My Brother Died Twice

I don’t understand why I see the things I do in the middle of the night. I just know that they petrify me. The bits I’ve managed to remember alone terrify me and I’m thankful for what I’ve forgotten.

My brother, almost 3 years my senior, was in a basement with a bullet that had pierced through his stomach. The wound had perforated his body creating a massive crater in the middle of his body. Inactive, silent. Just a gaping, crimson hole. It was as if a massive bullet – a menacing and oversized Bullet Bill – had crashed into his back and with full pressure, thrust itself out the other side. Like a jar of packed jam. The glutton ruining its perfection by scooping the insides with his three plump fingers, licking them voraciously, staring at that gaping, crimson hole, a testament to his greed.

A man, a sacerdotal man, sat beside my brother and tended to his wounds. He was sleeping, somehow alive, perhaps comatose. Stretched out on a makeshift hospital bed in a dim room with pale green walls the color of sickness and despair.

Fade to wakefulness.

My brother, again, sleeping, somehow alive, perhaps comatose. This time, a bullet to his head. This time, I approached the religious man tending to his wound, and angrily yet fearfully exclaimed, “If you don’t save him, I will kill you!” I felt utter desperation. Looking at my brother, being watched by a man of God with no discernible medical training, in an inexplicably puke-green room, no indication as to how my brother became injured or who the other man was – nothing. I was simply in a situation, reacting to it, not understanding it, and experiencing great fear through every second of it.

And somewhere in between everything, my favorite mirror broke. No, shattered. I touched it as I usually do, and it simply fell apart. A thousand little pieces of magnified glass crumbled with the utmost ease while the other side of the mirror was none the wiser to the destruction of its other half.

***

They say in Lebanon, that if you dream that someone died, you have renewed their life. Last night, my brother died twice. Today, he will live twice more.

© Leila Chammas, December 31, 2016.

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A Boxer, a Van, and a Tortoise.

I was standing in an open garage and looked out to the front lawn to see a white plastic table, about 3 feet tall, with a huge tortoise on top of it. It was hidden inside its shell. To the right, a dusty, emerald-green minivan parked at an angle. Not accidentally or with any indication of emergency. Rather, it was parked calmly and eerily with intention at an angle. An aging boxer was remarkably sitting in the driver’s seat, the fur on his face had faded to white around his eyes and jowls.

I walked over to the van and the boxer jumped out of the open window and stood, barking at me. Two cars passed by – one red, one blue. I don’t think there was any significance in the coloring of the vehicles; I just happened to remember them. I tried to coax the dog to approach me so that I might grab his leash. However, in a flash, he had jumped into another car, crashed it into the side of the garage, and was running through the open garage door and into the house, an excessively long leash trailing behind him. Meanwhile the tortoise, still hidden in its shell, had turned itself to face me as I watched, in shock, a dog I could not command run with a speed I could not match, through a house I was not in. Inside, they shrieked and screamed.

I wasn’t afraid of the boxer. I was worried he would get hurt, confused by the tortoise on the plastic table, and mystified by the parked van.

I then woke up, stressed, as I often do.

© Leila Chammas, December 22, 2016.

Aztec Nightmare

I was driving down a main street and I distinctly remember thinking it was dark out far too early, even for wintertime in New England. The sky was vast and charcoal grey. But it wasn’t just dark, it was empty. There was a contagious feeling of hopelessness permeating the atmosphere, one that was unmistakably signified by a sun that had refused to rise. An Aztec nightmare coming to fruition. The feeling seeped down from the sky, a godless abomination clawing its way into me. Trickling down from my head to my toes, I was filled with angst and the kind of sadness that floods the body and morphs into depression with heavy determination.

I was the sky.

I was driving towards doom, into a dim sky. Everything was stopping. The sun had not risen. It wasn’t temporary; we knew that that was it. The sun didn’t just not rise, it had stopped rising altogether. That was the end and I was somehow existing beyond it.

In my sleep, I felt it all for a mere few minutes but remembered it for days.

© Leila Chammas, December 14, 2016