The scene is all too familiar, a recurring nightmare from my grade school days when I could not begin to comprehend the mysteries and revelations of what a nuclear war could possibly mean to the fate of humanity. Most of the time my senses are hopelessly diluted in the state of lucid dreaming; touch, sound, and feel are all as distorted as the sense of being underwater. Why is it that my worst nightmares, my greatest fears, are the ones that ravage my mind in full blown Technicolor, in ear-splitting clarity?

I look up to see a familiar, hot Texas sun beating down directly overhead onto the parched, dry grass. The only difference? It is midnight instead of noon, a horror that has caused the populace of my quaint little town to gaze up, in wonderment, into the glare of what should have been daylight. A vague sense, a clairvoyant whisper in the back of my mind, tells me that the Earth has stopped its timeless rotation; time is frozen and the Apocalypse has found its right moment. The dull whir of helicopters, planes, comes in from the distance, the bodies of the dead splayed out onto dead-yet-perfectly-manicured lawns. Somehow this seems a normalcy, this is not even the beginning of my terror.

I see my mother as an old woman, my stepfather long since dead. Time should have dignified her features, giving her a stolid regality where beauty once stood, but they have done the opposite; weathering her skin and giving her the monotonous face of the world weary. She is thin, frail, holding me in the lawn. We sit there together, exchanging love amid the hopelessness, and it strikes me that I do this with no trace of unfamiliarity, as though we have done this for years. Sharing the pain.

And then, the frightening quietness. The eye of the hurricane, I think to myself. A silver, almost diaphanous plane overhead releases the bomb. My normally scientific, logical mind tells me that the godforsaken weapon in question is a fission bomb, but it does not matter when I see it drop overhead, almost surpassing the sun in brightness as it detonates. The blow actually reverbrates throughout my spine and I wake up, covered in sweat, still convinced that it is all real.

Every time I have this dream I have to run outside, hoping not to discover that what I had just experienced was reality. If I, supposedly 'sane', distort this fantasy after a few minutes of REM cycle... how does someone insane, unable to differentiate at any point in their lives, hold on to any hope in the world?