It starts like this:
I'm sitting in a conference room with a group of people wearing suits. They all look like corporate board members. One of them is one of my best friends and another is her boyfriend. It appears that we are in a press conference, or some sort of briefing, watching a panel speak. One man on the panel is tanned and blond and athletic looking, and he holds up a check and announces that the name he reads will be the winner of $600,000 to make a team to climb a mountain. He reads the name of my friend's boyfriend, and calls him the "Mayor of Doring" (whatever that is) (not boring, this isn't a Freudian slip in my dream) (he's a great guy, really). The boyfriend stands up and accepts the money.
I'm sitting in my honors physics classroom, and my teacher is reading a list of things we have to do before we can climb the mountain. One thing on the list is to do a fly-over and map the contours. Another friend of mine volunteers me for the job. I stand up to take a small instrument from the teacher's hand and--
Then I'm flying!
I'm dangling below the red sail of a hang-glider, staring down at the ground. I float over endless dark forests, and see wolves perched lonely on mountaintops. I see antelope running among meadows, tiny villages puffing smoke into the cold air. Then I see a lake, slowly emerging from behind a peak. As I come over the peak I stare down too long and feel myself swooping downward. There is a marsh next to the lake, with boats sitting dry-docked in it, and as I watch, the water of the lake begins to seep away from the banks and out into the marsh, where it creeps over the boats. I seem frozen from forward motion, watching as all the boats flip in the water onto their backs one by one, and I see the gaping holes in their bottoms, jagged edges saluting the sun before slipping under the dark, brown waters of the rising lake. Then I'm moving forward again, looking down at the ground, searching for the mountain that I'm supposed to contour.
Then I crash in the middle of a city...
I lie on my back, splayed out on the concrete sidewalk of a huge downtown. I don't hurt, but I'm stunned. I hear a narrator's voice reading over the scene, like I'm in a newscast. It says, "For coverage of the changing contours of the city, tune in to Channel 9 news!"
A black limousine glides up
Inside are my friend and her boyfriend (the same from the beginning) and as soon as I'm in we go for a drive. We cruise through the streets of this downtown, caught in the shadows of the skyscrapers, and then we get on a freeway (I can't see the driver, and I don't know how he knows where to go) and we exit that downtown and head towards a larger one that I recognize immediately is lower Manhattan. Glinting in the light of the morning (I know somehow that it's morning) is the twisted steel wreckage that we have all been seeing on the news for three months now: the World Trade Center. As we get closer, I can see it more clearly, absurd destruction in the middle of a deserted city, reflected in the pristine blue water to my right (the city is on my left, an ocean on my right). Then the boyfriend says, "The contours look steep. I don't know if we can scale it from the south..."
And I wake up
Hopelessly twisted in my covers, my neck aching, wondering what the hell that was all about.