Trying to run down twenty or so cracked, breaking stories worth of stairs in almost utter darkness is a difficult task to say the least. The degradation in visual acuity attributable to only having torchlit illumination doesn’t really sink in until one is forced to perform tasks requiring movements with precise physical location. Add to that the rumbling and shaking of a worn out building buckling under the ever-growing hurricane force winds and it’s almost a miracle to make it to the ground floor in one piece. The sprint down from the rooftop goes by in a blur as we reach the main lobby of the shaking, swaying cathedral. The winds are blowing random pieces of debris through the busted out window frames as the entire lobby is filled with an awful gale-force howl. One of my companions and I begin the arduous task of removing all the desks, filing cabinets, chairs, tables, and everything else barricading the front doors.
Forcing one of the cathedral doors open against the wild winds we are confronted by an absolutely awesome sight. Visibility has been cut down to almost zero at ground level; dirt, dust, and debris whip around us at high velocities and larger pieces of wreckage such as cars and broken off chunks of buildings starts to move slightly. Looking upward the visibility becomes a bit clearer, but the sight almost makes me wish it weren’t. The clouds cover the entire sky and are twisting and churning like a great choppy sea of grey-scaled rage. Areas of the great cloud ocean all across the sky are spinning around in tight circles forming gigantic funnels jutting downward towards the earth. Tornadoes…a countless number of tornadoes are touching down all across the cityscape. For a brief moment I stand in awe as the only thought running through my mind has to do with questions of a divine cleansing. With the nonverbal understanding that it is well past the time to go, we make a break for it eastward down 14th street.
Running at top speed toward the East River none of us are really sure where we are trying to escape to. The roadway directly in front of us is relatively clear of the dust and debris flying around by the cathedral, but a dozen or so tornadoes sit mere blocks on either side of us and down past the end of the island stands a rather monstrous twister hovering stationary in the middle of the river. We pass 3rd Avenue, and sensing imminent danger I dive for the torn up asphalt as rusted automotive remains zip by at head level smashing into one of the long since abandoned Bodegas that dotted the city so many moons ago. Twisting my head around as I pick myself up I see one of the smaller tornadoes moving toward us with purpose. “Shit I think it’s after us!” one of my companions yells out as we somehow, without words, decide that splitting up would make us harder targets to hit. I take off again toward the river with one of my comrades in tow. We are seemingly communicating telepathically at this point as we agree that we need to work together to try to find somewhere safe.
Meandering through the tangled mess of twisted car frames and ripped up chunks of 14th St. we make our way, panting and heaving, to the river. I’m standing next to an abandoned Pizza Hut that I’m sure does not exist in reality when out of nowhere one of the rouge twisters pops up over some buildings and comes crashing down at me. I jet around the corner to the storefront to escape the whirlwind’s wrath and start trying to kick in the amazingly resilient glass door. After three rough kicks the glass gives and I scurry through, ducking behind the front counter. Sitting there on the tiled floor I frantically look around for some means of escape, or something…anything to get out of this situation. Then the floor starts shaking which is quickly followed by the counter I’m leaning against, the walls, and finally the entire store. The roof starts coming loose from its supports as it slowly starts breaking away from its foundation in chunks. Time to go I think as I dash back outside and sprint up the street. Looking back it appears as if the tiny tornado hasn’t yet noticed that I’ve left the building. Slowing up a bit I notice my partner standing next to a subway entrance; he’s staring out at the river with his mouth agape and a look of pure astonishment on his face. He instinctively points is hand outward as if to tell me to turn around and take in what had paralyzed him. Turning around I am instantly succumb by the same paralysis of amazement at what I am witness to.
Dozens upon dozens of these twisting terrors are moving out from land onto the water where the one menacing giant sits waiting. The smaller tornadoes begin converging on their larger counterpart as groups of them pass us in a thunderous roar of wind. I’m nearly shaken off my feet as gangs of twisting terror rumble past me. As these mini terrors near the monstrosity slowly spinning in the middle of the East River they begin to join with it, making it grow even larger in size. Droves of tornadoes smash themselves into one gigantic Earth-shattering terror as I look on in horror. Then, with all the smaller twisters consumed and conjoined into one whirling vortex of destruction, the oddest thing occurs. The tornado slowly splits into four slightly smaller pieces, each taking up symmetrical positions out on the water. Different shades of multicolored light begin emanating out of the tops of them as all of the cloud cover has also been sucked into them by this point. I watch with awe as I start to notice shapes form in each of the four vortic figures.
They are spinning around within them, but they are definite as they start taking actual form. The forms velocity within the whirlwinds begin to slow as I start to make out what looks like facial features. The forms stop, rise slowly to the top of their twisting bodies, and stare down at me. They are the most unreal humanesque faces I’ve ever gazed upon. They are very cubic in nature, with eyes, noses, mouths, and ears. Their foreheads have differing shapes with one coming to a point like a giant sword, another being rounded and smooth, and the other two having two giant points like Batman’s cowl. They illuminate the most radiant multicolored light which strobes across the sky. They are also staring directly at me, and none of them look very pleased. Just then I hear my friend yell “Hey down here!” which snaps me out of my paralysis. I turn and see he has gone down into the subway and I make after him with all due haste.
Down in a metro system that has been abandoned for years and has been subject to a zombie apocalypse and alien tornadoes, one might expect to find everything a disheveled mess. This is, however, not the case as everything not only seems to be clean and tidy, but also in working order. There is also a fully functional train awaiting someone to take the helm. Being that this is a dream I do not even question this deus ex machina as I head for the lead car. After a couple of steps I feel a hand on my shoulder and turn to see my nameless companion staring at me; he has a long look on his face with tired eyes and a scarred cheek. “What’s left to do?” He asks as the feeling of loss immediately sets in. “There’s no escape, we can’t win.” he barely chokes out as a tear forms in the corner of his eye. “You’re right” I mutter back, “so we might as well meet them out in open battle. If I’m going to die, I’d rather die facing my enemies.” My heart is full of resolve as I quickly come to grips with my situation and what I must do; it’s better to die bravely than cling on to life in the shadows like a coward. “Alright, I’m with you!” my compatriot declares as we make for the train car. It’s time to end this where it all started.
Exiting the train station we find ourselves back at Union Square Park. The cathedral is still in one piece as we make for the rooftop patio so many flights up. Reaching the top we emerge to high winds and a horrible screeching. I run out to the railing edge and see each of the four beasts slowly approaching on symmetrical routes spread out in about a 180 degree arc. As they approach they literally tear up everything in their path. This isn’t just about me or my companion, this is a complete purging; a reckoning for an undead planet. I suddenly feel powerful as I let out a long roar, I will see this ending head on as it should be. The impending doom gets closer and closer; whole buildings are not only lifted upward, but are done so with such force that they are completely torn into nothingness. Then they are upon me, I start rising into the air; beautiful strobes of multicolored brilliance surround me as I hold out my arms awaiting my fate. I have accepted it…I welcome it. Then…BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP…the alarm goes off and I jump up almost completely out of bed.