Day 17. Since the accident at the reactor my dreams have become more vivid, more real. Too real. Last night, I was walking alone through a cemetery at dusk. Fog hovered between the sycamore trees, their bark black and shriveled like burnt plastic. A light rain fell.

Every grave I passed belonged to someone I'd known. Todd Pierson -- we'd played pretend soldiers as children. Long before the real war came. Mrs. Hobart -- my second grade teacher. Father Terry. Sister Loretta. Rick Knudsen -- my first boss at the So-Good Soda Fountain on Main street. Here they lay, everyone I'd known, touched, cared for, in the graveyard of my life.

I walked on. I passed my brother's grave, and both my sisters'. I passed my mother's grave, an icon of a dairy cow carved into the headstone. The headstone next to it bore only an upside down cross. I knew this was my father's grave, although the bastard hadn't stuck around long enough for the milk to churn to butter.

Finally I came to a plot with a freshly dug grave in its center. Something in me sensed this was the work of a she-digger. My tumescence groaned. I wanted to fill that hole.

Sex and death. The twin towers of my psyche. No, towers are discrete. In me, the pillars are intertwined. Destruction and creation locked in an endless embrace. A serpent coiled around a lightning rod. And me, their venomous, electric child. In the bad old days at the Academy, they called me Greg.