Into the Mist

Sam W

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There is a place many have seen but few remember. Most memories of that place are remembered as dreams, and seem distant and indistinct, leaving vague impressions that kids call nightmares but adults brush off. Children cry about scary monsters, places, and nonsensical event sequences, but most of all they remember feeling lost, alone, and abandoned. Parents take in these kids, and comfort them until they fall back asleep peacefully again.

However, there are people who remember more than this, and for far longer than just childhood. These memories tend to be more distinct, often featuring multiple dream sequences over the course of a night. These victims visit therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, take medication, partake in sleep studies, and take on cognitive training strategies. Nothing is ever seen to science as abnormal in the brain or physiology of the patients. But at some point or another, a dream occurs or recurs, and the process of doctor visits begins anew.

The most successful cases have been resolved primarily through cognitive training. The training mostly consists of learning to forcefully forget the disturbing visions, or to self–calm when the victims suddenly remember in the middle of the day. These are the most successful cases, but the worst cases can lead to diagnoses that lead to an inability to lead a normal life, sometimes requiring institutionalization or imprisonment. No matter how well the patient is able to manage the memories, there is a consistent element: thick mist.

The details of the dreams vary between people. Some remember being in an abandoned city, skyscapers disappearing quickly into the thick mist. Others are in forests, or perhaps on the plains, but not much is visible in these dreams. The sequences often take place across several of these settings. The witnessed events in these dreams are witnessed suddenly as one walks through the mist. They are often horrifying, two faced persons or gargantuan malformed beasts. Sometimes they are undertaking horrendous tasks, but sometimes they simply stare back at the patient. It is hard to say which has a greater effect on the victims.

While these dreams do correlate with childhood trauma, it is unclear how they relate. Do the dreams cause disruptive behavior that beget trauma, or do they spring from the trauma experienced beforehand? In any case, the link is undeniable. The presence of these dreams are nearly indicative of a person struggling with demons.

These are not all isolated people experiencing this phenomena. They find each other, especially in a connected modern world, but rarely does anything good come of the meetings. These meetings are awkward, touchy, and sometimes self–destructive. There have been groups of these dreamers, meeting to commit crimes, delve into the occult, wallow in misery together, or end themselves after coming face to face with the dispirited image of a kindred soul. The most common outcome of these meetings is the joint conclusion that their dreams are real. There is a place, a dimension, beyond consciousness, that they are transported to mentally, after sleep. This almost inevitably leads to a program of preventing sleep within the group, to prevent the dreams. This only worsens their mental state, but the stress of the nightmares seems more evil to them. Regardless, these meetings never improve these patients’ state.

Some of the afflicted never seek help. They simply live. That is not to say the experiences are not harrowing to them, but they hypothesize and develop conspiracies of their affliction to cope. They lurk in dark places, where they wouldn’t be found or bothered by doctors or those who would help. The dreams are harrowing indeed, but they are more than that to these. They are understood as showing a true nature of reality. The death, decay, and dismemberment is seen as representative of how the world works, under a facade. Therefore these dreams are embraced. These dreamers see themselves as truth seekers, and these disturbing visions as the true way forward. The grandiosity of this viewpoint is beyond my understanding, but these are for sure the most dangerous of the dreamers.

I have not found much in the way of relief from these dreams. I visit doctors when I have the urge, and they run tests, and talk to me; the therapists get more personal details from my past, but nothing ever comes of it to alieve my dreams. It is good company to have. It feels nice to have the spotlight, to know people are paying attention to you, that they have some vested interest in your well–being. But mostly I don’t care anymore. The dreams come and go, and my vitality ebb with the dreams, but I take it in stride. I have met others, but they are too caught up in an agenda to have a coherent conversation. So now, I suppose, I will just wait to fade away, when I have nothing left in me, when I am an empty husk, and my bodily functions slow to a small, graceful death.