The Dream by David Macfie
The dream wove a story of a land of giants, a land where everything was larger than anything he’d experienced before. The trees, the rivers, the cows and sheep, even the birds. All were bigger. He looked about in disbelief but it didn’t stop. Immensity all around. But something else was strange. There were no houses, no roads, no factories and, above all, no people. His brain screamed at him, in abject panic.
“Where are all the people?”
For a while he ceased to function. Everything was so foreign, so unbelievable and so otherworldly that he had no frame of reference to deal with what he was seeing. He looked around and tried desperately to make sense of the images in his eyes. But he still couldn’t. The landscape was familiar, looking like an English countryside, with farm animals and fields and woods and two rivers flowing into a lake. There were flowers in the grass and on the bushes and even on some of the trees, but there the similarity stopped. There were no ordered hedgerows, no gates or fences, no dry-stone walls and no signs at all, of human habitation.
Suddenly he wondered why he would be dreaming of this. If was such a random idea. He tried to force himself to wake up, with no success. He turned suddenly to look behind and tripped. The fall hurt him enough to make him grunt in pain. That pain made him begin to question his assumption that he was dreaming. He didn’t think he felt pain in his dreams, so was this really a dream?
He tried to think, rationally about his situation. Was he dreaming or wasn’t he? He looked again at the vista and stood up again. Now he turned through a full rotation and looked at the scenery unfolding just as he would have expected. And he was seeing everything with great clarity in the clear and sunny atmosphere. That wasn’t very dream-like. He walked to a nearby tree and rubbed the bark. It felt distinctly rough. He saw what looked like blackberries on a nearby bush – extremely large blackberries. Next to his hand they looked the size of apples. He plucked one that looked ripe and took a bite. The fruit tasted exactly like a blackberry, but it was huge compared to the blackberries he knew. Now he had two more pieces of evidence against the idea that he was dreaming. He could feel textures and his sense of taste was working. He didn’t think he’d be able to do those things in a dream, either. Now he felt really puzzled. If it wasn’t a dream then what was it? He had an idea. Since this experience started, he’d looked everywhere except at himself. So, he looked at all of the parts of himself that he could turn his eyes towards. He examined himself closely, but everything seemed to be in order. Nothing was different from what he would have expected.
Paradoxically, this was a shock. If he was normal but the world wasn’t, what had happened to him? Where was he? And why was he here? He sat with his back to the tree and tried to puzzle the whole thing out. This wasn’t like a dream either. Dreams weren’t rational. In dreams, things just happened. There was no thought or order. This couldn’t be a dream. This conclusion was chilling. He felt a surge of fear, bordering on panic. He couldn’t imagine or reason out what was going on. Once more, this was too much for him. He felt the panic welling up inside him, as his unanswered questions became a swirling jumble in his head. He couldn’t hold it in. He screamed, his fear like a living thing eating his brain. He screamed again and again and again. He had no mind now, no thoughts that made any sense. His whole being consisted only of fear and panic. Finally, in exhaustion, he mercifully slept and all was dark for a while. In this darkness there were no dreams, no images at all. It was just black, but somehow he felt that the blackness was alive, that he was alive. In a way that was just as scary as the previous situation and the terror and panic rose in him again. Once more he screamed, his mind refusing to believe that any of this was real. Again he asked his mind what was happening to him but got no answer. He begged to be released from whatever had taken him to this place. He pleaded for normality. He sobbed in fear and frustration. But nothing made a difference. He was in a terrible limbo of darkness. The sleep that had seemed like a benevolent escape, had turned into a curse that was worse than what had gone before. He felt himself screaming, but he heard nothing. Was he now deaf as well as delusional? He couldn’t help himself. He screamed and screamed until he thought his throat would rupture. Then he found he could scream some more. And everything was still dark.
When the light started to come back, he felt relief until his eyes could see again. The visions that unfolded were like nothing he’d ever imagined. What he saw he didn’t recognize….. None of it. Now his screams returned and kept on going.
The doctor pressed the plunger on the hypodermic syringe and the sedative entered the body of his patient.
“Poor, bugger,” he whispered to himself. “He’s completely insane!”