“Be careful what you wish for,” a voice whispered eerily in the darkness.
I was confused at first. Was I still sleeping or was I awake? I was mostly sure that I was dreaming, but this dream felt strangely realistic. It made more sense than other dreams, probably because there was nothing here. Absolutely nothing. Usually my dreams are filled with bizarre happenings that have something to do with my consciousness without me being aware of it until after I wake up. And usually after I wake up something happens during the course of my day to remind me what I dreamed about, until the memory fades with other dreams and my subconscious tires. But this didn’t have the dream-like quality to it. The sensation where you only feel what you want to feel, touch, see, and do. Here, I couldn’t do or see anything. Just blackness in my sight. The things I felt were realistic. The feel of the smooth hard surface beneath my bare toes, the pain in my palms as my nails dug savagely into them, the absolute stillness and hotness of the air and the way it made my lungs feel – making me take shallow, rugged breaths. It was these sensations that gave me the impression that I was still awake. But how could that be? How did I get here? I don’t remember anything.
I took a hesitant step forward, holding my breath then sighing with relief as my foot felt the smooth surface again. I was afraid if I took a step, there would be nothing to set my foot upon, and I would fall. But there was and I didn’t. I felt oddly eager as I took another step and another. Becoming more relaxed that I didn’t need to fear anything here except for fear itself. The atmosphere did no good with my sudden anxiety. I wanted to breathe more deeply, but couldn’t. The air was deathly thin.
I managed to unclench my hands and let them sway at my sides as I now grew with confidence and began to run, as blind as I was. Hopefully I would run into something. A wall, a pole, a door. Anything that would knock me out and startle me awake back in my bed at home. But to my disappointment, there wasn’t anything, just as I saw nothing. Sensed nothing. I could feel my pupils grow larger than my irises, trying to suck up what light they could to see things a little clearer. But still, nothing. There was no light here. It was like I had my eyelids permanently sewn shut and then put myself into a dark void. Like a box or a coffin. My breathing became claustrophobic again, though I assumed I was not in an enclosed space.
I could feel my muscles pull and constrict against my bones as I began to run faster and faster. My legs launched me further with each stride, like a gazelle, I could feel a deep burning in my chest, making my lungs shallow and my skin sweat. Soon, I grew tired of running. It seemed like hours – lifetimes as the minutes sluggishly passed, though I wasn’t sure if time even existed in this black abyss. I let myself collapse to the floor, letting my breath even out. I curled into a ball, as I grew more frantic and the tears of desperation spilled over. I was not hysterical, I was just crying. Letting the drops of salt water hit the floor with light pitters. Soon, I would grow hungry, soon I would go insane with it, and I would die. That is, if this wasn’t a dream. I prayed that something out of my subconscious would wake me. The smell of my mother’s cooking, the wailing laughter of my little sister, the boisterous cough of my father. I strained my ears, hopping that I could somehow hear them. A new noise came to my attention, but it wasn’t the sound that I was praying for. My heart fluttered like a hummingbird’s wings inside my chest. I could hear it pound in my ears more than I could hear my rugged breathing, the tears dripping and the sobs that now followed after it.
I buried my face to my chest, trying to sink into myself and disappear. That’s what I wanted more than anything. I wanted nothing more but to escape this empty nothingness. Never had I known such pain could be brought upon one by nothing. I looked up, not sure why I had at first. Maybe a voice inside me told me to, without me being aware. My subconscious within my subconscious.
The light blinded. It was the most beautiful thing I had set my eyes upon once they were adjusted. Inside the halo of the white light was a door. Just a door. It was hinged to its frame, but there were no walls and it stood upright, facing me. Vines of jasmine and multicolored roses twisted up it in endless patterns and intervals and it was at this moment that I knew that I was dreaming. No door and flowers could’ve been more beautiful than the one that stood before me now.
I got to my feet, stumbling under my anticipation and ran to it. When I reached it, I hesitated. Maybe the door will not be as wondrous as I hoped it would be. Maybe it led somewhere else besides the place I wanted it to go. If this really was a dream than it would lead me back to my bed, my home, my family. But if this wasn’t, where could it go? And more importantly, do I really want to find out? Or if it really went anywhere at all. Maybe another empty void or the same one. Curiosity got the better of me and I reached out and placed my fingers on the golden knob, twisting it eagerly. Fresh air flew at me, blew through my tangled hair and filled my oxygen deprived lungs. A moment without second thought, I stepped over the door hinge and found myself in a place where I wasn’t sure if it was better or worse.