Killing Michael

I thought, at first, it was an episodic dream. Those are the ones that feel like I’m in a television show. They’re usually police procedurals or adventure stories.

This one felt like that at first, but then shifted. It became an intense dream and included zombies, a macabre “Groundhog Day,” and the ever-unseen, half-remembered advisers. It began with me killing me in a bleak, yellow and gray landscape under a bleached out sky.

I, the adult, was the victim. The killer was a young version of me. I lacked clues about who he was and what he was doing at the start. Then, after he killed me, and it began again, I realized, that’s me. He’s trying to kill me. Again.

He did kill me again, and again. I couldn’t count how many times he killed me. I grew tired of it. So I killed my younger self.

That didn’t stop it. Other young versions of me came after me. If they killed me, the dream began again. If I killed them, more came to kill me. They were all named Michael, but it wasn’t just the English – Hebrew spelling used. I saw Polish and other languages on pieces of paper. The names were handwritten on line notebook paper. An short, elderly white woman, her hair in a bun, wearing wire-rim glasses, gave me the papers, one at at time. The names on the paper confused me. I asked her, “What’s going on?” She answered in a foreign language.

The advisers finally spoke up. I took them at first as F.B.I. agents or scientists, but now I think of them as advisers, someone there who is supposed to be helpful but not fully remembered. They prefer to be anonymous and in the background. This dream exposed them to the light, and they were uncomfortable.

They explained what was going on, that, yes, all these versions of me existed, and were out to kill me. That’s what they were driven to do, because, like in “Highlander,” there could be only one. Many of them came after me like they were zombies. I had to cut off their heads – my heads – to stop them. And I did, again, again, again, again.

I grew weary of killing them. The advisers told me, and I knew, I was winning, but I was tired of killing my other selves. As less of them existed, they became purified, and more in tune with me. They started knowing how I would think and act. They set up ambushes based on their knowledge and began working together. Meanwhile, as I killed them, I became stained, and less pure. I was enduring more than living.

Until it came down, at last, according to the advisers, only one other remained. He was almost the same age as me. I didn’t want to kill him. He was trying to refrain from killing me, but he was driven. Overwhelmed by his urges, he would attack me. I would take him to the point of death and stop. I didn’t want to kill him. I asked the advisers if there was anything else I could do instead of killing him.

No; they were sad. They understood. No; he must be killed.

He understood as well. He wanted me to kill him so we could end the day. Eventually, I did. The advisers confirmed, the other Michaels were dead. Only one remained, me, weary of death and killing to the point that I was tired of being alive.

I never knew the point of all of this. I was the only Michael remaining, on this bleak landscape. The advisers departed without telling me, and I awoke.

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