Something happened a couple of weeks ago and I needed to write about it. I thought I could make it into a kind of book eventually, but I only got part of the way through chapter 4 and I lost the connection. It was also painful and exhausting to write. I don't think I'll ever finish it, but I wanted to share what I had written anyway. I don't know why I want to share it, maybe just because it is a piece of trying to make sense of things that don't always make sense. Anyway, I'll post it here. Feel free to read it if you want to.
Chapter 2: It Started with a Dream
It started with a dream. At least, I think that’s how it began. It’s really hard to say where it started or why or what the meaning of it all was. The pieces are there but putting them in the right order isn’t always easy. I remember the dream though. I remember feeling like that was the beginning, or at least it told me the story of the beginning.
I was either 11 or 12 when I dreamt it. I wasn’t particularly interested in dreams or symbolism at that time—not like I became later. I don’t remember having many specific dreams prior to that one, but that one I remembered. I remembered because of how it felt. It felt—like the deepest, coldest, most painful pit of despair and loss I had ever known. It felt more real than the world I woke up to in the morning—more real than anything I could recall feeling before. Something deep in the core of me beyond what I could express in my physical body lurched and I woke up feeling myself scream and sob and having a sense of something (something I would later learn to refer to as energy) expelling from me in heaves like vomit.
When I tried to describe the dream, it sounded like the plot to science-fiction movie, it could be interesting, but I couldn’t convey the depth of the emotions. I couldn’t find a way to express how much more real and poignant the emotions were to me than any “real” pain I had encountered before.
Here is what I dreamt:
There was a group of us. I think we numbered between 10 and 15 people. We were a team and we had been a team for a very long time. This wasn’t explained in the dream; it was just known. We had work to do and that work involved traveling through a portal in a silver looking box to different dimensions and using light rays to obliterate shadows. Different realms posed different types of danger, but we were well trained and had been doing this work for what might have been years—or centuries—it seemed like it was how things had always been. We were a good team and we were given different tasks to complete in each dimension: sometimes we had to find a person or object, sometimes we had to leave behind a clue or relic, different things like that. Once we completed our task, we had to get back to the silver box in time to be transported to the next realm. In order to do our work and to be transported we each had a pair of glasses. They looked like sunglasses, but they allowed us to see the shadows that were hidden in the worlds—to see more than what looked like existed. They also were the only way to be transported out when we finished our work.
All of us were friends and we all respected and loved each other, but there was one person that I was especially close to. She was older than me and my love for her was very deep. I stood next to her during transportation and we generally had each other’s back while fighting the shadows in each realm. We came eventually to a particular land that looked a lot like Earth. There were humans there but with the glasses on we could see the shadows both within and outside of the humans. I don’t remember what the task we were supposed to complete was, only that it was more dangerous than usual and as we finished our work we were spotted. A hoard of people came after us, but it wasn’t the people themselves that we had to worry about—it was the shadows operating in and around them. They lurched at us. We were vastly out numbered, but we had finished our work so we only needed to get back to the box and leave. It was hard to reach the box. We were running and jumping and fighting to get back to our portal and somewhere along the way a pair of glasses was lost or broken.
It was never clear whose glasses they were, but me and the girl I was close to were bringing up the rear and shouts from the front of our group reached us that a pair had been lost. The shadows were grabbing us and pulling us down, we didn’t have much time or strength left.
“One of us isn’t going to be able to make the jump,” Someone said. I looked at the girl who was just behind me and she looked at me and gave a hint of a smile. Then she took her own glasses off and tossed them over my head to someone closer to the front of the group.
I stopped moving.
“No.” I said, but my teammates had grabbed my arms and were dragging me into the box. The shadows were grabbing my closest friend and pulling her back into their hoard. “NO!” I screamed louder.
“It’s okay” she said as she was pulled into the darkness, but she was crying as she said it.
I was back in the box and the doors were closing and I was screaming and crying and fighting my teammates to try to get back to her.
“NO! We can’t let her do that.” The doors were already closed, and we were being catapulted up and away.
I was screaming—not words but guttural cries of panic and pain. I doubled over in tears as I screamed. What she would face was worse than dying, I knew. Death was a restart, but she wouldn’t be able to restart if she was torn apart by the shadows.
“We can’t leave her there” I sobbed, but we already had. “We have to go back.”
I looked at one of my teammates, an authority figure who had been near the front of the group when we were leaving. He shook his head.
“She doesn’t have a shield or tracker.” He was referring to the glasses, they were the source of defense and communication outside of the realms.
“We can’t LEAVE her!” I yelled at him “What kind of people are we if we do? We can’t just let them destroy her.”
When I woke up, I felt shaky and sick.
I’ll find you, I found myself thinking as the invisible force inside of me came spewing out. I don’t know who you are or how I’ll do it, but I will find you.
In my pre-teen brain, I knew it was only a dream. I knew that it was stupid to make a promise based on something that wasn’t real—to look for someone who didn’t exist. But the pain of losing her was so much more real to me than anything my brain deemed worthy of attention. My heart ached and rationality was silenced by the pulse of loss running through me. Besides there was a bigger problem I realized not so much in my head but somewhere deeper down—she wouldn’t look the same in this realm and I had only this child’s body to search for her with. I didn’t know what she would look like or where she was. How will I ever find you? I felt myself ask. Where do I start to look?