I keep having the same reoccuring nightmare:
Sleep doesn’t come easy. On the morrow, I will be thrown into a situation where I will be expected to have no mercy on perfect strangers, friends and family- and they will have no mercy on me. I am jolted from sleep, hours before the sun comes up. A death-grip of solemnity falls upon the house. I am given little to eat. My mother has tears in her eyes, knowing what is about to befall us. She hugs and kisses us, knowing that, if and when she sees us again, we will likely appear disfigured and, in some cases, unable to walk.
We are herded onto busses. In some cases, there is no room to sit. Some stand. Some sit on the floor. None dare to talk above a whisper. We are driven high into the mountains and –eventually– we are instructed to get off of the bus.
It is freezing and we are wearing only scant clothing. Cruelly, there is only one small fire per three hundred people. There is little warmth. I notice that, in some cases, children who can’t be older than 14 are here.
When the fires give way to a lack of fuel, we huddle on an asphalt road for warmth. There must be over 20,000 of us. We are comforting each other, promising that everything will be ok. We make solemn oaths that, if we are to survive, we will find each other, somehow, at the end of it all.
A gunshot fires and a terrified scream erupts through the mass of humanity. We run. Some of us run to get away from the cold and stay warm. Others run in search of food and water. The rest of us run, simply because, well, the rest of us are running.
There is little food, if any. Water can only be found by running or walking for miles on end.
We march and run over inconceivable hills. For some of us, the only motivation is that, if we stop, THEY WILL pick us up and take us somewhere, but where, exactly- we don’t know.
After what must be 15 miles, the mob appears, lined up on both sides of the street. They scream and yell at us. Some hold signs that we are supposed to read. I cannot read the signs. Exhaustion and fatigue have taken hold of me, and my eyes are so blurry that I can only imagine what mockery is scrawled across the multi-colored poster board. A person next to me tells me that they were able to make out one message: “You’re almost there.”
“Almost where?”, I wonder aloud. Toward the end? What happens at the end? Do we die? Find relief? Receive instructions for our next Event?
Tension builds and I soon realize that these signs are just a part of the torture. We are not almost there. Pain is not temporary and I am not a Kenyan.
Some finally succumb to their bodies and collapse on the sides of the road. They are cared for, but all- all are picked up and taken away. In a sort of tragic silver lining, their torture will soon be over. But mine continues…
The mob continues to taunt us. There is no end to their shouting at us. The noise is unbearable. At some point, I notice that my body is shaking. My knees burn and I feel that at some point I won’t be able to take another step. My feet feel like all that is holding them together is my shoes.
But then I see it, what must be The End. Even if I didn’t want to press forward, there is no escape. By this point the mob has pressed in on either side of the street so that there is no escape. I can’t turn back, because the rest of my tortured friends are still moving, like zombies, toward the evil and faceless organizers of this “sport.”
So I continue with them.
And finally, we are close enough that they begin the final insult to our already withering bodies- they mock us, individually, over the loudspeaker. Finally my own name is derided. And just as I’m about to cross over into all that my captor’s have waiting for me…
I wake up.
It’s one of the worst nightmares I’ve ever had, and it is vivid. It feels so real. I keep having the same one, over and over, about once a year.
What does it mean?