While I’ve been hard at work on my up and coming novel “Everything Else by the Wayside,” I’ve been sitting on this short novel I wrote in a 3 day gin induced panic. What spawned from those 3 days was “Rem and the Big Case”, a story about Rem, a young man addicted to fantastical lucid dreaming.
Before you begin reading, just one quick note: this story was indeed written in 3 days, and I have not touched it since. Because of that, there will be some errors and stuff, but don’t sweat it.
And now I bring you part 1.
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Chapter 1 Lucidity
Where am I? At home, in the kitchen, nothing unusual here. Check the clock. It’s ticking normally, each second that hollow click which has somehow defined my waking life. Check my hands, they look normal, they move in their regular fashion and there are one, two, three, four, five fingers on my right hand and one, two, three, four, five fingers on my left. Everything here feels normal, ordinary, nothing quiet irregular.
This is my first true realization of the day. I have woken up, climbed out of my bed, and somehow lumbered into my kitchen without thinking a single thought. Odd. Do I do this every morning?
The fridge is mostly bare. There are some leftovers crusty and jaded on the top shelf. The middle shelf is void. The bottom shelf holds a case of bottled tea. It claims to be a ‘relaxation blend’ and sports the smiling mug of Bob Marley gazing up to the heavens. When I first bought it, I thought maybe it would make me feel high because of the Kona extract, an ingredient which the internet says can give one the feeling of euphoria. In actuality, drinking this tea will make you pass out. I drank it while driving and I thought I would fall asleep at the wheel. Now I drink it first thing when I get home after work.
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What am I doing? I am sitting in my car, driving to work. How did I get here? I woke up, got dressed and walked to my car. This all makes sense. Everything is functioning normally, the radio is playing music with annoying DJ’s yelling at each other in between rock songs. Traffic is a dull, slow slog. I can smell the exhaust and it tickles the back of my throat and makes my nose curl.
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I arrive at the office early because I like the quiet. I like to be the first person to turn on his monitor, it gives me an odd sort of joy which few things seem to give me anymore, the near silent buzz, and the way it flashes on and spreads to life from the center of the screen. I open an important looking program, something a passer by might see and assume I shouldn’t be interrupted. And then I stare at the screen.
I tend to meditate for an hour or two every morning because I read once that meditation helps one achieve lucidity while dreaming. It opens your mind to that quiet space of just being and with time and practice give you control over your mind, first the conscious mind, then the unconscious. Most people cannot control their mind, consciously or otherwise, and because of this they have a hard time achieving lucidity. In fact, most people probably have never experienced a lucid dream in their entire lives. What a shame.
My mornings method of meditation is simple. I stare at the computer screen and zonk out. I clear my mind entirely, I think about nothing, I simply breath and while I breath, I feel. First I feel the rush of air blow steadily in and out of my nostrils, cool on the inhale and warm on the exhale. When my body has reached a quiet rhythm, I begin to shift my focus to my throat, my chest, my limbs, then my blood. When I have reached this depth of meditation, I can feel my blood pumping through my body, coursing to my every cell bringing life with every thump thump of my heart. And then I focus on my heart, my blood, everything connected, my breath slowed to roughly once per minute, and that’s when the light show begins.
The light show is hard to describe to those who have not seen it. Imagine dancing sunspots, a silent firework display, all morphing, expanding, exploding and contracting right before your eyes. It is beautiful, but only a pale imitation of the long distance goal. Lucidity.
Coworkers begin to shuffle in and I can hear them though I do nothing to respond, I don’t even register a thought, they are simply there. And after roughly an hour or two, I am enveloped by the sounds of carpel tunnel typing, telephones ringing, the chirping of secretaries and the inane cooler talk.
Why do I find it so difficult to be a part of this? Is it normal to feel this disconnected? I feel as though everyone around me is experiencing life through the busy signal, automatic reply emails and voice messages, and then here I am not experiencing life at all. It’s not as if I don’t realize this, it’s just that ever since I’ve achieved lucidity, life itself feels like a masquerade, a shame, hollow and empty. A colony of bees, working working working, and here am I, alone, creating universes in my spare time and exploring the deepest of the cosmos, the super nova of my mind all dancing under my control.
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Where am I? I am in a bathroom stall, but which bathroom stall? They all look the same. Somehow they look sterile and disgusting at the same time, toilet paper bits sprinkled atop the tile floor, Forbes magazine shoved in the compartment that houses the toilet seat sanitation cover sheets, the foul smell of somebody’s bad diet could be mine. Check my hands. They look normal. Count my fingers and there seem to be no additions or subtractions. I look at my digital watch. 11:34. Close my eyes and count down from 10. 11:34. Nothing unusual there.
What I am doing isn’t neurotic, I swear I’m not crazy and I don’t have obsessive compulsive disorder or anything like that. I am performing a series of ‘reality checks’. These are very important for me. The idea is that the sleeping world and the waking world are very different, this much is obvious, but for some reason your brain perceives the dream world as reality no matter how crazy things get. A nine limbed alien behemoth in your grandma’s dress and your ex-wifes high heels might be chasing you down a never ending hallway, and yet there is not an instant where your brain questions the validity of this experience. Unless, unless you train it. And how do you train it? By constantly questioning the validity of every single experience, awake and asleep, fantastical and entirely dull and ordinary. When you do this in reality often enough it becomes ingrained into your subconscious and you will begin to perform these checks while dreaming.
So, right now, sitting on the toilet, staring at the stall door, I ask myself “is this really real?” Yes, it is.
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Thanks for reading! Please remember to tell your friends, and check back every week for a new part to the story.