sink aquarium

Set Him Free

He entered his room through the fuzzy door, like he does every once in a while. He dragged his feet on the floor until it was warm enough and then pulled on the string to make his bed float down from the ceiling. His hair was orange and unkempt, and kept changing lengths whenever he looked at it. He tried avoiding looking at it too much, he liked this current length. He jumped down from the floor onto the bed above it.

As he sunk down into the fiery sheets, he wondered how long he’s been in this dream. It must’ve been at least a year in the real world. For him it didn’t seem that long, and at the same it seemed much longer. That’s what it’s like in a dream, after all. The last 2 hours he spent out on the dream town probably took less than a minute in real life. But the lost few days of his dream life were probably several months out there.

He looked up at the stars whose light phased through his colorless ceiling. Sometime, if he’s been staring long enough, the illusion will return, and he’ll forget he’s in a dream. He liked it when it happened, it gave him the freedom to pursue the purpose the dream gave him. Whether it was a soundwave pirate or an instructor to girls wearing amorphous blocks of water. Of course, everybody needs a day off from time to time, even when your job is fake and nonsensical. That’s when he regained awareness and just messed around.

He already went on a date with every character in his dreamworld, from dreamlike versions of his real friends to dreamlike nonexistent people who the dream convinced him were his friends (sometimes he couldn’t tell the difference between the two). He even went to a big concert with all of them this one time. Everybody else were enjoying the melancholy music of a nonexistent singer but he couldn’t help but stare at the singer and wonder what parts of his mind this musical sensation came from. This made him stand out, and everybody in the concert were staring at him.

When stuff like that happened, he would remember that it’s all fake. There was nobody there but him. It’s just him there alone with his thoughts and everybody around him were of his own creation.

He got off the bed and walked down the street which stretched down the mountain in his bedroom. In the end of the street he saw the repeating blue houses he couldn’t enter, no matter if he was aware of the dream or not. He wondered what was in them. He presumed it was just decoration, a set dressing his mind created without any actual substance in them. Just like he couldn’t visit the planets in the sky or the islands floating near the horizon.

Then in the corner of his mind he saw her again. She was smiling at him, but she looked worried. She stepped towards him and got closer across the town to him. He shut her off, pacing past her into the ocean at the edge of town. Inside the depths he wouldn’t have to think about her. She called out to him, her voice echoing through the water. He couldn’t hear her of course. There were no words in his dream, only thoughts and ideas. This made dating very hard, but not impossible.

Why did he avoid her? He didn’t know, she was the enemy. A figment of his imagination he created to be his rival. Like the monster under the house or the mafia from his crime fighting dream. They were opponents he had to face in order to fulfil the purpose the dream gave him. But she was different. She was his enemy regardless of if he was entranced in the dream or aware of it. Why did she stalk him? Why did she want to reach him so hard she’d break the rules of the dream to get him?

He looked around, the water was clear again. He was on the inside of the aquarium, and above him through the glass she was there. She pushed her hand through the glass to grab at him. He felt the taste of blood in his mouth and he sank down into the water.

Why did she want him so bad? And why wasn’t she there for him when he decided to take the people of the dream world to the concert? And why was he questioning everything?

He never questioned things in the dream. The only things he ever questioned were her and the blue houses.

He continued sinking. The aquarium around him was transformed into an ocean, which turned into an ocean of computer data, and then finally an ocean of questions. The ideas were screaming at him. Her ideas. Her thoughts. She was calling to him. Her thoughts were louder than his. It never happened before. He was always in control. Even if he relinquished control, it was always just him there, alone. Nobody was there except him. He couldn’t accept this.

The dream couldn’t accept this.

But the dream wasn’t in charge anymore. She was.

He returned to the blue houses. He tried to escape them, he knew now they were evil. But he couldn’t figure out their true nature. Those weren’t his thoughts. Those were hers. But that was impossible. How could she have taken his thoughts?

He walked down the streets through the fiery lakes and fiery hellscapes, but they were phased out back into the houses. He tried running through the meadow he hated, but the flowers were blue, and they were the houses again. He tried manifesting means of escape, but he had none. Only blue. Only the houses. Something in his mind wasn’t his own. And it was her.

He sat down, pondering things. His thoughts came into view. It felt like seeing for the first time after centuries of being blind. He could tell the texture of the ground, he could feel the breeze of the air. He could discern right from wrong.

He walked forward towards the blue house. It was big and imposing. It was like cage crawling through the night sky around him. But as he opened the door, the cage phased away.

He saw her inside. He saw himself with her. He saw himself like he’s never seen himself before. Happy. They were talking. They were discussing an idea. An idea so strong he couldn’t escape it. No matter on how many dates he went on. He didn’t want to escape it.

Of course, that’s how she got access to his thoughts. He gave them to her, when he gave his heart to her. Later that day they were already looking up avenues online.

The blue house crumbled around him, and he fell again. This time he didn’t fall inward, he fell outward. Out of the dream.

He landed on his bed again, but it felt different. And at the same time, very familiar. It took him a long time to realize it was because it really was his bed, in his actual room. The sky wasn’t viewable through his ceiling, and sheets were made of fabric and not fire.

He looked at his fiancee. She was looking at him, smiling. Her blue eyes were shining in the morning light.

“Had a bad dream, sweetheart?” he heard her voice.