I dreamt of war.
There was panic in the air but still children milled about. A small Malaysian town, old-school with one story houses, sandy roads, motorcycles everywhere.
I didn’t realise that guns were coming into play, even after everyone started screaming and running. Crossing the street, palm stretched out to say thanks for giving way. To a guy with a rifle. He shoots towards me and then I begin to run, straight for the line of houses, seeking sanctuary.
Everyone who shoots aims not to kill but for close shaves, at least in my case.
A lady takes us little ones in, brings us to the backyard and has us hiding under a blanketed table. We’re found of course; a soldier comes in through the back car-gate, talks a little, rifle held at the ready. It seemed okay still.
A young man appears and I’m his daughter, the soldiers seem to want him alive and well. He says he would go with them provided his daughters were to stay safe. The smiling officer says, “of course.” My dad takes me and we get into the car. Almost immediately after we hear gun shots. The benefactress and the other little girl shot. His face is blank but his eyes reveal shock and disbelief, or was it regret at his naivety. The whole way there, I crouch in the narrow backseat behind the passenger seat, keeping myself out of range for any soldiers aiming at my head.
Outside, a mass of panic and destruction as soldiers yell, shoot and barge into houses, screams and cries are heard constantly before silence begins to take over. I don’t cry but the fear, oh the fear. I remember thinking it was like Cambodia.
We’re in a seating room and everyone there is getting a job assignment as a taxi driver. My dad, the actual taxi driver, doesn’t get one. The impulsive hotheaded child that I am, I take the application forms; nope, my dad’s name isn’t anywhere on these. Thankfully the woman in charge thinks I’m helping to distribute, and so I begin. One of the men there was from the start of the dream, fearlessly (or stupidly) challenging the soldiers. Even now he says he’s not afraid. What a fool. But he says to me, with a distant look, that this reminds him of Sweden. I mention that it reminds me of Cambodia. We stay quiet in solidarity.
I’m in the toilet, my father tells me not to come out no matter what. The same bedroom as my parents in real life, just slightly bigger. All of us staying in it. 7-8 or us. It gets very quiet outside the bathroom, and finally I come out and climb atop my father, he’s smiling. They trust him and allow him to live, for what reason I’m not sure. But I know everyone else is dead.