I had a dream this morning of eating lunch on the shaded patio of a restaurant near my house. The people around me noticed a strange phenomena where the shadows were very black, and the sunlight was dim like during a partial eclipse. I said it was the day and exact moment of the equinox. Then there was a flash of light on the horizon across the bay, toward the ocean. I knew it was time to run home to my family.
As I approached the train tracks that separated me from my neighborhood, a long train pulling high, open gondola cars rolled in. The first cars had hundreds of manikins dressed in unfamiliar military uniforms and accessories, but as the train slowed to a deliberate stop, the cars further back had actual soldiers wearing green woodland camouflage. They were speaking English and were in high spirits, chatting jocularly and readying their gear as they awaited orders.
Several men had gotten off the train by the time I had crossed under the tracks and was walking along the right-of-way toward my street, a coeul-de-sac up near where the locomotives stopped. A balding, shorter man standing near the car he had just disembarked was holding a weapon unfamiliar to me. It had a very wide barrel but was short and light-duty. I got a closer look at his fatigues and knew that they were not US armed forces, but he was clearly an American by the way he talked.
As I tried to move past him inconspicuously, he spied the bottle in my hand, which I had been carrying home from lunch. “Mmm, balsamic vinegar,” he said, sizing me up. I did not respond or meet his gaze, but quickened my pace to put some distance between us. Displeased by my reaction, he armed and leveled his weapon at me. It shot out a canister like a can of spray paint that landed about six feet short of me. One end of it was on fire like a Molotov cocktail.
I didn’t linger to see if it indeed burst into flame, but instead I broke out into a full run toward home. I could hear him yelling at me in disappointment as I rounded the corner, and another canister landed, but I had exceeded the weapon’s range. Very alarmed at this point, I knew that this was an occupying force and not National Guardsmen. It was time for us to flee as refugees, never to return. I woke up before I reached my home and family.