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    The Fourth Factor

    A Place with a Mind of its Own

    by , 07-14-2020 at 08:23 PM (86 Views)
    (Note: The longer my dreams are, the harder it is for me to remember details, particularly conversations, and this was a long one. Thereís several hoursí worth of material here that I can only remember happened at all because I can remember remembering it in a later part of the dream, and this does raise questions of whether they ever actually played out. But, for what itís worth, it doesnít feel to me as if thatís what happened, and I do have many cases of knowing dream memory is working in that way to compare it to.)

    The earliest part I can remember is of a disaster taking place, a flood sweeping through a public building of some kind. Everybody is trying to get out. Iím one of the last out, but I wait, holding the door open so that the waters donít forcibly close it and trap the one person whoís still there. It took him a while to believe this was actually happening (understandable, considering how weird it is), so he didnít get out as quickly as everyone else.

    After this series of events is the biggest memory gap, which seems to mainly consist of meeting up with a large group of people and preparing for some kind of expedition together. I become lucid not long before weíre going to set off, although itís not so much me realizing that itís a dream as it is the unconscious knowledge that itís a dream, which Iíve been acting on this whole time, becoming conscious. And this sort of makes it feel as if Iíve been lucid the whole time, if that makes sense.

    Iím looking out the window of a house onto the rolling fields beyond as it happens. I still have some preparation to do here, though, so Iím still here packing as everybody else is leaving. Iím taking my hiking backpack, the black one with yellow trim. It occurs to me to wonder whether I need to do this in a dream, since I can just make things appear if I need them. But I have the impression, based on earlier conversations, that I might not be able to do that in some of the places weíre going, and so Iíll want to make sure I have essentials with me, at least. The last thing I grab is my brown aviator-style jacket, which I fold and pack into the backpack before buckling it and heading downstairs and outside.

    I can just see somebody disappearing past the other side of the house, down a broad stone staircase. Thatís where everybodyís gone. I try flying part of the way, but perhaps because of the hiking backpackóeven though it doesnít feel heavyóitís hard to get more than a couple feet off the ground. But flying seems to be slower than running anyway, so I just run around the side and down the stairs.

    Iím now in an area with several platforms rising a distance above the ground. Next to one on the far side is a cliff wall with a small tunnel partway up, a little above head height. A young women is nearby Ė it seems she had to stop to do something before going onward. I jump onto one of the platforms, where I see some piled-up clothing. I recognize it as a kind of uniform for us to wear. It looks a bit like a karate gi: loose pants and a shirt that ties around the front, white, though a little discolored with age and threadbare in places. On some of the edges, flowers are embroidered in pale colors. I put it on over my clothing.

    Jumping onto the last platform and up to the tunnelótaking off the backpack and pushing it in firstóis practically effortless, much easier than it would be in waking life, which makes it kind of fun. The tunnel is not tall enough to walk in, and it narrows considerably not far ahead, so I push the backpack in ahead of me. It barely fits, and I can see it slide down once it gets past the narrow point, where the tunnel slopes downward. I barely fit, too Ė I actually have to turn my head to the side to squeeze through. But soon, itís large enough to where I can crawl again, and then walk upright.

    The tunnel is made of squares of some smooth material, solid black in the center but with a stripe of red-orange around the edges that glows, lighting the way. As I walk, it slopes further downward and eventually drops me into a corridor with a grimy, institutional feel to it. All dimly and artificially lit, as if Iím somewhere underground.

    It has a distinctly unpleasant vibe Ė although part of the reason may be because of what I know about this place. It is actually a sentient environment, and not a very nice one, and now that Iím inside of it, itís going to be tracking my every move and shaping itself according to my actions and reactions. Itís not the destination Ė just somewhere we have to pass through on the way. Thereíll be a test at the end that has to be passed before we can get out Ė but this place doesnít like people leaving it and will be actively throwing obstacles in our way.

    My backpack isnít here Ė the place probably hid it somewhere, and so Iíll have to be on the lookout for it. I turn towards the right, reading the plates on the doors as I go by, deciding which room to enter first. The place looks to be some sort of school judging by what they say.

    As I walk, faint, unpleasant feeling-tones arise, like the ghosts of memories with an archaic, dark quality to them, although they definitely don't involve my personal past Ė not in this lifetime, anyway. Or maybe theyíre anticipations of what Iíll find here, behind the doors. Or maybe both. I also see a set of stairs leading downwards, but I donít want to leave this floor just yet.

    After reaching the end of the corridor, I head back, still making up my mind. Itís not terribly important where I go first, but I am aware that, as the first deliberate choice I make here, it will give the place some insight into me, will establish the course of how things will go. I decide on a room about midway between the end of the corridor and where I started from labelled ďFaculty Lounge.Ē

    As I open the door, Iím surprised by what I see. Itís a little room, somewhat like the bedroom of a hostel, with two bunk beds, a table off to one side and some assorted furniture Ė overall, quite nice apart from the lack of windows. But the really surprising thing is that itís already occupied by two people from the group I started with.

    Sam is thereóSam, maker of ukuleles, fixer of anything with strings and frets, host of concerts and an accomplished musician in his own right. His dog is there with him. The other person isnít waking-life familiar, although he does somewhat resemble one of my coworkers, with dark hair, pale skin and some kind of facial hair, I think. A dog has come in with me as well, a large, black one. I donít pay much attention to it besides noting that itís mine and hoping that the room isnít going to be too crowded now.

    Sam greets me Ė but he uses a different name, a manís name. They must be seeing this place and this situation differently than I do, I realize. It had been mentioned at the earlier gatherings that it would appear differently to everybody Ė but I had assumed that we would also be going through it alone, individually, and so it hadnít occurred to me that Iíd find myself in this kind of situation. But I can roll with it.

    We talk for a little while. At one point, one of them advises me to be careful not to give this place ďthe impression that Iím somebody it can f*** with.Ē Sam mentions that heís working on a puzzleóit seems to be set up on the table thereóand I say Iíll leave him to it. I mention, though, that Iím good with puzzles, and he invites me to come help put it together. This must be part of their test, I realize Ė and it strikes me that maybe it isnít a coincidence I ended up here to help them with it, although from everything Iíve heard, it would be uncharacteristically benevolent for the place to intentionally direct me to them.

    The puzzle seems to mainly feature cute baby animals, and it is close to being finished. I help assemble the remaining pieces as Sam tells me some anecdotes heís heard about a 20th century Viennese composer. He canít remember which one theyíre about. I notice, though, that the bottom edge of the puzzle isnít complete. Sam is stirring some sort of gooey blue liquid, and I realize that that will also be part of it: the tests, though different, all have one thing in common: incorporating two bowls of these brightly colored mixtures into them somehow.

    14.7.20
    Silence11 likes this.

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