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The Nightmares After Christmas

They say too much food gives you nightmares.

I guess they're right. Tonight it was the zombie apocalypse again - only it wasn't a full-blown apocalypse, and they weren't really zombies. They were more like dolls. More like savage beasts in human form. They didn't just take over humans, but inanimate objects and animals too.

It started slowly, and I remember a scene where I was balancing on the edge of a roof, making my way from my very ill-placed apartment, when I noticed there was something going on in a nearby alley. I went there to check it out, but it was locked. I tried again the next day, and it was full of kids, a boss standing amidst them, telling me I couldn't get in that way.

Or maybe it started earlier, at a changing booth by a water park. I was trying to change back from my swim gear, but for some reason had trouble getting my clothes right, and suddenly lines of people rushed towards the changing booths - which apparently had no doors. So they all stood facing me as I changed, urging me to go speed up, or encouraging me; telling me how well I was doing. Like I was just a kid. And maybe I was...

Though maybe it started even earlier in the dream, when I was out with the entire family on a road trip trying to salvage items so we could survive. We never got out of our car (a silver-colored SAAB 9-5), we just drove around, but we weren't finding anything so finally I asked if we couldn't try another route. My dad gave me free reign over the vehicle, and that's when it all went to hell.

Before that, though, we were journeying by a port on foot. I saw a lighthouse-like building to the right, out on the water, with an inviting glass window that covered the wall facing us. The rest of it was made of oiled wood and stone chipping. Actually it was more like a cafe. The path towards it was thin however, and the water around it was full of chunks of ice, and crows floated tempestuously above.

It smelled like a trap.

I realized the dream was a zombie game, and a moment later I wondered how I could have realized that, because my whole family was there and we were all pretty worn-down and scared. And so far we hadn't seen a single zombie. Was it really?

We found a supermarket though, full of food and no infested people, though there were a few dead ones on the floor, and blood splattered over the linoleum. We pondered what we could do with the food we salvaged there. It was a treasure trove, yet we couldn't take much with us.

Ideas of getting it onto a cruise ship - or maybe just a larger boat, circled through my mind. But what if there were zombies stowed away in the engine room, or closet? Where would we find a non-infested transport among the ones available to us? It didn't seem very safe.

That's when I jumped onto the rooftop.

Crawling out of my little apartment I had to pass by an incredibly tame pigeon. As I wriggled by, all too close, I was scared it would try to peck my eyes out. It didn't, fortunately, and I made it out of that strange closed compartment before my apartment and onto the ledge, where I realized I was scared of heights. The epiphany struck me as I looked down at the ground far below: holy shit. So that's why that first roller coaster drop scared me so much! I started looking down a lot, as if to see if I would get over my phobia by facing it. I didn't.

Moments later I was really escaping. There were still no signs of zombies or infested people, but I ganged up with some other survivors and we made our way to a military base on the edge of the island. I remember on the way there the guy I was following swept the grass on a wet field with a stick, probing it as if looking for mines, and I - who had been walking carefree beside, decided to hop over to his trampled-up path and take the same route. I have no idea if there actually were any mines there at all though. Maybe he was just mad. Nothing exploded. We made it out OK.

At the base people didn't really believe us... or maybe we didn't tell them. It was too calm. The base was like a port too, but we were far off from the city and felt safe there. I decided to get on a ferry, though I'm not sure what my intentions were with that. And off we went...

It took a route past the city, and as we neared the place I'd just recently left the realization that I was back there again slowly sunk in, and for some reason I had to jump from one ferry to another. It went alright, though I landed on the second ferry with such force the ferryman almost fell into the water. Huge splash. Like I was superhuman, cybernetic... or just really fat. (Christmas food much?)

We drew up to the port, where the first infested being ran onto us - a young woman, with dark hair and a pale face... a bit like that lady from The Ring.

I shoved her away, and she disappeared somewhere, but it was also at this point I realized I had been infected myself all along; maybe infecting all I passed on the way there.

I think the ferryman was still OK, but the port was done for, so I made my way back into empty city streets - though it was more like a small town. Like the one in Resident Evil 5, but with water. Or Tropico. Or Far Cry 4 (though I've barely played that one).

I holed up in a kid's bedroom at the end, either to shield myself from others or to shield them from myself. It seemed a cozy, safe and sunlit space until I realized there was something - or someone, under the covers... so I pulled them back... slowly. It was just a doll.

That's when I realized the dolls could be infected too. And that's when I woke up - way too early in the morning.

I'm not sure where all those zombie references came from because I haven't seen or played anything zombie-related in a long time now... it was pretty eerie.

So take it easy with the Christmas food, folks, and sleep well.

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