Here is the place where your dreams lose their luster and fall apart, scattered pieces locked away in the dark. Bright snatches of color once danced behind your eyes, but you blinked, and they were dispelled, revealing a collection of dull browns and sad grays and drooping shadows in corners. The room is dusty, dreary, and everything in it seems to be tired, the chairs sunken in and the wallpaper slowly dissolving into ash. The air itself is silent and heavy, like the moment after all hope has been given up, a quiet despair, an acceptance of inevitability and the strings of fate that end in the creation of this empty existence. The whole room is dark, a black hole that sucks in light and energy, a consuming nature that arises from obligation rather than hunger, and you feel hollowed out, like the skeleton sprawled listlessly in the cobwebbed corner of the room.
You find yourself mimicking its position, arranging yourself on a marred chair, ripped apart at the seams and stained with a dark brown that seeps into the floorboards. You breathe slowly, and the walls pulse with each exhale, like a heartbeat lulling you to sleep. But the chair pokes at your back, like outstretched bony fingers, forcing you into restlessness, and the air has become suffocating, and you just want to sit and dream yourself away from this, but it keeps prodding you, and pinching, and digging into your side, and it hurts, and you just want to get away, but there’s nowhere to go, because you are inside. You are confined within walls that stretch endlessly into emptiness, and there is so much space that you are compressed into a speck, trapped in an abyss of nothing that you cannot escape because there is nothing to reach for. You search for something, anything, a living thing that is tangible, but there is only the brittle-boned skeleton, a taunting sign of fate and its inescapability.
And then you see — how had you missed it before? — a painting on the crumbling wall, still dark and hopeless, but not lifeless, because there’s a girl in the frame. She looks haunted, and beaten down, but ferocious, like a tiger prowling inside a cage, hungry for freedom and revenge. And there’s something about her, like you knew her once in a dream, and she beckons you closer with a defiant eye and outstretched hand, and the closer you get, the less you see and the more you look, and there’s a sad, brown room, with torn-up chairs and a lonely skeleton and blood, dripping, drying, flying in a perfect arc through the air, a burning red like molten lava as it passes through the light- the light, and your eye follows the golden beam to a window, which means escape, and tangibility, and everything.
You turn away from the painting and back to your sad, brown room, with torn-up chairs and a lonely skeleton, and you look, and the wallpaper is flaking dried blood, and the chairs are rotting flesh and broken, contorted bone that jut out, and out of the rips spill intestines, oozing and falling apart, and the skeleton is a boy, eyes rolled back and body decaying, and the stench is like every nightmare you’ve ever had, and your lungs are burning, suffocating, and you turn away, back to the painting to beg for relief, or absolution, or mercy, but the painting is a mirror, and you reach out for the golden beam of light, and it scorches your hands but you follow it anyway, blindly, desperately, until you reach the window, and you place a hand on the cool glass, and all of the despair, and anguish, and hopelessness that coiled around your soul is shed like a layer of skin, and you are born anew with the possibility to dream.
You look outside.
The world is a vision of color and sound, and the sunshine looks like a liquid gold that drips across the flower petals and paints them, and beyond the trees, you can see an endless, blue sky, with wispy clouds that fly alongside the birds, and you think that grass and fresh dew can only smell like joy, and that the sun on your skin can only feel like hope, and you push the window open to let it all in — or to let yourself out — but it doesn’t move, and you scramble to unlatch the window, but it’s stuck, and you struggle and heave, but it just won’t open, and your heartbeat is too loud and the air is pulsing and constraining and confining, and you press a hand to the glass in a silent plea, and you look outside in a final prayer, and for a single moment — the sound, the smell, the hope, the fear, the longing — stops.
And you are left with the truth: there is no outside. There is no inside. There is only one plane of existence: a dying one. The living blindly hope for solace as they wade through death, brushing aside inevitability in their reach for unattainable tangibility. They soldier on, unaware that they are searching for life in a graveyard of death, climbing mountains of skeletons to look for a summit of light, but finding dark, bitter truth instead.
You look out the window and see only your own reflection, rivulets of red blood illuminated by the light, beautiful and inevitable. You close your eyes and melt into the graveyard of dreams.