When I was young, around 8 years old, I suffered with recurring nightmares. It was always the same, the feeling of dread as I went to sleep, feeling the onset of this dream. There was an electricity in my mind, a tension from the feeling that tonight it would happen again. I can’t really remember the first time it happened, perhaps when I was ill once. It did seem to correlate with being too hot, in summer, or with a fever. It carried on regularly for several years, and continues to recur, very infrequently now, but hasn’t happened for a year or so.
I’d forgotten this feeling when I got home, and so just thought it was the excitement of the evening tingling around me. As I put my head on the pillow and closed my eyes it began almost immediately, the tremors of reality. I tried to push it out of my mind and began to drift off.
I tripped and my body twitched for just a moment.
The room opened out before me, sideways, my bedroom. In a brief flicker it doubled in size and then returned to normal. Over the next minute it did this repeatedly, growing to a huge expanse and then shrinking back to normal, a loud inaudible pressure hitting me each time. I could feel my breathing, sharp and loud, gasping for air. The room began to shudder with the massive change in pressure caused by the room changing dimensions so quickly. Still, and quiet, I lay in bed watching this happen, feeling the anxiety of what’s coming next. It’s always the same.
The room stops, and all form and shape disappears. The walls stay straight, but are smooth, as are the floor and ceiling. The points where each surface meets another is slightly rounded off, so that there are no defining features. Even I do not exist physically in this room, I am just a floating presence, taking up no space, and maintaining the smooth featureless space I am in. It feels about ten by ten metres wide and a few metres tall, but it could be more or less, depending on the moment. The room has absolutely uniform lighting, and it is difficult to maintain my orientation.
A small sound draws my attention and I look down to see a small ball bearing rolling from the right hand side of the room, towards the centre. The sound is what one would expect of a metal ball rolling on a smooth surface, barely audible, but constant and rising in volume. The ball appears at once both minute and fist-sized, but perfectly smooth and reflective. It is not rolling fast, but is gradually making it’s way to the dead centre of the floor to the room, the noise from it’s rolling growing. As it gets closer the sound is deafening but not uncomfortable, like I am feeling, rather than hearing, it.
The ball reaches dead centre, in front of me a few metres away, and stops, the silence coming instantly to the room. A moment passes, and I breathe. Suddenly, two strands shoot up and out of the ball towards the ceiling, directly above. The strands break into a million smaller strands, like cotton, flying through the air. The strands are looping and flying out and around, pushing out to the edges of the room in great arcs and loops, but remaining attached at the floor and ceiling. The flight of these strands is wild and uncontrolled, each strand moving completely separately.
As they fly about, the strands all begin to twist around each other, knotting and connecting, forming huge clumps that continue to spin and fly. There is the beginning of a rotation, clockwise round the room. The rotation grows as the threads become more knotted, spinning into each other and pulling tighter, forming a dense mass in the middle of the room. The spiralling thread forms a rope-like appearance, spinning so fast now that it is blurred and indistinct. The tightening causes a sound, like leaves being crushed underfoot, but more manic and irregular. The spinning mass is like a single piece of thick black rope now, going from floor to ceiling, invisibly anchored in place. The rope becomes so dense there are no irregular features, and the rotation slows to a stop. Again, a moment of silence and stillness passes.
The thick cord now splits in two, from the middle first, opening into a diamond shape that reaches a perfect cube, with a gentle light in the middle. There is something coming through the void between the edges of the diamond, a small box. It drifts towards me and I see what appears to be a silver, pencil-case sized, box, coming towards me. There are markings on the outside that I cannot read. Perhaps they are just shapes, but I feel there is some meaning to them, like instructions on how to operate the box. As it comes into reach the symbols on the case glow and flicker, and the box opens. Inside there is a small red button and further symbols, under the lid. I don’t know what they mean, but I know they are telling me to either press, or absolutely must not press the red button. The symbols inside the box flicker again, but begin to glow red, humming slowly at first but getting faster. It’s counting down. I have to make a decision on what to do. I know if I get the decision wrong a great deal of harm and suffering will occur all around me. The timer is ticking down and the button sits there in front of me. I both want to press it and know I must not, but I cannot decide what to do. The counter is blinking madly at me, red flashes that are almost continuous. I have to do something. My hand reaches out and in that moment I decide what to do, my mind clears and the decisions seems right, correct, accurate on so many levels.
I always wake up at this point, not knowing what I decided and what outcome occurred. I look around my dark room, still in the night. I’m lying in the same position and, looking down at my phone, realise only half an hour has passed since I came to bed. My forehead is glistening with sweat, and I still feel the anxiety of my room, moving in and out in waves. I get up, heading downstairs to splash some water on my face. Having done just that I get a drink and go back to bed, and feel myself falling back to sleep almost immediately.