[recounting of a dream I've had each of the last four nights, apropos of nothing]
I walk up to myself, standing next to a set of cast-iron gates. They're thin and wholly conventional, but growing roots into the ground. It's winter. There are patches of ice in the dirt, and nothing growing anywhere - just flat dirt. There's a camp of some sort - steel buildings, it looks like - a few hundred yards beyond the gates.
"You're new," the I standing next to the gates says.
"You're observant," I say.
"Infantry tactics?" he says. "Kind of antique, isn't it?"
"There's always going to be a need for boots on the ground." I shrug.
I look down. I'm holding a pistol magazine in my left hand. I count the nine .40 caliber rounds, see the metal casings twisted and melted like candle wax. I look around for other, undamaged ammunition. I'm inside the third metal building from the left, waiting for something. There's a fishing pole hanging on the wall, and a tackle box on the shelf underneath it. I open the lid.
There are puddles of molten metal - silver, maybe - in each compartment of the tackle box. I blow on them, but they don't harden; they only push hot air back into my face. I feel my skin tighten.
Then he's standing in front of me. I click the magazine into position, thumb the safety off, and pull the trigger twice, directly into his chest at point-blank range. Nothing happens - no noise, no click, no nothing. He flickers like a candle.
I feel like I should run. Unsurprisingly, I can't. I never can.
"Special," he says. I don't think he means it in a complimentary way. Then he calls me a leech and grabs the front of my shirt.
Then I wake up.