I read comics. I have for a long time, mostly of the super-hero variety. And, every once in a while, I have one of the super-hero dreams.
This was a nightmare. I was fighting with a group of about twenty heroes, similar to the Legion of Super-Heroes, but not them in particular, although I do remember Karate Kid as being there. We were fighting a single bad guy of the Kid Miracleman class. (Thanos-plus class for Marvel fans, Mordru-class or better for DCU fans.) The devastation was incredible. Teammates were dropping left and right, injured and possibly dead.
Finally, the enemy went down. I was the last man standing. I didn't have much left myself, maybe enough for one more blast. But he was down and maybe dead.
And he got up. I fired my last blast at him and he staggered, but didn't go down.
"Too late, kid," he laughed. "I'm a quick healer."
I stared at him, out of power and out of weapons.
"I'm gonna do you a favor, kid, cause I like you. I'll be back in an hour and I'll be back at full strength. And then everything east of Harlem Avenue is going down, got it? So you just be west of Harlem and you'll be fine. I'll be seeing you later -- or not."
And he vanished.
People, ordinary people, started coming out of the wreckage and congratulating me on having beaten the bad guy.
"No!" I tried to explain. "You don't understand. He's coming back and we're all going to die! We have to get out of here!"
But they weren't listening.
And then I woke up.
And I flashed on the Marine in Fallujah who had shot the wounded terrorist who was playing possum.
And I didn't go back to sleep for a very long time.