The Dreamers

The text below was released from the Coroner’s Office and entered the public domain at the request of the deceased’s Estate. It was decided at the inquest that the text, dated the evening before the deceased’s death, was not evidence of an intended suicide. The University Library Committee concurs with this view but members agreed that it represents an interesting example of primary source material. It has therefore been archived in the following categories: Psychiatry, disordered cognition, schizoid-paranoid; Criminal Forensics, evidence analysis; Abnormal Psychology, suicidal ideation; Sleep Disorder Research Unit, hynogogic imagery, isolated sleep paralysis; Sociology, alienation and anomie; Literature, fiction.

I am writing this under an intolerable strain of suffering.  The opiates that dulled and muffled my screaming nerves I have emptied into the drains.  The dreadful awareness of living in this malicious dream is still upon  me as I force myself to write.  Tomorrow I may wake to steel reality and have to face the awfulness of being without illusion or dream, or to an existence even more terrible than the present, yet entry to such potential horror is my only possible escape from this stinking nightmare world  that swarms with clouds of the living dead. I must write, must focus all my thinking on the fine point of the pen that shapes these words. It is preparation, it is ritual, it is funeral and birth. Acid- cold I spit a curse on the demon fate that slopped me through a canal of blood and slime into this Hell of rotting flesh. Tonight I may enter through the iron gates of a greater, cleaner world.

No thoughts of sorrow or consolation do I leave for the demented hungry ghosts. I have no oily words of  cloying love or sick comfort for those who roam these infernal realms, circling the dead days, sinking into the gaseous rot of their putrifying bodies. Not all the thick perfumes and saturated paints of their grotesque delusions can hide from me the sweet stink of  their nauseous descent to the slimy heap of  fermenting corpses.

Yet, I have come across during my suffocation by the Dreamworld of the Dead,  testimonies and experiences that  show me that moments, glimpses of reality have pierced the soul. Others have expressed such revelations. Looking back, I see that I too received many such illuminations. Others, I know with certainty, have escaped the dream yet returned to it at times, left words of mockery, signs to the dead to rouse themselves. Perhaps I too shall return sometimes in such a way. Perhaps then, and even now, there are those who will hear my words and be shaken from their emptiness,  that they too may go in search of their soul. I also write for them. Here follows the geometry of dreaming.

The first axiom rests upon a report from my Mother. She was wrong in her interpretation but the truth of what she saw is important. When I was removed from her womb three weeks later than a convenient birth would have it,  according to her and other witnesses, and collaborated by  family members, I made desperate attempts to get back inside her.  The midwife and others attendant upon the delivery slapped me about with significantly more vigor than that accruing to most births, until I gave up my attempts and stopped clawing at her flesh.  Having been washed of my garnishings of blood and slime, and slightly concussed, I was, as would convention have it, placed in my Mother’s arms. According to her, I looked at her with the eyes of an ancient man, eyes which spoke the words, “Oh no, not again.”

Throughout her life my Mother would mention this as evidence that she was parent to a reincarnated spirit king come to wage war on the forces of darkness. In other words, like many in the Dream World, she was not completely dead and understood vaguely that reality was elsewhere. Alas, the awareness was too feeble to wake her up completely, and she simply replaced one dream with another. Happily, I was with her when she left the Dreamworld many years later, and her eyes as they lost their veil of dreaming fixed on me that she had understood at last. Ah! How painful and horrifying to me as I write these words, the swarms of dreaming ghosts around me! The thick stench of their hysteria chokes me and  suffocates me still. Dreams within dreams, shadows within shadows, shades within shades, worlds within worlds. Hissing words of beauty and love and goodness and truth and god and the nobility of the working class, of stately progress toward the perfectibility of the living dead. Bubbling babels  of confectionary icing over the fecal flatulence of acrid vapours, poisonous gases, putrid sacks of pus in clothing tailored  from the foul fumes of mass graves. No, the real reason I was desperate to get back was that, unpolluted yet by words and ideas and other protoplasmic clouds of the Dream World, I saw clearly that I had been plunged into a nightmare.  I think at some level every dreamer knows this.

In the cot, still free of the curse of language, I saw things clearly. Only the nights, cold and crystal do I remember, the rest being mere dream effluent. Through the steel framed windows, the black blue sky, and in the near distance the shunting of steam engines, and luminous clouds of white smoke,  all heard that was seen and seen that was heard, and above, the iced moon. Then the sleep that came while still dreaming, and the many clocks in the house, tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick, layered over each other to tsssssssss tsssssss tsssssssss, the air, the universe of infinite particles on the borders of colour, of an unperceived silver and black. And in that darkness the turning of thousands of cones made of infinitely thin rapidly vibrating threads, slowly turning, inevitably turning and on the layers of sight and sound, particles and smoke, the cones visible and silently audible as far as the mind was wide.  All this, before the prison of language and illusion, was a glimpse into the timeless reality from which savage birth had snatched me.

As the dreamworld infiltrated my soul, the grey webs of language filled the space of my freedom. I, who had known no body but saw only the dazzling atoms of being itself dancing in the precious emptiness of the vast cosmos, became entrapped by words.  The second birth into this living nightmare began as words fleshed out a body that spewed and shit and pissed, a body that, most horrible of all, was surrounded by other bodies, other vessels of corrupting decay.  There was a period when I would scream in the night, scream against my imprisonment in flesh, and the Mother would come and coo words I could not understand, and terrify me into existence and separation by holding me to her, while mouthing, “Shhhhhhhhhh. Shhhhhhhh.”  Within months, my vision of the hissing of time and the turning of the giant cones of thread,  was replaced by the tick-tock of each separate clock, and the slow turning of the clocks’ hands.  In the same way, my legs stepped uniformly through doorways, across square-tiled floors. I began to name things, began to believe that reality consists of the things named in it.

But I never lost completely the force of these early memories.  When I was older, and almost totally accepting the dreamworld as real, my father, a train driver, began to take me to the shunting yards, and at home he bought me a train set. The little engine going round and round on its track, and the wheels of the mighty steam trains with their enormous pistons pumping powerfully and spurting out long jets of white steam provided me with the basic imagery for a geometry of the dreamworld.  It is a world that endlessly repeats itself, its inhabitants forced to live the same day over and over while desperately trying to disguise the rails they are trapped upon with gaudy confections and fantasies. The engine of this circular hell is driven by pistons pushing top to bottom, up and down, and this too defines the dreamland wanderers forced into an existence of powerful attraction and repulsion: they hate each other, they love each other, they kill each other, they save each other,  over and over and over and under and round and round they go, and the sun and the stars and the spinning planet are the shape of the minds of the dreamers.

Yet, the power of language blinded me too for much of my time. I too pretended to pretend that I was not pretending, I too lost sight of my free self. But always there was a sense of not being fleshed out enough, not being real enough, as if I was not so much dreaming as being a character in somebody else’s dream.

When I became a teenager I spent most of my time alone. I did copulate with girls and fight with boys, but with no more enthusiasm than eating a bag of chips or visiting the toilet. Mostly I  kept to myself.  After my father was murdered by the coalman, I spent days and nights locked in the shed of his allotment, reading. For the first time, though rarely, I came across the words of writers who had seen through words, and who poured acid scorn on the infinite layers of ghostly loves and ideas and theories that poured from the pens of the sick and deluded.  One such writer, de Quincey was an opium addict. Since he expressed more than anyone I had ever read something to the effect that the world is all delusion, I started experimenting with drugs. That  was fatal, and for fifteen years I became as enmeshed in the savage webs of the dreamland as the most wretched of creatures.

It is pointless to describe the horrors of those years for such experiences are common to many and not unique to me. Suffice it to say that I  slowly developed a coherent dream that if I could free myself from addiction, I would  reach the promised world of which people spoke, the world where all is well. So much greater then was the deepest horror of all, to realise after years of sweat and toil in breaking my addictions that the promised land did not exist, and that the world was the land of hungry ghosts I have here described.

But now it was I who felt like a ghost. For no matter where I went or who I met, I found the world taking itself seriously. The fact that  everything in it and  each of its inhabitants were inescapably decaying and turning to powder before my eyes  was universally denied. The dreamworld and its people were circling and hating and loving and pumping and dreaming their golden tomorrows as if it were not all a dream. On an on the hatred and the scorn, the repeated ideas, the wars and terrors, the tyranny of the dream-made egos, the vapid vanities, the cacophony of gadgets and art, the markets of love and salvation and messiahs, the theatres of violence unbridled, libraries of empty knowledge, on and on, day by repeated day, circling and pumping from the heart of some devilish darkness.

My escape from this dream has been offered by providence, grace if you will, by something outside the dream. In a world made out of words it is indeed ironic that the way out of the dream is through dreaming beneath it. I learned  about three years ago that by concentrating upon very simple images before sleeping I was able to determine the contents of my sleeping dreams. I achieved this in order to gain some respite from what would otherwise have been chaotic electrical storms that merely reflected the dream structures of the day, and which brought my mind no rest.

I would lie on my left side and summon up the images for twenty minutes or so. The first such set of imagery involved  a small cottage on the Island of Mull in Scotland. There I was the gatekeeper to a small springwater bottling business. When I had, each night, imagined the details of the simple cottage interior, drank of the cold water, viewed through the low windows the red sun sinking in the west, I would turn and lie on my right side and enter for the night a world every bit as real as my waking hours. Mainly I would be sitting quietly and peacefully, my time shaped by those occasions when I would greet he few workers of the plant or the drivers of lorries that came to collect our spring’s water.

There were other similar scenarios. All the time, though, I was aware that I was dreaming and that soon I would have to return to the dream where nobody knows they are dreaming. The procedure did not always work. Sometimes the peaceful dream would be fractured by powerful bolts of  imagery from the dreams of day.  And it was not always possible to conjure the required imagery while lying on my left side immediately prior to sleep. On those occasions a very horrible image arose and tormented me. At these times I would get up, smoke, stay awake, eventually drift into chaotic and restless sleep. But one night, I do not know why, I decided to allow the dreadful imagery to grow, and to see where it took me.

I was in a long tunnel that seemed endless, a sewer. It was square, walls and roof made of large grey concrete slabs. On either side of the ditch, about two metres wide, were two walkways. Dim yellow lights every five metres in the roof cast a uniform dirty light, enough to illuminate the filthy water. It moved slowly, slower than I walked, was deep brown-black and green yet translucent. On its surface an oily scum carried forward fragments of human waste, and even sometimes human body parts. It was warm down there, and stank some foul and acrid stink that has no name. Beneath the surface of the turgid liquid teemed thick swarms of grey eels, and fish-shaped things like animated mucus slimed their appetites through the rotting jelly.

I walked on an on, and time compressed to nothing, walked on as if for ever, and nothing changed, no single variation in this seemingly endless uniformity of sewered stink and concrete. The tunnel curved, as if part of a huge circle, and always in the distance a slab of darkness where the sides converged. How long I walked is pointless to discuss, for outside the dream it may have been only seconds while in my mind it was for eternity. It is the eternity I recall as relevant, the feeling of eternal circling in a sewer. Yet such is the geometry of dreams that other times exist, in dreams of the day world and dreams of the night.

Night after night, if I would but sustain a tiny memory while walking along the eternal rim of an endless sewer, there came a release from the circle that saw the sewer become a corridor of similar size but rounded, and bathed in a rich blue light. This led onto a balcony that ran around an enormous wall overlooking a deep chamber. Above me, the steel smooth wall tapered gently to a cone topped by a disc of pulsing light. From the chamber below, at right angles to each other were the massive mouths of four  tunnels. The entirety of this space was filled with walkways and bridges, balconies and elevators, mobile units of silver machinery and  the activity of countless human creatures. Through the centre of the cone ran vertically a broad steel tower and at its base vehicles from the tunnels continuously unloaded what was presumably digging waste for removal to the top of the cone and whatever was beyond it. The creatures moved gently, with purpose but without hurry. So unlike any person I had ever come across, I was wary yet strangely did not feel threatened. Those who passed me on the balcony smiled kindly at me, but I felt unable to return their greeting. I carried too much bitter experience of the falseness of  smiles in the Dreamworld.

They were all, men and women, dressed in clean grey working gear, all of them looked healthy and contented, their eyes were brilliant in their whiteness. After repeatd visits, I began to recognise individuals, and became more confident to walk further along the balcony.  One of them, a middle aged man took to leaning on the balcony rails next to where I stood as he smiled at me. They spoke a language which I could see from their interactions, but which I could not hear. I write all this in the past tense. It is now important to speak of the near present.

During my time visiting this strange place I have been conscious of my wretched appearance, my unworthiness among these creatures. I have found it impossible to believe that such humans, happy and full of goodwill, could treat me with anything but contempt or at best pity.  Yet in the last week the middle aged man has taken to seeking me out, waiting for me to appear. He gently led me to an elevator last night, smiling encouragement and  sensitive to my nervousness. He took me upwards to a higher balcony, and  along it to a  pair of sliding steel doors. He placed his hand on them and they opened, and we walked onto a balcony that ran around the outside of the cone for only the larger bottom part of it was underground.

People on the outside  balcony greeted him and smiled at me with a beautiful gentle friendliness I find impossible to translate into the language of the Dreamworld.  We were near the top of a hill, more nearly a mountain, that was being built out of the waste of the tunnels. A pure fresh wind blew softly around us as we walked the circumference of the hill. The huge blue sky with its pure white fluffs of cloud was domed over a spectacular landscape of distant mountains and beyond them a turqoise sea jewelled with small islands. Nearer to where we stood, rolling pastures and forests rose between sparkling streams and silver lakes. It was too much for me, and I crumpled with shock. The man caught me gently and with the help of his friends took me down to the interior balcony where we had met. At the entrance to the corridor through which I travelled back to this Dreamworld, he took my hand and held it firmly. His eyes looked into mine with an ineffable love, imploring me to stay. Yet, wretch that I felt in my rotting innards, I sadly raised a feeble smile of gratitude before returning to the sewer and this morning’s waking.

So expert am I in the geometry of dreams, the algebra of hope, that I expect nothing but misery and a worse hell than this one. I do not trust dreams, and do not trust that my visits to reality are any more than  dreams of reality. But I have no choice. I have a glimmer of hope but carry the weight of inexpressible terror and dread. I am tired now, utterly exhausted and will sleep. This is my last word.

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