It was a bright, sunny day. I was driving along a highway in the country. Out of nowhere, a semi was stopped in the middle of the road. Apparently, there was some sort of traffic jam. I slammed on my brakes. Knowing there was no way I could stop in time, I swerved into the other lane. There was a local news truck, Channel 10, to be exact, stopped in that lane. I pushed harder on my brakes.
I wasn’t able to stop in time. I braced myself for impact. I tapped their bumper. A pretty solid tap. Before I could register what had happened, a big red pickup slammed into the back of my car. Hard. It was a flashback to the accident I had a couple of years ago. There was surprisingly little damage for the severity of the impact I had felt. We all exited our vehicles to take a look at the extent of the damage.
It was at this point I noticed the semi was nowhere to be found.
A loud “Pop! Pop! Pop!” rang out. Instinctively, we all ducked. We immediately recognized it as gunfire. Crouching as we ran for cover behind our cars, we looked at the hill behind us. (I’m talking a head-height mound here. Similar to the sand dunes you see at the beach.) I don’t remember this hill being there before. And the cars were all now parallel to the mysterious hill. I’m not sure how or when any of this happened.
The policeman who had pulled up at some point climbed out of his car, which was also parallel to the hill. He drew his gun. I ran over to the hill and ascended it slowly. I was feeling heroic, I guess. As I peered over the top, I saw two men standing there firing towards us. Target practice. Literally. There was an archery style target on the hill. I don’t think shooting at us was intentional. I don’t think they knew we were just on the other side of the dune.
Realizing I had put myself in harm’s way, I climbed back down the hill. I didn’t know what caliber guns they were using, and I was afraid somehow the bullets might penetrate the hill. Near the top, they seemed to be coming almost all the way through the soft earth. My heroicness briefly subsided. We all took cover again.
The sound of the gunfire changed. It was louder. Bigger guns, we thought. Next thing I know, a rocket comes flying over the hill. The large, burly man who had been driving the red pickup picked up the rocket, flames still shooting out the back. He spun it over his head, much the way a wrestler would helicopter spin an opponent. I’m not sure exactly what he had hoped to gain by this, but it made sense in the moment.
He stopped spinning the rocket and hurled it back towards the hill, hoping to send it back from whence it came. I’m not sure if his intent was to kill our assailants or merely to warn them there were people on this side. But that didn’t seem important. He was saving us.
The rocket flailed towards the hill. It didn’t make it over the top. It hit the side of the hill and tumbled back down on our side, landing a few feet from where I was crouching. I stood up and started to run. In the excitement, I don’t know if I was running towards it or away from it. I just knew I had to run.
Suddenly, my eyes popped open and I sat up in bed,sweating and panting.
What does it all mean? Where was I going? Why was the cop standing by idly, merely a spectator? Why was the news crew not at least broadcasting my heroic deeds? Where did the semi go? Why is it always so hot in my bedroom?