I’m in a combat zone and am running from building to building, trying to stay alive. I have no idea where I am, but it’s clearly a large American city. Or what used to be a large American city. Most of the buildings were collapsed, or nearly so. Some of them looked as though they’d just given up and were slumped over in defeat, waiting for a hot wind to knock them over. There are soldiers all around me, but none of them represent safety. They’re in the middle of a fight and whatever they’re fighting is way out of their league. Whenever one of them gets hit, there’s a flash and all that’s left is a cloud of dust and a fine, red mist. I’ve been running for almost an hour and my heart feels as though it’s just about done. Every breath I take in feels like a scalpel to my larynx and I can feel my pulse in my fingertips. I have no idea what I’m doing or where to go or even which direction might be safer to head in. A hand grabs my shoulder. I look over and see a soldier and he’s yelling something at me but I can’t hear anything coming out of his mouth. I see myself in the reflection of his goggles. I’m covered in a fine, grey-white powder with streaks of sweat running down my face. I don’t recognize myself, I look like a ghost. The soldier shouts again, this time sound coming out of his mouth, and then he’s gone. I fall to the ground, choking on the dust that used to be him. There’s an almost metallic taste in the air. He was telling me to run. He died telling me to run, and I know that’s exactly what I should do. Instead, I sit down, breathing him into my lungs, and I wait.