Nocturn Sojourn

My dreams used to be a lot more vivid. Though I hate to admit it, I think it’s the weed that put a stop to that. You don’t really sleep when you’re getting high all the time, you just pass out eventually. This is why a lot of people will tell you that going on a tolerance break from green will often result in some pretty intense dreams during the first few nights of sobriety, as if you’ve pulled the little Dutch kid’s blunt out of the dam and the walls break, dreamjuice cascading upon you like waves in a Japanese woodprint.

A long while back, I remember having a series of interconnected dreams that seemed to share a narrative arc. They were in different locations, but I could see the future dreamscapes on the horizon, and look back at places I’d inhabited in dreams before. It was quite the journey, and took me the better part of a year. It’s all still pretty fresh in my mind, might as well lay out the details of my unconscious pilgrimage.

It began, as all great epics do, on a dirtbike. At the time I was playing an ungodly amount of GTA: San Andreas, and I think that’s where the bike came from. But it was weird; I remember how detailed everything was. I was in some sort of urban landscape, a large town or a city. It was night, and it was raining. I remember there wasn’t a soul to speak of, nor was there even a mote of electricity. No windows or even streetlights glowed through that nocturnal downpour. My dirtbike was silent; all I could hear was the spatter of rain on the overpass, against windowpanes, flecking against my face. And amidst all this, there was a single thought, occurring only once:

“The Castle is near.”

The Castle came to me in my next dream. I saw it from the outside, and I’ve never seen architecture like it. It seemed to be a European castle, medieval, yet rather than parapets and such, the roof was distinctly Japanese. On top of all this, it was huge. It stretched on for miles, further than the horizon. This dream took on some sort of birdseye view, a swooping, scaling pan of the complex, lit only by flashes of lightening amidst the ongoing downpour. It was a frightening place, revealing nothing about what lay inside its massive grounds.

I would have this dream several times, always knowing somewhere inside that *this* was The Castle.

And then, with no warning, I was inside. This dream took me through the walls. I wasn’t a disembodied eye anymore, I was myself again. And so was the person in front of me. I was looking at myself, who was looking at me. He was dead, or looked it. His skin was grey, scarred. Hair was lank and greasy, a full beard having burst through at some point. He held two axes in his hands, and I knew I had to kill him before he did the same. Around us sewerage pipes burst and wooden walkways splintered as we ran at eachother.

I don’t know who won the battle, which ‘me’ I came to inhabit after the dream, because all of a sudden I was back in the city, but things had changed slightly. I remembered The Castle, and meeting myself, but the city itself was changed. The most striking thing, I think, was the light. It was still night, and that never seemed to change in the city, but now there was a thick amber light pouring upon everything, and hints at life, such as lights coming on and off in the sides of buildings. Also of note was the noise, which emanated from a place that either hadn’t been there before, or had been built while I was in The Castle. A massive red iron wall fenced off what I knew was the docks off from the rest of the city. It was from the docks and shipyards that all this light was coming from, as well as the noise. Construction sounds, raw and industrial, accompanied at times by deep, reverberating tones that seemed impossible. What was happening was known to me already, wisdom simply occurring the way it seems to in dreams. On the other side of the wall, great and terrible war machines were being built for some ongoing war Elsewhere, perhaps amongst the stars. Many-angled-things were wrought from iron and fire and sent to the sky, more slag for the heap. At some point I came to refer to the place as Red Dock City. Not the most imaginative title, I guess. And all of a sudden, there I was again. It was me, not exactly how I’d been in The Castle, but me all the same. Slightly older, hair shorter, face… meaner. He was entering a tall high-rise, bathed as everything else was in a thick amber haze.

The next dream was about the building itself. I was stood at the foot of it, staring up its cracked red-brick façade, dotted symmetrically with windows. The whole dream, I just stared at it. I never looked around me, but I knew things had changed. For one thing, there was finally daylight, but it was obscured and coloured by the sandstorm, of all things, that was occurring. Perhaps I had been standing at the foot of the high-rise for centuries, as Red Dock City crumbled around me. Perhaps the war had come back to Earth, or wherever I was, and the construction yard and the city around it had been reduced to rubble and dust by the war machines, turning on their masters and homeland. I just stared and stared and stared…

The next chapter of these seemingly connected dreams took me away from Red Dock, and to The Station. I stepped out of a train onto a deserted but beautiful station platform. Everything was silver and aluminium, chrome and glass. The air was clear, cool and tranquil. Off in the distance I could see the tower block rising out of the sand and dust which obscured almost everything around The Station, which I felt at an instinctive level was a safe place. I knew however, even within the dream, that The Station was a brief respite before I continued my journey, and that I was getting closer to my final destination. I stayed a spell, however, due to the calmness of the place, the placid tranquillity it instilled in me.

And it was in the next instalment that I finally came to the end of this strange journey across the dreamscape. This place was… well, sort of heavenly. Silverglass Plateau. It was both a shore and a mountain, all of it made from diamond. Brilliant, almost too much to look at. It was eternally night, but not like back in The Castle and Red Dock, where the sky was obscured with thick stormclouds and pollution. No, here the sky glittered with incandescent lights, Nuit herself stretching over me. Walking along the shining beach I came to the mountain, which appeared headless, like a conspiratorial pyramid. It seemed that some sort of installation had been carved into this monolithic diamond mountain, steel doors sliding open and shut as I approached. Deep into the white mountain I walked, not a soul in sight, until… at the end of a hallway, I saw a figure, too distant to see, save that they wore green. I tried to chase them, but whenever I followed them around a corner they were once again far in the distance, at a higher or lower level, across chasms or at the tops of elaborate staircases. But I could tell they were watching me. There was no malice or affection in this mysterious Watcher.

And like that, it was all over. I never again returned to whatever world these interconnected dreams had taken place on, no final wisdom came to me at the end, as if the mysterious drama put on by my unconscious had failed to be renewed for another season. The final dream bothered me with its lack of closure, refusal to reveal desired context. It wasn’t until a while later that I realised I’d started wearing green after the dreams had ended.