By Trevor Alderson and Andy Tran
Four soldiers were lying in the snow. They’d been lying there for a day now, soaked in blood, guts, bones. Two of the soldiers were alive, one was not, and one in the the process of departing. Garrett happened to be the soldier who was frozen from head to toe. His body had been propped on its side by the two still warm blooded to block the freezing wind. The UFO was spinning around in circles, shooting a green beam onto Travis. This was the cause of Travis being in the process of departing. It was 2036, and the reds were in the white house. These four reds were rather less happy in a much colder and less glamorous white house of their own. Garrett had been there, had a seat the table, in front of Putin and Trump and Kim Jong Un. Now his red coat was more blackish brown, and raising a frozen sail against the wind. Travis listened to the humming coming from the UFO, the green ray bright and smoky. It made the surrounding snow translucent like a pool of glow-in-the-dark yellow. He imagined he were somewhere else, any place really, a town perhaps, the city having chewed him out.
Travis was dying. When the light touched him he at first thought he was being healed, and he told himself the repetitive, painful shocks that began working deliberately through his insides were somehow for his benefit. And then, as it always did, the shocks scoured his body, and they jolted him back into his nostalgia. He lost track of the world and his place in time, and even forgot he was in pain.
“Travis, you’re safe now.”
Travis tried to answer the faceless thing, but found himself unable to speak in the dream. A huge blue tarpaulin-like structure surrounded Travis and the gigantic white-bearded man.
“You’d like to ask who I am wouldn’t you?” said the bearded giant.
Travis coughed a green gas ball from his mouth. It made him remember a cartoon visual that represented a fart, which looked just like this green cloud of gas, and for a moment all his surroundings and the man beside him appeared drawn in animation.
“I am Ottawa, I come from the North.” Travis and the giant looked at the fur-clad man who appeared as a two dimensional image as though there was a mirror minutely fitted to his figure, reflecting nothing.
“The mountains are melting, haven’t you heard?” said Ottawa.
Travis heard a rumbling clap around them, as though a glacier were cracking, and the air felt cold.
“They will kill your families, eat your children, take your women and leave their heads on your doorstep.” Ottawa’s mirror expanded, and Travis saw a blizzard behind him, as though the room were slowly being swallowed by this new reality. “We call them the reds.”
The knowledge of “reds” was suddenly with Travis again, and Ottawa’s ravaged face made the memories come with pain. She was there, with the pain. Ottawa’s image was replaced by her much more visceral memory, but happened before Travis was aware of it, as though in a dream. He could feel it now, the sheer power of the car, the black Mercedes crushing into Melody. But the car was on the other side of the mirror, and the feeling was only in Travis. The “reds” had been driving that Mercedes; it was a planned hit, something they’d grown accustomed to.
The faceless giant said, “This is what your mind holds onto most when asked to give an account of itself, that you chose this.”
Travis said, “Let them come.” And though he still couldn’t speak, he felt the giant had heard the words in his mind.
He looked down at his ring finger, the casing tight on his flesh, bought from Melody. He remembers the agony of looking at her face and knowing it would be the last time.
As Travis was waking up, the snow tumbled onto his shoulders and the cold stifled him. The shocks in his body and the light were still very much present, but they were fading, and as they went he heard a voice that had been speaking to him only recently which said, “This was your vision from the Oracle, the truth you will choose.”
Travis hit his head against Garrett’s head--dead. Then the pain in Travis’ body returned full force, and he looked down at himself to see dozens of precise, bloody wounds as though from a vicious surgery. He saw his two comrades, huddling next to each other for warmth, a fire burning in front of them.
“You made a fire while I was getting zapped?” Travis croaked.
“Fugwegondoaboutit?” his friends said in unison. Even though they had a fire, their lips looked frostbitten. “You were getting zapped for hours.”