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Feb 29, 2020

Fantasy

The pure serenity of the surrounding pine forests atop the towering, snow-capped mountains served as the perfect backdrop for such an occasion.  A mild air and gentle breeze escorted the smell of crisp apples and pears among the patrons, now sitting in the neat rows of white plastic lawn chairs. It was autumn in Wenatchee at the time, and as the sun nestled behind the crest of the Cascades, the fiery hues of amber and orange illuminated the bride and groom as they exchanged their vows. The sheer beauty of the moment left many in the crowd to witness the lovers’ first kiss as a wedded pair through the blur of moistened eyes. As the newlyweds scurried down the aisle to a standing ovation, a flock of white doves flew overhead, cooing their congratulations to the happy couple.  

“That’s strange,” one of the guests whispered to his wife, “I didn’t see anyone release doves and I’ve never seen them around here before.” His words were met with silence from his wife. “Honey, did you hear what I said?” He glanced over at his wife. While everyone else was watching the bride and groom’s procession down the aisle, she was looking back towards the altar, her face pale, frozen in a thousand-yard stare. “Honey?”  

She held up her hand in a nervous quiver, pointing towards the sky above the altar. “Wha...what is that?” Her husband turned to look at what had made his wife so terrified. Above one of the distant mountains, a swarm of large grey figures were flying toward the wedding. The man stood perplexed alongside his wife. The figures were too far to identify, but a faint buzzing sound could be heard. The mysterious UFOs raced closer at an alarming rate. Suddenly, the man knew exactly what they were, as if he had seen this sight before. “Everyone take cover, right fucking now,” he yelled.  

The wedding turned into panicked bodies running to wherever their delirious minds’ deemed “safe”. Truth be told, they were all dead no matter their feeble attempts to duck in cover. The man knew this the second he realized that these dark figures were Spitfire war planes, the thunderous roar of their engines growing louder as they neared their target. There were hundreds of them, flying so tightly together they began to eclipse the sun. The man stood in shock as the first of the planes began to divebomb towards him.  

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He woke up screaming. The sheets he had been resting under were soaked with sweat. His heart felt as though it would leap out of his chest any moment. He sat up, clutching his chest and hyperventilating as his mind slowly began to process that he was safe in bed. He wasn’t under attack, his wife was unharmed next to him, he wasn’t going to die. These reassuring thoughts reached his hypothalamus, which in turn ended the feedback loop in the adrenal gland which supplied his body with excess cortisol. This was not a fight-or-flight moment, it was simply a dream. He had however, awoken his wife for the fourth straight night.  

She rolled over and asked, “Did you have that stupid dream again, Tom?”  

“Yes.” 

“The one with the planes?”  

“Yes.”  

“Where’d it happen this time?”  

“Your cousin’s wedding.” 

“That was such a beautiful wedding.” 

“Not when everyone you know is about to be murdered,” he sighed.  

“I think you should get some help to figure this out. Make a doctor’s appointment first thing this morning okay?”  

“Okay.”  

“Try and get some rest. I love you.” 

“I love you too.”  

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The sun flooded the bedroom through the slits in the blinds. He noticed that his wife was slowly waking up beside him, sluggishly stretching her muscles to life. Tom had not fallen back asleep since the dream. He was too frightened to relive the terror again and didn’t want to wake his wife up with his unpleasant screaming. This reoccurring dream had pestered him for the better half of a month, yet the screams were a more recent addition to the annoyance. He knew, as he was staring up at the ceiling in middle of the night, that he needed to seek help from a professional. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, or the fact that he was somewhat spiritual, but in his careful deliberation in the wee hours of the morning, he had settled on the idea that he was to see a psychic. He had always thought that dreams held a deeper meaning, so maybe a seer of a different perspective could help him.  

“Good morning love, how’d ya sleep?” his wife asked.  

“Didn’t get much more after that nightmare. How about you?”  

“I’m sorry to hear that. I slept fine. Are you going to make a doctor’s appointment to see what’s going on?” 

“No.” 

“Why not?” 

“I think I’m going to go see a psychic. Maybe they will know what the dream means. I don’t know, I think it would help.” 

“Umm... Why wouldn’t you just go see a doctor about it? Maybe they could prescribe something to help you sleep.”  

“I don’t want any meds.” 

She furrowed her brow but did not reply. She couldn’t understand why he would choose a mystic over a professional. It seemed he was set on his choice however, so she just let it go. Both of them just wanted his nightmares to end so they could get a good night’s sleep once again. He leaned over and kissed her forehead before leaving the bed to start his day.  

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The appointment with the psychic was set for that day. The office was about an hour’s drive, in a remote area on the outskirts of town, amongst some farmland. The whole drive Tom was wondering why the office was so far away, though this psychic was the only one he could find online anywhere near his town. The drive was gorgeous however, with golden wheat fields surrounding the highway. The sun was out and the air was mild, so with the windows down and some good music, Tom tried to enjoy the drive.  

When he arrived at the office, the drive strangely hadn’t felt any longer than ten minutes. He wrote this off to the fact that he was immersed in the scenery of the drive, his favorite music playing all the while. Speaking of beauty, the “office” he found himself at was gorgeous. Less of an office and more of a manor, it was a quaint cottage-style home in the middle of one of the sprawling wheat fields. There were two sizable gardens in the front yard, both boasting vibrant tulips, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and lilacs. From where Tom had parked, he was to walk over a cobblestone bridge that stretched over a Koi pond which led to the veranda of the home. The property was a sight to see, certainly worth the drive. Tom was already starting to feel a sense of peace from the calmness the home maintained.  

He walked up to the door and knocked. A few moments passed before a frail, elderly woman answered the door. “You must be Tom,” she said with a warm smile, “come on in. Make yourself at home. I just started the kettle. Would you like some chamomile tea?”  

“Yes, thank you. That would be lovely. My I have got to say, you have a wonderful home here,” Tom said.  

“Why thank you very much. It’s been in the family for many generations. It has a good energy to it. The calmness here really helps me tap into the vibrations of my visitors. Come, come, take a seat.” She ushered Tom over to a table, fixed with burning incense and a large amethyst gem, in the middle of the living room. He took a seat in one of the chairs. “You just wait here while I grab the tea. I won’t be but a minute,” she said as she sauntered to the kitchen. From his chair, Tom could see out a large window over-looking the acres of wheat fields, their golden glory mesmerizing him. They appeared never ending.  

When she got back and they were all situated with their tea, she jumped right to work. “So Tom, I take it from our phone call you are having some troubles sleeping. You say a reoccurring dream has been haunting you every night. I’m glad you came here. Dreams are very meaningful and can tell me a lot about a person’s spirit. Do tell me, what is this dream you keep having?”  

“I’m glad you said that about dreams, that they have a lot of meaning I mean. I tried telling that to my wife this morning and she looked at me like I was a loon,” they both chuckled. “Well it’s really quite strange. My dreams usually start out very pleasant; I’m some place beautiful, a lake, a ski resort, last night I was at a wedding. Anyways, they are always very vibrant at this point, somewhat surreal you could say. The colors are fantastical around me and I feel very peaceful, very secure. Then, when everything seems so pleasant, so right in the world, someone around me gets a look of terror in their eyes, always looking up towards the sky. I begin to panic a little at this point and look where they are looking. That’s when I see these dark figures in the sky, way off in the horizon. It usually takes a few seconds, but then I get this gut-wrenching feeling and know exactly what it is we’re gawking at. I tell anyone who’s around me to run away as fast as they can because I know that in a few more seconds, hundreds of planes are going to be flying above us.” 

“Planes? What kind of planes?” the old mystic asked.  

“Well that’s the thing, they aren’t like commercial planes or even modern fighter jets, they are old planes from World War Two. I can hear the buzz of their propellers as they get closer. It gets quite loud sometimes. And then, once the planes are right above where I am standing, they all start to nose-dive towards me. I never get past this point in the dream, I always wake up. It started out I would just be drenched in sweat when I woke up, but now I’m screaming as I wake up. It’s all very frightening and it’s starting to affect my wife’s sleep too. Do you have any idea what it could mean?”  

The psychic silently digested what she had just been told, a puzzled look strewn on her face. She slowly nodded, as if trying to piece together an elaborate jigsaw puzzle in her mind. Tom waited patiently, not daring to interfere with her craft. This lasted a few minutes. Suddenly, she lifted her arms to the table and reached towards Tom.  

“Okay,” she started, “I think I may have an idea of what it all means, but before I’m sure, I’ll need to get a better sense of your energy. Here, take my hands in yours and sit very quiet and still.” Tom did as instructed, grabbing her fragile, wrinkly hands. She closed her eyes, bowing her head to focus. “Yes, I’m getting something from beyond. Have you ever been a soldier or had anyone in your family fight in a war?”  

“No. I’ve never been a soldier and I’m pretty sure none of my family members fought.”  

“Then what I’m about to tell you may be shocking,” she paused, giving a slight sigh. “What I’m sensing is that you were a soldier in a previous life, a pilot more specifically.” She still had her eyes closed and bobbed her head as if watching some event unfurl before her. “I see a decorated warrior climbing into a plane, his colleagues cheering him on as he climbs in the cockpit of a Spitfire war plane.”  

“That’s the exact one that’s always in my dreams!” Tom exclaimed.  

“Yes, well you may not like the rest. He is flying towards enemy lines, but before he gets there something hits his plane. His engine sputters and catches fire. In a last act of heroism, this young fighter steers his plane towards the enemy and crashes into their barracks. The vision goes dark.”  

Tom sat silently, contemplating the paranormal tale he had just heard. It all almost seemed too perfect to him, but he was intrigued.  

“Wait,” the psychic starts, “I see one more thing. I see a veteran’s funeral. I can see lots of other men in uniform surrounding a casket. They are very morose, yet you can see the pride in their eyes for their fallen friend. I also see a young woman holding an infant, the wife I assume. She is devastated, sobbing uncontrollably. The man was hailed as a hero.” She opened her eyes, releasing Tom’s hands.  

“What do you think it all means?” Tom queried.  

“I think that this was you. I think that this horror you keep reliving in your dreams is a sign from your distant past, a previous past. I think you were a war hero, Tom.” Tom wasn’t sure what to make of this. He bowed his head to think about what he had just been told. Here he had ventured to a psychic to see what his dream meant, so he would be able to conquer it and sleep soundly, only to be told that he was a hero of war in a previous life. It was all too strange for him to comprehend.  

He lifted his head to see if the psychic had anything else to add. His eyes met that all-too-known gaze he had seen in his dreams. This frail elderly woman gazed over Tom’s shoulder, a look of terror in her eyes. Tom got very upset. She had just listened to this dream that had been agonizing him for many weeks, told him he was a soldier in a past life, and now here she was mocking him with the same expression that began his nightmares. He motioned to get up out of the seat, to leave and find a true professional to help him out, when he saw that the elderly woman was pointing out the window behind him. ‘If this is an act, she deserves a fucking Oscar,’ Tom thought. He turned his head to the window, to play along with this sick woman’s antics. What he saw made his heart sink. 

Over the horizon of the golden fields of wheat, black figures were hurdling towards the house. The sound started faint but grew deafening the closer they approached. The buzz of a hundred Spitfires roared as the wheat fields below were darkened by their shadows. When they finally reached the house, the first one in formation began to dip down, the others followed.  

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He sat up screaming in his cot, the sheets he had been nestled under soaked with his excess perspiration. He was breathing heavily, his heart thumping loudly. He looked around to wake up his wife, to find comfort from this panic attack, but when he reached over his hand was greeted with an empty void and fell to the side of the cot. He looked around, still trying to catch his breath as he grabbed his chest. He wasn’t in his cozy bedroom at home. No, he found himself in a dark, moist warehouse with dozens of other men sleeping in tiny bunks around him. The confusion consumed him, making his panic worsen until things began to click in his mind. He wasn’t at home, he realized, he hadn’t been home for some months. Tom had just awoken in his barracks in Afghanistan.  

A man in uniform casually strolled towards Tom’s cot, the tapping of his shoes echoing off the bare walls of the warehouse. He came to the foot of Tom’s bed, saluted, and said, “Good morning private, I see you’re awake now. You’ll be thrilled to hear that you have been selected to fly out this morning to one of our enemy’s most populated stations. Your mission? Complete destruction.” He paused and gave a wry smile, “You're going to be a hero today, Tom. Hoorah.”  

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