Skimming the surface of reality
Submerged in a dream unasked for
Desperately reaching for my body
It wasn't the first time I got caught. Dream hopping is a dangerous profession, and I must admit, I told myself I was prepared. Well, after almost four years of close calls and narrow escapes, you'd think I'd learn my lesson. I suppose I still get caught up in the illusion of a dream. Despite my best efforts, I still make mistakes, and in the deepest cavities and recesses of mind, one mistake can cause serious and real damage.
I took up dream hopping years ago for the money. My employer wanted me to dream up a new and innovated technology that would look good under his company's name. Now I do it for myself. I've met countless faceless people, experienced countless scenarios, and lived a countless number of lives. The ability to live in a dream is usually a blessing, but in some instances, it's a curse.
The nightmare started out in euphoria. I was walking through the all too familiar corners of paradise that I loved and knew when I found a new trail. It led out of the garden and into a beautiful forest covered in gold. I was blissfully unaware that creatures I can only describe as "things" followed me into a dark corner of mind. There they chased me, pursued me until I ran out of breath and was lost in an area I did not know.
Of course, the witch was waiting for me there all along.
My dream antagonist. My lifelong enemy. Villain of my unconscious mind. She stood there with a mocking smile on her face, there to trap me at last. Her generic pointed nose shook as she cackled in glee. I tried to run, tried to scream, but there was no one there to help me. Besides, in my dreams, it seems that everyone has a voice but me. I was careless. This was finally going to be the end of all my dreaming.
However, I was determined not to let this evil creature take over my mind. I was determined to return back to consciousness, even if it killed me. I focused on the bars that suddenly appeared around me. They were nothing but pieces of licorice, so I bit into one and sure enough, it was soft in my mouth. I could escape if I wanted to, I just had to concentrate really hard.
I was chased. I didn't know my way back. I kept tricking myself into believing I had returned to consciousness, but I always ended up returning into the darkness. I saw myself, lying in bed, dreaming. I felt the weights the witch enchanted me with. I was sluggish, and I felt desperation clawing at my stomach. Each dead end I ran into was met by the witch's cackling. She was winning.
But the wall at the dead end wasn't really a wall at all. It was just a curtain, meant to look solid. I shoved it aside and burst through to a world of light. Consciousness. Was it real? I could hear the scream of rage behind me. I sat up, sweat dampening my neck and the back of my shirt. Darkness. Did I make it out?
I gulped for breath. I still felt heavy. I looked up and around and accepted clarity, although fear still gripped my heart. This was the night I quit and ended the dream for good.