It's a dream, naturally, a nightmare of course, and with the inevitability of perverse fate, it recurs. It's the same dream I've had for seven years now, the same fevered, surreal tableau which haunts me night after night and permeates my waking hours. It leaves me sweating and shaking, cold and confused, pulse racing and heart beating painfully in my chest. I don't understand it, I do not grasp its meaning, but I do know that it is vivid, lurid, and it has an intensity which makes the real world seem pale and colourless by comparison. It scares me. It scares me, it terrifies me and it fascinates me all at the same time. It is a mystery, a conundrum, a paradox, and in some strange and peculiar way I know my life depends on it.
I do know when I first dreamed the dream, of course; I know when the nightmares descended on me, when the ferocious images which swim through my nocturnal psyche began to take hold. I remember the date, the hour, the very moment which heralded them, called them to me with some soul splitting primal scream that echoes through my mind to this day. I know that it was when the world went mad, when time broke, when insanity was set loose upon the land. It is no real surprise that I have nightmares, because everybody has nightmares now. What is surprising is that it is this one, over and over again. I have no idea what it means.
I don't know where I am, I don't imagine that matters, although of course that probably means it does, but for sake of detail or rather lack of it, it's an impression of a space, an illusion of place, charcoal grey and zero albedo black blended by motion blurs and suffused specular highlights. It's all around me, a perspectiveless volume which seems neither large nor small, but gives the impression that it might just extend to infinity. It is warm, the temperature of spilled blood, and odorous, the pervasive fear pheromone seeping through air and my clammy sweat alike. There is a sound, but not in the noise sense, more like the rushing in your ears which presages unconsciousness or collapse from lack of air or hypotension, a dizzy hissing sound like air escaping into a vacuum. The image, the picture, the staccato movie I see and in which I see myself always begins in the same way; the viewpoint is that of a frozen time-slice, an encapsulated moment whose duration could be either nanoseconds or geological ages; I don't believe that matters either, because this moment is truly out of time.
Around and around the mental camera goes, centred on a single dimensionless point in the middle of the binary system before it, locked to its target by a cyclical for-next loop that issues the command ‘look at this, look at this,' over and over again for all of damnable eternity.
Then there's me; frozen like a statue or caught in a freeze frame, twisted into some unnaturally counterbalanced posture straining against weight and force and sheer unbridled malevolence, utterly terrified of moving, petrified by the need to keep perfectly still, transfixed by the knowledge that one fleeting moment of inattention condemns me to something worse and infinitely more extensive than mere death.