Life Inside Nightmares (Fiction)

(One small multiverse reality step over from Odin Wanders Inn (Fiction))

Ivy woke up gasping for air- the sunlight poured benevolently through the window as she held her head and tried to shake out the memories of what had just been seen.
Footsteps raced towards her room from down the hall and a fellow traveler rapped on the door, “Miss- are you all right?  Are you hurt?”

“Come in, ” Ivy replied, “…Just a nightmare.”
A scarecrow of a boy, the young music teacher by the name Rai, straddled the only available wooden chair in the room- he was still holding the bow of his instrument.  “…However, if someone were trying to kill me I don’t think your ‘weapon’ would be of much use.”

“You would be amazed.” Rai replied tonelessly,  “There are some songs that make me want to run as far away as possible.  Would you care for a serenade of ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’, or  ‘Oh Danny Boy’?  I swear it will hurt me more than it would hurt you.  What was your nightmare about?  I heard you scream.”

“It was awful-  it was like an alternative to now.  Instead of reading, everyone  lost all ability to speak- to communicate they sent one another pictures from pictures from boxes about the size and half the width of a deck of cards.  People were free to go anywhere, but everyone chose to be confined to little cells only to move to other cells during the day.  They were like what I imagine prison must be like…but without the bars.  One of those prisons had nothing but desks and a phone in each cell that never stopped ringing- and when you picked up the phone is was nothing but screaming- strangers just insulting you, strangers with stupid problems, or worse, problems that couldn’t be fixed.  Some cells had nothing but a monitor and keyboard- rows and rows of tiny cells of people who were not allowed to speak, were not allowed to move beyond their cells- like they were tied down with invisible ropes.”

“That sounds awful- good thing we have only one phone in town, they might start breeding otherwise.  Gotta watch those phones, insidious, horny little buggers.”

“I’m serious- the awful thing was people LIKED it….And The schools…oh gods, the schools-  children spent all day like biscuits on a cookie sheet, like the old days but worse:  They were also unable to move, in one-piece desks as they were forced to listen to lies of a robot- I think it was a robot- in front of the room who spoke in gibberish and ordered them to color in grey tiny circles the size of the head of a knitting needle in complicated patterns.  They had little ascetic value- and if they colored wrong they were berated until they crumpled-.”  Ivy broke off looking visibly distraught.

“Breath Ivy…, go on”

“Okay…okay…there was more, though man…There were no chickens, no livestock anywhere, everyone bought individual cuts of meat like pieces of amputated parts from huge warehouses lit all in  blinding bright white lights.  Fish didn’t look like fish- just slices of anemic looking slime in clear trays. It was so weird.   There was fruit of every colour and shape and I couldn’t name most of them- but when you bit into any of it- it tasted awful: too sweet or mealy, or nothing at all.  Everything was beautiful in those warehouses- from a distance, but up close it was a real horrorshow, and I was the only person repulsed by it all.  The warehouse had rows of shelves of what looked like tiny little gift boxes in a thousand colors and sizes and not a one of them smelled like food- but people were eating the stuff inside.  It all smelled like poison- it was disgusting! People were living in deserts complaining of drought and people had land but didn’t hunt game.  They just ate that weird poisonous tasting crap from all the little multicolored little boxes and everyone was ill from it, but no one stopped doing it.”

“Sounds dystopian”

“Well, no…not quite.   A lot of our people who are dead here  were alive there. It was so fucked up man… Yule was alive, for example- they fixed him somehow. That dwarvish looking mofo was entirely whacked out of his skull on drugs, Hatter was in and out of jail, nothing fucking made any sense.  Then some people who are alive were dead in the dream.”

“Was I alive?”

“No, …Rai, you were the first person who died-.  I can’t even talk about what happened to you without getting upset.  Just imagine the worst, most insanely illogical way to die- then know it was likely worse than that.  I can’t explain it, I guess in that way the dream was like other dreams, some things you just can’t explain, you know?   There had to be like six different funerals- all packed to bursting, though.”

“That’s hilarious. At least I was remembered fondly”

“Nah…it’s not like normal.  People didn’t remember you for you-  some people treated you like an old-fashioned saint and prayed to you like one of the Gods.”

“…This keeps sounding better and better…”

“…Until people got sick of all the adulation and started making up the worst accusations they could think of to pass around about you- In the dream I had to fight those people with my writing-when I knew you about as well as I do now- maybe less.”

“You don’t Not know me-  I mean, I pass through here a couple of times a year at least…”

“Yeah…but I don’t think I could write your obituary- not when you are hardly thirty.  I think the deaths of the young are the hardest, even for acquaintances.  In the dream I watched people live like zombies- people who have been long dead and gone,  and people gone there who I cannot picture life without here.   I was in a  world full of strangers and even Bob was a cult leader making up a new religion to the people who seemed to live in the white warehouse instead of the vegetable garden- he was preaching, literally, about gardens like they were endangered or gone entirely like passenger pigeons.”  Ivy’s fingers were tangled in her own hair massaging her aching scalp as Rai sat silently in thought, both hands absently fidgeting with his bow.

“Well, it can’t be prophecy at least.  Yule died  at least seven years ago if it is any consolation.”

“Do you think I should bother Hexer Jaeger about this, Rae?  Dreams aren’t usually so….cohesive.  I don’t think going to Bob the Braucher and saying ‘Hey, I had a dream where you ran a cult’ will improve his view of me any. ”

Rae sighed. “Ivy… his opinion of you is not at risk- but there isn’t any cause for concern…did you read any Philosophy when you attended University? I have this book I had to read on Plato…”

She interrupted, “…that every thing that exists is an imitation of something perfect in the realm of thought?  That we are all in a cave chained to the floor, some people escape, return with new insight and are called insane by those in their own families?  That Agathon is past his prime and Socrates wants a new little boy to molest? What?”

“How about that everything you can imagine is real, already thought of, and exists in other realities?  That we are alive and aware of whatever our minds create- and sometimes the mind can be an observer and creator simultaneously- of everything we dream and think, new realities are created.”

“That sounds like Descartes on psilocybin, Rai….and if that were the case: I design terrible realities.”

“Okay.  Maybe I get the old philosphers confused- my discussions with Bob were more about local history than ancient Greek.  But hear me out-  what if everything we dream is us viewing a different reality where we live?  Maybe you live here in the Inn and chronicle everything that happens here, maybe in another life you are a phone-prisoner, or poison eater at the body-part warehouse.  Perhaps it is to help you appreciate what you have right now.  You’re a Lokean, your God has the weirdest ways of helping his own out.  I pray to his daughter- she’s much more straight forward.”

“So, the phone prisons, the school-prisons, and the white lit warehouses and little colored boxes of poison to eat exists somewhere?”

“Well, of course I hope not Ivy…but if it does- if there is a place out there that fucked up I imagine the parts of our families trapped there would dream of here.   Would it cheer you up some to catch a few chickens with me, Gala, and my sister Lana?  Getting some real, honest food together on the fire would do you and everyone here a world of good.”

“Sounds good.  Especially if you still don’t need the feathers… I’ll be happy to take them as well after the plucking:  My pillows could use an upgrade. Hey, do you ever think the world,or our reality is changing and dreams are all we have to recall what once was?  Sort of like we change dimensions like we sleepwalk into other rooms and then wonder how we got to where we are?”

“I think you get tangled in your own head and can’t find your way out-  If you are going to do that, at least make it entertaining.  That’s why I’m a musician I guess- my thoughts can’t really be expressed with words most of the time- I’d rather just play it out  Maybe you should write about it later, in the meantime we’ll all meet you outside when you’re dressed-  I am pretty sure we will still be chasing chickens for a while yet,”  He stood up and walked out the door only to lean in his head a moment later,
“…Last one out is a dead man…”

Thank you for shopping face down

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia commons

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2 Responses to “Life Inside Nightmares (Fiction)”

  1. you have a beautiful voice here. i really love the lyricism of your writing. thank you for sharing this.

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