He pulled over at the side of the road and jumped out of the car.
“No! You can’t go out there,” Aki yelled, trying to hold him back, but too late.
The other man was already gone. Aki could see him running across the field, his silhouette dark against the brightly lit up sky.
“Come back! There’s nothing you can do to make it stop!” Aki shouted and followed his friend.
The heavy storm made it hard for Aki to run and keep balance and every time another flash shot across the sky, he ducked down and covered his face with his arms.
The man suddenly stopped and looked up.
“Please, let’s get back to the car!” Aki tried to scream against the wind, hoping his friend would finally listen to him. But somehow he doubted that he could even hear him. He seemed so absent-minded, the way he was spreading his arms and staring into the sky. He slowly turned around, his dark hair waving in the wind.
Aki felt a tiny spark of hope, maybe he would finally come back to the car with him?
“You know we have to stop it!” Though his voice wasn’t much more than a whisper, Aki could hear it clearly through the storm.
Aki felt all his power leaving his body. He sank down on his knees. “But there’s nothing we can do! You can’t make it stop! Please!” Aki begged.
“But don’t you think, at least we should try?”
The man spread his arms even wider. From the top of his lungs he shouted into the sky, in a language Aki didn’t recognize.
And then there was silence.
Aki saw it coming. An enormous flash, cutting the sky into halves, aiming straight down on his friend. He wanted to jump up, pull him away, save his life, but he wasn’t able to move, was even unable to breathe. Just able to watch the raging ray of light vaporising his friend’s body into a cloud of dust.
Aki shot into an upright position, gasping for air. He was swallowed by complete darkness. He felt like a tight band had been wrapped around his throat. His heart was hitting hurtfully against his chest cage. The cold air he hungrily inhaled, hurt his lungs but eased his pain at the same time.
Aki sighed and wiped some sweat of his forehead. Then he switched on the light. He took his glasses from the bedside table and put them on.
“4 a.m.,” he muttered annoyed after looking at his alarm clock and fell back on his mattress.
Why did this dream come back all the time? Why had it been haunting him every night during the last two weeks? And who was the other guy? Though he always saw his face he didn’t know who he was. Aki just knew he was a friend and that it hurt like hell to see him die. He remembered his own words.
“You can’t make it stop!”
Can’t make it stop? Can’t make what stop?
Aki threw himself from one side to the other. No matter how much he thought about this, it didn’t make sense. But after all, dreams never really made any sense, didn’t they?
“It’s probably just my body trying to tell me not to eat chilli-cheese-hot-dogs before going to bed,” Aki mumbled and turned the light off again. “Just a stupid dream.”
When Aki drove to rehearsal with his band the next day, he thought about the dream. As clear it was at night, now the dream was nothing more than a vague haze of a long lost memory. Just like it was everyday when the darkness was gone and the sun was shining.
“Dude, you look like shit,” his band mate Pauli greeted him when Aki stepped into the rehearsal room.
“Oh, thanks a lot, I’m really flattered,” Aki snorted sarcastically.
“No, seriously, are you alright?” Pauli asked.
Aki realised the worried glances Pauli threw towards the other guys. “What?!”
“It’s just that you’ve been looking kinda …uhm… well… not so fresh to put it nicely since a few days,” Pauli tried to explain carefully.
Aki sighed and rubbed his head. “It’s nothing. I’m just not sleeping too well, that’s all. No need to worry, guys.” He let himself drop behind his drum kit. “So, any new songs?”
Lauri pulled his notebook out of his backpack. “Remember that melody Pauli was playing yesterday? I kinda came up with a few lines for some lyrics. It’s far away from being finished and really, don’t ask where this is coming from, I have no idea. It’s just that I kinda feel like the words are going well with the melody and…”
“Cut it short, Lauri,” Eero interrupted him, “let’s hear!”
Lauri cleared his throat and started. As soon as he had spoken out loud the first words, Aki felt chills running down his spine.
“You stopped and left the car,
last thing I can recall,
a raging ray of light,
vaporised all this life,
you ran into the field,
incapable to breathe…”
The room was silent except for the sound of Aki’s drumsticks hitting the floor.
Lauri looked up from his notebook.
“So, what do you think?” He asked insecurely.
Aki pretended to be busy with picking up the sticks. He was glad his band mates weren’t able to see his face. He felt hot and cold shivers running over his body, heard the blood rushing through his ears.
How could this be possible? Lauri had just given a perfect description of his dream. How could he know?
Aki was sure, if he told his friends about this, they would just laugh at him.
“Um, well, that’s kinda interesting,” Eero said carefully.
Aki looked at him. Interesting? Maybe he had had the same dream?
“Interesting? How do you mean that?” The question shot through his mouth before he could make himself stop.
But Eero rolled his eyes. “Just trying to avoid the expression ‘weird’. I mean, Lauri, you’re singing about seeing a guy running over a field and then this guy explodes?”
Lauri cleared his throat. “Ehrm, well, he doesn’t really explode, you know? It’s more like that flash hits him and vaporizes him into a cloud of dust and…”
“Thanks, Lauri, I think I get the picture,” Eero interrupted him.
“Dude, you’re sick,” Pauli mumbled, shaking his head. “But you know what’s even more sick?”
“I like it!” Pauli grinned. “It really matches the melody.”
“It does, doesn’t it?” Lauri smiled happily. “Aki? What do you think?”
You really wanna know what I’m thinking? That it’s the exact description of the dream which has been haunting me every night since two weeks? That this is starting to freak me out? That I start having doubts about my mental state of mind? No, I don’t think you really wanna know…
“It’s ok. Weird, but ok. What did you say again about how you came up with those lines?” Aki asked, trying to sound as casual as possible.
Lauri shrugged his shoulders. “Really, no idea. They just happened to pop into my head like this.” He snapped his fingers.
That answer didn’t satisfy Aki at all but he was too scared to ask further questions. Somehow he felt like finding explanations for all this could make everything worse.
So he just tried to push his thoughts away for the rest of the day.
Aki opened his eyes. It took him a while to realize that it was his alarm clock that woke him up. It was going off right next to his head. He turned it off and switched on the light.
“Nine o’clock,” he mumbled surprised and sat up.
Did he really sleep the whole night through?
He closed his eyes for a few moments, trying to remember. Maybe he had dreamt his nightmare after all, it just had vanished from his memory, like dreamy mostly did when he woke up.
But no, he felt good, relaxed. The dream hadn’t come back last night.
He got up, took a shower and got ready to drive to the rehearsal room.
Aki was relieved. It was almost like once his dream had been written down, it had disappeared out of his life.
He whistled a melody while getting into his car. The sun was shining, their tour with Him and Negative would start next week and the pretty girl from next door had just given him one of her beautiful smiles. Life was great. This was gonna be a good day. He just knew it.
Aki drove down the street. He stopped at a red light and searched the glove box for his sunglasses. When he looked up again and through the window he saw them.
Their clothes were dirty and torn, their faces starved and dusty.
The woman was holding the little boy’s hand, the man carried the little girl in his arms. She turned her head and looked straight into Aki’s face.
Her huge blue eyes were blood-shot and accusing. Accusing him, and only him, for her situation. Tears were rolling down her cheeks.
Aki looked at the rest of the family. They all stared at him. Their eyes were full with pain and accusation.
They started to point their hands at him and though their lips weren’t moving and the car windows were closed, Aki could clearly hear their voices.
“Why didn’t you make it stop? Why did you let it happen?”