Bright spots danced around blinking on and off, moving, darting from one place to another within the field of view, growing larger and smaller, pulsating, distorting the scene.
It was dark, very dark. Or was it? Was it the bright spots that made it seem that way? The spots seemed to light up the scene while at the same time making it harder to see. There was something in the darkness but it was hard to make out. It was large, but the shape was distorted. It changed shape, as if it was living, breathing, in and out, deep long breaths, in and out, in and out. Then it changed again, first tall and thin, tip toeing and reaching for the sky, then low sprawling on the ground reaching tendrils out to grab and take. It was evil, menacing, but then it was a friend, a comfort.
The scene changed to a calm, tranquil lake. The lake was still like glass, surrounded by trees. The sun was setting, casting a wonderful purple-orange glow over the water. As soon as it appeared, it disappeared, replaced by a raging fire, flames so close the children felt them licking their faces and smelled flesh burning. The scene changed again, this time it was bitter cold, and wet. The children were under water, gasping for breath, held down, unable to break the surface of the water.
From his lab, Zeetherious watched the children on his monitors as they lay dreaming in their beds. They tossed and turned, their legs churning beneath the covers. He saw sweat beading on their foreheads.
Again the scene changed, a shrill whistle, a look in the direction of the deafening blast, hammering vibrations as a locomotive hurtled past within inches, shaking their bodies to the core. The rush of wind, feeling like thousands of needles thrust into their faces.
Then total darkness, stillness, silence. Then BOOM, BOOM, BOOM. That’s a heartbeat; it reverberates. It goes on, BOOM- BOOM-BOOM. It is getting faster and stronger and louder. Then there is nothing. Is the heart still beating? Are their hearts still beating?