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Memory Archeology

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I'd like to advise that I don't condone repeating the efforts I'm about to detail. I can't stop anybody from acting upon curiosity, but my actions haven't done any real good for my well being. I wouldn't expect another individuals experience to fair much better. I'll get back to that subject later on, but I'll first give you my actual story:

There's a feeling that I'm sure many have experienced, even on a small scale. Before one is about to sleep, there's a sensation in which the body feels like it's sinking downwards, falling into nothing. This has been simply named a "falling sensation", or at least I've never heard it called by another other name.

I've always had a large fascination of this sensation, to where I looked more into it. I studied the feeling down to its specific, and even learned how to prolong it by a few minutes. Aside from my strange amusement, my efforts did present a positive: The feeling could disperse my stress very quickly, leaving me relaxed.

There was a growing issue, however, that eventually led me to stay away: Every time the feeling was finished, despite my body being calm, there was a evident pain in my chest. This never happened at other parts of the day, or any time before or after sleep. I was concerned if I was causing damage to myself, so I made the sensation less frequent. They almost stopped altogether.

There came a night where my stress was through the roof. Since leaving high school, I was paranoid about having no money, so I worked three jobs at the time. Adding on the other obligations of my life, I needed a quick escape from reality. The feeling lightly came over me, so I grasped the opportunity.

I envisioned myself falling through stars as I usually would. My body began to follow my thoughts, as it felt heavier. I kept it consistent about a minute, as I usually would do. I never wanted to go overboard, so I typically opened my eyes and stopped it after that time. I did the same in that moment.

When I opened my eyes, nothing changed. When I say this, it means that I still saw nothing but darkness, as if my eyes were still closed. I thought this was the case, until I continued to feel myself blink.

I still felt myself falling, faster than I had seconds before. My body was paralyzed, still feeling weighted down as I continued to drift. The speed was building, and the thought that it was a dream came over me. It all felt too sensitive to be a dream, though. I could feel as though I was awake, yet blind to the world around me. The falling had progressed to a flying, plummeting towards the ground. My body began to ache, as it would when I would fall for too long.

The falling stopped, leaving my body floating in a pitch-black void. I couldn't lift my head to see if the rest of my body was visible. My eyes only looked up, remaining still. Not long after I stopped descending, an image flashed across my eyes. It was quick to the point where I couldn't pin any details down. It was bright than the void, for sure. I remembered it covering my entire vision, like I had been briefly transported to another place.

Soon, pictures flashed for longer intervals. They came one after another, with an occasional frame of darkness. The pictures included places and people that I recognized. There were my friends, workspaces, family members, but sometimes of individuals unknown to me. It wasn't impossible that I could've seen them at some period of time, but they were a stranger to me in the moment.

An image passed that stayed longer than the rest. It was of a young man, perhaps in his twenties. He was looking directly at camera, or whatever was used to capture the moment. His hair was a short brown, and his smile suggested laughter, the kind that came after telling a joke. I knew him well. His name was Leon.

To bring some knowledge to light, Leon was my best friend for at least five years. We knew each other since my senior year in college, and we continued to be close after graduation. I say "was" because he disappeared three years ago. From what others told me, he had vanished overnight when walking home. I came under the impression that he had left the city for another life, not saying goodbye to make it easier on the transition. Even if this wasn't the case, I liked to think that way, seeing as I could never contact him successfully.

A few similar images of landmarks and people rapidly flashed in my eyes, some of which I identified, but all of them felt familiar in the least. Finally, a realization reached me:

They were the sights of my own eyes.

They were my memories.

Most of the images beyond that point didn't feel like major memories. They weren't significant scenes in time, but pictures of places and people that I might have seen at some time in my life. There were still memories of people I knew, but they're expressions were not one's I recalled. Their faces were lifeless, holding little emotion. Their stare suggested no anger, happiness, or sorrow. Only emptiness.

There were some figures in the memories that didn't seem complete. They were partially faded, appearing blurred or otherwise transparent. I suppose the best way to describe it would be comparing it to "spirit photography" one can find on the internet. I didn't want to think of the figures as ghosts, but they did become more numerous as I seemed to fall deeper. There was a partial hand grasping a man's shoulder, as well as feet on a completely empty, dark street. In an image of my mother, a pair of eyes appeared to hover next to her, staring forward.

The last of what I saw was more concerning. The final images were very limited in their view; There was a twisted, bruised leg. A wrecked car, its front flattened against a tree. A trail of blood on a dirt road, leading off-frame.

Piecing the images together, I associated them to be of a car crash I had been in years before. The crash had damaged my head, and its memories of the event with it. Others at the time explained that I had lost control of my vehicle, specifically a steering wheel malfunction. I had always thought the car had some potential dangers to it, after long use without maintenance. I had just been too much of a cheap prick to get them fixed. After the crash, that didn't seem to matter.

After pictures of the crash I snapped back to reality, still lying in my bed, sweating. My chest was pounding harder than it ever had. It ached with every breath, delivering pain to my head as well. My body felt strained, like its muscles had withstood pressure for a long while.

On the subject of time, I glanced at my alarm clock to see how long I was subjected to the whole event: I had been under the state for nearly four hours. I lied awake for a while after, with my body being in too much pain to rest. When the aches degraded, I was exhausted enough to quickly fall asleep. I don't recall dreaming.

During the next day, I was far more conscious (and maybe cautious) of my surroundings. I took mental notes of everywhere I went, and compared almost every sight to the images I witnessed. I studied people, locations, daily sights. Maybe entering the state had heightened my senses in some way? Regardless if it was correct, the idea brought curiosity.

I will say here that I take sleeping medication, which has occasionally yielded side effects (though they were all bodily based). I say this because, throughout the entire day, I would occasionally hallucinate for only seconds. I would be speaking with someone, and almost swear to see small parts of them...change. Portions of their skin would look more pale and aged. Their eyes would turn a gray, empty shade of color. Their teeth sharpened into an array of jagged, intimidating thorns. These disturbing appearances were brief, leaving with the next blink of my eyes.

The sights and thoughts by the end of the day left me in a madness. Trying to make sense of everything only worsened my confusion. The the idea of the memories was the worst of it: I couldn't put them out of my mind, even if what happened the night before had been a dream.

While driving home, I passed a construction site. It was in it's first stages, where the foundation was being excavated for space. The sight brought an idea to my mind about the night before, about everything that I was stressing over:

The falling sensation could be brought to a level to where one "falls" into deep areas of the mind, where memories themselves form into visible images. There are many thoughts and sights of life that are forgotten, whether lost from the pass of time or other external causes. In this mental place, the unprocessed memories are free to be examined, and therefore recovered. It was a sort of "archeology", where the deeper the soul falls, the more buried memories it can uncover.

The idea was insanity to me, but it also presented an undiscovered opportunity. The potential to see distant, shadowed areas of my life was enough for me to continue focusing on the experience.

It was enough for me to try it all again.

I was prepared to start the following night, where my next day was free. I remembered that after the last time, my chest was in an alarming pain by the end. The risk of this being worse almost made me back off, but I thought about what I could find through the struggle. Even if there were no significant answers to be uncovered, the discovery of the phenomenon was enough to tell about.

I laid down, relaxed, and imagined the same falling as before. It was only a few minutes until I began to feel it build. Typically, I would need to concentrate for as long as an hour to bring the sensation to its highest intensity, but it only took minutes with my concentration.

My eyes closed, and tension began to spike throughout my muscles. I tried to imagine the peaceful stars, but I was more focused on preparing for whatever uncovered memories would be recovered. The speed of the fall increased as it did before, and my body abruptly stopped, and began to drift.

I was back.

At first, I expected the same images as before. It wasn't long until the image of Leon appeared. It took a moment to recognize it as the same image, because it had become different in ways. His smile appeared more menacing, filled with malicious intent. His eyes were more empty, soulless, grey with no flicker of life. His smile revealed teeth, sickly sharpened. This transition continued as more images of people passed. They were unrecognizable because of the changes, almost appearing as an entirely new picture.

The faded, intruding figures were also more significant. They were positioned in new spaces, reaching out their ghostlike hands to whoever was also in the picture. They're faces were still too dark to decipher. I felt uneasy, nauseous as their blurred eyes locked towards me. Because of the assailment of altered memories, a new pattern had passed unnoticed:

The beings were in every image. As if they really existed, each figure had found home in the memories, beginning to change the rest to fit their appearance.I tried to contemplate why these creatures were in my mind. Thinking of them only seemed to bring more into my sights, an expected trap of thought.

I snapped back to my objective of discovery, specifically of what might have happened to Leon. For all I knew, the answers to his fate didn't exist in my memories. He could have disappeared in an event unrelated to me, and I could've been wasting my time. My past closeness to him still got the best of my efforts.

A repeated memory appeared for longer than the rest. It was one of few that I recognized from the earlier night, my last time falling into the void. There was a view from inside a car, on a dim, unpopulated road. I made a connection to the image of the wrecked car, the accident I experienced years ago. Finding an explanation for that alone would be worth the effort, even if I was watching punishment for my ignorance.

The view was still from the drivers seat, looking forward. Because it stayed in my vision for a longer moment, I was able to examine it more: The image was distorted, blurred to a degree. The other difference I could find was a hand in the lower corner of the view. This wasn't another another faded, phantom hand like the rest. It belonged someone else in the car. The next image looked to the right, and it confirmed whose hand it was.

It was Leon's. He was in the same car.

I wanted out right fucking there. I wanted to snap back to consciousness and forget all the progress I had made from that point. I had an idea of what was about to be seen, and I wanted no part of it.

The images went on without stopping, like a rapid flip book. Every page moved more towards despair. Whatever this void really was, it wanted me to suffer. It wanted me to see the event happen steadily, in its best detail. Leon had an overjoyed, excited expression. He raised a large can, and I raised my arm towards his, holding the same object:


More fear began to grow in my shaking, dropping soul. If I could've opened my mouth in the moment, I would've been screaming in self-anger and hatred. The car crashed as it swerved off the road, colliding with a tree ahead. Leon was ejected from the vehicle, cut apart from broken glass and the force of impact.

There were no more images, as the entire final scene played out as a first-person video. I stepped out of the car, stumbling from both my drunken vision and injuries. I walked towards my best friend's body, who was crawling away from the scene. Blood was flowing from his head at a critical rate. Dragging forward with all his lasting strength, he collapsed into a limp sprawl.

Leon's last moments of pain will be forever embedded into my thoughts. What will be forever scarred into my soul was the look of his face, as it looked back at mine. It was a look of defeat, hopelessness, regret. It was an expression that spoke "it's not your fault", but I knew the terrible choice I had made.

Nobody had ever told me the reality. Nobody ever told me Leon and I had made such a foolish, suicidal mistake.

Nobody ever told me that I caused his death.

Just as his face was looking into mine in the memory, it flashed with a hideous facade. The sorrow in his eyes turned to malice, an inhuman stare. The scars on his face multiplied until it was a mask of scrapes, and his mouth turned to a vicious smile.

I knew that this was not the reality of the memory itself, but my mind being possessed. Memories were shattering away into horror, from what waited in its depths. They had been waiting for a curious, ambitious soul to wander down, looking for answers. They gave me what I was looking for, and now they were looking to keep me there.

They wanted me to be trapped.

I was internally screaming, desperate to wake back to consciousness. I had no knowledge of how to leave the place. The only action I was capable of was thought. This guided me to different memories, twisted by the demons inside my head. No amount of mental concentration seemed to bring me to freedom.

I felt a pressure begin to build in my chest. In the moment, I had hoped it was the feeling of my heart stopping, killing my brain and ending the nightmare. There was a tug, jolting me upwards. Each pull was overwhelming, painful from the motion. This didn't matter, as it still felt like I was moving upwards towards freedom.

Despite the hopeful situation, tainted pictures were still being forced into my vision. They were no longer visions of my past, but depictions of human torment. I saw the people in my memories continuously mutilated, sucked of life, burned to ash. The people in my mind had been turned to a canvas, being used to create pieces of repulsing, psychotic artwork.

The last sight I witnessed in that place was a blur of red, which covered my whole sight. When I think of it, it reminds me of what one would see when closing their eyes to bright, direct sunlight.

I gasped awake, if "awake" would be applicable. My entire body pulsed with aches, but there was a weight on my chest that made nearly every breath impossible. Attempting to get up for help was useless, as my energy was better spent keeping air in my lungs. I laid in the same place for two hours, with my heart screaming to shut down. To my surprise, I heard sirens approaching from the street, an ambulance. I was confused about the arrival at , but I learned a few days later that a neighbor of mine had heard terrible noises nearby, and called the authorities: In my unconsciousness, my suffering was audible, enough for a different home to hear my screams.

I stayed at a hospital for two days, as I had suffered a near-fatal heart attack. My examiners found the event rather surprising that a man as healthy and young as myself could fall victim to such a severe occurrence. They asked a few questions relating to my lifestyle, and potential medications, but I never mentioned anything about my recent experience. I was too tired to go through the entire story, or to be judged as insane.

Once I was released, I had the idea of speaking with others. Maybe my friends would tell me why they lied, especially about someone so close to me. I decided against it. I'm sure others were mourning enough without me trying to bleed explanations from them.

All I have left to do now is think how my last few months could have gone differently. I think about what it would be like if I had never discovered the ability to fall, into what I believe to be an undiscovered section of the mind. My life continues as much as it can, but I find it difficult to concentrate with those burning images in my thoughts. There's so much guilt inside me now that I don't see old friends anymore, or even family. I can say that I've had ideas of suicide, but only time will tell if I become that desperate.

Now, with my story concluding, I reach the part where the reader begins to associate themselves with the experience I had. With such a discovery comes the idea of it being used for personal desire, or even just reckless adventure.

I reach the part of the story where you think about trying it all yourself.

And with this, there comes the part where I attempt to warn you. Based on what I've described, here's the best explanations I can give for what happened:

I'll first present the notion that we all forget certain memories for a reason. There are parts of our lives that seem to fade from our minds, that we run to again. There's an idea that in knowing everything, especially about ourselves, we are brought to a level of peace. Humans weren't born to have a constant peace of mind, as much as we wish for it. In looking for all your memories, the only feelings you'll find will be regret, anger, and frustration that you caused something that can't be undone.

But your life's not bad, right? You've had nothing but good memories, nothing but events that you only wish could be replayed. I'll present you with another idea:

We've all felt negative emotions, dark states of thought. There are everyday occurrences that create fear, sorrow, dread, many unpleasant sensations. These don't leave once their brought about. They're only stored away, placed in the deep caverns of the brain, where they sleep.

That is, unless you decide to bring them back up. When awoken, they'll gladly rise from the pits, taking their forms of the "ghosts" I've mentioned. Once they're free, they will start placing themselves in other frames, infecting your memories one-by-one. Their possessions will continue, until their revolting forms are all you have left to remember.

I still see them. I still see their eyes in the people I see, walking by me or looking at me through windows. They stay there for longer, not just seconds like they used to. I can hardly stand living with them haunting me, but I know that my results could've been worse: I could still be trapped in the passages of my thoughts, left to whatever sadistic pictures they wished to place in front of my eyes. That was their goal, after all. The possibility would still exist for you.

I know I've said a lot, but if all I'm saying are warnings, what was the point of explaining the story at all? I may have discovered this on my own, but that's not to say I was the first. What I experienced was at first an accident, which I was then too curious to stay away from. The "falling sensation" is a common phenomenon, felt by hundreds of humans every night. I've heard stories of those who die in their sleep, whether from heart conditions, strokes, or other unknown causes. I shudder to think how many may have been somewhere else in their mind before then.

I know there will be those who be unable to keep away from the opportunity, and will seek to understand more. Despite all my words telling them to stay the fuck away, they will continue with their efforts. They'll probably wonder how I made it happen. Before anyone asks, know that I've already explained it:

Just lie down, relax, and begin to imagine yourself falling. You'll start to feel it come over slowly, but keep concentrating. If it's anywhere the same as it was for me, it won't take long to arrive. You'll see your memories, and the only thing you'll be able to do is go deeper.

Your mind is the site, your soul is the shovel.

Lower yourself down, and start digging.

Written by Emeryy
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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