Here I sit in a crowded airport - surrounded by a multitude of humanity scurrying along like busy little insects on their own set routines, alone & apart. I hear the sounds of coins clinking in the slot machines and gaze without really seeing at the gamblers wrestling with the one-armed bandits scattered all around the terminal. I look at those surrounding me as would a child at the activities of the inhabitants of his ant farm - detached yet curious. Why am I set apart from those who should be my peers? I know not and oft, care not either. Then that rare moment of introspection hits me and I begin to wonder about myself and all that sets me apart from the rest of humanity.
Last night the dreams began again. The dreams ... what do I make of them? Better still, what do I tell you about them? Dare I run the risk of you thinking me a raving lunatic? But then again, I cannot go on for much longer holding this within me without telling anybody else - thinking, wondering, debating .. and slowly and yet inevitably reaching that cliff's edge where sanity takes a tumble into madness. Do I want that slow deterioration? My mind provides me the answer emphatically - no, a thousand times no! I guess I'll just have to tell you the tale and let you judge for yourself ...Where do I begin? Where indeed does this strange tale of mine start? Did it begin at the time of my birth? Or is this an even older tale that began with others like me? But here again, I drift off into the realm of speculation ... for once let me try to stick to the facts and let others speculate ... The public announcement system breaks in on my reveries to announce that my flight has been delayed - fate (or something else) at work again? But I forget my manners ... let me introduce myself - my name is Morpheus Mentor. Curious name, huh? Blame it on a father who was saddled with a strange family name to begin with and in spite of the fact decided to afflict his first born with a name that he probably came across during his perusal of those musty volumes of Greek literature that he was so fond of. First born did I say? Actually I was the only offspring that my parents were to be blessed with - though I sometimes got the feeling that they didn't consider me exactly as a blessing ...
Being an only child, and the child of two people who preferred their own company to that of anybody else at that, I had a pretty lonely childhood though I never lacked for love. My parents showered me with an abundance of affection and attention ... whenever they managed to extricate themselves from whatever they had their noses buried in at that particular time. Otherwise I was pretty much left to my own devices. Maybe the reason that I turned out so different from my peers was the fact that I was in effect able to choose my own education - such as it was. I had an innate love of stories and was so eager to get started on reading that school couldn't come too soon for me. But once I'd learnt how to read. I more or less lost interest in school, preferring to further my education along channels that I decided upon. I devoured all materials I could find on the hard sciences while religion and mythology interested me just as much. This perhaps led to an interest in humanity and philosophy and by extension - history. But what has all of this got to do with the dreams? Well ... to understand the dreams, you've got to understand me and that means understanding the factors and circumstances that molded me ...
My reverie is interrupted again as the public announcement system blares to life, announcing the arrival of my delayed flight. I scramble to my feet, gather my belongings and hurry into the waiting maw of the aircraft which swallows me up like some hungry beast of prey.
The hustle and bustle of finding my seat, putting away my luggage and settling down in my seat occupies my attention for the next few minutes. I'm finally comfortable and have time to take stock of my fellow passengers - particularly the ones sitting next to me. My neighbour turns out to be a cute little child - he's completely engrossed in taking his toy airplane apart into its individual components like an entomologist dissecting a fly.
Ah, the joy of being a child and not having a care in the world! How I envy him! Seeing him takes me back to my own childhood - so alike in certain ways and yet poles apart in others. I had the same curiosity as this child sitting beside me but is his life as lonely as mine was? I have no way of knowing but I do hope that it isn't so ... I wouldn't want such a life of being on your own and being left with your own mind for company on anybody ...
But let's get back to the main subject before I meander too far off the topic in my ramblings of my lost childhood and the angst of all my experiences ... the dreams ... I can't clearly recall when I first started having the dreams. As I'd mentioned earlier, I read voraciously as a child and so I can't clearly distinguish now between the "dreams" and their counterparts evoked by reading. In fact, sometimes I find it hard to differentiate between the dreams and my waking reality.There is an old Chinese paradox in which a philosopher said that he'd dreamt that he was a butterfly and then he woke up and wasn't sure whether he was a man who had dreamt that he was a butterfly or a butterfly who was dreaming that he was a man. I feel a kinship with that philosopher quite often since I'm unsure as to whether I had just woken up from a dream or am dreaming that I am awake. So intense, vivid and real are my dreams.
My dreams ... they really are a motley assortment that could only have been bred by the fevered imaginations of one such as myself. Sometimes I find myself surrounded by people that I know or had known at one time or another in my life and at others, I find nobody around me that I know of and yet they all act as if they know me. Worse yet, there would be moments when I'd be surrounded by people but I can't distinguish any of their features. Then there are times I'd be in places that I know of and then again, I'd find myself in strange landscapes and settings - so outlandish that I'd swear that they weren't any place on Earth at all. I am almost certain that some of these dreams repeat themselves or that I continue a conversation from one night a several nights later but am never certain since my waking memories of the dreams are as hazy as the mists of morning and fade away just as fast as the day progresses.
There have been times when I'd wake up in the dead of night and suddenly realize that I knew the meaning of it all - that everything had been revealed to me suddenly as if I'd been a seer gazing into a crystal ball but alas, by morning there is not a trace of that epiphany remaining and I am left wondering about it all. And yet, through all of the uncertainty and the doubt, I'd have this little voice, a voice of insanity as far as I am concerned, which keeps on crying out to me "it did happen, it did!! it did!! it's all true!" but then I'd start looking at things in the clear light of day and whatever it was that did happen, I'm not sure that it wasn't a figment of my imagination - one which had been fertilized by years of reading, I might add.
I am certain that you are wondering about my sanity by now. For I am certain that everybody has gone through the same experience as far as dreams go - or at least that's what I gather from those that I've spoken to on this matter. But what I have not revealed yet is the physical effects of my dreams. Yes, I said physical effects. I'd wake up in the morning after a night of strenuous activity in my dreams and feel extremely lethargic and tired as if I had indeed been participating in the activities that I'd dreamt of. Sometimes I'd have bruises or scratches that I was certain that I didn't have when I went to bed the night before. But then again, I can never be certain of any of these facts and so I am left wondering about my sanity - or total lack thereof.Sometimes there would be days, weeks and on rare occasions even months of blessed slumber with no dreams at all. Then suddenly I would wake up one morning and realize that I had been the participant of another somnolent adventure. I often wonder whether even when I think that I was engaged in dreamless slumber, if it is just that I do dream but don't recall it ... Am I stark raving mad or is this not lunacy at all but a reality that none but I can perceive? I wish I had the answers but I do not ...
"Would you like something to drink?" asks a voice right beside me, making me jump out of both my skin and my introspective reverie. I look up to see a stewardess standing beside me with the drinks cart. I had forgotten all about where I was and what I was doing, immersed as I was in my own thoughts and memories. I ask for some fruit juice and she hands it to me with smile and then heads on down the aisle serving the other passengers. I glance at my neighbour and see that he seems to have tired of his playthings and has fallen asleep and next to him, a dark-haired woman who I assume is his mother is reading a magazine. Everything is normal, ordinary, mundane - except for my life! Why is this happening to me? What possible reason could there be for the strange experience that I am going through?
I notice that some of the passengers seem to be a bit restless and start wondering about what the reason could be and then I notice something that I hadn't noticed earlier due to being immersed in my own thoughts - the weather had gotten considerably worse since we had taken off. It had been a somewhat rainy day outside when I had boarded the airplane and had perfectly matched the bleak and gloomy mood that I had been in ever since the dreams started again. But now the drizzling rain seemed to have turned into a storm and the aircraft was making a somewhat bumpy passage through the ether.
I see that the man in the next aisle does not seem to be happy with the bumpy ride at all - he keeps on clenching and unclenching his fists and gripping the arm rests of his seat every time the plane lurches as if we were plunging to our doom. Next to him sits a woman who I think is probably his girl friend or wife, though it is possible that she's his sister, who seems more worried about him than the weather conditions outside. I glance to my right again, past the sleeping boy and his reading mother and look outside the aircraft. There is nothing much to see at all except for the pelting rain, clouds and an occassional gash in the rain left by lightning.
The intercom system crackles to life. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We are experiencing some turbulent weather and so I would like to ask you to remain in your seats and keep your seatbelts fastened. There will be slight delay in landing at Atlanta airport due to the weather conditions. Thank you!" The voice of authority always seems to calm some people down - even if that authority has no basis for your feeling of security. The man in the next aisle seems perceptibly better though the weather outside continues to be the same.I am beginning to doze off myself when I hear a loud crack of thunder and see afterimage of the lightning burning through my eye lids. That must have been very close! The plane lurches suddenly like a drunken man hit by a pole-axe and then things go really insane! The aircraft begins tumbling through the air like shot bird, people start screaming, books, magazines, luggage, anything that's not tied down flies all over the place. I find myself curiously calm in the middle of all this madness and suddenly everything goes black ... and the light comes back again ... and I find that the world has changed!
I seem to have fallen on my back because I find that I am looking up at the sky ... what happened to the airplane? Did we crash and was I thrown out of the plane? The sky looks strange as well - it is a deep, dark purple that somehow looks completely wrong. The light is all wrong too - it is azure - completely unlike normal sunlight. What is wrong? Did I bump my head? Is my vision affected?
I try to get up but find that I can't seem to move my arms!! This frightens me further since I am beoming convinced that the aircraft must have crashed and that I am either dying (or maybe I'm already dead?) or am badly wounded and lying here helpless, completely paralyzed. While I can't seem to even feel my fingers or move my arms, I gradually realize that some form of motion is indeed possible for me - just not what I am used to. But things still don't make any sense to me at all! I can't be lying on my back because I can feel ground beneath me but I can't move my feet - it's as if I am rooted to the ground. I can't feel my legs but I can move my body and I can't feel my fingers or my hands but I am able to move my shoulders though it does feel a little bit strange - it's as if I have been taken apart and reassembled by an inexperienced child. Nothing feels as it should but I don't feel any pain either and it doesn't feel as if I am injured.
My neck seems to be permanently bent backwards because I am still staring up at the sky and that seems to be the most comfortable position for my head to be in though that again is puzzling and physiologically strange ... My brain suddenly becomes aware of something that I'd been aware of since I woke up but somehow not fully absorbed - the smells around me were different too! I can't quite put my finger on what was different but the smell was more earthy, somehow wetter and moldy. I'd also been hearing strange rustlings and movements for a while now but I was astounded when a voice spoke up just beside me:"Oh good! You're finally awake!!"
I try to crane my neck to see who had spoken but again, I am met with defeat since my body stubbornly refuses to follow the commands of my will. My unseen companion seems to realize my predicament because he makes a noise of comprehension and I feel something (or somebody) touching parts of my body.
"Ah you have the same problem as the others that I read of in the texts! You don't know how to control your muscles. Bend here and here ..."
I do as the voice tells me to and command muscles at the points that I feel the hands - for I assume they are hands though there seem to be a few too many for hands now that I think about it ... maybe they're fingers? - are touching me. It seems strange to be moving my body that way but I find that I am now able to actually move my head! I finally see my ally and am again thrown into confusion! Questions about my sanity, my ocular faculties and even about my state of wakefulness pass through my mind in quick succession.
For standing in front of me is what could only be called a monkey! A strange monkey for sure because he seems to have four arms instead of the typical two but nevertheless most certainly a monkey. Maybe not now that I take a second to glance at him (it?) since there seem to be certain physiological differences as well - other than the four arms - now that I take a closer look. So where is my companion? The person who had spoken to me? Surely the person who spoke to me couldn't be the monkey? That would mean that I'm dreaming again or that I'd gone insane!! Throwing me into further confusion, the monkey begins to speak.
"You look confused! Oh I see!! I should have remembered the texts on the sleepers more closely! You still are confused because you have no idea where you are. And yes, some of the other watchers had been greeted with the words monkey as well ..."
Had I called him a monkey out loud? I'm mortified! I am still not certain whether this is dream or reality but till I can pinch myself and find out for sure - my fingers still seem unwilling to cooperate with me - I guess I'd better mend some fences.
"Oh I'm sorry! You just startled me that's all. I didn't mean anything by it ..."
"By what? You mean this monkey business that all of the sleepers seem to say on sight of the watchers? We still aren't sure what that means ... The sleepers seem reluctant to explain after a while and then of course it is impossible to find out after some time."
A part of my mind is marvelling at myself for taking all of this so calmly while another part is pounding on the walls of a padded cell and pleading to be let out because I am talking to a monkey - or at least something or somebody who looks quite like one - as if I did it everyday. A few of the things that my companion had said slowly sink through the haze in my mind like rocks sinking to the bottom of a pool.
"You mentioned sleepers and watchers ... what sleepers? And who are the watchers?"
"Ah, you are still thinking of the other place ... let me show you your world ..."
He places his hands on other parts of my anatomy and gently pushes and I command the muscles at those points and find that I am able to turn my head. I see an incredible sight behind me - stretching row upon row under a darkly purple sky are huge greenish blue plants and I seem to be standing at the edge of this strange, alien vegetable patch. My companion speaks again:"Those are the sleepers and you are one of them but you've just woken up."