The Nation Chronicles
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For several miles before they reached and successfully passed around and beyond the city of Rock Springs, black oily smoke had hung over them in the sky. …
The vacation he had planned was a three week camp out in the State Forest Preserve that started only twenty miles to the east. The preserve was nestled up to the military reservation and stretched from there all the way into Central New York. Mike had no idea exactly where he would camp. He had decided to just hike until he found a spot that suited him.
As he headed for the bathroom he noticed that the clock on the dresser was off. Not blinking, but off, and he could vaguely recall dreaming of waking during the night to some loud noise.
It had seemed at first, when he had awakened within the dream, as though the entire house had been shaking. He had passed from that dream into another, but the noise and the shaking had seemed to accompany him into that dream as well. It had to have been the strangest dream he could ever recall having.
At first he had been in the house and the walls had been shaking around him, and the next thing he knew he had been standing in a field with thousands of other people.
When he had spotted Johnny Barnes in the crowd, he had walked over and tried to talk to him, but the dream Johnny had acted as though he hadn’t heard him. Then he had been back in bed in his own house on Linden Street, talking to a priest that was sitting on the edge of the bed.
The priest had been telling him that he had a choice to make. Mike wasn’t sure what the choice had been, but could remember telling the man that he didn’t want to choose anything. That he just wanted to go back to sleep. That had apparently satisfied the priest, as he had shook his head and seemed to float away.
Mike shook his head, recalling the dream as he entered the bathroom. He picked up his toothbrush from the small plastic cup that held it, squinted into the mirror, and turned on the cold water tap.
“What the hell,” Mike said aloud, “frigging water out too?” He dropped the brush back into the cup and headed into the kitchen to start the coffee.