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Thursday, June 25th, 2009
9:38 pm
[p] and I were hiking along a river that was partially frozen. We found a surprising number of large, furry spiders among the rocks and ice. I was disappointed to notice that my camera's battery was dying, and that I had forgotten to bring a spare battery. We ended up climbing more than hiking, and I was slightly nervous when I had to place my hand near a spider, but they didn't seem aggressive. We decided before long that we'd be better off coming back a little later in the year.

Back in the city, I was driving with a friend to help with a project at someone's apartment. We arrived in an area crowded with tall yellow buildings, and guessed that we were in the right place. As we approached the building, the person we were there to see came outside to meet us. My friend and I had both brought power drills, but I had left mine in the car, assuming we wouldn't need both. We concluded that we might need both after all, and I returned to the car while the other two entered the building.

On my way back from the car, I encountered two men throwing a football. One of them seemed to deliberately move into my path any way I turned so that I could not easily pass. I didn't know what his intentions were, and I pretended not to notice what he was doing. I backtracked a little and walked around a building. I was relieved to find a large number of people along my new route.

When I entered the apartment building, I tried the first of three large elevators. When it opened, I saw several sleeping bags on the floor, one of which was occupied. Another person stood in the back, looking at me with a slight smile as if I had done something embarrassing in opening the doors. I saw other items indicating that several people lived in the elevator car. I decided to try the second one rather than disturb them further.

When I arrived at the apartment, it was crowded with people. It seemed that a baptism was taking place in a small bathroom. Only a few people in a narrow hall leading to the bathroom could see what was going on, but everyone seemed happy. [d] was in the crowd that spilled over into a larger room, and someone announced that he was going to sing a hymn. I was surprised at this, never having heard him sing a solo in public like this. Although everyone was standing, he rose a foot or so above the crowd, and I noticed that his white shirt collar seemed oddly oversized. He sang the song, and did a decent job.
Sunday, December 21st, 2008
8:23 pm
While crossing the country, we stayed in a mansion owned by some acquaintances of acquaintances of ours. It was a sort of an informal hotel. They allowed pets, and they even permitted our cats to walk freely around the house. When night came, however, we were told that we needed to shut the cats in a cage in the basement kennel. I had a very hard time catching our cat [m]. He fought me fiercely as I carried him downstairs and put him in a cell. I didn't understand why he resisted so strongly. In the adjacent cell were several lion cubs that belonged to another guest.

Late that night, we sat in an upper room talking to some of the other guests. The woman who had brought the lion cubs was there, as was a man who suddenly informed us that the owners of the house intended to kill us. He distributed blunt black rods that could be used to stab them. They were vampires, and special tools were required to kill them. They were also vulnerable to cats, and afraid of them. Apparently, any type of cat would instinctively attack and kill them.

Even with the black rods, we didn't seem to have much of a chance against the vampires. I decided to attempt to free the lion cubs, and the vampire hunter and I left the room. We could see shadowy figures in black capes moving along the ceiling and staircases. We hadn't made it very far when several vampires emerged before us. The vampire hunter pulled out what looked like a small stick of black dynamite. When he held it up, the vampires retreated.

He handed me a couple of the sticks and then went off in another direction. There seemed to be too many vampires in the way for me to reach the kennel, so I explored more of the floor we were on. Looking into another room, I saw an old woman in bed. She seemed very ill, and I wondered whether she was also a vampire. I noticed one of the vampires standing by the bed, his or her back to me. Several others appeared in the room, surrounding the bad. None of them faced me, and they didn't seem to know I was there.

I saw my chance to kill several of the vampires at once, but if the old woman was not one of them I'd be killing an innocent person to save the rest of us. I lit a stick of the dynamite, and the fuse burned quietly. Making my decision, I threw the stick onto the bed. It exploded, not causing much damage but turning everyone in the room to fine black dust. Apparently, they had all been vampires.
Monday, June 9th, 2008
9:32 pm
A friend had asked me to purchase a used textbook from someone. I had heard some negative things about the area where the seller lived, though I had never been there.

We arrived there late at night. [je] was driving. I had brought the exact purchase price ($7.50) so that we'd be able to make the transaction and quickly leave.

Although the place seemed to be densely populated, we saw no one outside. After driving along several of the unfamiliar and poorly-lit roads, we turned down a very narrow street. On both sides, the apartments seemed to form a solid dirty white wall with no windows. Doors and mailboxes were surprisingly close together all along the wall. I noticed that we had passed the address we were looking for, and we backed up to the spot where it seemed likely to be.

I left the van and and walked the few steps to the building. I hadn't noticed from the van that the doors also included round manhole-like entrances in the road itself. I found the number I sought on one of these. The hole's cover was ajar and I could see down into the apartment. In dim reddish light, a tall blond man paced the room. He appeared to be dressed only in white feathers or cotton, which covered him haphazardly. I didn't know whether this man was the seller of the textbook, and I hesitated, not sure I wanted to get his attention. My view of the room below was limited, and he soon left my field of vision.

Not sure what to do, I stood to see the feathered man emerging from a doorway several yards away. He walked in a straight line, a dazed expression on his face. I returned to the van, sensing others watching me from somewhere, and we left without the textbook.
Monday, November 19th, 2007
11:27 pm
At a far end of the shopping mall, we watched as a hole formed in the air a few feet off the ground and a trolley emerged. It stopped when about half of it was outside the hole. The end door opened and a conductor inside asked us whether we were boarding. We said that we were. Because only people with certain occupations could ride the trolleys, we had to pretend that we had one of the qualifying jobs. My friend said that we were necromancers, pointing at packages of meat on the ground that he had bought earlier. We were allowed to board.

Instead of entering the trolley, I climbed on the side and squeezed between the trolley and the edge of the hole. I found myself on a platform in the between-world. A maintenance worker approached me and handed me a tool kit, evidently assuming that I was a trolley repair worker. With the tools, I'd be able to ride the trolleys freely. But I still didn't know how to summon them.

Later, in a department store, I asked a small monkey on a counter to summon a trolley. The monkey jumped around a device that resembled a cash register, and may have pressed a few buttons. A hole opened and a trolley emerged before me.
Saturday, August 25th, 2007
12:17 am
The most interesting part of the compound we were visiting was the pool containing a beluga whale. The whale seemed very happy and friendly, and I wondered whether it could be transferred to the larger rectangular pool in another building across the road.

When workers became alarmed at finding the whale missing, we informed them that it was now in the swimming pool. In fact, it seemed to be hiding underwater against a wall so not to be seen. I couldn't remember how we had moved the whale. When one of the workers described a violent scene in which the whale rammed and killed seals in the larger pool, I could picture the scene clearly. But there were no seals in the pool.

Someone in our group walked away angrily, saying that one of my coworkers would be fired for this. I quickly followed, explaining vaguely that if any of us were to blame, then I was. I was trying to avoid admitting that I had been responsible for moving the whale, but I was prepared to take the blame (which I entirely deserved) if anyone else would otherwise get in trouble. As the two of us crossed the road, a car passed dangerously close to us. The car circled around, and I was surprised to see the whale driving. I ran to the window and asked the whale whether it could understand what I was saying. It indicated that it could.

Workers rushed to the car and took the whale away, not allowing me to follow. I asked them whether they knew of the animal's intelligence, but they ignored my question.
Sunday, March 18th, 2007
3:59 pm
We visited another city, this one more populous and with taller buildings. As we were walking around downtown, [wg], [jm], and I were drawn to a three or four-story building that seemed to be abandoned. We didn't find anything on the first floor or the second. But before we made our way to the third floor, a ceiling air conditioning vent dropped a screw, and then another. The metal cover clattered to the floor and the opening began to expand and contract rhythmically. The hole grew larger and more circular in shape. By the time it became a circle several feet in diameter, it was closing entirely and opening again, like a mouth. One of the times it opened, it was no longer a mouth but an enormous eye. We backed away toward the stairs leading down to the first floor. The eye remained open and began pouring a thick green transparent liquid from its pupil. [jm] and I ran down the stairs, but [wg] stayed behind, to observe and possibly to somehow fight the eye. The liquid pooled on the floor and cascaded down the stairs. It somehow disabled [wg] and he went rigid and fell down the stairs, striking his head on the way down. I awkwardly caught him at the bottom of the stairs and we dragged him out of the building. Outside, a large skull floated from the top floor window. A crowd gathered on the street below.

Later, [je] and I were trying to find our way back to the place we were staying in the city. We somehow ended up in a series of connected buildings, and the area seemed to be one where only very wealthy people lived. I noticed as we walked down an inclined passage that everyone around us was much older than we were. The passage led to a sort of art museum, and I decided to take some pictures as we passed through it. In one room, I waited as a middle-aged man photographed a woman and her young son, so not to get in their way. After the man took his picture, I walked around the room, taking a few pictures. The man began making comments, though not directly to me, that he wanted me to leave so that the three of them could have the place to themselves. It was a public place, however, and I ignored him. He directed the woman's son to try breaking or stealing my camera and to kick and bite me so that I would leave. The boy obeyed, and I dodged his attacks without too much trouble. I talked to the boy as I did, trying to win him over to my side so that he'd stop bothering me.

That evening, I wanted to visit a video game-themed restaurant I had heard of in the city, and I asked whether anyone else wanted to try it. No one seemed interested, so I set out walking again myself and eventually found it. I ordered a hamburger.
Sunday, March 11th, 2007
7:41 pm
I hadn't noticed anything distinctive about the city where we were staying during our vacation. But when my family split up to walk around and find things to do, I came across something that surprised me. A man stood by a large creature that looked like a combination of a manta ray and a turtle. It looked as if the man was offering rides on the creature, which had no legs and rested on the grass near the road.

I bought a ticket and climbed up onto the creature, as did three other people. The creature then lifted into the air. We flew in a wide circle around the city. I now saw many small lakes and grassy areas that had somehow been invisible before, between the roads and buildings. Enormous albino turtles swam and rested in the water. The creature we rode seemed to enjoy flying low as we passed them.

After the aerial tour ended, I realized that I hadn't taken any pictures of the amazing things I was seeing. I quickly set off to find [d] and [p]. I brought them back so that they could also ride the creature with me while I took pictures during a second trip. When we arrived, we learned that the creature needed to rest for almost an hour between flights. I also saw that two wooden benches were now attached to its back to accommodate more riders.

Seeing this intensified a feeling I'd already had when I learned what the creature could do--somehow it didn't seem right to use it in this way.
Wednesday, December 27th, 2006
7:22 pm
We went back to our old apartment one more time to clean out some more of our things. We had left many of our belongings there because they had degraded to the point that we didn't want them anymore. Everything was blackened and moldy--even the light seemed dimmer that it should have been. When we had lived there, we had at least kept the place clean. All I could find to salvage were a couple bottles of vitamins from the medicine cabinet.

Walking back to the parking lot, we saw someone open the door to another apartment. It was just one filthy room with bed coverings scattered around the floor. Enormous black cockroaches scurried over things. This was an example of an apartment that was not regularly cleaned.

Later, back in our neighborhood, I climbed a young tree. When I was comfortable in its leafless branches, I inserted my car key into the trunk and turned the key. The tree was silent, so I wasn't sure that it had started, but then the tree began to move forward. My ride down the street was perfectly smooth and silent. All I could hear were some birds in nearby trees. I didn't have any way to slow or stop the tree, however. It seemed that it glided frictionless over any type of terrain. Its maximum speed was not unreasonable but it was fast enough to make me concerned as I swerved to avoid some oncoming vehicles.
Tuesday, October 31st, 2006
7:48 pm
The woman in the wheelchair acted as a sort of leader to everyone living in or visiting the mansion. Our current work was to cut wood and carry it to the house. To do this, we had to cross the stream that ran a few hundred yards in front of the house. I was wading in the water, trying to arrange several large logs with flat cut sides so that they formed a bridge. But it seemed that any way I lined them up, the bridge would be dangerous to someone carrying a heavy load of wood.

Back at the house, we were talking to the woman in the wheelchair. For some reason, I suddenly began to suspect that she had something sinister planned. I wasn't the only one who had this thought, and we quickly left the house. She had some sort of unusual power, but its nature had never been clear. On the way out, I grabbed some batteries that belonged to her.

That evening, we decided to return to the mansion and see whether anything had happened there. As we walked, I put the batteries I had taken from the mansion in my flashlight. When we reached the wooden walkway that ran parallel to the stream, we saw that the house had been largely destroyed. It was a mess of beams and broken pieces, and inside the ruined structure paced an enormous brown creature that had a vaguely humanoid shape. It seemed that the creature had either been summoned or created by the woman in the wheelchair, or it actually was her.

To see the creature better, I turned on my flashlight. I didn't know that the flashlight would make any difference at this distance, but it hummed loudly and emitted a powerful orange beam. When the light hit the mansion, it melted the broken materials into wet metallic silver. The ripples quickly hardened into mounds as the light left them. The creature stopped, shuddered, and sparked when hit by the light, and a thought that wasn't my own entered my mind: "You can't hurt me with this."

Concentrating on the giant creature, we almost failed to notice a smaller human-sized copy of it approaching us from the grass below the wooden walkway. I turned my beam to the smaller creature, which was clearly injured by the blast. I suspected that I had in fact been hurting the larger creature as well, and I moved back and forth between the two, stunning each in turn so that they could come no closer. I wondered whether the batteries would last until I could drive the creatures off. They did, and both creatures' forms eventually dissipated.
Saturday, October 14th, 2006
3:26 pm
An unoccupied truck rolled down an incline just as I was driving up to our apartment complex. I couldn't avoid it, and it struck my car on the front right side. It hadn't been rolling fast, but the impact was enough to lock the vehicles together. I got out and walked up to the apartment, thinking that I should call the police. I searched for a telephone book for a while, but couldn't find one. I asked a few people, but no one seemed to know the number.

The next few days, it bothered me that I couldn't find the number to call. I could think only of 9-1-1, but this wasn't an emergency. After we ate at a buffet-style restaurant at a shopping mall, I finally discovered a telephone book in our apartment. A full page was dedicated to police, fire, ambulances, and so on, but the numbers were encoded into puzzles of some type. I found this irritating. The puzzles probably weren't especially complicated, but I found myself too frustrated with the situation to even try solving them. Especially when I noticed that the numbers were also printed on the page, but in intentionally unreadable and faded type.
1:33 am
Lying on the table awaiting surgery, I wondered when I would lose consciousness. I felt the table begin to rotate. It turned faster until it was spinning and the room was a blur. The table also began to rise as the doctors entered the room. I could feel more than hear a faint yelling as I spun. I felt some pressure on my stomach and hoped that it wasn't the surgeon making an incision while I was still awake, but I couldn't speak or move. I awoke to find myself lying face down on a hospital bed.
Sunday, October 8th, 2006
12:36 pm
We watched a Japanese animation film. It had an interesting story, but ended with the sudden and inexplicable violent deaths of the three main characters. After we turned it off, a gray-bearded man who lived in our building walked in and told us that none of us would survive today.

Not only was the world in chaos and likely to end soon in a cataclysmic event, but a group of marauders had invaded our area. The most immediate danger, however, was that our building was about to collapse--this is what we hadn't yet been aware of before our neighbor's announcement. We had a fair number of people in our building who had been in the military and police when those institutions had still existed. They had made plans to defend our building, but now things seemed more hopeless. In fact, [e] gave up on living and lay down to die--she wasn't just waiting to die from the calamities, but was actually dying from a lack of any will to live.

I was surprised both at her attitude and at that of others who seemed to be at the opposite extreme--they didn't even acknowledge that anything was wrong. I was gathering up a few tools and supplies in case I had to escape quickly, but some others were just talking and laughing. Whenever I passed [e], I tried to convince her not to give up yet. But I didn't really know what to say, and it was hard to tell even whether she was still alive.

The marauders came, and those with tactical training gave assignments. Even young children helped by throwing obstacles into our attackers' paths. We eventually drove them off. Our only casualty that I was aware of was the gray-bearded man who had earlier predicted our doom--when he was crossing a room, the floor collapsed under him and so did the floor below that one. I didn't know whether he had survived the fall.
Friday, October 6th, 2006
6:59 pm
During a break between classes, I noticed that I had forgotten my apartment key. I knew where [m] would be at the time, so I went looking for her. I found her walking between buildings, and didn't recognize her at first. She looked too young. She let me borrow her key, and I headed back to my apartment. I referred to the number etched on the key to remind me where my apartment was. When I arrived, I found that [e] was there. I was surprised to have forgotten that she'd be there. There hadn't really been any reason to borrow [m]'s key. I hadn't forgotten my key--I had lost it. But I knew where.

I returned to the building where I had attended a meeting earlier. We had been in a large room full of blue padded chairs facing different directions. The room vaguely reminded me of the interior of a passenger airplane. As I entered the room, I saw that a meeting had just ended and another was about to begin. I looked around at some of the people gathering. They were quite varied--many were obviously very wealthy and powerful, while others appeared to be college students. Others were laborers of different types.

I referred again to the number on [m]'s key to find the seat I had occupied at the earlier meeting. A woman was sitting there, and my key was on the floor in front of her. A man behind a counter who was dressed as a bartender called the meeting to order. The meeting was for people who have influence in the city, or possibly a larger area. They were here to discuss how things were going for the population and make decisions that would affect the way things were done. A large man in overalls who was quite dirty from his work seemed to be the most important person at the meeting. Sitting on a carpeted stage, he led the discussion. As he spoke, he gestured with his mud and cement-splattered arms.
Thursday, April 27th, 2006
10:31 pm
When I arrived late for class, I noticed a timeline of video game consoles across the three chalk boards. It seemed that the class was waiting for me to point out any omissions or errors. I wasn't sure I'd be able to remember some of the older, more obscure ones without looking them up.

Outside after class, an acquaintance showed me a small metal box. It was a device that emitted waves to disrupt the physical structure of the creatures that were invading our world. He also held one of the creatures, which looked like a smooth, gray ball. When he activated the device, the outer layer of the ball melted off into a puddle of black slime in the dirt. Leaving the device running, he mixed the slime into the dirt with his hands. He then turned off the device, and the slime formed up around the ball. The dirt, sand, and sticks were still mixed in, and this caused the creature a lot of pain. Although it was silent, we could sense its screaming. We also knew that the pain was being shared by others of its kind. Because they could also communicate in this way, we knew that the creatures would soon summon some of the humans that they controlled. My classmate quickly dug a hole in the dirt and buried the creature, and we got up and ran in separate directions.

I passed some sort of officer holding a radio to his ear. I assumed that he was learning of what we had done and would soon come after us, so I climbed a fence into someone's back yard. I crossed through other yards, noticed by a few people. Although most people who were not already controlled were not sympathetic to the invaders, I knew that some would still turn me in if I acted suspiciously to avoid being punished themselves. I climbed higher and moved through the trees and on fence tops. I could jump high and far as if I were very light. I entered a high window of a house and landed on a very tall wardrobe. A dog ran to the wardrobe and eyed me suspiciously on my perch. It barked, alerting the people in the house to my presence. A woman and a child entered the room. The woman immediately knew that I was running from the invaders, and she seemed unsure for a moment what to do. But they decided to let me hide in their house until I could safely escape and go elsewhere.
Friday, February 3rd, 2006
12:43 am
Peaceful elf-like people lived in a city floating high in the sky. Mean-spirited royalty from a much larger flying colony didn't like the peaceful tribe. One of their pointy-eared warriors sat atop an aircraft that encased two large dragons, or worms. When the craft reached the smaller settlement, the dragon heads extending from either side bit large chunks from nbearby buildings. It would take some time to destroy the entire colony this way, but with no defense at all, it would eventually be destroyed.

I was visiting some friends and many other people were in the house. Someone entered the room and was surprised that I hadn't heard we were being attacked by monsters from the sky. Apparently, they were gradually eating the city. I somehow got lost momentarily in the house, but eventually found the door. In the daytime sky I could see the shadows of the dragon ships--or at least I thought I could.

We were soon in our car evacuating with everyone else. We hadn't really packed anything. Traffic was slow, but not as bad as we might have expected. We saw a dog in the opposite lane walking slowly across the street. If it kept that up, it would certainly be hit. A few minutes after we passed it, [e] got out of the car and ran back toward the dog. This surprised me, but I was now driving slowly enough that I wouldn't even need to pull over. I looked back to see [e] waving to me, indicating that the dog was all right. She walked back toward the car, passing a tall building that was on fire. We both realized that this was where [r] lived, and we guessed that [r] had caused the fire while cooking something in the kitchen. [e] yelled something up toward [r]'s window, but I doubted [r] would hear, even if she were still in the burning apartment.
Monday, September 12th, 2005
9:36 pm
We lived in a big city with many tall buildings. Several 18-wheelers were parked in front of the apartment building where we lived and I needed to move one out of the way. I ran it into something. Not very hard, but setting off a chain reaction that damaged several other large trucks in both lanes. No one was in any of the vehicles, so no one got hurt.

Because I had been sued before for a car accident, I was going to be sent to prison if I got caught. So I decided to run away. I met [w] coming up the street the other way and told him what had happened. He told me not to worry, that he'd take care of it. I didn't know what he meant by that.

Back at home, we saw a news report on television about a train that had derailed and hit a bunch of trucks. It was the trucks on our street. It had been after hours so no one was on the train, and no one was injured except for the person who had caused the crash. He had been killed. Someone discovered a video camera near the scene of the crash and they played the tape found in it on television. It showed the guy who had caused the crash treading water in the dark. He was saying thanks to people for things, but using initials or code names for everyone he mentioned specifically to hide his identity. [w]'s mother was at our house, and she laughed about how the person in the video looked like him. I knew that it really was him, saying good-bye to people because he knew that he might soon be dead. He was trying to stay anonymous because his wreck had been to cover up mine and he was trying to throw off anyone who would investigate.
Monday, April 18th, 2005
5:55 pm
After we finished eating, I got up to inspect the museum exhibits in the old restaurant. There were only a few displays, and the subject of all of them was an apparent haunting in the nearby fields and forest.

One of the displays was somewhat bizarre--a wooden set of cubbyhole shelves, each compartment containing a life-sized (and very lifelike) animatronic human head. All were disabled, and I didn't really want to press any of the buttons that would make the various explorers, researchers, or witnesses explain their recorded experience with the haunting. Most of the heads looked down at an angle when inactive, but a few looked up or forward with their dormant eyes.

I went outside alone to see the area in question. It wasn't far from the restaurant at all. The wet grass reflecting the moonlight made an attractive scene. Everything had a faint blue glow about it, which I realized was becoming lighter in tint. I felt a little frightened, but I thought that it was simply the stories of the haunting getting to me. Against the darkness of the forest, I saw a vague blue outline of a person standing in the field not far from me. The blue glow increased and became erratic. Electricity seemed to sparkle in the air. My vision blurred and tilted as I stared at the entity with increasing dread. It was now more sharply defined, and it seemed to be a female figure.
Thursday, April 7th, 2005
11:53 pm
We were staying at a sort of swimming resort. It consisted of a series of apartments in white cylindrical buildings, and a series of above-ground swimming pools--also white and cylindrical. Some rested on the ground, some were partially sunk, and some jutted out from cliffsides. The area was mountainous, and the pools were at many different levels. One of the largest, which seemed to be a natural lake, was very high.

The apartment buildings were clean and uniform on the outside, but inside looked like old homes with well-worn furniture. The building we were staying in had several rooms, and we shared it with a couple from India. In the evening, they showed us films from their country on the television as we ate at the kitchen table.

One of the resort's rules was that the apartments must be kept clean. If you failed an inspection, which presumably took place during the day when everyone was off near the water, some of your possessions would be confiscated. Because we had a lot of our things with us, we tried to clean the place carefully, even making sure that objects were lined up and symmetrical.

In the morning, we left for the pools. A lot of people swam, walked on the beaches around the pools, and climbed the cliffs, but the place was large enough not to be crowded. As we ascended toward one of the highest pools, I saw someone I knew high above us on the edge of a pool. He was about to jump, apparently down to where we were climbing. I paused, standing on a sturdy hose, to watch him. I held out my hand, offering to steady him when he landed on the hose so that he wouldn't fall into the gap between the cliffside I was on and the one he was on. He nodded and jumped. Instead of jumping to my side of the gap, he landed on a similar hose on the other side at about our level. His momentum stretched the hose down and it snapped back up, catapulting him into a flip above us. He fell past us and continued all the way down the ground below. I wouldn't have imagined it possible for someone to fall so far and survive, but he landed running, stumbling slightly, and seemed to be unhurt.

When we returned to the apartment that evening, we found that many of our possessions had been taken, including our computer. The Indian couple were sad, and told us that they didn't understand. We told them that we didn't understand, either.
Friday, March 4th, 2005
9:50 pm
I hadn't bothered going to work in a while. I doubted anyone else would have been there. Even if I had meaningful work to do and was paid for it, money was useless. We were just sort of wandering around my parents' house. We weren't going to stay there, but we didn't have anywhere else to go, either. I considered trying to hide some things so that the bandits might overlook them when they reached this neighborhood, but I knew it was useless and I didn't bother. Taking things with us wouldn't do any good, either. It as just as likely that we'd be robbed in person as that the house would be looted. Both were inevitable.

It was a little frustrating to think there was basically no such thing as material possessions for us anymore, but it was just the way things were. There was no sense in complaining about our situation, just as there was no point in planning to go anywhere or do anything specific. We'd simply wander on foot through the hills outside the city.
Friday, September 3rd, 2004
9:00 pm
After almost missing the bus, I discovered as I stepped on and showed my ticket that I had boarded the wrong bus. Back on the street, I saw that I would not be able to catch the one I was supposed to take. But the driver seemed to somehow know I was there. The bus stopped and let me on.

The bus was impossibly large inside. I entered a living room area where a man sat in a large recliner watching television. A woman was also in the room (the man's wife, I assumed), and she stared at me, smiling. [e] arrived, and the woman showed us to the room where we would be staying the night. We saw several cats in the hall on the way. They ignored us, but it seemed that they could easily become vicious if bothered.

The room was large, and every wall was covered with furniture and other half-built structures. There were bunk beds for us to sleep on. Noting that the roof was a dome of thin plastic, I explained to [e] that some things were flimsy here (somewhere in Europe) and we'd have to be careful not to break the walls or furniture.

I heard a scratching sound coming from the closet, and opened it to find a small kitten. Its eyes were shut, and it walked sleepily into the room. I began to notice others in different parts of the room. Strangely, they all looked the same. I realized that they were not normal kittens. I knew of a type of (possibly artificial) kitten called "scratchers" or "shredders" that attacked on some cue or at a random time. I found these kittens convincingly realistic, but I was still suspicious and didn't want to sleep in the room with them.

I tried the door, and found that we were locked in. More of the kittens now climbed on the walls and furniture. Some circled the floor, all identical and all with their eyes shut.

In a mild panic, I searched the room for an exit. Finding none, I supposed we would need to break a wall to escape. I lifted a folded metal chair and struck a weak-looking wooden wall. It should have broken, I thought, but it held. Climbing closer to the ceiling, I struck a window. It bent and reformed. I lifted a heavier object and threw it against another wall to no effect. I heaved a piece of furniture up toward the ceiling, and it caught a large shelf on the way down, breaking it in a noisy crash of splintered wood.

The kittens circled me on the floor. I was still not entirely sure that they were not real, but I kicked one hard enough to hurt it. It landed a few feet away and returned without a sound to circle me again. Lifting the chair again, I brought the edge of it down hard on another kitten. It nearly split the animal in two, but its body reformed and it continued walking. I slammed the chair against another that was scaling the wall with a similar result.

The only remaining possibility I could think of was my fire spell. I willed circular motions in my mind and created a small spot of red orange fire on the floor. The fire expanded to form a circle several feet across, engulfing several kittens. The carpet was scorched black, but the fire had no effect on the kittens.
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