Once a Dream Everlasting
By Joe Pizzarella
I don’t remember how we arrived in the predicament Bill and I currently found ourselves immersed in. In fact I almost certainly had no idea where we were at all. I could make out large rectangular shapes laid out in a never-ending line through the misty blue haze that seemed to just barely hold any resemblance to light at all. The columns reached into the blackened sky to heights that allowed the mist to swallow them up completely. The faint bluish light seemed to brighten in one direction and darken towards the other. The mist about us seemed thicker and more permanent than any I or Bill had ever seen before. The darkness vibrated chaotically at silent decibels that only our pineal glands could detect.
We were dreaming. We had over time perfected the arts of lucid dreaming and astral travel. We conducted weekly sleep experiments in an attempt to reach our ultimate goal. What I liked to call ‘The Final Escape’. Our research was conducted extensively and vigilantly in the hopes that we could one day realize our ultimate goal: Lucid Reality. On most occasions we molded and shaped the environments on the astral plane to our own will. This time was different.
“Are we somehow projecting this?” I asked
Bill just stared ahead in awe as we walked.
“All I know, Joe, Is that we’re dreaming.”
“Maybe this is one of the functions of our journey. Maybe this is just a dark emotion from one of our memories.” I thought the theory would stand.
Without warning the bottom dropped from under our feet. The inside of my astral body seemed to vomit its contents right into my brain. I felt like I was in a jet liner flying through a cloudburst. Then, thankfully, my feet felt solid ground again. I took a look around and waited a bit before I declared the coast was clear to Bill.
Bill was no longer there. He wasn’t far but he wasn’t there. It’s as if the turbulence woke him but I remained sleeping…..but I could still feel his presence fading away as the seconds past. I started thinking he may not have been there to begin with. This could all be part of MY dream. The membrane of reality was surely becoming non-existent to Bill and I as of late.
From the distance in the darker corners of my dreamscape and travelling toward me through the hallway a very faint noise began to resonate in my ears. The sound seemed to alternate between a hissing and a humming and carried with it a feeling of vibration throughout my skull. It was a sound foreign to me yet somehow familiar to my distant memories. I stood in silence listening as the volume steadily increased for what seemed like hours or even days. Louder and louder the noise became until I could form a theory as to what it was. The hissing and moaning now sounded more to me like sickly flapping and slithering accentuated by clawing and snapping. That is when my most primal instinct kicked in.
I fucking ran!
I ran as fast as my slumbering legs would allow in the direction of the fading blue light. No matter how hard I drove myself I could not reach the light. Not to mention the fact that whatever was the cause of those awful noises seemed to be catching up to me as well. My legs pumped and my sweat dribbled off of my forehead in an effort to outrun the sick, twisted orchestra to my rear. By now I could hear the snapping and grinding of teeth gnarled in pure rage. I could almost taste the claws as they shredded through my clothes with gentle kisses of pain.
Wake up, you idiot. I heard the words leave my lips the very moment I realized I was safe under my own blankets, comfortably asleep till that very moment. Something didn’t make much sense to me though. I knew I was dreaming the whole time, not just on occasion, and yet I ran away in terror from shadows of things which I should have been able to hide from. I chose to run instead of hide. But why would I do that in a world I half made myself? I wiped the sweat off my brow and lay back down to ponder this anomaly.
“youuuuu arrree theeeee keeeyyy”
That was not a dream. That weakly whispered voice had its origins firmly rooted in reality, I was sure of it. I leapt from my bed to inspect the area. I saw nothing and met no one. Maybe it was just the wind. I laughed at the utter cliché’ which inadvertently mouthed with my lips. A statement seemingly planned not unlike “where are all the people” uttered right before a movie starts to try to scare you.
There it was again. But before I had time to flush out my intruder he spoke to me again.
“Don’t you see? Everything’s real. Everything you ever dream or imagine has its root in a reality unique to its plane. If you can imagine it, it exists. You can be sure of that. Check the scratches on your back.”
I was totally and completely stunned. Not just from becoming aware that there actually was an intruder in my house, but maybe even more at the epiphany I was having regarding my research. I began to turn my head to face this trespasser unblinking and astounded. In the corner of my room closest to the window I saw the silhouette of a man. He was extremely tall. I could tell from his hunched over posture that he had to duck my ceiling. I guessed maybe seven and a half feet. He was engulfed by some sort of cape or robe that seemed to forever rise from the darkest voids in the room. And stranger still was his hat. It was a large brimmed hat and tall like the Quakers wear only it never seemed to stop vibrating with stillness. The hat’s purpose clearly was to hide his face but he didn’t seem threatened. I guess because he was going to show me his face anyway.
The first thing I noticed was his eyes. They were black with emptiness only theoretically aware of themselves. The seemed to “eat” everything they gazed upon. The skin of his thin face stretched so thin across the bones of his cheeks that one would have to believe it was trying to escape his frame. His thin grayish lips constantly grinned but never moved as he spoke. Black eyes sucking out the soul as I obsessed over the questions which and since arisen.
“I’ve been waiting. Watching and waiting, I have been. I’ve waited lifetimes in anguish for you,”
The only question floating around my skull was ‘what does he want?’.
“I want to see the seedling blossom. I want to see the flower that is, eventually, you. You will bloom and your pollen will infect all you meet.”
“WHAT????” I thought. What the hell does that even mean? Hell of a compliment, if that’s what it was.
I tried to sit up in my bed so I could confront this leftover vision of dreams face to face, but I couldn’t move. Not even my eyelids would blink shut to rub away the tears of exhaustion. I felt confined and immobilized by some unnatural force or skill.
“You fools think you can explain everything, don’t you. Arrogant and ignorant. But that’s a mere small annoyance I learned to live with. It comes with the nurturing. HOLD BACK THAT TOUNGE OF YOU THOUGHTS!!! I HAVE A POWER YOUR INFATILE BRAIN COULD NEVER UNDERSTAND!”
I suppose I was no longer permitted to think.
……..who are you……..
“I am a guardian. I watch and I wait. My existence has given your world all of its religions and likely all of its wars along with them. I’ve been called many names and explained many ways to you things which claim knowledge of time and space.”
“I am neither that which destroys or that which creates. I am not a god. I am not a spirit. I am not a ghost. Matter is spirit. Dark matter is soul. Flesh is the imagination which you ultimately create. A reflection of emptiness manifested to serve a purpose needed so life can continue.”
“You have seen me before. Once as a child and once as a young adult. Fear I gave to you then. Life I give to you now.”
I tried to find a way in which my mind could soak all this in. It was a hard apple to swallow all at once and although I believed his words to be truth I could not piece together what it was all supposed to mean. Questions. Confusion. Darkness.
Give me life? Wasn’t I at this very moment very much alive? I decided to give myself a pinch just to be sure and then I remembered that I couldn’t move. Shit! I had no choice but to accept this as reality for I was surely not dreaming and I wasn’t insane.
“Remembering, aren’t you?”
Yes, I was. I was remembering that Bill had been there. For the last twenty or so years I didn’t see Bill in a dream if he wasn’t actually there.
“Bill was there, yes. He stood in the way of you, I’m afraid.”
What did he mean?!?!?
“At a young age I introduced you to terror so that you would learn to be resilient and determined. And that you lived through the experience showed promise of stamina. Your connection to ancient and powerfully hidden bloodlines was the only clue that I needed to find you who are The One. The Seed. The Father of Man to go forth and multiply.”
“You, sir, have been rescued by me from. Protected and kept from witnessing the beautiful doom. I returned with you here, to my sanctuary, to wait for the light of creation to burst forth in all its chaotic elegance again. Here in this humble temple protecting you so that life may have a future still. The day will come when your flower begins to wilt and the pollen that you call DNA will spill forth in an explosion of light that will leave no part of you bigger than a molecule. Till then we wait, safe and sound. OK, Almost ready to go now.”
Of a….so…when it…,uh, what…….
That was the total sum of words reverberating inside my head. Blabbering nonsense had filled the spaces where the mind of a genius had once frolicked. I felt like such a fool.
“It is time to go” He whispered.
Without warning the feeling that we were moving filled my terrified body with g-forces no human has ever had the privilege of experiencing. I felt as though my face was going to peel right off of the bones of my face and leave me with nothing but the blood soaked bone of my skull. Now I understood the expression on my captor’s face. And just as suddenly as the horrible ride began it was over. My vision blurred and dizziness crept over me. I started spinning like in so many dreams at the moment when I am about to wake.
But I did not wake. I opened my eyes to the same spectacle as before. My confines I could not even begin to explain in terms of language. There are no words to describe the vastly tangible yet unreal abode I had found myself in. The Hat Man had snuck away to leave me with my thoughts briefly and the panic finally abated. Reason began to return to my tormented brain. Something he said I could not seem to shake, though. How did he know about Bill? How did he even know?
My eyes slammed shut and I passed out right then and there. There’s one thing humans can’t go without and I was well overdue.
I awoke several times in the hours or days that I lay there sleeping. Strange lights and weird noises filled my imagination in the moments I woke between REM sleeps. At last my eyes started flickering to a soft yet hugely bright object which filled my entire vision. I swore it was a planet then shut my eyes once more. Suddenly, as though I had been hit with a cattle prod, I leapt up to escape the electrical charge that finally stood me up. The sight I saw in front of me was more unreal a thing as I could have imagined. There, in the near distance, was Saturn. We were hovered over the outer rings and I could hear activity from behind me. There were no walls which could be seen although one would have to suspect some unknown technology held this place together.
I turned around to see the thing staring intently at a screen that seemed to be hovering just about eye level. On the screen was Earth. We were too far away to see it with the naked eye but I don’t think this being even knows what that is.
“Come here, Joseph” And I began to hover towards him, immobilized yet again. As I came closer to the Man and his telescopic screen I began to notice Earth. She looked a little different. Grayer. The Closer I looked the more horrified I became. It looked as though it had broken apart or exploded somehow. Huge Continental pieces of crust along with molten rock were expanding out in every direction at a speed I couldn’t even guess at. Suddenly it stopped and the man turned to face me.
“Another sacrifice so that life may continue to flourish throughout the universes. Well before her time, too.”
Even if I had been able to move at that moment I believe I would still have been frozen with terror.
“But the prize lives! All can continue as the cycle remains unbroken. You, the chosen, serve the most horrible yet necessary ingredient for life to go on”
Why? I sobbed. I let out a horrendous wail as he let the scene of destruction continue.
“I had tried to warn you people. You had to make the decision for yourselves however. That is why stories of gods and angels and demons turned out to be hoaxes or witch hunts after about the time of your Jesus. He helped seal your fate, unwittingly, of course.”
“Planets live. The breath eats and die just like you. But on a scale you can’t imagine. The think as well and forget with age, also. Before that can happen something must be done, unless it’s the planets due time to perish.”
“I have, for eternity, served and carried out the wishes of the planets everywhere, the stars as well.”
He stood in silent contemplation. He reached through the invisible and pulled something out of thin air. It was a steno pad and a pen. He handed these things to me and continued his rant.
“Humans everywhere are the same. You even share the same languages, more or less. Write down what you have learned from this that a future generation might be enlightened as to the fate of Joseph!” He laughed.
“Just like a star, planets die when they have depleted the fuel at the center of their mass. If enough of an empty space exists between the inner and outer layers at the time of depletion then the planet caves in on itself creating an implosion not unlike the plutonium bomb. If this hollow space does not exist then the planet will become a lifeless and frozen mass fit for only the Old Ones to occupy. When there is an implosion life giving molecules and other building blocks of life are spread throughout the universe in every direction. You see”
I thought of shaking my head but still couldn’t move. He motioned beyond my sight and I heard a screeching and whining sound grow closer and closer until there was this machine, for all intensive purpose, yawning towards me with hungry intent.
“Write your revelations so we may get on with this business”
What did all this have to do with me? Sudden and raucous laughing burst forth from his jaws. He looked down on me like the joke was on him and just laughed, bellowing great sarcasms from the deepness of his gut.
“You accelerate this process by depleting her resources towards the end of her life. A symbiotic existence your kind and planets have. The building blocks of life are pieced together from the hidden DNA inside the carbon that shoots off into space. All that’s needed is a spark and you, my friend, are of the bloodline of the spark.”
“Planets don’t implode on their own or for reasons of spreading life. They are selfish as well as stagnant and they get sick just as you do. A planet implodes as a last resort to rid herself of the only infection that is fatal to their kind. MAN!”
I picked uncapped the pen and began writing.