Stars were the most major feature of my dreams (and nightmares, for that matter). They always filled the sky like an ocean, spanning all values of brightness. They seemed to be what guided me about the dreamscape. I followed the brighter ones, which would change as I walked their paths. Perhaps they formed constellations. They had to, but it was something I never looked for. My dreams were typically fast-paced in their events, leaving me no time to examine the skies closely. Despite this, they still felt near to me, sometimes to where I try to reach out and touch them.

I'm commonly running in these dreams, though I was slow during my last. I first remember myself stepping slowly, almost stumbling. As my vision came into focus, I saw myself to be wandering through a forest. The air was cold, not winter, but the temperature felt low for its season. Maybe it felt like so because I only had shorts on, what I would usually wear while I slept. The ground was lined with leaves and twigs, as any woods would have, but otherwise it was rather clear. Though less numerous, the trees were large, with branches that appeared to clasp at each other. Some reached towards me.

I looked up, and saw the familiar stars. They were just as beautiful as with my other dreams. There were some clusters, but most were scattered, showing no form of pattern or arrangement. My hand reached towards one, attempting to hold it between my fingers. As this failed, I looked down to look for the end of the forest.

Though there was still a distance of forest left, a clearing in the trees revealed a tremendous star on the horizon. Its brightness was comparable to the sun, but it didn't brighten the rest of the world. It only shined in my eyesight, like a faint spotlight casting on me. I had been walking towards it the entire time of the dream, as if reaching it was a sort of instinctual act. Its light gave me a feeling of hope, that it was a shelter from my lost state. I quickened my steps, as my shivering increased.

The trees were looking at me. They had no eyes, faces, anything that would give them sight. But I knew that they were living, watching and laughing as I then began to shake from fear as well as the cold. They would cover the light of the star with their segments, taunting me with their influence of the land. I hated them. I wanted to scream at them, though my speech was limited to whispers. My walking changed to a light jog when I heard the branches scraping against the wood, as I sensed I wasn't alone. The trees lost their numbers as I felt like I could touch the light, the light that would save me from the cold solitude.

I jumped through the final layer of branches, which scratched my arms in a few areas. My feet landed in sand, as I looked forward to find a beach. Not too far ahead was the light I saw from the woods.

It was a lighthouse.

I stood for a moment, confused, and continued to walk again. My body was heated from running, so my body wasn't as chilled as before. The feeling of the open beach was also a relieving location. Though the light wasn't what I had thought it to be, I still went towards it, as it was the only place there was to go.

I reached the water, and walked along the shore. The waves were inconsistent, becoming faster at intervals, yet calmer at others. I imagined the transitions of the tide like they were a speech, that the water was calling out to me. They're words were aggressive, though not recognizable to my ears. I could tell that it was frustrated. It continued with its waves, just as I almost reached the lighthouse. I was stopped by a sight, which brought the cold back to my body.

I saw myself, stumbling away from the lighthouse.

He looked the same, only in shorts. He, I, looked deathly cold. With every strained step he looked like he was about to collapse. As he came close, I watched him go by. He payed no attention to me, not even a note of my existence. A look of hopeless fear was on his face as he walked to the forest behind me. The woods appeared more sinister from a distance, with the way the branches fanned out towards the beach and water.

The lighthouse still towered in front of me, yet I questioned going closer. The light from its glass still streamed in my direction, but I didn't have the impression of safety that I first felt. The connecting building was aged, abandoned for what must have been over a decade. The beach itself seemed to be long forgotten on its own, so why would a lighthouse still be working? This was my dream, so I suppose anything would be possible, but I was still gathering what sort of meaning the entire experience was trying to convey. Given the dream so far, I was suspecting an inevitable nightmare, regardless of any action I took. I just wanted it to be over.

I looked around for any other locations. None of the land was familiar to me. Aside from the beach I was on, there was of course a lake, one that stretched a far distance beyond a cove. Perhaps it was more than a lake, though if it were a real land in reality, I doubt it would be inhabited anywhere nearby. Surrounding the cove and beach was the woods, which I shuddered at even looking at. I was still freezing, more severe than before.

I turned back towards the lighthouse, and pressed my hand against its stone wall. It was painted a solid white, which was fading away with the time. Patches of grey were spread about the tower, and I saw a ladder as I looked around the tower. Despite it's aged appearance, it was inviting. After all, its what guided me out of the woods in the first place, so what harm could it have on me?

Pulling my arms apart from my sides was challenging, let alone lifting myself up the ladder. I felt my joints begin to crack as they slid apart for the first time in hours. With each rung climbed, my strength would nearly drop. I didn't look down, as I knew that the dream would toy with me. I would look down only to find the ground vanished, the fires of hell, or another illusion of misfortune. My left foot slipped off a rung as I was nearing to the top.

With my fingers scrapping at the final step, I had reached the balcony of the lighthouse, with the beacon no more than two feet from my face. So dazzling, it was. I had briefly passed off the surrounding darkness of the dream, and fixed my eyes on the one true beauty of it all. It was like the stars, only so close, so near that I actually could place my hands on it. The glass didn't actually feel warmer than the air, though it still felt gratifying to feel a light so great.

Snapping partially away from my fascination, I looked out from the balcony. The sights of the distance only petrified me, as there were no civilizations in sight. The woods stood watching again, waiting for a moment in which I might enter their arms again. The water stretched out towards the end of a cove, with the rest of the lake shrouded in the night. Stars brightened the horizon enough for me to see more water, though there was no opposite shore. I turned back towards the beacon, as all other directions made me feel lost. I thought of what to do next, as part of my mind believed that the dream should be over at that point. Maybe there was another light to follow towards, which made me tremble. I looked towards the sky for a final look, and saw that there were less stars than before. Individual speckles were beginning to blot out, with darkness in its place. They began to disappear faster, and I sensed the horrific conclusion approaching. I would be swallowed by the sky, thrown from the balcony, torn apart by the trees.

As the last of the stars dissipated, I brought myself close to the beacon. I thought of it as a guardian, my only friend in the end about to come. I produced a whispered gasp, turning towards the light as it began to flicker

Like the water, as well as the trees, I felt the beacon speak to me. Words weren't audible, but its fading light suggested a a farewell. A goodbye.

An abandonment.

Just as the light was extinguished, the world laughed at my meaningless, quiet screams.

I awoke will a vicious cold in my skin. I felt exposed, as I was only wearing shorts when I first went to bed. I still closed my eyes, as the dream was surely the worst I had experienced. I opened my eyes with a shock, as my back had a strange feeling to it. The bed had a loose, shifty texture, unlike when I had first entered it.

I wasn't home, I was on a beach, with a body of water in front of me. It was dark, so I couldn't see how far it stretched. Surrounding me was an intimidating woods, with trees that stared into my petrified eyes. I managed to rotate my head enough to see a lighthouse nearby, with its light not active. It looked down at my pitiful position, knowing how awful I must feel in the moment.

My eyes further adjusted to the darkness, and I knew from the cold that I would freeze to death if I didn't find help soon. I stood to my feet with pain, and walked towards the woods with more trembling in my bones than I could imagine. I tried to look to the skies for guidance, as there would always be in my dreams.

The sky held no stars. There was only an abyss, signifying a cold reality.

Written by Emeryy 
Content is available under CC BY-SA