I had a nightmare.
It’s the first that I’ve had… maybe ever. In it, Michael and I stood over the broken neighborhood of No Man’s Land. A place boarded up and discarded. It’s people were lost souls given up and swallowed by a darkness that I don’t even dare to name. In this nightmare, I didn’t leave No Man’s Land with the families that we were able to find and save. In the nightmare, we didn’t save anyone.
It was me, standing on the roof of a beaten down sky scraper watching the neighborhood and it’s inhabitants burn. I was able to see their flesh char, bubble and flake off. I heard their screams echoing endlessly in the night. Their bodies writhing in a macabre dance of pure agony. I saw all this and I smiled.
When I awoke, I was cold. Dreadfully cold. My skin felt like a corpse. I stared into the darkness of my room and searched deep within myself, was it me that burned No Man’s Land or was it Atlas manipulating me from the recesses of my own mind? I realized then that this was his truest and ultimate power.
I’d never really felt it before. I read about leaders expressing doubt in their own faculties. Fearful that they may not make the right choices. I’ve seen Michael paralyzed by doubt, wondering if he was making the right decision. I’ve never doubted myself. Never. Now, I’m questioning my actions. Now I’m staring into the darkness wondering if I was a puppet and he was pulling my strings.
I got out of bed and went to the window. The night was cold and I didn’t bother to cover myself up. I looked out at Vantoft estate, my estate and wondered when the next time that Atlas would take over. Would I be able to return? Was I strong enough?
There is too much work to do for me to give in to doubt. I must harden myself. I must accept that I may not always have the answer, this is why I have friends. I must accept that I may not be perfect but, I will do everything I can to make things right. This world is beset on all sides by monsters, I will do everything I can, even die for them.
More nightmares may come. Maybe, I made the wrong decision and missed an innocent in No Man’s Land. I will live with that. I must live with that. What I won’t do, is show weakness and doubt. My friends need me to believe in them and they need to believe in me. I will be strong for them.
Even if I lose more sleep.