32. Snow's Dreams, Pt. 1
23 Jan 2055 | 0800h
Snow sat up in his bed and looked at the clock. 0800h. These days, it seemed he didn’t even need an alarm. One side effect of Lucidity was a greater awareness in your body’s internal clock with respect to your REM cycle. Empirically, in any case, Snow found himself always waking up after his last dream of the morning. He had started toying with the idea of doing away with an alarm clock altogether.
Snow reflexively put on his Lenses, realizing that this had been, at least since the new year, his pattern every single morning. He wasn’t sure how to feel about that. On one hand, he had to admit that there was (again, empirical) evidence that he was habitually addicted to his Lenses. On the other hand, he didn’t feel physically addicted to them; by that logic, he could stop any time he wanted through willpower alone. He didn’t see any reason to stop, either, other than the fact that he felt an off-putting discomfort when he ran his morning routine through his head without checking his dreams first thing after he woke up.
Addicted or not, Snow was eager to rewatch his dreams this morning. Having easy access to his dreams was what had prompted Snow to immediately reach for his Lenses upon consciousness in the first place. His morning with his dreams had proven a wonderful time to reflect and ponder upon his unconscious mind before he decided upon his intentions for the rest of the day. This justification on the side of mental wellness had, for now, successfully combatted any other discomfort that would lead Snow to change his morning routine.
After about a month of watching his dreams every morning, Snow had started to notice common themes emerging from his head. The first, he had been aware of even before he had started using Lucidity. This was the implication of grandiosity directed at him. Almost daily, every other day at least, Snow would have a dream that either included him in a god-like position or included some other god-like being announcing to Snow that he was on their level.
Snow still wasn’t sure how to interpret these dreams. He could look at them as precognitions, implying that he was destined for some sort of greatness. If that were the case, he wondered what that would entail. It sounded like a long, difficult road. He had never felt capable of living a completely normal life, but the thought of living a life of greatness actively overwhelmed him.
On the other hand, Snow could look at his dreams as representative of a deeper part of his psyche: One where he believed himself to be better than everyone else. This would serve to point out an arrogance to Snow that he didn’t even know he had, at least not to the degree his dreams would imply. Even if that were the case, Snow wished that he could bring some of this buried arrogance out of himself and exude it as genuine confidence, a trait he had never strongly observed in himself apart from his unconscious.
Another motif in Snow’s dreams was the presence of intense and expansive landscapes. The settings of each dream were rarely the same. Sometimes he was in the middle of a large university or urban environment, running between buildings to get to different classes and meetings. Other times he was in the middle of one large house. Still other times there were no man-made structures at all, and he found himself in some sort of vast natural atmosphere. In these dreams, he often wished he was more artistic so he could paint these landscapes. Perhaps some day he would be able to sell prints of stills from his dreams.
These landscapes were often populated with unusual creatures. Sometimes these creatures were obviously derived from animals Snow had seen in real life (for instance, a green fox with a large head, or a six-legged bear), but other times the creatures resembled nothing that Snow had seen in his life.
Last night, Snow’s dream had incorporated each of the motifs listed above in some fashion or another. In fact, it was one of the most intense dreams Snow had had to date. At this point, he remembered it so clearly that he doubted he would be very surprised by anything he saw upon review. On top of that, he felt sick just thinking about watching the dream again. Experiencing it had left an uncomfortable feeling in Snow’s gut that had barely faded upon awakening.
For this reason alone, Snow decided he had to watch the dream again. Not only to satisfy his tendency toward completion (he had rewatched all his dreams since getting Lucidity), but also to solidify to Snow exactly what had happened in this dream. If his dream was so disturbing that he hardly had the courage to revisit it, there was a good chance his brain would soon misremember it, tweaking it in more horrifying ways until the scope and power of the dream had increased through iterations of memory.
Snow turned on his Lucidity and began the review. The dream began with Snow standing in a sort of wasteland. The climate resembled a desert, with red and brown dirt and sand extending as far as the eye could see. Some barren trees were scattered throughout the landscape, gnarled as though a fire had burnt down anything that once lived there.
After taking in his surroundings for a moment, Snow heard a voice coming from behind him: ‘You are the one to complete the cycle.’ By now, Snow was used to these vague and mystical orders, but some still struck him more than others. This one in particular sounded even more serious than usual. ‘You are the God of this land,’ the voice continued. ‘Restore it to what it has been; restore it to the reality it knew before.’ For the rest of the dream, the voice never returned to Snow. As usual, he couldn’t make sense of this prophecy, in the dream or in his waking life.
In any case, Snow had no real choice but to move forward or stand still. He decided to explore the territory. The environment was completely flat, lacking the dynamic nature of something like a college campus, which Snow had had plenty of positive experience exploring in prior dreams. As Dream Snow became increasingly impatient for something new and stimulating in his environment, he began to run. He continued to accelerate gradually, eventually running at a speed of what felt like 60 miles per hour. This process continued for about twenty minutes, Snow running toward the horizon, around slightly different trees, taking in much of the same thing. As the Conscious Snow reviewed the dream, he fast forwarded through some of these sequences.
After about twenty minutes, Snow noticed a standing object that wasn’t a tree and slowed down to approach it with care. As he got closer, the being started to take shape. It was, indeed, moving: Another living creature in the wasteland. It was built almost like a bear, fur covering its entire body. At the end of each of its arms were long, grey claws. Above its body, however, it was its own species. Its head was a long, furry cylinder, cleanly rounded at the top. On front of its face was a trunk, like an elephant’s in shape and motor capacity, though smaller and apparently more flexible.
The creature began loafing about. Snow remained still. He hadn’t gotten a good look at the front of the beast. Eventually, the creature stopped moving completely, frozen in place. After a moment, it turned over its left shoulder to look directly at Snow. At least, it seemed to be looking at Snow. In the place of eyes, directed straight at Snow’s gaze, were two holes through which Snow could see a green, mountainous landscape. After that, Snow woke up.
That gaze, Snow thought. That’s what had really set it off. That gaze and the absence of anything else in that environment. Snow removed his lenses. Dreams like this in content were not completely uncommon for Snow, but the feeling that this dream had left him with was far more disturbing than average. He wondered if it had something to do with the Auber he had taken before he had gone to bed. It was the second time he had taken the substance since his visit to UNI.
Last week, Carlton had pulled him aside to let him know that he had more Aubergine. Having had a positive first experience with the substance, Snow had agreed to try it again, this time on his own. The first time Snow had taken the Aubergine on his own, he reflected, his experience had been quite similar. He had taken the substance before bed, and had experienced a subtle feeling of elation before going to sleep to participate in intensely vivid dreams.
That time, however, the dream Snow had had, though vivid, were extremely pleasant. This dream had taken place in a sort of tree-village in a lush forest. Most of the trees in this area were huge, their roots and branches providing pathways all throughout the village like a wooden labyrinth. A wide variety of animals, both real and imaginary, occupied the space. There were different colored foxes with different amounts of eyes. There were dog-sized frogs with four tall legs like those of deer. There were insect-like creatures the size and shape of softballs that floated around, vibrating and shifting between colors. In this dream, Snow was the master of the animals, and he spent his time talking to the animals and guiding them on different journeys through the forest. The dream had left Snow with a feeling of wonder and joy after he woke.
Snow wondered if these vivid dreams were a side-effect of Aubergine. It obviously didn’t guarantee good dreams, but both times he had taken the substance, his dreams had been even more intense than usual. Carlton had told them that there was hardly more than speculation in the most recent paper on Aubergine, and Snow was starting to appreciate just how little was known about the substance. Ricky 2 had apparently been able to materialize small objects after taking it. Snow had never come anywhere close to materializing something out of nothing. It didn’t seem like Snow was just lower on the learning curve—it felt like the two of them were on different paths entirely.
It was possible the substance affected everyone differently. Snow hoped he would get the chance to try it again with Ricky 2 and Carlton. He wanted to see this materialization that Ricky 2 had been talking about. It would be hard to wrap his head around until he saw it in person.
Until then, Snow figured he could work on his own use of the substance. If it was responsible for the vivid dreams he had been having, and if he was now conscious of this effect, who knows how much farther he could take these dreams? Perhaps he could take a more active part in his dreams the next time he took Aubergine.
In any case, Snow thought, stretching out in bed, there was more to learn. And the only price he would have to pay was a disturbing dream here and there. Other than that, the Auber seemed relatively harmless. As Snow lay out on his bed, two trains of thought took off in his mind. First, how would he spend his Saturday? And second, he would have to ask Carlton for more Aubergine when he got back to school on Monday.