Sunday, May 08, 2005


  • I think this photo of a member of Einsatzgruppe D preparing to shoot a Ukrainian Jew provided my drug addled mind the inspiration for my nightmare.
  • In my dream I am being forced to walk through dense East Texas woods. Despite the thick undergrowth everywhere my path is easy; it is wide and well worn by many, many who have come before me. Like those I see ahead of me I have my arms up and hands clasped behind my head. I am wearing a thin t-shirt and it is soaked through with sweat. Droplets run freely down my face and my right eye stings from the salt getting into it. The air is so humid it is like breathing thin water.

    Along the side of the path are guards, dressed in deep green fatigues. Each of them clutches a rifle that looks familiar but that I do not know the name of. I know rifle is the wrong word; it is some kind of automatic weapon. They too are sweating, but unlike us prisoners they are able to drink water; they have bottles of Dasani that they are drinking. On their right shoulders are sewn American flags. They watch us with a flat stoicism, registering no compassion or even interest.

    Ahead I hear an indistinct command barked out and hear a volley of gunfire. Then silence again.

    I can feel mosquitoes landing and biting me, but I am not allowed to move my hands to swat them or shoo them away. Watching my chest I see one land on my almost translucent with sweat t-shirt. It bites through the shirt and as my legs carry me forward I watch it feed on me.

    There is a commotion behind me and I turn. A thin Asian lady has tripped and fallen. One of the soldiers is telling her to get up and kicking her. I turn and keep going before I get into trouble.

    There is a clearing ahead in the woods and I emerge into it and feel the heat of the sun strike me like a blow. My exposed skin tingles with the sudden warmth. We are herded into a straight line on the edge of a pit. The pit is long, perhaps a football field in length, but not wide, maybe twelve or fifteen feet wide. I can't tell how deep it is because I cannot see the bottom. The piles of bodies start about ten feet below the edge of the pit. I look up and away from the pit and see at the edge of the clearing the big yellow Caterpillar construction equipment. Backhoes dig the pits, bulldozers to fill them. Beyond this pit I see that there are other mass graves of similar size, but these have already been covered with soil.

    The soldiers are lining up behind us. There will not be a soldier per prisoner so each will have to shoot several. There is nothing I can do. I look up and stare into the yellow sun.

    "Ready." I can hear the soldiers shifting, raising their guns.


    The gunfire starts and in my peripheral vision I can see people falling into the grave. The shots continue for a couple of seconds and I realize that I am flinching with each shot but not being hit.

    The shots stop and I am still standing.

    "There's always one, isn't there?" I hear a woman's voice ask. She is approaching me from behind and I am starting to shake because I know that voice well.

    She is standing at my side, dressed in a black officer's uniform. She gives me a long unfriendly look. "You were always the lucky one, weren't you, Andy?" She asks.

    It is my sister, Janice.

    "Kneel." She orders and I kneel in the muddy edge of the pit.

    "Look down."

    I look into the pit. It is filled with sprawled bodies. I realize that some are still alive because they are twitching. It is as though looking turned on a switch and I can suddenly hear them moaning, crying, breathing.

    "You don't see them do you? Keep looking. I saw them and I killed her and knew you would be coming."

    I see them suddenly, my wife Laura, on her back looking towards the sun with her remaining eye. A bullet entered the rear of her head and destroyed her face; I can barely recognize her. Beside her but not on her is a baby. The baby is alive, completely unhurt and wriggling.

    This is my daughter.

    "Don't worry, she won't last long after we bury her." Promises my sister and I hear her pull back the slide on her pistol and feel the barrel placed against the back of my skull and I want to pray but cannot remember how to do so.

    Then I am swimming in a deep, lightless sea and it is from this second dream that I awake into the world around me.

    I hate the dreams I get when I am on painkillers. They are never soothing. I don't think I need to worry about becoming addicted to these things; these dreams are too unpleasant. I strongly suspect this nightmare will ruin my whole day. It was too graphic and too real for me to relax.