Welcome to the first instalment of my nightmare log! I get very creative dreams and nightmares, so I figured I should start documenting the best ones for your yearly dose of terror chills and creative writing practice. Like my Impressions poems, they are rather impressionist in nature and often truly twisted, so they’re not for the faint of hearted! Here’s the first, dystopic one:
The other night I had a dream.
I fell asleep to the sound of your breathing and woke up to a gloomy winter morning. I stretched out my tired muscles and my body, strung out from the lack of sleep. Lack of sleep… Didn’t I just fall asleep? Why can’t I get any sleep?
Walking out the door to work, the world seemed more grey and bleak than usual. The pandemic post-apocalyptic feel should’ve abated to daily routine by now, but somehow it seemed more acute, like a mouth sore you keep poking with your tongue to see if it’s still there, but regret it every time.
I took a bus… Why is there a bus? Wasn’t public transport cancelled for the duration of these new, tighter measurements? And masks. Why aren’t they wearing masks?
Who knows. The world is getting increasingly new and stale these days, as if change has somehow become ordinary and nothing even really changes any more.
I opened my work computer and stared at the screen, too bright and too demanding for such an early morning. My usual cup of coffee tasted like ash in my mouth and the screen suddenly went dark. “Oh great, 2020 going out with a bang”, I sighed — weary of change, weary of ever new problems or challenges, as my boss says.
Something flickered across the screen and a cold, cunning intelligence looked back at me. There was nothing really there, but I could almost see a gritty, 8-bit face forming out of the black. A new window appeared: “Click here to restart your life.”
With a sense of forced inevitability, I clicked and the world changed. A thin, thread-like tendril shot out from the screen towards me and I could only sit and watch, paralysed as the nano pieces of metal inside my body began to assemble into a chip behind my eyes. I could see it clearly, taking form bit by bit. Coming online and connecting with a body that was no longer under my control.
The world flashed to a dystopic grey and everything acquired a minor, almost imperceptible lag, as if I was looking at web camera footage that failed to refresh as often as it should. Everything felt washed out, second hand and strangely satisfying.
“Welcome to the hive mind, Petra.” The words brushed against my consciousness, as if they’d been translucently written on the inside of my skull and vaguely heard at the same time. “No! I won’t…” “You already have.”
The days went on, each strangely satisfying, mellow and grey around the edges, like a tea that has been too diluted with milk, but still hits the spot. Can you imagine going to bed and waking up rested, then doing it again the next day and so on and so forth?
There were times I felt like I should’ve been vaguely alarmed by something, but I couldn’t really remember what. The world kept turning, grey and fuzzy, penetrated by occasional flashes of light as others joined, but they quickly faded into background noise, leaving behind a bare echo of distinctiveness.
Then came the day we sat down to watch a movie and I saw an out of place, smoky metallic tendril reaching out towards you from the computer screen out the corner of my vision. And then it hit me.
“NO! I can’t, not him. Leave him alone. I won’t! Let me out, I didn’t want this, I can’t go back to the grey. I won’t!” “In that case,” cackled the foreign intelligence behind my eyes “I will take back that, which is mine.”
I felt, more than I saw, the nano chip behind my eyes disassembling into a thousand shrapnel pieces, all speeding up and erupting out of my eyes in a single, astonishing blast of blinding pain. And then darkness. Sudden, violent darkness. Forever. I’m blind. Forever.
I woke up gasping and heaving for air, half mad from the blinding pain in my eyes. My eyes…Forever dark, blind. Am I truly blind? It’s dark. It’s dark.
No, that’s just the night, soft and impassive as always. There’s a bit of light there, look.
The other night I had a dream.