The Fall

Header image by Doug Wilson.

Last night I dreamt I went on a journey with a whole group of people I had varying degrees of familiarity with. Some were my friends, some were my family, some were people I’d met once a few years ago, some were their friends. The journey never ended, and didn’t seem to have any destination. It took us through many interesting places, but I don’t remember very many.

I remember we walked as a group to a train station, but the group ended up getting split up by a short time differences and got two different trains. Both trains had few carriages and were somewhat luxurious. Both trains travelled side by side, so close you could see inside the carriages of the other train clearly. We travelled through a frozen, snowy wasteland for most of the journey; it took a dark turn when the other train derailed going around a curve and exploded on the tundra below. I hoped they survived somehow, but learnt later that nobody survived. Already, half of us were gone. I wasn’t familiar with anyone on the other train, but it didn’t matter. They were gone.

The next leg of the journey is something I’ve forgotten.

After that, we ended up in a site formerly used by government customs officials. It looked like a huge, flat junkyard, and had the rusted fences and broken-down cars to match, though it also had stranger additions such as abysses and large, twisted trees. Few of the original group remained: one or two family members, an artist I’d met at a convention once a few years ago with all but one of their friends, and one or two people I don’t remember. We wondered when we’d exit this place when we came to a path across a wide abyss blocked by one of the huge twisted trees, with a faint lake of rust-coloured liquid below. I tried to climb around the tree to get past, climbing higher and higher to try to find footholds on the tree. Everybody was following me but it was becoming clearer and clearer that I wasn’t going to find a way to climb across to the other side, and now we were all stuck at the top of the unstable branches of a large tree, nothing but rust beneath us. I saw several objects of ours drop through the darkness into the lake, and I noticed a card I had dropped too. I don’t remember how, but I knew I’d need that card to proceed.

Apparently they’d dropped key items too, as we realised one by one that our only option was to let go and drop. They did so one by one, and I considered not taking the fall and waiting for rescue, but there was nobody here. I took out my phone and brought up my map and sure enough, my card came up on GPS in the rust lake. I put it back, braced myself, and fell.

For a brief moment when I hit the surface, for a brief few milliseconds, I had a strange experience; I left my body and noticed I had full access to change anything I wanted in the surrounding area. I found that the “lake” was only a few inches deep and that there was an entrance to a subterranean city of dark fuchsia and gold at the edges of the small lake. I didn’t change anything, but took the chance to move around in this frozen time, and saw people dressed in the same gold and dark colours. Then my perception ran out and I blacked out upon hitting the ground.

I woke up, and nobody was there. I saw my card floating at the top of the pool and picked it up before taking the chance to look around. Nobody. Everyone else had survived the fall, but none of them were anywhere to be seen. I headed for the nearest entrance to the city, and entered a corridor in its typical colours, passing the person I’d seen before. I turned a corner to see a brief glimpse of the city and…that’s it. That’s all I remember.

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