Prolocek was dreaming…a dream that he had had several times now
in the past month. One could describe the dream as extremely surrealistic,
as dreams go, and entirely implausible.
He was standing
in an empty field of very low, rolling mounds that resembled a golf
course. His outstretched arm was raised up at a forty-five degree
angle, holding back an enormous weight that defied all logic and
reason. Pressing against the palm of his hand was a full-size, 767
plane wasn’t resting on the ground or even touching it, but was
being entirely supported by his own strength. This defied all normal
reasoning, Andy thought to himself, since the weight of the plane
had to be grossly exaggerated by gravity and its enormous thrust
and speed. But there it rested…. held back from crashing down on
him by the palm of his hand.
terrified, of course, but intensely curious and amazed. He seemed
to have all the time in the world, since he was able to hold back
fate as if it weighed as light as a feather. He studied the plane
closer to try and discern what this all meant. What had started
out as a fuzzy dream state was becoming sharper and more distinct.
He saw thick,
black smoke off to the right. Stretching as far as he could, while
still keeping his hand on the nose of the plane…but then his hand
slipped off the nose of the aircraft! Andy cringed for a second…until
he realized that the plane was still hanging there, about six feet
from the ground.
a few steps to the right, Andy could see smoke and flame pouring
out of one of the left wing engines. The engine in question was
mangled…as if by an explosion. Something terrible had also happened
to cause the rear of the plane to be shattered into a mess of metal
skin shards, ripped hydraulic lines and pieces of fabric. Possibly
flying chunks of debris from the exploded engine?
smell the overwhelming odor of kerosene associated with jet fuel.
There was also a high-pitched, keening whine you would usually hear
with jet aircraft, but it seemed exaggerated by the one ruined engine.
studied the cockpit, which was fairly close to him, and noticed
the pilots. These were the only people he could see in the plane
since everyone else was hidden from his view. The pilots seemed
to be frozen in time, with their faces highly expressive masks of
the terror he was sure they felt. The pilot had his hands pressed
against the cockpit window, as if this would hold off the sure destruction
that was imminent! The co-pilot displayed a look of blank resignation
that oblivion was only a second away.
in a dream state, Andy wished there was someway to see the inside
of the plane. Suddenly he was inside the passenger compartment,
even though the plane was still frozen at a standstill about six
feet from the ground.
was totally frozen in time now. There wasn’t any noise or vibration.
In fact, it was strangely quiet. What was blatantly obvious was
the reaction of the passengers to the fact that death, though quick
and merciless, was an instant away.
a mother holding her infant to her chest so tightly that she must
be smothering it. He noticed a man in a business suit gripping the
armrests so tightly that the fabric was ripped, his mouth open in
what had to be a scream that was about to extinguished forever.
What was most unnerving was the woman in a window seat who looked
totally oblivious to the process happening around her, having a
peaceful look on her face that was beyond comprehension.
It was too much for him to bear. Too much terror…too surreal…he
wanted to wake up now!!! He could hear a faint on and off buzzing
noise that kept getting louder…and he was trying to figure out where
it was coming from. He looked around the planes interior…but it
was actually (his alarm!) The regular reality of the real
world came floating into his consciousness, causing the dream state
to disappear as if it was thin smoke in a high wind.
was Saturday…why was his alarm going off? Oh…he had forgotten to
turn it off for the weekend. Stupid!! He reached over and
pressed the alarm off. This was the day he, his wife Ruth, and the
kids Emily and Katy were going to the giant combo mall at Tuddleberry,
to shop and just goof off in general. Being a project manager for
a large, successful software company left him little time to spend
with the family, so he had to use it wisely.
his wife’s voice. “Andy…what’s wrong?” She obviously noticed him
jarring awake and now the sweaty look of dismay on his face. “The
dream”, Andy said. “I had it again.” “That’s the third time now
in a month, right?” asked Ruth. “That is very weird. Are you OK?”
“Yeah”, Andy replied, “Just shaken up. It all seemed so real…it
seems more real each time it happens.” “Maybe it would be
a good time to check with Jim, you know, to make sure everything’s
OK.” replied Ruth.
was a good friend of theirs, a psychologist. It might be a good
idea to talk to him…try to figure out what was going on.
was already fading, just like the mid morning fog races away from
up and get going”…”it’s a nice, clear summer day and we should make
the most of it at the mall” “Good idea”, Ruth said. “I’ll go make
sure the kids are up. It’s about eight, right?” “Yup”, Andy replied.
will love this, Andy thought. The three level mall was one of the
family’s favorite hangouts. Plus they were making a lot of improvements
and additions that they were all eager to see. Especially some outdoor
additions…like a water park and miniature golf course. (Miniature
golf course!?) Andy shook his head, as if to clear it. Now where
had that déjà vu- like thought come from, tugging
at the corner of his consciousness?
ahead and got ready. Shaved and showered. Ruth got ready next…the
kids had showered the night before, so they were set. Teeth brushing,
face washing and some deodorant were enough for them after the nightly
He had quite
a family in the three girls. Ruth was the perfect wife, at least
to Andy. They were on their second marriage each, as so many American
families tended to be, but as far as he could tell it was perfect.
had a great Marketing position with a reputable firm and seemed
content with her position. With both their incomes combined,
life was fairly comfortable.
girls were quite amazing also. Both were their own children from
the other techhead in the family. Andy had seen her write some pretty
hefty code in the programming class at her high school. Plus he
could always depend on her to help with the wireless network at
home if he wasn’t around. Katy had more of an artistic bent and
it showed in her Saturday sessions at a local art college. He and
Ruth had both been highly impressed with some of the drawings she
had produced so far. Some of the art savvy people they knew had
been impressed also, and had suggested that she begin a portfolio
now to build on in case she decided to go to an art college later.
It was about
10AM by then. “Do you guys want to get something to eat on the way?”
asked Andy. Yes was the consensus. So they all jumped into the SUV
and stopped for breakfast sandwiches before leaving for the mall.
they hopped on to the freeway to head for the mall. The modern freeway
system had to be one of the modern marvels of the day as far as
travel went…comparable to the ancient roads of the Romans. You always
had a feeling of power and speed while driving on them, especially
in the brand new SUV.
drive too fast, sweets.” Ruth commented. “Right.” Andy answered,
as he knew he had a predilection for fast driving. He had received
his fair share of speeding tickets.
took about fifteen minutes of travel to reach the exit for Tuddleberry.
down and was making the turn on the exit that veered almost in a
full circle as most freeway exits do…right up to the stoplight before
the entrance to the mall. He could see the mall from the stoplight
as they were waiting on the light to change. The construction for
the new outdoor additions could also be seen. On one end Andy could
see the beginnings of a water park which looked to be of moderate
size. It was a miniature version of a water park which sat next
to the city’s zoo on the north end of town. On the southern end
of the mall it seemed they had the miniature golf course about halfway
finished, with the greenery laid down along with some low rolling
hills for realism like an actual golf course might have.
the fixtures were present yet, such as windmills, funny little buildings,
etc. One had to admit…it would look nice when finished. But…there
was something peculiar about the way the miniature golf course looked…something
lights green!! The person behind us is honking!!” cried Ruth.
replied Andy, being jarred back to the present by his wife’s urging.
He gunned through the green light into the mall parking lot and
suddenly realized he needed to watch for pedestrians and slowed
shaken and sweaty…the vision was so real! It looked so clear!
back there?” asked Ruth. “You really looked to be off in frickin’
Dad?” asked Emily. “Yeah, I’m fine…was just day-dreaming for a second.”
what you call it…day-dreaming? That was not an accurate statement.
It was more like being inside a shootum-up explosion flick, except
up close and very, very real!!)
careful!” Ruth insisted, “That’s a good way to have an accident.”
right….sorry.” Andy knew she was right, but he didn’t like to be
a parking spot” Andy said as he swung the SUV into the angled space,
and not to far from the malls south entrance, where the golf course
was being constructed.
out” Andy said, and added a little joke of his own he used whenever
they went shopping, “and remember…nobody gets to buy anything!”
“Yada, Yada Dad” Katy quipped. “You say that every time we come
here, but we still get to buy stuff! Hah!”
answer, Andy thought to himself.
to walk to the south mall entrance, Ruth holding his hand as always
with the girls in tow. “Want to get a cup of coffee in a few
minutes?” Andy asked. “Sure” replied Ruth. “White Cappuccino, as
always.” There was an espresso cafe about halfway down the mall’s
interior where they usually stopped at. Great coffee.
inside now, and Andy noticed a new software store called Comp Accessories
at this end of the mall. He would like to stop and check for a new
project manager software package he had been looking for, but decided
to do that on the way back.
girls?” asked Andy. “Can we go to Pantene’s first?” Emily asked.
“They have a sale going on and there are some clothes that Jackie
and Sarah were talking about at school yesterday.”
like a plan.” said Andy. “We’ll stop at the java café on
the way there.”
up as they were walking and noticed the large rectangular skylights
the mall was famous for. Tuddelberry was different than most others,
in that they had a V-shaped roof instead of flat. On both sides
of the roof were skylights that were quite large and were spaced
evenly down the whole length of the malls ceiling. Large amounts
of open sky were visible and the clear sky outside was letting quite
a lot of sunshine come through.
also were several jet contrails high in the sky, a couple quite
close together. But there was something peculiar about one of the
contrails, the one he could see traveling east to west.
was that?” asked Katy. “There in the sky. It looks like one of the
planes stopped.” Andy hadn’t realized Katy was looking at
the sky also.
was one way to describe it…the jet contrail had suddenly terminated
in a bigger puff of steam or smoke. It was hard to tell what had
happened from this distance.
minute Katy, I’m not sure either” Andy replied. Andy kept looking
at the strange jet signature in the sky, but he couldn’t see any
wreckage trail leading anywhere. It was as if the jet had stopped
suddenly…but that wasn’t possible! He thought of one possibility…but
it sent chills up his back!
to a sudden, chilling revelation. The jet airliner was coming directly
towards them! He knew all at once where he absolutely had
to be! In his dream the plane crashed where HE was standing. To
him that was a clue that it was somehow homing in on where he was.
But he had to make sure his family was out of harms way also.
keep from shaking and appearing nervous, realizing he had to hurry,
Andy spoke to Ruth. “Listen Honey…do you mind if I go back to the
new store at the south entrance, the one called Comp Accessories?
There’s some software I’ve been looking for.” “Sure.” replied Ruth.
“Is everything OK? You look like you saw a ghost.” “Nah…everything’s
fine.” Andy said. (Stay calm…don’t look nervous!!) “Just
wanted to look for it now and catch up with you girls at Pantene’s.”
It wasn’t the truth…but he had to make sure his family headed to
the north end of the mall.
said. “Call us on the cell when you’re headed back so you can find
us.” “Sure…no problem. Just take a minute” Andy replied.
Andy realized that he would never see his family again. But he had
to be at that certain place…to ensure their safety!
girls…I’ll see you shortly. I love you” Andy said. “We love you
too, Dad” the girls responded, looking a little puzzled. “We’ll
see you in a few minutes, right?”
back in a flash” Andy replied. “Love you,” his heart sinking as
he spoke the words.
headed on towards Pantene’s, at the north end of the mall, where
it was hopefully safer.
and walked hurriedly back to the other end of the mall, wanting
to get their as quickly as possible. He wasn’t sure how much time
he had, but it couldn’t take very long for a plane to plummet to
the earth at a forty-five degree angle.
as he was out of sight from the girls he began to run, hoping they
wouldn’t turn to look and possibly see him.
south entrance! He slammed through doors as quickly as possible
and ran towards the construction site for the miniature golf course.
He had to
jump the fence around the construction area, and fell in the process.
Bumped his knee and elbow pretty good, but that didn’t matter. As
long as he got to the place where he was meant to be.
up quickly and could see some movement now. The smoke trail seemed
to be coming towards the mall. It was still hard to tell though,
with the head on perspective. Hurry!!
towards the center of the course, in the middle of some low mounds
of fake, green landscape. This had to be the place…it looked exactly
like his dream. He stopped, winded, and looked up. There was the
jet…racing towards him…its shape discernable now and growing in
size. He might have twenty –thirty seconds at the most.
seemed to slow down and stretch out. He thought of his family, friends,
and all the people he had known in the past forty-two years. All
would be gone from him soon! He felt a terrible loss. But he had
to be here to ensure the safety of the people in the mall…especially
his family! He knew in his very being that the plane would crash
down exactly where he was.
was up!! The plane was suddenly there…about 2 seconds away!! He
caught a quick glimpse of the pilots in the cockpit…looking exactly
as he remembered.
raised his arm, as if he could stop the plane just like in his dream.
He was hoping against hope that somehow Fate might find another
being Fate was unstoppable…