[This dream occurred several months ago. I just found my journal entry about it; I'd forgotten it until now. Never in my life have I experienced such physical terror.]
Dream: Hanging out with some of the characters in M*A*S*H -- Hawkeye, I remember, and Burns, and Col. Potter and Hotlips. Just a short "preview" first, but everyone was laughing. I was a visitor, but one of the team, too...
Then Hawkeye and Burns went away, and the Col. and Hotlips stopped laughing. The word came (I understood) "Get the hell out of there!" Then I was running with a gun, with a lot of other soldiers, and we were way out in farmland, rolling hills, bare soft dirt, as far as the eye could see--no green. It was hard to run, but we could hear North Koreans -- millions of them -- coming after us, just over one hill behind... Our soldiers were dropping, behind us, from exhaustion or gunshots I don't know -- but there was only a handful of us left and then the millions of the enemy were all around us, a sea of foreign faces full of hate.
But someone said, "If you get through the gauntlet you'll get away!" And we were lined up between two prone rows of enemy soldiers with their bayonets pointed toward each other, and we had to pass between them.
"It's easy," the same voice assured us, "just don't touch any of the bayonets, keep moving straight ahead; they aren't allowed to move unless you touch them!"
But we weren't halfway through when Koreans on both sides started stabbing at our legs, and we heard comrades behind us scream and go down. We fled -- racing away up yet another plowed hill, wondering if there were Yankees on the other side to help us, and now the terror began:
More fell, and the enemy swarmed after us, and I only had my rifle and bayonet and I knew I couldn't kill more than 1 or 2 -- run! run! -- legs like lead -- only 1 or 2 but then one of them would catch up to me, had to catch up to me, and stick me with his long bayonet -- run! Aw, the piercing-bright-light pain! And if I fell -- and this was the worst -- if I fell, then dozens more would be on me, stabbing, stabbing, stabbing until I was a rag of bloody flesh --
So horrible because I am not just a rag of bloody flesh! I have hopes! Family! People who love me! Things to do in life! So horrible to wipe that out, just stab it to un-life in two seconds, make it not-so -- Such dread and terror filled my veins, and my legs wouldn't move -- the roar behind me louder--
I woke, gasping. The dread and terror still fizzed in every cell of my body, and the unspeakable horror of being extinguished like that, for no reason but hate, clung to me like the sweat on my face.
When I breathed freely again, and the fear had melted away, I realized: Every single death in war is just like that. Each death in each war since humans started murdering each other. Uncounted millions.
What are we?