Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Slice of Dreaming Life [Short Story]

I crept into my bed and began to perform my nightly ritual. It was a peculiar habit of mine. The highlight of my day was what I did at night. It has been this way for a long time.

Lying in my bed with my face straight up, like a corpse, I started to feel myself falling asleep, never letting my mind drift off as all mundane people do in these moments, never giving my body a chance to roll over or budge. Doing this took saintly patience. Gradually I could feel my body metamorphose into a subtle statue, then my limbs and torso were overcome with a feeling of hollowness, like they had vanished into thin air.

My body finished “turning off”,  then I gently arose out of my bed, like a sleepwalking child. I turned around to see my body still in the bed. That body with all its throbbing's, aches, solidness, and heaviness. Now I was in a different body - one that was translucent and light.

Excited that my transition from flesh to energy had turned out successful again, I focused and took a few deep breaths to adjust myself to this new awareness. There was a danger, I discovered, after many attempts of doing astral projections, in being overwhelmed by the often inexplicable sensations of this state. So I took it all in first.

We use words to describe things that we are or can be familiar with. Imagine for a moment that there are things out there for which there are no words. There can be the experience of it - but no words for it. You will find I use the word “like” or similar descriptive a lot in astral sojourns. This is because I can only vaguely elaborate on what I am feeling, experiencing, sensing, etcetera.

Everything felt very light. I tilted my transient head upward and floated out of my apartment like a ghostly bird.

I mentally concentrated more on my direction (up), becoming less like a bird and more like a rocket shooting off into the night sky.

I dove into the cloud ocean, until I halted when I saw my surroundings fade into a canyon-like crevice. I was only surprised for an instant. I am used to a lack of consistency in the dream world.

In the “real world”, everything is linear, a straight line,  one place always leads to another place and you can trace your steps knowing you live in a rational and solid environment. Orderly. But the “dream world” is not like that. You could find yourself in the middle of one moment that has a past that you are not altogether sure of, or you could walk into a forest and wind up in the middle of the ocean as if you always had been and there never was a forest. Chaotic.

I needed to observe. To my left & right: a wall of rock. In front: a dark and narrow passageway. Up: A night sky. Down: More rock.

I floated motionless, wondering what to do. Why did this happen? I don’t know. I stopped asking questions like this. Go with the flow. If you think about it too hard your brain will get tied in a knot, and then you would forget what you were ever thinking about because you would be in a different random place, doing a different random thing.

I decided to start floating again, and again in the general direction of “up”, though very cautiously. The night sky above me was always the same distance away regardless of how much I moved. I finally realized that I was going nowhere and gave up.

So I thought, “try something different”. I tilted my whole body and swam “forward” into the passageway instead of “up” into the night sky. To move I Imitated the strokes of an Olympic swimmer. I intuited that I was making progress. To confirm this I turned around, and noticed that I was further along in the passage and not in my original spot. Encouraged, I continued this action.

My attention was stolen from me by a liquid-like light emerging in front of me. As I felt it approaching I had this unshakeable feeling of “other-ness”. Like seeing a strange animal for the first time, but magnified a thousandfold. Out of the corner of my eyes I could see that I was no longer in a passageway, but that I inexplicably in a wide-open space with grass beneath me and a blue sky above.

I noticed that the shape of this liquid-like light was tall and thin, like a skyscraper, and that the way it was moving towards me suggested that it was alive. I must resort to using the word “suggested” because it did not move in anyway resembling anything I think exists in the “real world”. But if you saw it you would have to agree that this huge, radiant, watery column was cognizant.

I cannot recall if I was in terror, or in awe, or perhaps just really confused. Maybe a mixture of all three. But what happened next I had no doubt about, it is still very vivid in my memory. Like your first kiss, or the first time you see a really big mountain, it remains as one of those moments where, if I closed my eyes and imagined it, I could still be right there.

From this luminous pillar, a meteor-shaped, vividly green and purple rock spat out and landed perfectly in my hand which I did not even know was open, like I was already prepared to receive it. I clutched on to it so hard, it was as if my life depended on that little rock. I placed it gently in my pocket.

Then I began to feel myself wake up. Everything faded, and then my consciousness returned to my body, in the same position it had before I had fallen asleep and started my dreaming adventure.

I lied still, and a couple of minutes after that the memories of what just happened came rushing back to me. I then began my morning routine, which was just as instinctive and well-rehearsed as the night routine which triggers my out-of-the-body state.

I never budged until I was 100% certain that I could recall all that had happened in full detail and in the right order. Then I reached for the bright blue journal that I use to record my dreams in so that I do not forget them, can research them, etc.

I was angry that I found my dream journal was not where I had left it. I was certain that I had placed the journal in its usual spot, underneath the pillow. It is usually the last thing I did before bed... maybe I misplaced it somewhere else in my apartment?

I got out of my red king-sized feather bed , still in my blue pyjamas, and walked into my unbelievably messy living room. You name it and there it was, and probably on top of something else, too.

How could I find my precious dream journal in this mess? I thought to myself, you know, I did definitely go to the bathroom before going to bed. Had I left it in there by mistake? Wouldn’t be the first time.

I scanned the whole bathroom. It wasn’t here, either, for god sakes! I hope its not in the living room... by the time I find it I’d have forgotten my entire dream! No, it must be in my bedroom. There is no other place where I would put it. Its not like ever take it OUT of my bedroom.

Oh no! It must have fallen out of the bed, and onto the floor next to it.

Then, as soon as I stepped into my bedroom, an epiphanic moment. That rock I was given by that thing is still in my pocket!!

I am still dreaming.

And with that last thought, everything around me vanished and I felt myself being submerged back into my REAL physical body.

I reached for my dream journal and was delighted to find it really was underneath my pillow. I took out the pencil I kept inside the journal and wrote everything up until now.

Looking back, it was obvious I had awakened falsely. The subtle elements of dreaming where present: the blurry “pixels” in my vision, the feeling of lightness, etc. But now I was 100% certain that I was in the real world. Things felt solid, consistent, stable.

I started to dress in my work clothes, and to mentally map out the rest of my day. I shut out all thoughts about what the dreams I had to avoid slipping into ideas so profound I could drown in them.

But, I couldn’t help but notice something heavy was in my pocket...
 
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I wrote this a long time ago. You can also read this story here: http://bookweek.ca/contest_winners2013. Just scroll down to the runner ups,
I'm a runner up for Grade 11.