The dream begins for each of us with the suddenness of an odor, abrupt, invisible, and distinct.
We get six and a half billion baffled looks on our faces, each of us, wherever in the world we are, and we search the air around us for the source of this sudden and obvious Change. We click on lights, and turn off radios, and the more we search, the more obvious the change becomes, and yet we can’t name it.
We sit up in our beds or pull over our cars. We emerge from our igloos and our wigwams and our condos and our bars. We put down our spears and our guns, our tacos and remote controls. We stop eating and screwing and we blink around at the world like cartoon characters made real.
The odor fluctuates, impossible to nail down. It’s old cheese and then it’s fish and then it’s popcorn, and then it’s old-fashioned baby shit. And each instantaneous odor fires off synaptic chain reactions in our brains, linking us to our pasts, as the universe itself speaks to us, and our memories are its words.
We reach out to the nearest person – husbands or daughters or Chinese lawyers or salmon fishermen. Strangers on the street join hands and exchange heavy glances, while by and large, those who are alone simply run, screaming into the streets.
For the Change is rising from an odor to a hum now, and the memories and perceptions flickering through our brains spell out a message that cannot easily be brought to words.
Yes, but the message is clear, just the same: We are watching an Undoing. We are watching the universe, unraveling like a sweater before our eyes.
The molecules around us roll open, revealing themselves as trillions and trillions of tiny, staring eyes. Awareness becomes a force of nature. Our memories and perceptions plow each of us down like massive runaway snowballs, and we freeze, arms and legs splayed out, on the surfaces of our tumbling, material lives.
The earth and sky split into fragments and shards, while houses rise into the breeze, creaking on their foundations. Chunks of sidewalk pop loose and sizzle through the air, people surfing on them expertly, young or old, howling or silent. Water mains burst and machinery disassembles itself, bolts popping loose like festive corks, glass shattering into crystal screams, shimmering like angels in the spaces between the ribbons of our shredded world.
It is like the end of any dream. When your mind runs out of tinker toys, or an alarm clock goes off, or a fire alarm, or a loud commercial as you doze on the couch. It’s not so much that the dream stops making sense, but that you notice abruptly, it never made sense at all. And this chaotic certainty splits the canvas. You might start to fly, or pull your eyeballs out, or collapse into liquid and spill down a nearby drain. Your mind doesn’t know what to do with the chaos, and so it wakes you up.
But this is no ordinary dream, and so its end is only its beginning. How can the sky have holes in it? But there they are, like purple swiss cheese, and there’s the Eifel Tower, twisted into a spiral, thousands of miles from home, and it swims in and out of the holes like a shining, cosmic eel.
Hold tight to something, that is our instinct. Hold tight to those you love, to that which you understand, to the faith that’s always brought you through your darkest hours. Hold tight, for the Flood is upon us, and its Waters are carrying us all like barrels, the flotsam and jetsam of Mankind itself – no, of all Existence. Of Truth itself.
The moon careens toward Earth, growing in the sky like a billard ball hit with a snooker stick, spinning madly. Then it elongates, springing out of itself, as if from a tricky can of nuts, and then it too, is an eel, shooting in the same direction as everything else.
We follow it, not as a choice but because that direction – toward the New Mexico desert – that is the new “down.” The homeless and the debutantes and the third shift factory workers, and the Russian mistresses, we are all the same again, and we soar above the bobbling ground as it dimples and bubbles and erupts without lava. We are all strangers, and yet we meet each other’s eyes in the maelstrom, and we remember something, a secret even greater than the pyramids, than Roswell, than Da Vinci’s code.
Australia erupts from Kansas, spraying kangaroos and super hot dudes into the air like confetti. The Atlantic Ocean explodes into snow. Stars pulse into supernovas, wink at us, and then collapse, become lasers, shooting past us at the Source.
We ride the darkness, the six and a half billion Wards of the Almighty, the Keepers of Free Will, the Decision Makers, the Chosen, the Human Fucking Race.
Yes, and our journey is forever, and there is all the time that ever was, to reflect upon our history, like a single life that flashes not through our minds, but becomes our minds. We see the evil and the good, the slavery and the redemption, the war, the peace, and the garbage, the incredible, globe-spanning frat-party garbage.
And one by one, as the human race sails toward the Beartech Collider Facilty in the New Mexico desert, as we circle it like a bathtub drain, we join hands with strangers in the storm. We remember the Secret that we all once knew – that our minds are One. That we are One. That battling against monsters makes us monsters, and that the abyss is mesmerizing to stare into, but that it is also staring into us.
We orbit the eye of this final storm, and we cling to the identities that we once called our own. Children cry for their parents as churches and skyscrapers tumble through the vortex around us. So many of us lived for our half-price appetizers and our televisions and our five hundred dollar coats, that we grasp for them as they swirl around us, but we cannot reach them; they evaporate into dust, and leap into the Source.
For the Source is obvious now, a bubble or a hole, something in the desert at the Beartech Collider Facilty, something so dark that it burns the eyes to look at it, and our possessions and our trappings are sucked into it, leaving shadows of fading smoke. We cannot see what lies at the center. But like living cells, we feel the panic of the dying brain that rules us. We know what lurks in this Center, in this Drain, in this Mouth that eats us all.
And from deep within the Source we hear a Voice that we all remember. Like finding your baby blanket as an old man, feeling it against your face. Smelling it, chewing on its fuzzy border. We know the Voice.
“Please!” The words booming and magnificent, and yet with a sadness like a trillion solar winds. “Pleeeeease, forrrrrgiiiiiive me!”
Then Another, the one only I recognize, whispering across the universe, the most thunderous whisper ever, perhaps, produced:
“No,” my old friend answers. “No, no, no…”