On Dreams and Life
The first thing I notice is the smoke, the smell of it. An acrid, viscid stink overwhelms my senses and crawls over and into me like a billion ethereal tendrils. The fear grows inside. It is a grotesque unyielding fear. It saturates me and makes it nearly impossible to open my eyes. My eyelids are heavy with terror.
I am sick to my stomach. I hurt so badly I want to die.
With substantial effort I force my eyes open and I see a wall aflame and dripping molten sheet rock silvery and mercurial. It is the central wall of this room, a strange dark room with which I’m unfamiliar. The wall is holding for now, the ceiling it supports bends in a convex arch and I know I must get out of this room before the ceiling collapses and buries me under its weight and I either die from being crushed to death or incinerated in the flames.
But I cannot move. I’m frozen with indecision and indecision is the only decision I can make.
I look down and I realize I can’t see the carpet, yet I can feel it with my feet. It’s covered with serpentine, undulating rivers of gray and white smoke. The light and dark patterns make it appear as if the floor is covered with a nest of engorged and angry snakes… all of them slithering aimlessly in all directions, and all directions lead to me.
The flames engulf everything but the wall behind me. I’m paralyzed by the fear and I can’t turn my head to look what is behind me but I sense it is a wall. All around me rabid red and orange fingers of fire hungrily reach out for me. The flames are just inches from my face, taunting me with hot deadly promises of pain and death.
I think, given a choice, I would choose death over pain, but I know that I won’t have a choice. There are no windows or doors in this room… no way to escape from this hellish fiery place.
Directly across from me I watch the central supporting wall as it burns, melts, and crumbles. Its twisting makes it appear alive and sentient. I watch the rippling flames burn large, almost perfectly round holes in it. I can almost hear it shrieking in horror as its insides burn.
When the smoke intermittently abates I can see there are three large holes in the wall. I think I should be able to see through them perhaps into a another room or better still into the cool night outside. But I see nothing but the savage flames licking the wall, teasing the wall’s boiling surface with its hot red-orange tongue.
Then at once the fire lies down like a huge rabid beast grown weary. Now down upon the floor, its huge chest heaves up and down. It appears to be in the throes of a hideous and painful death.
My eyes leave the grotesque beast of sleepy fire and I see the holes in the wall clearly. Inside each hole is a word written in smoke, each word quivering in place as if borne on a gentle but hot ephemeral wind…
In the place where INNOCENCE floats I see the face of a child, alone and longing for the touch of her mother’s hand. The child’s eyes are sad and bewildered. She does not understand how vast the world is because the world in which she lives is small and careful.
Her mother entwined and entranced by her own desires and needs pays scant attention to the little girl. The mother’s world has grown large and twisted and full of conflicting needy emotions and desires which she is both comfortable with and afraid of.
Her dreams of pedestrian things are dull and colorless. She wakes with a thrist she cannot satisfy. She wants more than she can have and she has more than she wants. It is in this sad discordance that she and the child are alike.
In the dark sinister hole in the middle floats BETRAYAL. I stare at it as it writhes and twists in its own serpetine hell. I stare at it and I begin to see eyes staring back at me. They are the eyes of lost loves, of entanglements gone awry, and of true love shredded by a heart hardened by thrills, deceptions and betrayals.
The eyes of betrayal glow and glower at me until I am forced to look away. The pain is too deep and too fresh for me to endure, I cannot look upon the sad sinister eyes of betrayal another second lest they suffocate me with their evil.
The fiery beast boils in some deviant and tortured sleep. It moans and bellows and turns over but does not awaken. It is now entirely covered by a blanket of roiling clouds of smoke and the fine powdery dust of hellish and gritty black and gray ash.
I raise my eyes up from the dying beast and look upon the place where FEAR resides. It’s letters are bulbous and ragged. It’s far bigger than innocence and betrayal – the hole in which it floats cannot contain it. The huge jagged letters appear more substantial than the smoke from which they were came. They seem living bellowing serpents born of fire and destruction.
They push back the walls of the hole and stretch it and distort it until the hole becomes as one huge growing living cancerous cell eroding the burnt structure around it. Its letters now seem like separate organisms, each controlled by a single mad crazed mind.
The place where fear lives explodes and send clumps of half-molten metal and burning plasterboard flying across the room like shrapnel from a hellish grenade.
I feel a jagged piece pierce my chest and but I cannot move. I am frozen in terror and amazed and frightened nearly to death by the terrible scene.
I realize I cannot move anything but my eyes. I can move them enough to see the life draining from my chest – the precious red liquid of life spurting from my punctured heart.
I watch as fear swallows INNOCENCE and BETRAYAL. The blood gushes and squirts from my chest and disappears in the roiling acrid smoke. I feel light and strangely disembodied.
I feel I am floating above the room of fire and smoke… and the beast dying in the fire.
FEAR is everywhere. It has sucked the life from INNOCENCE and melded with BETRAYAL in firey matrimony and left me to die in this room without doors or windows.
The wall collapses and the ceiling gives way. My tortured bleeding body lies motionless in the rubble, as my life too-slowly drains away.
Still, I can see each piece of the rubble which covers me like bits of a memories.
I see traces of laughter, a trace of smile, the sound of a song, a shiny Christmas ornament, a baby girl, a woman’s whisper, a siren in the distance, a locomotive chugging in the night, a whale and its song on TV, sharks swimming in a black ocean, leaves budding in the spring, the smell of dying things under a bright blue October sky, big winter snowflakes falling, a smile, a tear, a mother, a child, a father.
Most of all, I see lives wasted, lifeless bodies lying in the smoke of desperation, dead dreams and life’s ultimate betrayal. Lives consumed by the monster of fear.
It’s 1:20AM. I see the green glow of the digital clock. I’ve been sleeping for over an hour.
My heart is pounding; I am too warm and very thirsty. I get up and to get a drink of water. My heart is racing so fast and pounding so hard, I fear it will fly right out of my chest… or that I will fall face down on the hard floor and die — alone and cold in the house of uncertainty.
I get a drink and I sit down in the quiet hours of the night and try to calm myself with pleasant thoughts – but not a single pleasant thought comes to visit me. I realize I am totally alone and defeated. I check my phone – surely the fire was a nightmare – so this must must still be a dream.
The phone holds no solace – no one has called. The clock on the phone’s screen reads 2:17AM.
I must be dead I think. This can’t be happening. No one can feel this isolated and separated and devastated and still be alive. My heart keeps pounding as if to break free from my chest. I look down at the pale blue carpet and see no sign of the snakes of smoke.
The wall, is dull and needs painting, but there are no signs of fire or any discernable damage, no holes, no words, nothing unusual at all – just a wall.
There are windows and doors – ways to escape I think. But I don’t have anywhere to go and I don’t have anyone to see.
All I know is the two motivations of life, love and fear, are playing out their roles in an implausible game of poker, each one anteing up and raising the bet; all I can do is sit at the table and watch.
Innocence has forsaken me. Fear and doom have befriended me. My phone tells me it’s 4:08AM. All I can do now is wait for the sun. As if the sun will do anything to wash away this night.
I’m tired and defeated. I can find no peace in this sad new world. Even sleep betrays me.
Now the rain dances on my window — it’s 6:19AM and the heavy rain slowly washes away the dreams of the night.
Life is just a dream after all.
Wow, such intense feelings were conjured up in that scenario. Fear and anxiety are such powerful emotions and one can quickly get swallowed up in them. Fortunately, I know One Who can calm fears because He is in control of any and every situation. Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid I will trust in You”. I do, and it makes all the difference in the world. Did you know that the phrase “Do not fear” is mentioned 365 times in the Bible? Once for every day of the year. So replace fear with trust in the One who can save you. Then you also can say with the writer of Psalm 4:8 ” I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone Oh Lord make me dwell in safety.
It was just an exercise in writing from imagination,it does not reflect any real dreams – at least none that I’ve had. But thanks for reading!