I Followed Them

I had a dream last night

and in the dream, I woke up

and I didn’t know where I was.

There was nothing leading up to it,

I just woke up in a strange place.

Before too long, based on what was happening

I figured that I was in hell, or someplace like it.

I must have died somehow, and now I was in hell.

It was absolutely awful.

There were people dying all around me

from famine and disease.

Bombs were dropping on them

and they were too weak to run.


Then, all of a sudden the bombs stopped falling

and the people seemed to be recovering.

There was food, and medicine now.

Some people even started playing music.

Miraculously, things were turning around.

Maybe I was wrong, maybe this wasn’t hell.


I was beginning to think

that things were going to be okay

when a crowd of people gathered around me

and I followed them

and there was this machine

and we had pockets full of coins

and we took the coins from our pockets

and we put them into the machine

and as soon as the coins were in the machine

the people who had been dying earlier, the other people,

not the ones who I joined at the machine,

the dying people started to die again

from famine and disease

death began to appear back on their faces

and then the bombs started to fall on them again.

More and more people died from famine and disease,

and some of them lived only to face the bombs.


Then, suddenly, the bombs slowed down again

there was food and there was medicine

and the people stopped dying

and they grew stronger and stronger

and life was good

and the people were healthy now

and they started to dance and sing again

and they started to write poetry

and to paint beautiful works of art

and of course this couldn’t be hell.


Then the other crowd reappeared

and I followed them once again

and we took more coins from our pockets

and we put these coins into the machine

and then the other group of people

who were beginning to look so healthy,

so full of life,

they immediately grew weak and ill

and they started to drop like flies

faster and faster

old women and old men,

babies, children, mothers,

and of course, fathers

they looked awful.

They were dying in greater numbers than before

starving to death right in front of us

and dying suddenly from diseases

that had long ago been eradicated

in most of the world.

Then the bombs started to fall

on the few weak, sick people who remained.

More and more bombs

falling on less and less people

and I stood there watching, mesmerized

until finally, I realized

that there were none of the other people left alive

but the bombs continued to fall on the dead

and I stood there and I watched

until the last bomb had fallen

and there was a deafening silence.


The silence was broken

by the voices of the people

I had followed many times

they were walking back towards me now

but none of them had any coins left

and I had no coins left

but not knowing what else to do

I followed them

and we wandered around

stepping over the rubble

stepping over bits

and pieces of dead bodies,

the desecrated remains of human beings.

This went on and on and on

walking through

what I knew now was hell

but the people started looking

for more coins

to feed the machine

and I started looking for more coins

to feed the machine

but there were no coins left

there was nothing here left intact

and now we were hungry

but there was no food

and now we were getting sick

but there was no medicine

everything had been destroyed

by the machine.



Then I woke up.

My heart was racing

and I was covered in sweat.

I thought about my dream.

I finally realized

that the place in my dream

wasn’t hell at all.


It was Yemen.

It was Syria.

It was Iraq.

It was Afghanistan.

It was Libya.

It was Somalia.

It was Uganda.

It was Gaza.

It was too many places.

The only difference was,

in my dream

we could all see clearly

what happens

when we put our coins

into the machine

and in my dream

we could all see clearly

what would happen

if we stopped.


No, we don’t live in hell

we live in purgatory

and we create hell

for other people.


About soitgoes1984

I live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific ocean in the Hawaiian Kingdom which is currently illegally occupied by the American government. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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