the rain has already filled it halfway. The sign goes dark, and it’s as if a cloth is pulled over my eyes.

When I was young, I went on a trip with my family down into a cave. They put us into an elevator that went down and down, deeper and deeper. The only part of that trip I remember was when the guide told us that she was going to turn off the lights, and that when she did the nearest light would be miles away. I remember that darkness. It felt oppressive, completely smothering me. At the time I was comforted by it. It felt warm, like I no longer had to worry about the things that I could see. My eyes could rest.

Another cut in the sky, and I’m almost blinded. I fumble into my right pocket for my phone, but it isn’t there. Why isn’t it there? It’s always there. Another cut and suddenly I realize that the water has risen to my ankles. I can feel it now, gelid water and shooting pains up my leg.

I begin to run, splashing through the water. The sky cuts again, and I see the city in stark relief. And everything is wrong. I will continue running even if there's nowhere I can go, until I trip, and the water engulfs me.

I’m so wet and I thrash and scream, unable to breathe. My hand strikes something hard, and I reach for it, clutching, feeling for something. And then it clicks, and the sky cuts open again, but this time it doesn’t disappear.

My room is lit in stark relief, and I sit there, panting, sweaty, cold, in nothing but my underwear. I lie back down, the adrenaline still coursing through me. I lie there until I no longer hear the blood in my ears, until I can think again.

I slowly get out of bed and roll up my window. Before me sprawls the endless city, lit by a thousand artificial lights. It’s a clear night, and I can see buildings far in the distance. Even at this ungodly hour there are windows lit with the signs of life. A dozen buildings, a dozen floors, a dozen souls. A thousand, thousand lives.

I smile, close my window, turn off my light, and try to go back to sleep.

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