Posted in Dreams, Stories

The Dream – Part 5

The Dream – Part 4

I looked across to this week’s guy. We’d come to a hill range an hour away from the hostel to go exploring in some caves around here. “What was Nam thinking?” I fumed as I climbed onto one more slippery ridge. “In what universe would I enjoy outdoor physical activity as a date? I really must stand up for myself more.”

The guy- (Harsh?) Harsh!- was standing ahead waiting to help me up. I was a bit annoyed that I wasn’t exactly putting my best foot forward. He seemed nice, though. Very attentive and sweet. “Oh no. I really hope he doesn’t think we’re going to make out in a cave or something. He’s nice, but really not my type.” I smiled awkwardly at him. I tried to think of something to talk about, but I was too out of breath to bother much.

The caves were cool and dark and musty. Most of them were fairly shallow, not more than a few metres deep. Some, however, melted into each other to form a honeycomb of caves that spanned the width of the mountain. I was very, very tired by the fourth cave that we saw, and I’d lost all sympathy for the guy by the time he insisted on exploring the eighth. The ninth one was the largest yet. It was huge, with small caverns and crevices branching off to the left and right. The floor dipped and rose, with hardly a horizontal surface.

My ankles hurt and my feet were sore. I’d had enough. I told him I’d wait for him at the entrance. He could very well explore by himself, if he wanted me alive by the end of the day. He took one look at my face, and agreed. I sat down and listened to his footsteps fade away. The view was fabulous. We should have stopped and looked at the view, not some musty old cave.

Half an hour later, I was worried. He should have been back by now. I called him tentatively. No reply. I tried ringing his mobile. I didn’t have coverage, and I doubted he did. I decided to try and find him. I stepped inside the cave. It was almost oppressively musty. I’d switched the torchlight in my phone on, but it wasn’t making much difference. I was not feeling good about this. The floor of the cave was knobbly, with just circles of greater darkness showing the entrance to the tunnels that formed the honeycomb. The deeper I went, the more the floor became indistinguishable from the wall.

I called out again. It was getting positively claustrophobic by now, and I was really worried. My foot slipped and I fell.

“This is great. Just great.”

Fumbling around in the black, I didn’t realise what I’d fallen next to until I started tumbling down a narrow tunnel. I crashed into rock where the tunnel ended abruptly.

There was no space to move. The air was stale, like the oxygen in it had been lost decades ago. I reached out with my hands and realised I’d somehow managed to shut myself in the smallest cave I had ever seen. I  was gulping for air and sobbing. I couldn’t find the entrance to the tunnel, and even if I had, I couldn’t have climbed it. I’d either lost or broken my phone, not that it would’ve been much use to me anyway.

I screamed and I screamed and I screamed. It felt like ages that I’d been shouting for help. I wondered vaguely if Harsh was in the same situation as me. My throat hurt. The air was choking me from the inside, and the cave seemed to be getting smaller and smaller every second. I was feeling dizzy from screaming, so I paused.

The images flooded my mind like they’d been waiting all along.

I was screaming and crying in the dark; but it was a different darkness. I could hear a storm. I had heard the tremendous crash when the poplar fell into this part of the house, effectively locking me into my bedroom. I heard one more  crash as I realised that the floor above me was falling down. I hid under the bed, praying and crying as the world fell on top of me, burying me under it. Dust filled the air as I struggled to lift the debris that had once been the ceiling. I was screaming and crying and gulping for air until I didn’t know which darkness I was surrounded by. It felt like my entire being had been building up to this point; that I had lived only so I would exist in this terrifying darkness, screaming for air.

It hit me like a freight train. Of course I knew what bad thing had happened at the house. Of course I knew why I dreaded entering it. I gave a soft, unhinged laugh. Of course!

I died there.

Posted in Dreams, Stories

The Dream – Part 4

The Dream – Part 3

haunted-house

I was running back to the house. It was pitch dark, and rain was pouring down in sheets. “It’s too dark.” I thought, slipping and catching myself. “It rains too much. It should not  rain this much. It’s summer!” The storm had come suddenly; too quickly for me to return home from my walk in time. I could hear the trees around the house creaking and groaning. The wind whipped through the branches, making sounds as ominous as the incessant thunder. I saw the lights of the house with relief. I’d torn my gown and ruined my shoes, and I was cold, wet and hungry. I bolted through the garden door and closed it behind me. The moment I entered the house, I knew something was terribly wrong.

That unsurmountable dread woke me. It also annoyed me.

“Get a grip”. I told myself. “It’s a dream. It’s ridiculous that you’re going to let your dreams control how you feel now apart from the actual stuff you have going on in your life. Who cares what happened in the house? Just stop.”

I did care. I wished I just knew what happened. What was it about the house that creeped me out so much? I was positive I hadn’t seen the house in real life. I’d never been to England, nor seen it in a movie. I’d never seen that place either.

Nam either didn’t think too much of the dream, or didn’t think more discussion would help my state of mind. I did notice that she tried to set me up with more guys in the next few weeks. Being blissfully in a relationship, she seemed to think the best way to peace of mind for me would be to be in a blissful relationship as well. It would have been cute if it hadn’t been so aggravating.

I didn’t get the dream again. I almost even tried to remember it; to make myself dream the next part of the story. But I couldn’t. It slowly stopped mattering to me. Work took most of my time, and the rest was given to whomever Nam had decided was ‘the perfect guy’ for me that week.

Life was normal again.

The Dream – Part 5

Posted in Dreams, Stories

The Dream – Part 3

The Dream – Part 2

“Do you think it’s some kind of past life that you’re remembering?”

I’d told Nam about it the next morning. She was morbidly fascinated by it.

“I don’t know. Maybe. Probably? I do know that I know a lot of things in the dream intuitively. I know I’m in England, probably sometime in the 19th century? I don’t know. I also know that my brother is happily married, and that I lead a fairly happy life. And-”

I paused, wondering if what I was saying was too weird. Do people remember dreams this vividly?

“-I remember that place. I remember every single detail of it. Every leaf, every twig, every ray of sunlight is stuck to my brain. It’s ridiculous  just how much I remember of it. It’s so beautiful, Nam. I can’t imagine being able to see something that beautiful in real life. It’s vibrant and serene at the same time. It’s so quiet that it’s almost-”

“Scary?” Nam was staring at me like she’d seen a ghost.

“Yeah. A bit. How did you know?”

“You’re white as a sheet just talking about it. Chill, dude. It’s just a dream. What are you scared of?”

“I can’t shake the feeling that something bad happens. Not at the place. The place is just awesome. At the house. Something bad happens at the house. When I’m walking back to the house, I just know.”

Nam took me out for lunch the next day. I’d been quiet long enough for her to decide I needed gastronomic therapy. It even worked for a while. We spent the entire afternoon at a great little café, sipping coffee and going over what had been taught in college the previous day. When I went to sleep that night, my only thoughts were about espressos and ECGs, and I felt completely happy.

Posted in Dreams, Stories

The Dream – Part 2

The Dream – Part 1

“You know, you are unbearably neat.”

Nam was lounging on her bed, staring at her phone while I tidied up my desk. I pouted.

“I just think better when things are perpendicular to each other. There’s absolutely nothing wrong in wanting to have clean lines. The air flows better in the room this way.”

Nam stopped Snapchatting to roll her eyes at me. The large window on one side of the room was wide open. The door opposite it was wide open too, for ‘cross-ventilation’. The ceiling fan was on full-tilt, and it wasn’t even the summer. I shrugged my shoulders and continued cleaning. I hated a closed space or a room that was even remotely stuffy. I felt smothered every time I was in a car with the windows up because I felt like I should feel the wind on my face, instead of a solid nothing. Nam knew me too well and too long to argue; she just took a blanket and rolled with it.

I was walking back home. The woods had been stark and cold today. I passed the lane going towards church and continued uphill to where I lived with my brother and his wife. I would be late for dinner, I knew. My sister-in-law would purse her lips ever so slightly when my brother told her to humour me. I gave a great, big sigh. “I am content.” I said to myself.

“Alone is not lonely.”

I couldn’t forget the dream this time.

The Dream – Part 3

Posted in Dreams, Stories

The Dream – Part 1

The Dream

The gravel crunched beneath my feet. It was a comforting sound, an everyday sound. I’d worn my newest walking shoes; they kept the mud from spattering on my gown.

It had just ceased to rain. You could smell the clean, damp air misting over the chimneys that dotted the village. I kept my eyes on the road. I didn’t want to step in any puddles; I’d already ruined quite a few gowns that way.

The road turned into a muddy path. I could feel the excitement building up inside me. I had been walking this same path everyday for as long as I could remember, yet the destination never failed to take my breath away.

I saw it all at once- the path sloped down into the beginning of a wood- a gurgling stream racing down towards the valley on my right, banked by patches of green. It was surrounded by pale gold and auburn, the flaming colours of autumn that mirrored the brown and red of the trees. There was a gentle wind flowing over the tops of the trees and sweeping the leaves strewn on the ground. The sun was low on the horizon, speckling the scene with amber.     

forest creek

It was beautiful. Hauntingly beautiful.

“I’ll never forget this sight.” I thought.

“Not even when I die”.

I forgot the dream the minute I woke up.

I had a test the next day and a mountain of work to do. I would be moving into a new room in the hostel with my best friend Nam. So, for the next few nights, I slept dreamlessly, completely tuckered out either by studying or by the sheer physical work involved in moving house. The only thing that lingered was a faint feeling of absolute solitude.

The Dream – Part 2

 

 

 

Posted in Dreams, Stories

Sometimes I get weird dreams…

… and sometimes I try to put them into words by writing stories. This is one such.

running-by-louis-dyer

Her eyes flew open. It was pitch dark. She gulped for air like she’d just come out of freezing cold water. Her heart hammering, she tried to get her bearings.

“Okay. Okay, calm down.  Breathe.  Can I see?”

It was so dark that she couldn’t be sure.

“Can I hear?”

She searched for a sound. She could hear none.

She tested her hands. Both of them were stretched sideways and away from her, bound. She tried to pull on the rope, but her hands were stretched so tightly that she couldn’t.

Slowly, she became aware of the fact that she was crouching. Her knees were bent right up to her chest, and she was balanced on her heels; neither her toes nor her bum was touching the floor.

“I can breathe, though. That’s something.” She inhaled and exhaled till her heartbeat calmed.

She set herself to thinking.

“How did I get here?”

She strained and strained her mind, but she couldn’t remember anything before she woke up. Her mind was a void. She kept on trying to go farther and farther back, desperately searching for some context, until she realised that she did not even remember who she was. All she knew was that she needed to escape.

She tried to think of a way out. But a plan cannot be made if there is nothing to base it on.

She did not know how much time had passed.

“Right. Step one. Try to understand how time passes here.”

She decided to count her breaths. One breath gone. Then one more. And then another.

“Step two.”

She came up blank.

She decided to keep counting. And counting. And counting. And counting.

Time passed. It became a mania for her. When she couldn’t do anything, this was all she could do. She started to forget about her sight, her hearing, her hands, her feet. All that remained of her were her breaths and the incessant counting.

Then, at one moment in time, she could hear voices. Suddenly, she was fully aware of herself. She was straining to hear with everything she had. The most she could discern was fuzz. Adrenaline pumped through her veins, futilely, frustratingly;  she could not fight nor take flight. She could not move, she could not see, and with horror she realized, she could not hear anything either.

“They’re gone. The sounds are gone.”

That was the point when she lost hope.

All she knew of existence was that point. She did not know whether there was existence before or after her being. She soon stopped believing that the sounds had been real. She was a blank. She could not imagine anything other than the darkness and the silence. She had no memory of anything else. And then, she had no memory.

She forgot herself. She let go.

Without ceremony, without trying, without even thinking about it, she let go. Her hands were not bound anymore, because she had no hands. She was not blind, because she had no eyes. There were no ears to hear and no knees to bend. When the light engulfed her, she did not sense it because she didn’t exist anymore. She was already the light.

…In a hospital somewhere, a heart monitor flatlined.

~