Header image by Wikimedia Commons user Ardastos under Creative Commons 3.0.
Last night, I dreamt I went back to a place I felt like I’ve been to in a dream before. It felt so familiar but I don’t know if I ever have been there. I’d remember if I did. All I remember is that I got there through different means and that I arrived with several of my friends. I don’t remember who they were exactly. Initially it was fairly normal. I started at an underground tube station. But it started moving away from reality from there; I had to use a special card to pay for anything at subsequent stations and I know it wasn’t an Oyster Card (what they use in London.) I had less than £5 to my name on the card when I arrived at the station.
I saw a really tired, slightly scruffy-looking woman with a child, as if she’d been in this underground labyrinth for a long time. I doubted that she had much money, and took a sense of strange comfort that others were having trouble with this new card and this new place. I walked up the stairs and from there on, my mind made everything up. There was a square room I’d estimate to be 100 square metres. It…wasn’t a lot, but there wasn’t too many people walking through it. There were vending machines everywhere operating only using the new card I’d been issued.
I was greeted by a member of staff offering us help, be it with the card or with the station in general. He seemed tired too…a small bit unfamiliar with the new card as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if he were one of the people to take part in a strike. He was so exhausted. His walking was slowed, his words unenthusiatic. None of the food or drink interested me except one.I saw a strange variant of Yazoo with both the powder and the usual chocolate milkshake in a transparent bag. I bought it for £1 with what little money I had. I took two large drinks from the bag after turning it upside down to mix powder and milkshake and promptly forgot about it for the rest of the dream. It was at this point one of my friends gave me a look of disdain before walking away with the rest of the group through a doorway on the left, never to be seen again. I wasn’t really paying too much attention to them anyway. The member of staff walked away too. I hope that was the end of his shift.
I walked through the doorway on the other side of the room at the right. What I walked into seemed more like an airport than a train station. It was a massive room that really did seem fit to contain the people moving through it like air. It was far busier than the tiny square room…where did everybody come from? I thought about this but gave it no further thought. There was luggage everywhere and there was even a transport system within this very room made up of small carts and tracks raised into the air. Everybody walking through the room were nearly invisible to me. Even then, I knew I would never see any one of them again. I didn’t know who they were but they simply weren’t important.
I got on a cart heading to the right. It led me through a door, leading me outside where I could finally tell the time; it was night. It was a platform where people came to take a break. As per usual, many people were standing outside, leaning on the railings, smoking, sitting down or talking on their phones, hands loosely and absentmindedly holding onto their suitcases. I looked below briefly. I knew there was solid ground below but I couldn’t see it, I couldn’t see anything but darkness. I looked up. I could see city lights in the distance, the stars in the night sky hovering above them as if they too belonged to the city. Below the building line, the same blackness I saw when I looked straight down.
I took a cart going the other way on the same line and I was taken to a hallway leading to a door. There wasn’t anybody walking around in this area. I walked through the door and there was a significant change in atmosphere to a cold, mechanical feel. Maybe this was the inner workings of the entire place. There was a steel square platform just a few metres from the steel walkway. I could see blue steel staircases curving upwards round either side of the platform to another platform, except higher, of course. For reasons I never learnt, there were some Japanese people holding anti-Korean protests. I felt uncomfortable here for obvious reasons, so I continued forward through the steel walkway continuing on the other side of the platform.
I can’t remember the route I took but I ended up in a room I was sure was the end of wherever I was. I knew I was at a much higher level than the level I’d started at. I was in a tower, I knew that. It was a room around double the size of the one I last remembered with the main point of interest being a narrow corridor where I could see a strange machine operating below. On the square part outside the stairs there were some Koreans holding anti-Japanese protests. I didn’t know what was going on and I didn’t really want to. I looked back at the machine down below, leaning over the railings to get a better look at whatever was in this seemingly unnecessary pit. Some of the protesters had stopped whatever they were doing and were also looking curiously over the railings.
The machine started firing steel balls a few metres below me. Somehow I knew they were harmless and that they’d never hit me. They hit the wall below me and burst into extremely thin clouds of smoke. I don’t know who built it or what it was, I only knew that I had to destroy this machine somehow. A sword appeared in my right hand. I don’t know where I got it from but it didn’t matter; I couldn’t reach the machine from here.
Suddenly, someone I hadn’t seen in real life for years materialised to my right. He was holding a bomb which he threw directly at the heart of the unreachable machine. The machine was destroyed and so was around 50% of the roof and walls of this building. Somehow, we were all unharmed. A group of people came running up from the stairs. I could tell they were the anti-Korean protesters. I’m not sure what happened but both groups of protesters mingled and eventually forgave each other for whatever happened.
I looked up. Daylight streamed down through the especially large hole in the wall and ceiling. I could see another tower, also ruined. But not by the bomb. It seemed ancient; there were plants and vines descending the tower and the floor had long since collapsed. It looked beautiful. There were also flowers growing in the holes on the grey bricks now green. I stood on the bricks on this tower and looked out.
Night had turned to day. What I saw was flat, radiant grassy plains with various colours spread across them, the same flowers growing on the tower next to me. In the distance, hills encompassed the plains with buildings resting behind them, the same ones I’d seen at nighttime. I climbed the old tower, reaching the highest surviving wall (the roof wasn’t there and likely hadn’t been for a long time) and I met an unfamilar person with a bag on their back. They said something to me…I don’t remember what but they were fairly upbeat and I’m sure it was something important. It’s a shame I can’t remember. He climbed down this tower and vanished. I was left with only his words, his unremembered words, and that’s it.