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A Dream, A Story, A Dream

A long time ago, I had this strange and surreal dream. Nothing special really happened in it, but the imagery and layout of everything still stays in my mind. I think I blame Lovecraft and Ligotti, as I'd recently read their stories involving renditions of terrible, impossible cityscapes only seen in dreams.

So, here's mine.

I found myself in a hospital of some kind, of maybe an insane asylum. Everything was poorly lit and black and white - mostly black. I didn't know much about what was going on, but I did know that getting to a safe room would be imperative, because if either the nurses or the patients found me, I'd be in a heap of trouble.

I finally found my way into a strange dilapidated bathroom - like everything else in the hospital, it was rundown, cracked, peeling, burnt, with only a strange flickering whiteness providing light from cracks and light sources in the room, at least the ones that still worked.

I made my way to the window, trudging through some layers of filthy documents and bits of wrapping paper and things like that. Once I got to the window, I was shocked to realize that the hospital wasn't just weirdly lit, the entire world was a strange grayscale existence with some very odd backlighting. It was almost like a shadow puppet show of some kind. As I looked out into the sky, it seemed a pale grayish sort of white, but the color itself flickered, as though the sky were a giant sheet of paper with a flickering lantern behind it or something.

I saw the cityscape below me, for I must have been really high up in this hospital building, and it was all just murky, indistinguishable blackness, until finally my eye caught a strange series of spires in the distance, so black and flat and tilted that they looked cut out of black construction paper. The windows were all lit with that same flickering yellowish-white light. In retrospect, a strange little black aura haze lightly surrounded the cityscape too. I chalked it up to the weirdness of the lighting.

I murmured a word to myself as I had a dream-epiphany that that was the fabled city I was searching for. I think I called it Nethescurial, which is from Ligotti story. Don't know why I called it Nethescurial, a Ligotti-penned terrifying evil god, rather than Vastarien, the mythical city where Ligotti's protagonist keeps going in his dreams and increasingly not wanting to come back out. I may have just mixed the two words up in my sleep.

Somehow I made my way through the terrifying, lightless hospital full of nurses and patiens, all insane in equal amounts. I think I may have been stabbed at some point.

Finally, when I got outside, there was a complete tonal shift, like someone'd cleared out act 1 behind me and was in the process of setting up for act 2. Everything was beige and white and silvery blue now. I was standing on a sandy beach with a lot of people, bright white light preventing us from seeing anything more than a few yards away. We were all packing, and then a sudden gust of wind and rain came, and we all took off running, all towards the glimmering black city in the distance. Some took their baggage with them, while others left an obstacle course of suitcases on the ground. The rain came hard and fast, and even without the bright light, it was like a wall of perfectly white fog concealed everything after a certain distance - like shitty low-res draw distance in an old video game, where the distant background was white until you got closer enough for it to render.

I ran too, though I didn't understand why until the wind roared and the rain picked up so hard that I became disoriented and collided into another runner. This runner - I can't remember them anymore - told me we must keep running, the tornadoes will be watching for the weak and fallen. (Real life note: I am AFRAID TO DEATH of tornadoes, you guys. They're in my top 5 phobias list and everything.). Tornadoes? Okay, that makes sense about the wind then... and I took off running, all of us in pastel-colored '20s clothes, pelted by the dirty sand and the water. Again I lost all sense of direction. I couldn't see anything, just walls of sand-streaked dust, distorted rain streams, and the wind whipping them all around us. I was sure that one of the tornadoes would get me as I got cut off from the group, so I just kept running.

I never made it to the city, because I woke up first. And like the protagonists in Lovecraft and Ligotti's stories, I am sorely tempted to go back and explore more.

And that is my little story for today. Enjoy!