Dream Journal 9/25/15

I was living alone in a dystopian wasteland of a city, where it is always dark outside, and there are clouds of pollution and dust in the air, blocking out the sun.

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My son has been going through an awful sleep regression phase the last couple weeks, and the last two nights have been particularly awful. I got around 3.5 hours of sleep last night, but I managed to crash on the couch this morning while he was napping, and I actually remember the dream I was having before he woke me up. Again.
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Present age/dystopian future.

I was living alone in a dystopian wasteland of a city, where it is always dark outside, and there are clouds of pollution and dust in the air, blocking out the sun.

It was nighttime, and I was creeping around a large, empty shopping center. I broke into a boarded up drug store, similar to a Walgreens or CVS, which was completely deserted. I had a large backpack, and I hastily ran through the aisles, shoving various necessities into my bag. Tampons, hair dye, toilet paper, cereal, chocolate, etc.

Then I was in a park, sitting on a bench, eating Captain Crunch out of the box. Suddenly, the sound of a warning alarm filled the air, and I grabbed my backpack and sprinted toward a large apartment complex on the other end of the park. In the distance, I could see others running toward the various, abandoned buildings scattered about the city. The ones that were still standing, that is.

I passed by a little girl, around 7 years old, sitting beneath a tree crying, and I kept running. I ended up turning back to grab her, tossing her over my shoulder, as I neared the apartment complex that I claimed as my own.

I carried the young girl up to the top floor, because there was no power anywhere in the city. She had passed out on my shoulder, either from exhaustion or fear, but she woke up when I opened the door to the apartment that I had turned into a penthouse bunker. I set her down on the floor, and she immediately crawled away, hiding behind a large crate in the corner. I just shrugged and walked into the next room to put away my supplies. If she wanted to leave, she could.

Outside the walls of my little fortress, I could hear the alarms come to an end, and I quickly closed and locked the doors to the cupboards, then braced myself.

There was a loud explosion outside, followed by a blinding light, and the whole building shook. It lasted only a few seconds. After it was over, I went and inspected the other rooms to make sure that nothing bad been broken. The little girl was gone, and the front door was open. I shrugged and locked it. She never came back.

I had a tiny generator, that somehow still worked, and I used it to watching Breaking Bad on Netflix, which was still mysteriously working as well. I was also drinking red wine from a decorative goblet.
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It was a different day, and I was back in the park near the building that I lived in. There was a cherry blossom tree in the middle of the park, and people were crowded around it, placing offerings beneath it. That tree was basically the only living tree in the city, and the only colorful thing left. I don’t know if the rest of the world was as apocalyptic as the city I was in, but I imagine it was, since we were all still there.

The little girl was in the park by the tree, and there was a woman with her, but I don’t think it was her mother.

There were really large birds flying in the sky, they almost looked like pterodactyls, and they were SO loud.

And then I woke up.

Dream Journal 9/24/15

I looked over and saw a swarm of huge, flying insects flowing out of the open freezer door like a cloud of black smoke. The started waving her arms, still screaming, while everyone watched in horror. The insects swarmed around her, and her screams fell silent as she collapsed to the ground.

Present day.

I was in a supermarket with my husband, his mom, and our son. We were in the frozen pizza aisle, when I heard a woman scream as she opened a freezer door. I looked over and saw a swarm of huge, flying insects flowing out of the open freezer door like a cloud of black smoke. The started waving her arms, still screaming, while everyone watched in horror. The insects swarmed around her, and her screams fell silent as she collapsed to the ground.

The cloud of insects idled for just a moment, before splitting up and spreading throughout the store. Panic ensued. I yanked the baby out of the shopping cart and started to run. I could see my husband trailing just behind us, but his mom was nowhere to be seen. There were people screaming and collapsing all around us, being attacked by these giant hornets.

We managed to get out of the building, but we seemed to be the only ones who made it out alive. There was a loud, crashing noise, and one of the walls of the building started to crumble, releasing a massive swarm of crazy hornets into the air. They filled the sky, casting shadows across the town.

We got in the car and drove home.

We got home, quickly boarded up the windows, and retreated to the baby’s room at the back of the house, because it had the least windows. We sat there cowering in the corner, but trying to play with the baby so that he didn’t get scared. Through the gaps in the wood on the windows, we could see the swarms of super bugs filling the streets, strategically breaking apart to ended homes through cracks under doors and through open windows, almost like a cartoon.

The bedroom door opened suddenly and someone I didn’t know walked in, and nonchalantly told us that there was a hole in the side of our apartment, and that there were bugs eating away at the building, and that we had to get out.

We started to freak out, and followed the stranger outside, where we got into a school bus that held a few other people. and the stranger drove us away in silence.

Then it got dark, and the stranger started kicking random people off the bus, one at a time, even if the rest of their family or friends were still there. The three of us were the last ones left, huddled in the back of the bus together, terrified.

The bus stopped by a field, and we looked out the window, trying to see if there were anymore flying creatures. The moon cast an eerie glow over everything, and there was fog hovering over the field. But we didn’t see any bugs.

We walked out into the field, and the bus disappeared, along with the strange man who had been driving. We made a large fire, and sat in the field for a while in silence.

I also very vaguely remember something about Kendall Jenner dying. Weird,

And then I woke up.

Dream Journal 9/23/15

“I… who are you? How did you get here?” I asked him, suddenly terrified. My cabin was in the middle of the wilderness, a large lake, and thousands of trees, separating me from society. How had he gotten here?

Future.

I was a writer, and was working on my latest suspense/thriller novel, and I was staying in a large, log cabin in the woods, right on a gorgeous lake. Across the lake there was a large campground, and I could hear boats and children playing across the water. I spent most of my time staring out the window, watching the families in the distance, and trying to think of what to write.

One morning, I woke up to silence. I peered out the window while making coffee, and saw police lights, and officers coming the beaches of the lake. I frowned, wondering what happened.

I sat at my desk and continued typing on my computer, but stopped suddenly when I heard a noise coming from the bushes outside my the large bay window in my kitchen. I tensed up and walked to the window, I was immediately face-to-face with a young man, around 18 years old.

“Please, can you hide me?” He asked me, panic in his voice.

“I… who are you? How did you get here?” I asked him, suddenly terrified. My cabin was in the middle of the wilderness, a large lake, and thousands of trees, separating me from society. How had he gotten here?

“Please,” he repeated, tugging at his shirt nervously, “I need to hide.” He continued to pull at his shirt, and I realized now that he was soaking wet. He swam here.

“I’m sorry, this is private property, I need you to leave,” I said, reaching to shut the window, “I can’t help you, sorry.”

I pulled the window closed, and the young man took off running around the side of the house. I cursed loudly, unsure of where he was going. I ran to the front door, but it was too late, he was already standing in the doorway, dripping lake water onto the wood flooring.

“I’m not going to hurt you, I promise, please, I just need somewhere to hide.”

“Hide from what…?” I asked cautiously. Just then, I heard a news report on the TV in the living room.

“The body of 13-year-old Elizabeth Moran was found in Great Bear Lake this morning by her parents, Jacob and Theresa Moran. Witnesses say that they heard screaming coming from the beach early this morning, and witnessed a tall male running from the beach. Elizabeth’s 18-year-old brother, Derek, is currently missing and wanted for questioning. If you have any information…”

My eyes widened and I felt my heart beating rapidly in my chest. The young man stared at me intently, terror and sadness in his eyes.

“Are you… are you Derek?” I asked quietly.

He nodded sadly, “I didn’t hurt my sister. I heard it all. I saw a man, running out of the water. I saw her body, but it was too late. I panicked and ran, but there were people everywhere. They saw me, and then they were on their phones, calling the police. I had to run.”

I hook my head. If he hadn’t done anything wrong, couldn’t he just tell the police that? My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of tires on the dirt road leading up to my cabin. Through the trees I could see two police cars driving slowly up the road. Without thinking, I pulled the young man into the house, hissing at him to hide. He obliged, running down the hall and out of my sight.

There was a knock at the door only moments later, and I opened it, greeting the two officers standing there with a smile.

“We’re sorry to bother you, Mrs. Dalton, but we’re looking for a young man who is wanted for questioning in the drowning death of a young girl from just across the lake. Have you seen him?”

I tried my best to look shocked and horrified, “Oh, god! No! That’s tragic! I haven’t seen anyone officers, just been here working on my book. I will certainly let you know though!”

The officer who had been talking to me stared at me quizzically. I could tell he knew something was up. They thanked me for my time and turned to leave. I realized that his eyes briefly flickered over the puddle of water that they had been standing in.

“Better clean that up, ma’am,” the officer said to me, with a hint of warning, “You wouldn’t want to slip.”

My heart felt like it was going to explode as I watched them drive away.

“I didn’t hurt her,” Derek said quietly, walking back into the hall, “I wouldn’t.”

I nodded, and walked back to the kitchen. My coffee had gotten cold.
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Derek stayed with me for two days, and in that time, I grew to believe his story. The more he repeated it to me, the more I believed in his innocence. But he couldn’t stay in my cabin forever, so we made a plan to get him away.

I was driving through the woods in the dark, Derek was in the back seat with a blanket over him, hidden from the world. We got to a highway, and I gave him an envelope with some money in it, and told him to keep the blanket. He took off, and I turned in the opposite direction, but stopped.

There was a large, black lab sitting in the middle of the road. After a few seconds, a man stepped out from the shadowy bushes to my left, and I realized that it was the officer who had come to my cabin two days earlier. I hit the gas, swerving around the man and the dog, and drove.

About a mile down the road, I turned off, driving through grass and wilderness, avoiding trees in the darkness. Something caught my eye, distracting me for just a moment, and I crashed my car into a tree. The airbag hit me in the face, and my nose started to bleed.

I climbed out of my car in a daze, and could hear dogs barking nearby. I started to run through the woods until I made it back to the lake, and followed the rocky shore to my cabin. I locked myself inside, and retreated to the basement.

I was terrified at what would happen to me for helping a wanted man to escape, but I knew he was innocent. I sat there in the dark, waiting for the police to break my door down, but no one ever came.

So I walked back up the stairs, and sat at my desk. The sun was starting to come up, and I could hear birds singing. I started to type, continuing with my story.

And then I woke up.

Never Get Your Hopes Up

This. This is my life, folks. A giant fucking snowball of shit that just keeps on rolling.

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So close. So fucking close.

I’ll try to make this short, because the longer I let it sit and think about it, the angrier I will get. I’m feeling quite a range of emotions right now, ranging from sad, to frustrated, to absolutely livid. I’m tired of nothing ever working out for us. It honestly feels like every time things seem to start looking up, everything falls apart. I don’t know what we did in our past lives to deserve this shit storm that we are living in, but I am sick of it. So. Fucking. Sick of it.

I’m sure as most of you who follow me on Twitter have seen, we’ve been having car problems for a very, VERY long time. We’ve tried to raise money on several occasions to try and replace our Mustang, but it never worked out. Well, several weeks ago, our Mustang died. Completely, and utterly, died. So we started a GoFundMe page to try and raise some money to get a used car. Despite the fantastic efforts of my friends donating, re-tweeting, and sharing our page, we were only able to raise $305, which is less than 1/8 of our goal that we set.

I don’t currently work, so I don’t leave our apartment ever, but Kyle has been needing to rely on his mom to bring him to work (and she lives 40 minutes away), as well as a few of his co-workers. The problem is, he is the only full-time person in his department, so there really is never anyone working at the same time as him. To top it all off, he just got a second job, where he knows nobody, so the only person who could drive him to that job is his mom, and this job is even further from her than his other one.

But, things were finally starting to look up. After weeks of searching and reaching out to our families, Kyle’s aunt and her wife offered to give us one of their vehicles, as they only had $5600 left to pay on it. It was a nice, newer, family-sized vehicle, and we were so excited. Too excited. And for a moment, we forgot that our lives are shit and that things never work out for us. Over the course of the week, we worked out how much we would be giving them in payments, and then just today, we bought the insurance for it.

But, like everything else in our lives, it had to totally fall apart.

Just a few hours ago, Kyle was in the middle of a conversation with his aunt about bringing the car down to us TOMORROW, when she suddenly stopped responding. After a little while, we got a message from Kyle’s mom, saying that she needed to talk to us about the car. And the alarms went off. We are able to smell disappointment from a thousand miles away. So Kyle called her.

According to Kyle’s mom, while Kyle was talking to his aunt about the car, she was actually in the middle of a heated argument with her wife, about who knows what. They are always fighting about something. Basically, her wife stormed out, shouting that she was leaving, and took the vehicle that was supposed to go to us, instead of her own vehicle, just to spite Kyle’s aunt.

Then Kyle threw his phone and let out a string of profane words.

I seconded everything he said.

Now everyone is fighting and blocking each other, and we are sitting here stunned, upset, depressed, helpless. To top it all off, Kyle’s mom seems to think that despite having zero credit, Kyle should be able to “easily” get approved for a loan on a used car, because of how much he makes. And she keeps arguing with us, and can’t seem to understand why we keep getting denied for loans. It is so fucking infuriating that she doesn’t understand why we aren’t getting approved.

Kyle has two jobs now, but has yet to start at the second, so there is no income from them yet. He also has no line of credit or credit history, as he is only 20 and hasn’t really established any, since everything has always been in my name. And of course, despite having EXCELLENT credit, I can’t cosign for him on anything because I’m not currently working.

Yeah, trust me, we’ve tried at banks, dealerships, and credit unions. Nada.

So now we are searching through the inventory of all of the used car places around us, searching for anything that we can afford without having to give them a huge down payment, since we can’t get a loan or financing.

This. This is my life, folks. A giant fucking snowball of shit that just keeps on rolling.

Thanks for reading, I’ll keep you all posted.

Jan

Dream Journal (Turned Fanfic) 9/22/15

He didn’t look up, didn’t respond. I walked to the door and opened it slightly, covering my phone screen with my hand so that the light wouldn’t leak into the corridor. There was just silence. No gunshots, no footsteps, no screaming. Was it over?

I was woken up by my kiddo at 4:50 this morning, and couldn’t immediately fall back asleep. I jotted down a few key points from the dream I was having, but when I woke up several hours later, I had a hard time piecing them all together. For the most part, I can remember it all, but it is hazy. I don’t think there was really an ending either. I think I’ve had this dream before, though, because it all felt really familiar. Dreams are weird. This one shows my ridiculous, inner fangirl. It sounds like a fanfic, I know. I might turn it into one actually. Don’t laugh.

Okay, I did turn it into a fanfic. Kind of. It is very long (3,669 word count). Sorry, not sorry.
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Roughly set in the present day.

It was late autumn, and I was attending a large YouTuber convention going on in Chicago, similar to VidCon. This year, they were holding a massive, YouTuber panel, right in the middle of a massive, indoor stadium. It was going to be so amazing. I was attending the event with a couple who were roughly my age, a guy and a girl, named Alex and Tory. I don’t know them that well at all, as they were merely friends of a friend. To be honest, they didn’t exactly seem like the kind of people I would actually be friends with outside of this scenario. Basically, they had a spare ticket to the event, and I really wanted to go. So I got stuck as the third wheel. The girl was tall and thin, with blond hair and brown eyes. She was wearing a hot pink dress, white and pink patterned tights, and pink shoes. The pinks did not match, and it was driving me crazy. The guy had shaggy, brown hair and brown eyes, he had a white t-shirt on, and a green button-up shirt over it, with jeans. Pretty normal looking folks. Very bubbly, hyper personalities.

We got to the convention center, and entered through the large, glass doors into the main lobby. There were groups of people scattered about the room, and I immediately felt out of place. We were ushered down a long corridor, surrounded by young, teenage girls, who were all squealing and screaming giddily. For some reason, I felt taller (and older) than nearly everyone, despite only being 5’3. I guess I should be surprised. We went through the doors to a large stadium and found our seats down on the floor, fairly close to the stage where all of the speakers were already seated. The two people I was with were screaming and jumping, much like the teenagers all around us. I was perfectly still. I felt anxious being around so many people. I slumped into my chair and pulled my hands into my sweatshirt, I suddenly wished that I actually was friends with Alex and Tory.

We found our seats and settled in. I felt uncomfortably warm. There were two girls seated a few spots away from us, and they looked like they could have been sisters, they looked so similar. They were wearing matching white shirts with Tyler Oakley’s face plastered all over them, with random words written in sharpie. I smiled at them, and I remember thinking that I liked the bright, red hair that one of the girls had. The other was blonde.

The panel started, and I sat in the audience, listening and cheering along with everyone else. The YouTubers in attendance were Dan and Phil, Tyler Oakley, Connor Franta, Catrific, and Shane Dawson, as well a few others that I did not recognize. Everyone around us had their cell phones out, snapping pictures and recording videos of the various YouTubers on the stage. Catrific was in the middle of answering a question, when a loud, booming noise filled the air. Smoke and dust clouded my vision, and suddenly, everyone was screaming. People were pushing past me, and the two people that I had shown up with were gone.

I put my shirt over my mouth and nose and tried to squint through the cloud of dust, but I couldn’t see anything. My ears were ringing slightly, but I could hear the distant sound of gunshots, and more screaming. I moved forward through the smoke and dust, tripping over various fallen objects that were scattered across the floor.

Another explosion of sound rang through the air, followed by a loud crash. The screaming seemed to be dying out, and I wondered whether everyone else had gotten out, or was dead. I found my way up to the stage, where I could hear frantic shouts. The dust had cleared a bit, and I could see that the stage had been completely demolished. And that several people were trapped in the rubble.

I climbed onto the stage, where I found several YouTubers, and a couple of the other audience members. The girl with the bright, red hair was there, tears streaming down her face, creating streaks on her dust-covered cheeks. Her blonde friend was nowhere to be seen.

Tyler Oakley and Connor Franta stood to my left, visibly shaken, and stared blankly at the large pile of rubble in the center of the stage. No one moved. A single arm was trapped within the rubble, all the way up to the shoulder. It was not moving, and there were no cries for help. The arm was female, with silver bracelets and dark green nail polish. Catrific’s arm.

Suddenly, more shots pierced the quiet, and we all scattered off in different directions. I jumped off of the stage and found myself following a tall figure through a corridor to the left of the stage. The figure disappeared from site, and I felt panic in my chest as I realized that I was suddenly alone. An arm reached out and grabbed me, pulling me through a side door.

A hand stifled my scream, and I opened my eyes to see a pair of brown eyes staring back at me. I had been following Dan, and it had been him who had grabbed me. My heart felt like it was going to explode, and I took a moment to calm down before surveying the room that we were in. Tyler and Connor were also in the room, along with a short girl with black hair, who I recognized from the panel. The girl was crying, and Connor had his arm wrapped around her shoulders.

“What happened?” I finally managed to breathe.

No one answered me. I started to panic. Where was everyone else? What was going on? How were we going to get out? Were we going to die?

Tyler and Dan were peering through the cracked door into the corridor. There were no gunshots, no more explosions.

“Is it safe?” The girl with the black hair asked.

Shane shrugged, but we needed to move. We walked into the hall and slowly continued in the direction away from the main stadium room. Things were quiet, and I allowed myself to breathe. I needed to calm down, or I feared my heart would explode. We were going to make it out. We had to.

Then the lights went out, and the other girl in our group let out a high-pitched scream. I heard the sound of footsteps, and a hand gripped my arm, pulling me forward. I reached out behind me, trying to grab for anyone in the group, but found no one. I  struggled to keep up with whoever was dragging me along, and felt a breathless ache in my chest. I had to keep going. I didn’t want to be left alone.

Gunfire rang through the air again, coupled with a scream. The girl from our group.

Then silence. I wanted to scream.

“We have to hide.” A voice interrupted my panic. It was Dan. Dan was dragging me through the darkness.

“Where is everyone?” I choked out.

“We have to hide.” He replied flatly.

We clung to a wall until we found a door. Locked. We walked several more feet and found a second. Unlocked. We ducked into the room and pressed our ears to the door, listening for anything. There was only silence. We allowed ourselves a moment to recover in the dark silence.

“I don’t know,” Dan broke the silence, “I don’t know where anyone is. I don’t know what happened.”

He sounded angry.

“Was… was Cat the only one?” I asked. I could feel his stare, even through the darkness.

“No.”

“Phil…?”

“I don’t know,” he said, agitated at my question. I could hear the slight tremor in his voice, “Shane. Shane is dead. Cat is dead. I don’t know where Phil is. I don’t know what’s going on. Fuck!”

I heard a crash as he cursed loudly. I tensed up, searching for his figure in the dark, but it was useless. I had never been in darkness like this. Completely devoid of light.

“Dan? What happened?”

“Nothing. We need light,” I heard a shuffle, and saw the bright light of a cellphone screen. His iPhone. Why hadn’t I thought of that? I took out my phone and flashed the light around the room. We were in some sort of dressing room.

“We can’t stay here, we have to keep moving. We have to be near an exit. If we stay here, we’ll definitely be found,” I urged him to move, but he was sitting silently on a chair, “Dan.”

He didn’t look up, didn’t respond. I walked to the door and opened it slightly, covering my phone screen with my hand so that the light wouldn’t leak into the corridor. There was just silence. No gunshots, no footsteps, no screaming. Was it over?

“We have to move, Dan,” I repeated.

“Phil…” he choked out. My heart sank.

“We’ll find him. We will. But we have to move. We’re no good to anyone if we’re dead.”

We left the safety of the small room and continued down the corridor. I tensed up, hearing hushed voices in the dark ahead of us. Female. Young. Non-threatening. We rounded a corner and came face-to-face with three teenage girls, who screamed upon seeing us.

“Shhh!” I hissed, trying to quiet them, but it was too late. There was more shouting in the distant darkness. Deep, male voices. I felt Dan’s hand grip my arm and yank me back into the darkness, and I reached out for the girl closest to me, but her friends were pulling her in the opposite direction. Toward the voices. I wanted to cry out to them, telling them to follow us, but I didn’t want to endanger our lives.

More shots rang through the darkness. I felt a lump in my throat as tears stung at my eyes.

We were running for what felt like forever. Dodging voices in the dark. How could a building be this big? Where were we? My cheeks were sticky with dust and tears. My arm was throbbing dully from Dan’s tight grip. We came to the end of a hallway and were greeted by large, metal double-doors, the same doors that had led us out of the stadium. We were back where we had started. Dan paused at the door and peered through one of the small, rectangular windows. He squeezed my arm gently, letting me know the coast was clear, and we slowly walked back out into the room where everything started.

The dust and smoke had settled, and there were emergency lights on, casting an eerie, red glow over the entire stadium. It was terrifying, and made me feel small. My chest tightened again in a familiar panic.

“We can’t stay here,” I whispered, “I think the main doors are over there, maybe the coast is clear.”

“I need to find Phil,” Dan whispered back, his voice cracking.

“Dan-”

“Hey! Dan! Over here!” Someone hissed at us. We looked around, and spotted Tyler, Connor, and two young girls camped against the side of the stage, hidden in the shadows of the red haze. We cautiously crept over to them, where Dan was greeted with quick hugs from Connor and Tyler. I looked at the two girls, who looked absolutely terrified. The blonde had streaks of blood on her tank top, and I doubted that it was her own. The brunette just stared into the distance in shock. It was heartbreaking. I wondered briefly what they had been through, what they had seen. If they had lost anyone.

“Have you seen Phil?” Dan broke the silence. Tyler and Connor shook their heads, and Dan’s face fell.

We regrouped in silence and made our way toward the main corridor that was once filled with happy, screaming fans. It was empty, except for a few lifeless bodies, and piles of debris from the crumbling building. What the hell had happened? Was it a bomb? Why?

I reached out to comfort the young, blonde girl in the group as she sobbed at the sight before us. Everything was quiet. Why us? Why here? How many people had made it out? I looked over at Dan, who was holding his phone out in front of him for light, his eyes were guarded, but I could see sadness. He was scared for Phil. I knew we would find him. We had to. We were going to find Phil, and we were going to get out of here.

We approached the large, glass doors at the front of the building. I breathed a sigh of relief and pushed against the cool, metallic handle. The doors did not budge. Connor and Dan were suddenly beside me, violently shaking the door. It was no use, it was locked.

The two girls sobbed, and I felt my fingers shaking.

Connor stepped back from the door, “It’s glass, we can break it. We need to find something to break it. I’ll go find-”

Dan held up his hand and shushed Connor, his eyes staring out to the other side of the glass. I turned to see what he was looking at. My stomach turned. Bodies. Bodies everywhere. There were at least a dozen armed, masked men standing guard outside of the building, standing scattered amongst the bodies of the innocent attendees. In the distance, there were police lights. They knew we were here… but they couldn’t get to us. How were we going to get out? There was a pit in my stomach. Dread and fear.

We stood there in the dull, red glow of the emergency lights, all feeling exhausted and terrified. What now? Do we just keep wandering the halls trying to find more survivors? Do we hide and wait it out? I looked to the others in my group for answers, but their expressions said it all; no one knew what do to.

I took a deep breath and turned to back to the main lobby area. There were so many doors and corridors, all closed., but hopefully unlocked. If no one was going to decide where we were going next, then I would. I didn’t know if anyone would follow me when I started walking toward a solid, grey door in the corner of the room, but when I looked over my shoulder and saw them all trailing behind me, I felt a bit better. We could do this.

The door was unlocked, but I pulled my hand back quickly upon coming into contact with a sticky, slick substance. Tyler tilted his phone so that I could see my hand, and there was blood, dark and wet. It was all over the handle and smeared on the door. I glanced back to the group, suddenly afraid that I may have been leading them to certain death, but their nods reassured me that we had no other choice but to push forward.

There were stairs on the other side of the door, leading down into more darkness, possibly a basement or control room. We waited a few minutes, listening for voices or any kind of noise, but heard nothing, and descended down the stairs.

We were in a large room, filled with panels and wires. The room was absolutely massive. There were bloody handprints smudged along the wall. We all shined our phones around the room, surveying, looking for places to hide. Or a way out.

Something moved in the corner just in front of us, but ducked back into the shadows before I could get a good look. I held up my arm in warning to the rest of the group. My heart was beating rapidly.

“Hello?” I called into the darkness, “We aren’t going to hurt you. Are you alright?”

Slowly, a tall, slim figure emerged from the shadows. In the light cast by our cellphones, I could make out pale skin and terrified, blue eyes. Realization hit me, and I couldn’t help but smile.

“Phil! We found you!” Dan lowered his phone and sprinted toward Phil in the darkness. He wrapped his arms around him, and I heard sobbing, though I wasn’t sure who is was coming from, “Guys… guys. Guys!”

Dan was lowering Phil to the ground. We all ran forward, and the source of the mysterious blood on the wall was revealed.

“Fuck. Fuck!” Dan had his hands on Phil’s stomach, and they were covered in blood. I pulled my sweatshirt off and knelt down next to Dan, pulling his hands aside and pressing the fabric into Phil’s stomach. Phil’s eyes were still open, and he just stared up into the darkness. I could feel Dan trembling next to me, and I wanted to reach for him, but resisted.

“Tyler, come here. Shine a light right over his stomach, yeah?” I lifted the sweatshirt slightly, trying to pinpoint where all the bleeding was coming from. Phil had been grazed by a bullet, but the damage wasn’t nearly as bad as I initially thought. He was going to be okay.

“How bad it is?” I heard Connor ask from behind us.

I put one hand on Dan’s arm and squeezed, and he looked down at me, “He’s going to be fine. He’s lost a bit of blood, but I think it’s more shock than anything. Phil, can you hear me? Can you stand?”

We all crowded around Phil and helped him to his feet, supporting his weight. He was in bad shape, but he was going to be okay, assuming we ever got out of this awful place. We made our way back to the stairs with Phil, but stopped suddenly at the sound of a rush of voices at the top of the stairs.

“Fuck fuck fuck…” Dan cursed, as we backed into the room. Phil let out a groan of pain. I felt someone grip the back of my shirt and pull me backwards, just as the door opened, and flashlight beams flooded the room. We crouched down, terrified. Was this it then? Is this where we were going to die? I felt as though my heart was going to burst, and I held my breath, waiting.

A blinding, white light hit my face, and I blinked, suddenly blinded. This was it. The end.

“Are you folks okay?” A deep voice cut through the unbearable silence. My blood felt like ice. “Hey, Carl, I found a few more! Come on, let’s get you guys out of here. It’s all over.”

I couldn’t move. I felt two strong hands pulling me up. Time seemed to slow down, like it does in movies. We were guided back up the stairs, into the lobby, and out the glass doors. We were outside. It was still dark, and there was a chill in the air. I suddenly wished I had my sweatshirt. I couldn’t hear anything, so I tried to take in my surroundings. There were body bags, SWAT vehicles, and other survivors, draped in warm blankets, giving their stories. I turned to see the group of people who had helped me survive as they were brought out of the building. Dan, Tyler, Connor, and the two young girls, who I later learned were named Jasmine and Clara. We made it. We were alive.

I watched as Phil was loaded into an ambulance. There was a paramedic assuring Dan that he was going to be fine, and I could see tears in his eyes. The doors closed, the ambulance drove away, and Dan turned to face me.

“Thank you,” he smiled at me, finally sounding normal, “I’m sorry. For everything.”

“Sorry? You saved my life. More than once.”

“But you saved Phil’s life. And I was a prick. So thank you.”

I smiled. I wanted to argue that Phil probably would have been fine, even if I hadn’t been there, but there was no point. We were okay. We were alive.

“I never got your name,” Dan said, cocking his head to the side, “I guess there was never really a good time for introductions…”

I laughed, “Jan. My name is Jan.”

Dan chuckled and pulled me into a hug, “Nice to meet you, Jan. My name is Dan.”

I couldn’t help but laugh at him. As if it wasn’t completely obvious that I knew who he was. Tyler and Connor walked over to us, relief on their faces. Dan introduced me, and there were a lot of hugs exchanged. We gave our statements to the police, and were interviewed by several news stations. By the time people finally started to clear out, the sun was starting to rise, casting a golden glow over the dark sky. The air was still cold, but I was wearing someone’s sweatshirt, though I wasn’t sure who had given it to me. Connor offered the three of us a ride back to our respective hotels, and after more hugs and thank yous, we split up. I would probably never see them again, but I had one hell of a story to remember them by.
————————————————–

Sorry, not sorry.
Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Take A Walk With Jan #2

Along with him destroying his stash of Cheerios, I also shared a bit of my apple with him, because who can say no to those eyes? My goodness.

Daisies

Daisies in front of the high school.

Today was absolutely gorgeous. This is my favorite time of year, when summer is coming to an end, and autumn is just on the horizon. When the weather is no longer miserably hot, but you can still comfortably wear a t-shirt outdoors. Since the temperature has been dropping over the last week or so, I’ve been trying to take advantage of it by going for as many walks as possible. I also managed to get in a mini workout this afternoon while the baby was taking a nap.

I’m trying, guys! I will be healthy! Eventually.

Anyway, we went on another walk today, and it was fantastic. Of course, no walk that I’m on is ever 100% perfect (I honestly attract the rudest people, I swear), but it was pretty damn close.

We left the apartment a little after 3:00, so most of the high school kids had already vacated the area around the school. The park was completely empty, and peacefully quiet. I brought a large blanket to sit on, and we sat right in the middle of the park, beneath the trees. I bought an apple and some water for myself, some Cheerios for Li, and we had a little photo shoot to celebrate him turning 8 months old in a few days. We stayed at the park for about an hour before heading home to eat dinner. It was so much fun!

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Along with him destroying his stash of Cheerios, I also shared a bit of my apple with him, because who can say no to those eyes? My goodness.

So that was fun. But as we were leaving, some random women had to try and ruin it for us. Now, I know I shouldn’t let random, rude strangers affect my mood… but I’m only human. I did pretty good this time though, it was only irritating for a moment. We got up from the spot we were sitting in, I strapped the baby into his stroller, packed up our little picnic, and headed back toward the main road in the park. I was passing by one of the gazebos, where two middle-aged women had been sitting and watching us, when I heard this:

Lady 1: [loudly] Look at the baby! He’s so little! I miss when Sarah and Emily were that small.
Lady 2: [loudly] Huh, should be wearing a sweater or something though, right? Don’t you think? Hope he doesn’t catch a cold.
Lady 1: [loudly] Oh, no, that wouldn’t be good. She really should put a sweater or something on him…

I should point out that Li was wearing long pants, socks and shoes, and a long-sleeve shirt. He also had a thin blanket on his lap. Not to mention it was 76 freaking degrees outside, and really sunny. Hell, I was wearing a t-shirt and capri yoga pants, and was sweating in the sun. He’s also not a newborn, he’s 8 months old. He can regulate heat better than a newborn. Trust me, I live with him. He was fine. He wasn’t cold at all. Both of these women were wearing heavy sweater cardigans, which they clung onto as they spoke ill of my parenting. I don’t know what temperature they thought it was, but it definitely wasn’t cool enough for my furnace of a son to be wearing a coat of any sort.

This exact same thing happened when Li was around three or four months old, I believe it was back in April. We were walking home from the park, when a woman who was walking her dog approached us and scolded me. Sort of. It was around 68 degrees out at the time, and Li was dressed in layers, since he was still so small. He had a heavy blanket over him, fleece pants, thick socks, a long-sleeve shirt, and a heavy, fleece sweatshirt with the hood up. He was not wearing a hat, because he was so tiny, and we couldn’t find any that fit him without constantly falling over his face. But the sun was shining, and his hood was up. It was not freezing out. Honestly, I was actually worried that he would be too warm!

Lady: Oh, what a sweetheart! He’s so cute.
Me: [smiling] Thank you!
Lady: How old is he?
Me: Almost 4 months!
Lady: Oh. A bit cold out today, isn’t it?
Me: It’s not bad! We’re having a nice walk, we don’t get to go outside much.
Lady: [leaning down to talk to the baby directly] You should tell your mommy to put a hat on you! Yes, you should! Poor baby, you’re going to get an ear infection!
Me: [frowning] Oh. He’ll be fine. It’s not too cold, and we’re almost home…
Lady: [still talking to him] I always put my babies in hats in the spring, don’t want a sick baby. No, we do not!
Me: … Okay, well it was nice to meet you.
Lady: [looks at me finally] Bundle him up next time. Babies don’t like getting sick.

Then she walked away. I was stunned. I was pissed. I almost cried. And then I worried that my son was actually freezing to death in silence and that I was the worst mother ever.

Of course, I was not a terrible mother, and he was perfectly fine.

Not only should she have minded her own damn business, but the fact that she was addressing my baby, talking about me, instead of addressing me, was really… weird. Also, as I mentioned before, she was walking a dog, who was trying to jump up onto the stroller the ENTIRE time that she was harassing me about what my son was wearing. And she did nothing about it.

I came home and bitched about it to Kyle, who was just as annoyed with this random stranger as I was, and had a nice little rant about it on Twitter. I was really angry, haha. I’ve always been a bit self-conscious when it comes to my parenting, being a first-time mom and doing it all pretty much by myself, but I’ve gotten a lot more confident in my parenting abilities (and my insane Googling skills).

If I felt as insecure today as I did just four or five months ago, those rude old women would have gotten under my skin. But I didn’t let them. Because despite the hand I’ve been dealt in life, I do the best I can with what I have, and I’m an awesome mom.

The rude, old ladies of the world can suck it.

Thanks for reading!

Jan

Dream Journal 9/20/15

I was carrying Liam on my shoulders while walking down a beach. He was a little older, probably around 18 months old or so, and his hair was longer, and had more of a coppery/red tint to it, like my hair gets when I’m in the sun. I looked the same as I normally do in my dreams, a few inches taller, about 50 pounds thinner, longer hair, clearer skin, etc. Basically, didn’t look like myself at all.

The beach looked similar to the beaches from my hometown, but I don’t think that I had ever seen this specific one before, if it even exists anywhere in the world. It was endless, covered in light tan sand, littered with rocks and seaweed, with the occasional shell. Even though I knew it was a beach on the ocean, the ocean wasn’t moving. It looked like an endless lake, sprawling out to the horizon. The sky was a dark gray, almost stormy, but there was no wind. It was really calm, an dark.

We were just walking in silence, except for Liam’s random giggling as he pulled my hair, which made me smile. And as we walked, there were people walking past us in every direction. The further we walked, the more people there were, as if we were walking toward a really populated area. I don’t think it was summer, because there were no bathing suits, just jeans and t-shirts and other normal clothes. No one was talking though, it was just quiet, with baby noises.

The far end of the beach turned into a busy road, and we were waiting to cross the road with an older man, who was talking to me, but I wasn’t listening. He was smiling at me and talking, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying, and I wasn’t responding to him. We crossed the road and we were in a city. Liam was walking next to me now, holding my hand, and we went into a Starbucks (or similar coffee shop, I’m not sure), and we both god hot chocolate. The old man was there, and I was watching him meet with a younger woman, who he kissed on the cheek and sat down at a table with her. Then we left the coffee shop, and it was sunny outside. We were still in a city, but it looked different than from when we went in. Liam was holding my hand, and he had one of his socks in his other hand, and we were walking behind a young, gay couple on the sidewalk, who were arguing about something that I couldn’t hear, but they were both really angry. There were people stopping to stare at them, and then they stared at us walking behind them. It made me anxious.

Suddenly we were back in our apartment, but it wasn’t the same apartment. It was big and bright, with shiny wood floors and big windows, and there were vases with tall, decorative plants everywhere. I was in the kitchen, and Liam was sitting on the counter, eating blueberries while I cooked something. I don’t know what I was cooking, but I was throwing a bunch of stuff into a ridiculously large pot on the stove.

I put Liam on the floor and walked to the bathroom, but I tripped over a pair of boots on the floor and fell. I scraped my elbow, and Liam was laughing, and I felt embarrassed.

That’s the last thing I remember before I woke up.

Thanks for reading.

Jan