Dream of the Dragon

Category: horror movie

Unicorn Clydesdale.

by Justin

That wonder was perched on the back wall of a dusty garage, ripe with the funk of mildew. No other art was visible anywhere. That seemed like a clear signal.

But the view elsewhere, from a blue room with three walls of windows, trumped that extraordinary and unexpected attempt by the universe to play with my affections. In the end, I was won over by a small wooden bridge across private marshes, leading to walls of trees and the faint ruins of trails unused for years.

Vague decay.

by Justin

I wonder if the site of Richmond’s Belle Isle prisoner-of-war camp would have felt so ominous if I didn’t know what had happened there. Not that anyone really knows, as death tallies from both sides of the war are radically different. But still, walking where men died under conditions of abuse and deadly filth inspires unease. Long-buried lies and all that.

Behind a free-standing brick wall, the only part of a large house still standing, the ground was uncharacteristically lush and green – tall grass, full bushes, trees with low branches. The sun sat low in the sky, but peaked blindingly through an arched doorway that led out into that splendor.

At the back end of the island, still within earshot of the James River, sit the hollow ruins of an abandoned hydroelectric plant. Somehow, the bowels of these vacant buildings all resemble minimalist latrines. Dust and graffiti coat every stall, step, ledge, and outer shell of each building.

A teenager, spotting our approach, advised us that the knotted rope descending from one iron-barred second-story window was strong enough to support someone climbing. He had not climbed, he said, because he lacked the upper body strength. The boy was rail thin, long-haired, and armed with the kind of weird curiosity that likely cast him out of the Richmond high school mainstream. He also warned us about kicking up dust, as every particle was likely coated with old urine.

When I climbed the rope ladder I was greeted by a vague smell of decay, further faded graffiti, and a blue Pall Mall pack that looked as old as the crumbling floor.

Glitchy deluminator.

by Justin

One of the street lights along a particular residential avenue flickers at high frequency. The city, giant sentient beast that it is, has neglected to address the rapid, seizure-inspiring shift from blinding to bright.

It’s the kind of light you’d expect to be stabbed under. Were you dying beneath it, listening to the tinny tick of its oscillations, you’d have to slap yourself for not giving it a wider berth. It’s Michael Myers’ nightlight.

The surrounding street lamps are out of tune with their neighbors as well, but none quite so jarring. One glows in ghost green, dimmer and with a popcorn-bucket fixture full of dead bugs. Another glows amber, with rounded oval housing. The others offer glaring white fluorescence and undetectable flickers.