August 11th, 2014

Part III


Dark mulberry sky was washed with waves of transparent grey smoke. The air was warm and steady, filled with a burnt smell. I opened my eyes and found myself lying on a dry ground. Deaf silence surrendered me. I sat up. Nothingness was around me. Just a naked umber valley, dark sky and smoke instead of clouds. Suddenly, loud voices began approaching from behind. A medieval army entered the scene. The silent solitude was conquered by hundreds of armed barbarians. Men in grey and brown rags were slaughtering each other. I was sitting in the middle of it, watching the poor sweaty people. Panic was taking over my soul, already disturbed by the previous scenes. “I need to go back to my brother. I have to fix something,”- I involuntarily said to myself. Another stream of fear entered my veins. “Why is this happening?” I yelled at the civilians. “Where is my brother? Do you know? I need to get back!” I screamed at another one. They didn’t listen. Finally, one man with a black beard up to his chest stepped toward me with a bloody sword in his arm. “They want us to fight,”- was all that he said before getting stabbed from behind.


Something began pulling me up, again. It raised me above and took me away, again. Not too far. I landed on the same umber valley, under the same mulberry sky. I stood up and stared at the surreal scene in vivid details in front of me. The civilian slaughter was far on the right. Most of them were already lying on the ground. But the war scene and experience were forgotten the second after I noticed the metal constructions taking up the rest of the picture. There were dozens of sharp machines on them; similar to a giant meat processing plant… a processing plant for human bodies. A moving flat escalator was carrying breathing human bodies from the far right angle. Their eyes were sewn shut with black threads. The escalator had steady bars on its sides.  About a meter apart from each other, there were about ten guards placed on those bars. Each one of them was dressed differently. One was in Ottoman sultan outfit; the other one was in a contemporary police suit; third was in Roman armor… they were all army representatives. Their demonic wicked faces attested to the joy they extracted from their job. They were eagerly raising their swords and passionately chopping off all the limbs of the hundreds of people carried on the escalator. They were alive, but didn’t look like they were in pain. There was no blood either. After the brutal amputation the bodies were carried to the next machines. A huge circular saw, as tall as a three-floor building had a flat escalator was moving toward its hysterically spinning gigantic blade. The amputated bodies were dropped on the thin escalator vertically and precisely in the middle, so that the circular blade would saw the bodies in half from pelvis to head. 

I couldn’t stand what I was seeing. I looked back and saw a small group of men and women in suits watching the scene. They were making jokes and having casual conversations.

“Why?”- I howled at them. “WHY?”

“Don’t worry they don’t understand their situation like you do. They think it’s fun. And they don’t feel it either,” – a middle aged man responded in a mild voice. He stood next to me and put his arm on my shoulder in a friendly manner.

“But WHY?”

“It is necessary, don’t worry you’ll understand soon. Just look at the machines, ignore the bodies. Look how perfectly designed they are. Do you see that circular saw that’s specifically designed so that the victim can feel each bit of pain before death? Brilliant, isn’t it?!”

“Why did you save me then? Why am I here?”

“You don’t belong in there. That’s not your war,” – a women’s voice spoke from the group.

“This is a necessary process, you see. It looks horrific to us, but they don’t see what we see. They’re used to it,” – another male voice added.

“But, but this is so wrong!”


Usually awakening from a nightmare is relieving. It wasn’t this time. 

I opened my wet eyes in a suffocating pain. Was it a dream? Is this a dream? The memories were as clear as the pastel walls of my sunny room. The sounds of stabbing swards and torturing machines were as loud as the construction noise outside. I was mentally and emotionally disturbed. The idea that it was a dream wasn’t smoothing the pain. The experienced betrayal, self-disgust, the ache of witnessing my hurt family and confused anger sneaked into the reality. I came back from a place where no human should ever enter. Besides the internal chaos, my whole body was in pain. The pain was similar to hangover: as if my body was attempting to recover from 2 litters of vodka. I remained in bed until five o’clock that day. The physical symptoms disappeared only after I sketched the scene of machines and amputated bodies. The emotional symptoms left only after I understood the meaning of the dream, months later.

Masha Keryan