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My eyes opened as a wave of terrible realization washed over me. The bad dreams were with me again tonight. The ones that I had always kept lock deep within my subconscious, never wanting them to exit.
I think we’ve all experienced that feeling before. The feeling of been hypnotized by our dream world, holding on to a special feeling that we crafted in our slumber. Perhaps it was the feeling of pure hot rage towards your faux-friends, who twisted your nighttime reality into a revival of an embarrassing memory. Or perhaps it was the deep lust for a woman that you only encountered ever so often, and suddenly dreamed of being happy together. The feeling didn’t matter though. We would wake up and discover this feeling was just a strange foreign concept that our buried selves weaved for us during slumber, and just disappear at the creak of sunlight.
The truth is though, that feeling would stick with you. Our dreams are the basis of our ambitions in the waking world. They subconsciously direct us towards something that we kept long hidden, not knowing that it was not our brain that was controlling us, but our soul. Ideas stuck with you, resting at the bottom of your stomach. You were motivated to do the impossible, until your internal anguish finally rested, and your dreams became tranquil once more.
Sitting on my bedside, rubbing my tired looking eyes, I felt the feelings of despair drain from within me as I slowly came back to reality. I hated the transfer of the emotions. It made me feel like I wasn’t actually in control of my life, and that another creature deep within me was pushing me towards something that it wanted control over.
I felt sick, but not the kind of sick that a doctor could prescribe medicine for. It was the sick that caused a constant battle of conquest within me, forcing me to never know who I really was or what I really wanted to do with my life. It was terrible, and my nighttime realm was the only place where I truly felt like I knew what I was.
Too bad my paradise was collapsing in front of my tired eyes.
I got up, staggering to the side, looking for the light switch. The lamp already made the room bright, but my mind was adrift and not thinking straight.
I pushed forward into the kitchen, putting an egg down on the stove and fixing myself up some coffee. I grabbed the paper and sat down in the kitchen, looking out the wide windows at the calming storm that was going on around me. What a better way to spend a Saturday morning. Breakfast, a drink, the paper, and to top it all off, a peaceful storm outside to soothe the mood.
For a moment, everything seemed right in the world. Life was cozy, I was cozy, and I felt refreshed with somewhat of a good night sleep.
I sipped my coffee, the smell burning delightfully in my nostrils. I started to read the headline of the paper, my eyes squinting.
Body Found in Train Tunnel, Cops Completely Baffled.
I stared down in horror, terrible thoughts flooding in. This wasn’t what I wanted to see, this was something that I should never be reminded of. Living alone, I was in my own little world. A world where fear could not touch me. I flipped rapidly through the newspaper, trying to get the terrible incident off my mind. Kitten adoption, yes, the better knowledge to know about on a peaceful morning.
As I grabbed my egg, I found myself yearning that life was always this peaceful, and that night would be as calming as it always should be. I began to get angry with myself, staring directly towards the newspaper, reading briskly. Why was reality so awful? Why was there so much death and hatred in our world, when we could sit nicely in our homes, reading about kittens?
Maybe I was too stupid to understand the workings of our mind and our desire for every dark wish we had to be fulfilled, and I knew life would always be like this. We weren’t close to any sort of advancement here, none, zippo. It was the paradox of life. A new problem was invented every day.
People just couldn’t get along. Everyone had their own little problem which needed to be fixed one way or the other, and no one stopped to think about how this interfered with everyone else’s problems.
And life was going to continue like that. My troubled life would go on with all its tiny problems which everyone in the world had, and I would have to live with that.
As I finished my egg, I tried to revert back to my peaceful state by returning to the person who knew me best. The internet. It knew how to fix my problems, it always had an answer. I knew WikiHow had some ridiculous answer to spurt back at me about the troubles of life, no matter how stupid it was.
Looking at the monitor, I began to realize that my first problem was that I was a grown adult living in a secluded environment alone without a real job who was using WikiHow to dictate his life.
I tried to think smaller, trying to not get myself down. I liked my life, no matter how silly it might have been to my family or my friends, and I definitely got a good living out of it. My dreams, that’s what was important. I was going to fix my dreams.
I was pretty educated in the sleep area, but fixing nightmares and other insomnia-related problems always seemed out of my reach. Shut-eye was required for a better life, and I was lacking in that department. The only upside was that the sunrise was truly something to admire.
Sitting in your house all groggy, maybe marathoning Seinfeld at 3:00 AM once again, and then seeing the pure shine of day slowly creep over the hills and reach your house is truly a sight to behold. The sunrise symbolizes a new day for me, and I know every new day equals a happier life. I was getting there, I was fixing my problems one step at a time, or at least I like to think.
I figured by fixing my dreams, I could use the nightscape to fix my problems in the real world. The small ones of course, those ones that always sat with me, nagging me as the day went along. I supposed I could discover my problems, what plagued my mind with insecurity and doubt. Maybe something within me would give me a clue, after all, dreams are the gateway to the subconscious.
I clicked a link and an hour later I realized I had gotten nowhere. I found myself on one of those lucid dream sites that always fascinated me. It definitely was an interesting topic, but it always seemed like something out of my reach. Being able to make and destroy worlds at my fingertips really enhanced the experience of being in my dream world, but it was impossible to me.
Everything that is fun is hard, what a terribly unfair world.
As I was about to log off, I saw something that caught the corner of my eye. The ability to diminish and fight off nightmare via lucid dream. I sat back down and began to scroll again, incredibly fascinated with such a topic. It was the gateway to sleep, and possibly an abundance of lucid dreams.
After a bit, I clicked away and sat down to watch Netflix, but a thought kept tugging at me as I stared at the screen.
You’re wasting your life. Fix it.
I continued to stare at the screen, ignoring the desperate voice in my head.
Do something. Be something. Don’t sit there. So what if it’s just a nighttime escape? Find a way to fix your problems!
I groaned, and wouldn’t let my subconscious get the best of me.
Fix it you worthless piece of garbage.
I sighed and gave in to my basic desire. My life was NOT a mess, but it didn’t mean that it had some areas that should be stitched up.
I went back to the computer, desperately looking for quick ways to lucid dream. All I got were sites yelling at me to be patient and develop the mindset and all that crap. But what really caught my attention was something called WILD. It stood for Wake Induced Lucid Dream and offered a quick and easy entrance to the world of lucid dreaming.
I only had to wake up two hours before my normal awakening, and let my body go to sleep but my mind stay aware. Perfectly simple stuff, of course. It was worth it though. I could easily slip right into a lucid state and put my troubles in the trash.
What really caught my attention was the side-effect though. Sleep paralysis. I’ve definitely heard of it before. It’s like a fever dream on drugs. While the site said that it wasn’t as bad as people make it out to be, they stated it certainly was a strange experience. I thought back to all those horror stories on the internet I read about Sleep Paralysis and knew it wasn’t anything like that. Years of crappy paranormal videos had prepared me for anything.
That was a horror story, this was real life. The difference is the people in this world have brains.
So the plan was set, and the deal with the devil was made. I was going to go to bed and let my worries slide away, and my life would fix its self with no effort.
Project W.I.L.D was in effect.
As dusk slowly came upon me, I grew prostrated of the daylight. One may question how one could so easily become fatigued after a day of eating and video games, but it sure was very real.
I knew now that it was time for Project W.I.L.D, and was visibly excited. The idea of an escape from the tiresome idea of what was reality deemed to be one that I could not get my mind off of. I could do anything, in a world were problems vanished and the inner self could be examined. You could find what made you tick, and the terrible materials and ideas holding you back from a happier life.
I was ready, and had no idea what kind of can of worms was being opened up. The possibilities were endless, especially when you forced escapism on to yourself.Sitting in bed, I looked up towards the ceiling. All was still, and the lonely silence filled the room. Nothing was to be expected, but the increasing sense of dread came about. At night, the air itself seemed to be a whole new feeling which had never been experienced before. Living alone, the silence was to be expected, but just staring up at the ceiling… it was as if I was truly alone. The night had surrounded me. And my eyes shut. I held onto that twinge of awareness, drifting into a serene nightscape of vivid colors and feelings which could never be described. I was falling into slumber, yet I could still see beyond my own imagination.
The beauty of life was you never truly understood how wonderful it was until you examined each feeling on its very own. The process of falling asleep crafted a sense which really needed to be examined to understand. I’m sure we have all felt it, sitting in bed at night. The strange spot between bliss, terror, and the fear of not understanding what the next day brought.
An hour passed, but it could have been a minute. It could have been a year, but time seemed to disappear I sat perfectly still, seeing my room with my eyes closed.
Colors floated around me, it was as if I had entered a whole new reality where everything was made out of a feeling, an idea which took you to a whole new realm of existence. It was calming, the feeling of fuzziness had taken over my entire body.
Then a door slammed.
My eyes opened abruptly, darting around the room in terror. It had not been my imagination, I knew what I had heard. In a state where sense reigned supreme, I knew I had full control.
Silence fell once more. This wasn’t the silence of bliss, but it was a silence of fear. An unknown event happening around me, a nightmare out my control.
But was it so different from the time I spent living after daybreak? The world was out of control, people slowly being dragged down into the chaos. Friends, family, I couldn’t control it! Every decision I made had some unforeseen consequence, one that would drop me into a deeper hole than I was already in. A hole I hadn’t dug! A hole that just seemed to form beneath my feet when I wasn’t looking. Every single step, every single decision…
The petrifying thud continued, slowly making its way closer.
Footsteps, slowly approaching the hall. Each step slowly increasing the impending sense of the dread.
Oh God, what have I done? I had dug my own hole, wishing for control. I was lured into a trap, a situation I knew I couldn’t handle.
The footsteps went silent.
For what seemed like ages, the entire house went dead. The previous noise which haunted in the distance was gone. The sound of a door opening rang out, but it wasn’t a distant clamor, it was the slow creak of my door, sitting comfortably right next to me. My heart skipped a beat, and I felt as if the air in the room had vanished. No breathing pattern could be found, it was a jumbled mess of horror.
I could hear the door hit the wall, bouncing back upwards only to hit the damaged wall once more. It was several seconds before the slam erupted in my ears. I tried to let out an audible cry, but nothing came out.
Lucidity would soon be reached, the darkness would end. My payload was right around the corner, and this was just a side-effect. Nothing was real, and it was my imagination.
But why did it seem so real? Why was my mind choosing to believe the terror surrounding me?
A raspy voice seemed to manifest near my ear.
“Oh, but does it matter? It’s real, at least to you. I’m here, and one could say that I’m very real… Let’s have a chat, won’t we? I think it is long overdue that we have things to discuss…”
I attempted to scream, but no sound was able to escape my mouth. I was truly stuck.
Please, oh God please let me out of this please.
“No use screaming for help. I want to make this quick and painless, after all, I have been called here to help you… haven’t I? Whether you know it or not, we’ve been destined to have this little discussion for a while. You’ve been wanting it, a person to talk to. I see you talk to yourself, whispering those silly little thoughts under your breath. You wish for company, and company you will get.”
My thoughts weren’t even comprehensible anymore. My head was filled with screams of agony, wishing for whatever was out there to leave. The only feeling under the deep terror was the long urge to see the sunrise, the light reaching over the hills with its warmth… it was all I ever wanted, all I ever needed…
Oh please, what are you, what in the hell are you, leave please, help me.
“I am lots of things, some may argue I am you, or perhaps your greatest desires, even the darkest secrets you keep locked away at the bottom of your very own soul. In the end, it doesn’t matter though. I am here not because of what I am, but because of what I need to do.
“Open your eyes. See for yourself.”
I refused. My eyes were locked in position out of fear and I had no intention of seeing whatever hell-spawn laid on the other side of the room.
“You’re curious aren’t you? Humans are naturally curious beings. If you choose to fall asleep, you will never know what was standing in your room that night. You’d rule it out as imagination, but you’d know the truth. We. We would know the truth. It’d bug you for years to pass, until that very special March 12 that will eventually arise.”
“Oh, the day of your death, don’t you know? I find it funny, how humans view death. There so scared of it, they never want to face the fact every living thing has to face. They think it’s mysterious, something that they will never truly know the date of, but I think most people know how they’ll die. Somewhere, they know when and how their deaths will play out, but it never truly wants to surface. Now come on, open your eyes, don’t make me do it. After all, you called me here, you wanted to talk to me, didn’t you? Iron a little bugs out?”
Suddenly, I found my eyes slowly peeking open. I didn’t want to do it, I was dead afraid of whatever was in my room, but something seemed to make me do it. I was curious, I needed to know what was out there, or I’d never live it down. Inside, I was being forced to open my eyes for sheer curiosity.
The room was empty. I could only see in front of me, not the door to my side. The strong moonlight illuminated the ends of my room, creating an ominous glow in the darkness.
There was nothing, not a single being in sight. I stared around the room, expecting the voice to creep back up once more, but nothing came. Had I moved into my dreamscape? I couldn’t tell anymore, my sense of reality was gone.
Soon, a shadowy mist seemed to form near the end of the room, slowly building up as it clouded the corner. It was beginning to spread out across the floor, the dark clouds pouring like waves through the bedroom.A creature was slowly forming, a monster of pure black morphing together towards the ceiling. It was the monster of my nightmares, a cliché creature which we all laughed off at dawn, but a true creature of terror as it loomed over me.Its blank, lifeless eyes cracked open, and teeth seemed to form within it. It was a full figure, a demon standing before me. It moved forward, sliding next to the bed. Its arms seemed to extend down to me, true fear manifesting in every part of my body. I reached the point where terror had become so present that I didn’t think I could even feel it anymore, and yet I still couldn’t look away.
The sentient mist, the monster sitting at my bedside. This was the demon which called itself my name. It was a monster I had seen before, an abnormality I never wished to face. It was so present in everyday life, yet we only ever saw it in our dreams.
“What do you see? Your nightmares rolled up into one? Perhaps that’s what I am, but there is no need to be afraid. I have come for a brief visit, but I will still always be present. Let us begin our journey, as for time is short. However, in the realm of the nightscape, time is never really present.”
I wanted it to end, I really wanted it to be all over. To find myself awake in a happy place, the world of my own which I crafted up in my house in the mountains. It didn’t matter if terror was below me, I was away from it. By myself, happy.
But the creature inside me had other plans. The creature inside wanted something more, it wanted peace, a real disconnection from reality.
“And let’s get you that, shall we?” the being said, flashing a grin as it crawled on top of my bed.
“Let’s see how far your mind really takes you…”
He reached out his hands, grabbing my head. I could feel his cold, misty fingers wrap around me as the room slowly faded away.
My vision was going blurry, and the only thing I could feel was the icy cold, completely covering my body.
Everything was dark.
I woke up, sitting in my room
I quickly pushed back the sheets, standing up in terror. I had done it, I had finally escaped from sleep paralysis. I was free.
The darkness still laid around me though, hours were to go till the uplifting glow of the sun hit me. I tried to flick on the light switch, but nothing turned on. I froze, sickening thoughts twisting within me.
The powers out, listen to the rain outside. The power is out, imagination can no longer get the best of you.
And I heard the rain pouring outside.
I smiled, nodding to myself. “The powers out, and I’m still here. I’m alive, and I’m wonderful. Nothing can touch me, I can speak.”
I opened the bathroom door, rubbing my eyes groggily. Everything felt strange, as if the air had suddenly become lighter. Everything was a bit blurry, and I was having trouble making out the room.
I looked up at the mirror, and the mist smiled back.
Out of shock, I quickly shuffled backward, and the being seemed to float out of the mirror effortlessly. I was dreaming, this was a dream. I wasn’t losing it, it was a dream, a simple nightmare between sleep paralysis and daylight. The monster I feared had found a way to visit me in my slumber.
“Is it a dream? Can you really prove to yourself that this is a dream, right now, right this very second that this is isn’t reality? Can’t the lines blur so easily?”
My eyes met his, the red eyes glowing back at me. They seemed as if they were widening, perhaps even growing brighter. But for the first time in the entire night, I knew I could prove him wrong. My nightmare was wrong.
I held my palm up and point two of my fingers towards it. Without any hesitation or any fear, I stuck my fingers right through my palm. It was the simplest reality check, a way to easily see if the world around you was real or fake. You always knew the answer, there was no in-between.
The figure laughed. “Oh, how simple beings strung to the concepts of what ‘reality’ is are! You knew it, no in-between! Just a plain old dream and plain old reality. If you’re so in control, make me disappear, right now. If the inner workings of your mind pain you so much, push me away.”
Without any response, I turned away, focusing on the corner of the bathroom. The whole room seemed to be as if it was familiar, yet everything was different somehow. I knew it was my bathroom, but the entire place was fancier, more well done that my small space that existed in reality.
I was positive no creature stood in front of me, as for this was my world now. I was alone in this room, and I was absolutely sure of it. I turned my head and was one again alone.
A smile cracked on my face. A world of possibilities was now open that I was alone, the only true present being in this world. Would I fly? Eat the best slice of chocolate cake in the world? Or perhaps… I could even meet an old friend…
“How about we talk to each other? It surprises me how ignorant we are on the surface. Ignoring the problem at hand, so you could stay in your fantasy world. Wake up, get with the program.”
I clutched my fist, and for the first time spoke out loud to the figure. “Do you really think it’s noble to face reality? That you’re a hero for being with the problems of society? I don’t know what you really are, but our imagination is an escape, a place to go when everything goes terrible back in reality. Let me dream, let me experiment in my mind and go to places I’ve never gone before.”
“So you’ve chosen to speak to me… how brave! Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love dreaming as much as you do… As without the dream world, I wouldn’t be able to discuss anything. But do we know when reality and fiction start to blend? When you’re unable to cope with the complications, you leave it. But as you find yourself spending more and more time in this place, what is your true home? You’ve left all the stragglers behind, facing the onslaught of terror produced every day! But before we ask ourselves about reality and fiction, let’s talk about me… I think you’ve realized what I am by now.”
My eyes pierced down at the bathroom floor. I knew, but the idea of what the figure represented left unanswered questions… ones that I was afraid to answer, as for they would shed new light on ideas that I wished to ignore. Perhaps, the figure was a representation of the worries I’ve pushed aside for so long.
“I’m you… Or perhaps your other you as you might call it. I’m the things you never see during the day but are always forced to encounter at night, even when you think you’re in control. So when you say you have total control of this scape…”
All of a sudden, the voice erupted inside my head. The creature, the monster, my own subconscious was within me, ripping my life apart by the seams. Insecurities raised without notice, a hole within a hole.
“You are sadly mistaken! You think you have control, you think you can fix your problems?! Well I know, and I’ve known for a long time that things have been spiraling out of control! You drag every concept which doesn’t fit your idea of a perfectly happy life down to me, and lock it away. You think it’s gone, but oh, I return! I manifest in your dreams, I show you the terror you’ve ignored for your entire life every single night! Do you really think you’re an insomniac?! Or have you just been choosing to stay awake in fear that the things that show up every night are too much to handle! Is this why you want control?!”
I grabbed my hair, wishing for the voice to stop. I shut my eyes, continuing to hope to wake up but the satisfaction of returning to a reality I had learned to love had not come.
Sounds were continuing to move within me, screams of agony lifting up from my soul to my mind, manifesting in the dreamscape around me. Once I finally opened my eyes, blinding light seemed to form around me. A pure white room had formed around me, with nothing but a table with water standing in the room.
All of a sudden, the creature returned, but not as the sentient mist which haunted me. The monster was me, a full on copy of me standing across from the table. Something seemed off though, and I recognized the feeling as the one I had felt in the bathroom moments ago. It was me, but the person I wished to be. I looked better and more professional, yet it was still me. My subconscious knew my dreams, and was here to use them against me.
“I’m in control! Me, not you! But never fear, I am just you, but the you which never sees the light of day. The person you hold so secretly within yourself. So why do I frighten you? I’m just here to fix your pitiful life, reveal the problems you need to fix. Why do you choose to ignore them? Fix them! Make yourself better, isn’t that why you’re here? I’ve come to fix you, help you!”
I stared directly at him, and he looked right back, piercing directly into my mind. He saw everything, even the things I couldn’t see. That would always give me the upper ground, in every situation I came across.
“I’m fine with who I am. I’m fine with every decision I’ve ever made, as for it made me who I am now.”
“Oh, but are you? Are you really? There are absolutely no regrets in your life, for all these years? If you’re as perfect as you think you are, why was I brought here? Something stuck at the bottom of your heart? Every day, you ask yourself something you could have done a different way. You could have done dance instead of rowing, or actually studied for once instead of going out with your friends. You could have given your one true friend a ride that night.”
I stepped back in shock. The things he was saying surprised me, even if I knew what they all meant, I never even took the chance to thought upon them.
“Oh, and you might blame those on others. Because nothing is ever our fault, it’s other people. Your drunken uncle made you do rowing, it ruined your life! Your friends pressured you, didn’t they? But you can never truly go back from that one mistake. That was you, and nothing will ever change it. A single action, your lack of ability to care changed someone’s life for the worse. What do you think it was like, sitting alone like that, waiting for death to come? Tell me, let’s fix this once and for all.”
I lost control. In the moment, my fear was replaced by rage, anger. Everything was my fault, I could have changed that, I could have changed this, but I didn’t. And look where it got me. I wasn’t in control anymore, I couldn’t simply hide anything anymore. The monster inside me was in control.
The table flipped over, and the glass hit the ground shattering. As my senses came back to me, everything froze. The room was just like it was a minute ago. My anger changed everything but it was reverted quickly. A smile of power came across my face, and I felt as if I was truly myself finally.
“Look, you think you’re in control? My anger, my rage, it changed this place. You fight back, but consciousness will always win. I can fight the thoughts, throw them away into deeper holes. You can’t touch me, the fictional world will always triumph over the terrible things you show me.”I looked down at the glass and concentrated. The glass burst, and water shot out in different directions. But just as quickly as it burst, it froze. The moment was frozen in place, the glass breaking and the water shooting away uncontrollably. “Fix it. Fix my problem. The glass has broken, and it needs to be fixed. It’s been locked in place so that the problem truly never affects me, yet it needs to be fixed. Fix it.”
My subconscious mimicked the rage I had built up before, as if he was ready to hop the table and tackle me. But I knew he couldn’t do that, he couldn’t harm himself. He had to resolve everything through me, and if he had no control over me, it couldn’t be fixed.
Together, we glared at the glass but nothing moved. Time remained still, and I had finally leveled the playing field. The horror of reality wouldn’t win, I would stay here, happy. My problem would remain in a way where it wouldn’t affect me.
Looking up, my smile returned. It felt good to have full operation over yourself. No inside force could change the way I thought.
“Do you really think you can ignore your own mind?!” he shouted, lifting his head up to look directly at me. “You can’t disagree with what your subconscious tells you to do! Your becoming detached to your own self, don’t you know what this means?! You’ll lose yourself, you’ll be stuck! I’m here to help!”
“Then help damn it, you aren’t here to take me down as a slave! Don’t make me feel like my whole life is out of my reach!”
“I’m in control, accept it! Accept your emotion! I… I make every single feeling that you experience every day.”
He leaned in, pinching his fingers. “Every… little tiny thing you feel is me, us. I know how you feel about things, and I know you how you feel about this. I control you! And there is nothing you can do about it!”
Suddenly, an overwhelming sense of emotion swarmed through me. Happiness, anger, fascination, they were all bursting inside me as a jumbled mess.
My subconscious raised his hand, and I stood slumped, having the overwhelming feeling of love flow through me. I couldn’t control myself, the perfect feeling of love was manifesting in every part of my body. I had desire, yearning. I could feel the erection forming, and there was nothing to do about it.
“Feels good doesn’t it? See what I mean?” he said, quickly twisting his arm.
I suddenly dropped to the ground, all love vanishing through me. I felt plain, I felt as if I was nothing, I could feel nothing. I felt like a dead body, slumping endlessly across the floor.
I dropped down on my knees, sadness swarming in me now. The world seemed bleak, as if I had truly lost my will to fight. Nothing could be done to stop myself, I was his own slave.
“Emotions, feelings… all channeled through me. You’re nothing without what lies within. You become a being who goes with the flow, unable to think for himself. You think first and ask questions later. Is that what you want, what you’ve truly desired the entire time? I’m your emotion, I create what you feel, whether you realize it or not.”
Emptiness returned, the emptiness he was talking about. I was a puppet, living how society told me to. I could be twisted into any shape or form, as long as it suited the person’s needs.
“T-This, isn’t… This isn’t what I wanted! I just don’t want to be held responsible, I can’t live with the truth, how terrible everything has become in a world where you can be happy! I just… just wanted to be happy, live a life without worry!”
“You can be happy! But in order to be happy, you have to accept the facts, face them head on! That’s why I’m here, we want to be happy, we want to live a life without the terrible fear of everything being out of control!”
“Then let me wake up! I don’t care what you’ve come to fix, let me wake up and truly appreciate life, I get it now! I need to stay in reality! I’ll do that, let me do that!”
My subconscious stepped backward, as if my answer did something that he never expected to happen. It surprised him.
The whole room was becoming blurry once more, everything was shifting and changing, and no real image could be made out. My face on the other side of the table was becoming distorted, turning into a blob that couldn’t be made out. My dreamscape, the place which was supposed to be my perfect world, my paradise, was falling apart at the seams.
And I was okay with it.
As I opened my eyes to the moonlight shining out through the curtains, I finally smiled. The night of terror was over.
Reality was now to be found around me, and I was no longer in a land where the very bottom of my mind had control over me.
The only feeling I had was the lingering memory of the dream, sitting beneath my mind, subconsciously locked away forever.
But something was wrong… something was different. The rooms around me seemed smaller, more cramped. My house was distorted, as if it was unknown to me. Had my time in the dreamscape thrown me off of my own reality?
I had a luxurious house, one sitting on top of the mountains overlooking the beautiful forest below, a perfect life a lonely man could ask for.
But why was the house different?
I stared down at my palms, my hands shaking steadily. I could see the lines etched in the center of my hand, stretching off to each individual finger, all the details included. Why was the world so blurry then?
Staring at the window, my eyes shot down the hill towards the woods. A man was there, smiling.
I disconnected myself. I let myself go, is this my reality? A world entranced in dream, but truly hidden in nightmare?
The man stood.
I disconnected, I let myself go. I’m no longer here.
A smile cracked on his face, his eyes growing brightly.
No reality, no fiction, no dreams. Just you and your mind. You’re in control, you know where you are.
There was a flash, a distortion. His body changed, everything was jumbled. Everything was out of control, it was as if a videotape had started to cut to different scenes randomly.
The idea. The creature, the… thing you could have stopped. You’re in control, you can stop this. Reality can be fixed, things can change. It’s not out of your reach.
It was behind him. Not the demon I recognized so often in my dreams, no, he was gone… it was the killer, the man who had done it.
You were a witness. He was your friend, you can stop this. Fix it, end it. Stop this once and for all. Disconnect.
Everything froze, the man smiled. He looked directly at me, a big grin spread across his face.
The shadow, the creature behind him… slowly creeping up… It didn’t seem to move, it only appeared closer and closer when it seemed as if you weren’t watching.
Fix this. Disconnect.
It sat directly behind him, but the man still smiled. He was looking directly at me, unmoving, stuck in a fixed position. I knew what came next, I knew how I had been selfish, how I lost control.
The body was there, but yet he still stood smiling. I could see his corpse, and I could see it laughing, but he still stood tall. Everything was flashing, as if I couldn’t comprehend both ideas at once.
I couldn’t. As hard as I tried to make it stop, leave, even save him, I couldn’t do it. I had lost control. My subconscious was laughing, if it was still there. Even if I was grounded to reality, I had lost my free will that very night. The night I ruined the poor man’s life.
I could have been the high man, done something better, but I was a coward. In a desperate attempt to fix my life, I couldn’t face the truth, the key to accepting who I was.
My subconscious, it was what he was talking about. My control, my problems, my feelings, I knew where the source had come from. Suddenly, the idea that I could face my problems, accept them, and fix them seemed impossible. My subconscious didn’t understand what I was feeling, what I couldn’t confront. I had disconnected from myself. I needed to disconnect myself. But could I?
I had one option.
My palms shook rapidly, as I pointed directly at my palm. I moved quickly, jabbing my fingers directly through my palm. And my fingers did, they went right through, as if my body was air. I was ready.
And so I did.
I awoke in a chair, the room around me quickly revealing itself around me.
I had no clue where I was, this wasn’t my house anymore. It wasn’t even an altered version, it was just someplace entirely different.
I sat in a wooden chair, a man sitting on the other end of the desk. It was a sight I saw before, one I had seen only minutes ago. It was the white room where I confronted my subconscious, only this time it was dark, except for the one light bulb hanging from the ceiling.
“W-Where am I?” I stuttered.
“You know as hell where you are! Now speak, you’re barely telling us anything!” the man shouted, pushing his hands down on the desk.
“You saw what happened! What were you doing that night? Why did you refuse to report such an incident?”
“What?” I said, slowly pushing back in the chair. I could see the walls forming in the distance, and slowly realized this wasn’t a room within my mind. I was being interrogated.
“What were you doing? What did the suspect look like? Answer the questions, you're running my patience thin!”
The man’s face was read, yet he was still noticeably tired. I looked up at the clock in the distance, trying my best to read it in my dazed confusion. 12:04 am… how long had I been here?
“I-I’m sorry, I… just it’s been a long day, I didn’t get any sleep last night…” I didn’t even know what I was saying anymore. Words were just rolling out my mouth.
“You’ve been cooperative so far, so why can’t you answer the god damn question?!”
“I… I don’t know! It’s just a blur… it seems like it happened such a long time ago…”
I looked down at my palm. Everything was blurring, my vision kept coming in and out of blurriness, and I felt as if I was going to throw up.
“Answer me, please. Let’s get this over with… please. Try your best, what happened?”
I shrunk into my chair, overwhelmed with thought.
“Please, I can’t remember… I was walking home… I saw my friend, I hadn’t seen in a long time… he hadn’t been doing well financially and I was worried… He looked scared, a mess even. Something… something was behind him.”
“Speak clearly, tell me what happened next!”
I lifted up my fingers and pointed them towards palm. I was in loss, memories were just flooding back. But I didn’t want to remember, I wanted to stay in my peaceful home, up in those hilly mountains. I could find peace by myself, without the terrible truth. I had control of what was revealed to me, and this matter was in the past.
If I had truly left the problems behind, left my old self in the past, then why was I seeing this? Had I not pushed it away hard enough? This isn’t what I wanted, this isn’t what I wanted to feel. My subconscious was gone, I was in control. But then why did I feel this? Everything was moving so quick, it was as if I was rapidly moving from place to place, facing all the horrors in my life individually.
My fingers approached my palms, shaking with immense fear.
“Tell me, what happened next? What did he look like?”
I kept my eyes open, even though it felt as if I wanted to close them forever.
“What are you doing? Speak to me! We need you, you were the only witness!”
But they didn’t need me. I was happy, and the world didn’t affect me. The big terrible world was just something in the past, and I had my own problems, my own tiny ones I could fix by myself.
Everyone else would deal with theirs similarly, and I would forget the ones dealing with a world below me.
People couldn’t alter me, I knew who I was, I had been the same my entire life! No one could leech on to me, change my views, my perception of myself… Even if I leaped from world to world rapidly, ignoring whatever was there in a heartbeat, could I find a way to reality? Or my idea of it?
My fingers hit my palms.
I stepped back, my eyes widening.
“You can’t ignore us, this is the truth, and you have to face it! Do you know how much better it would have been for him just to recede into a fantasy world in the face of death? He knew the truth, he knew what he was facing! He had to accept it, and he had to find the courage to be fine with it! If a dead man can, you can as well!”
Did he? Did he really face the truth? Was he like that?
My fingers were stuck at my palm, but the world was vanishing before me.
In a flash, everything changed once more, and the man sitting before me vanished into thin air, dissolving with the rest of the room.
I was in my room once more, sitting in bed.
But this time, the sun was rising. Even if the night seemed too stretched out into an endless lifetime of darkness, the sun still rose. In darkness, the morning light would still creep over those hills and reign its warmth down on all those below. Every demon receding outside or even within us would slowly back away, as for are fears knew daylight was upon us.
Yes, the sun was in the air. I was home, where I needed to be. The world, the terror inside me was gone. As long as the sun shined bright, I would be in an area I was happy with. I had reached my happy ending.
I was awake, and the night was over. There was no mist, no voice inside me, not even a police officer at my door. I was in my home, and that was final. Nothing else could change that.
But your palms.
Simply the illusion of the dream. I knew the feeling, I think we all do. To wake up and feel that world collapse around us, slowly draining away from our memory only to be locked up within us. Those feelings would be stored inside, altering the ways we acted during the day. Paradise or hell would disappear, and only our emotions during in the light would remain.
But now, I was aware. I wouldn’t let the nightmares inside alter my perception of life. I was here, and I knew how I felt.
Still, my house seemed different. But this wasn’t the mysterious blurriness of the dream, recognizing things which you had never seen before. Everything looked real, incredibly detailed. Perhaps I had never noticed the things around me, but my house almost looked better. A little more luxurious, as if my simple cottage was the rich manor I always wanted.
I went to the kitchen, as was taken aback by how nice everything looked. Everything was where it needed to be, and it seemed my problems had vanished. This was my life, my wonderful life. I looked down at my palms for one last moment though. My detailed hands seemed to stand out in the entirety of my vision, and I felt the urge to perform a reality check, even if I felt as if this was truly reality.
I held my fingers up to my palm, and moved them steadily, as opposed to the horrible shaking I had felt before.
But before I could make contact, I heard a knock on the door. Staring upwards, I saw the face of a man. One I couldn’t save, one who haunted my entire life.
He was alright, his problems were gone, and so were mine. He entered, and we sat down, laughing and smiling, as if all bad times were finally behind us.
Even the dirty rags were gone, he was wearing a fine jacket and jeans, something I had never come to expect from him.
I looked down at my palms, but then looked around me. There was a manor, a place I had dreamed only dreamed of, and a friend. An old, long lost friend who had lost himself to bad decision.
It didn’t matter anymore, I was in a place where I could make good decisions. I was in control, not some outside force hiding within me. I could only go up from here, as I had taken control when I sat down on my bed, in hopes of a lucid dream.
My world was at peace, I had fixed everything by myself.
I did it. I had proven myself wrong, that I could take control. Whatever was within me, whatever feeling altered my ways, it was finally gone. I had disconnected from the terror within. My subconscious couldn’t take control anymore, I had my reality that I could fix on my own merits.
Yet I felt different, as if something changed within me that morning. I was an entirely new person, free from his past terror.
Even if the smile of the man still continues to glow without interruption, I will always be the witness. It still sits in the woods, but strangely, I can live with that. In the end, isn’t it true that it gave me everything I wanted? It made my problems go away, even if it was my problem. I had control, and I had finally found it through the unlikeliest of places.
I had removed the problem which seemed like it could never be ignored. It was simple really, there was no dilemma which couldn’t be fixed. All I had to do was…
Leave yourself? Become the idea of yourself?
Yes, I was still the witness. But that could be forgotten easily, through the help of good friends. Two good friends. I was in a place where worry was gone, and I could make sure of it.
But if you removed what made you yourself, are you still the idea you dreamed of every single night? Or are you the puppet, someone who goes with the flow and changes how he sees fit?
It was perfect. Reality was great. Nothing could change that, nothing. No one within, no one outside, not me, not it.
I still hear the videotape. The one playing on repeat, the one of the man standing outside. Every day before I go to bed, I see that smile and I see the flickers. I see the changes, the ones I can never comprehend.But that’s okay. It’s fine, it just reminds me of how I can fix everything. How everything is always in my control.
It won’t go away.
Written by Tin77