Much like Randolph Carter my dreams have always been strange. While we all have an inner landscape, an archetypal netherworld unique to the hidden workings of our personal consciousness, I am cursed to find myself with one heavily scarred by long periods of horrific reoccurring nightmares. Indeed, for years I did not dream at all, my mind reeling under the pressure of a situation not entirely of its own making. After I began exploring the occult something resembling a functional dreamworld did slowly creep back into my sleeping life, though the recurring locations held within seemed to be irreversibly tainted by something far darker.
I have dubbed the first of these places the railway. An almost archetypal construct in our modern age, this particular mass transit system is distinguished by its passing through flat, bland and autumnal fields. Featureless except for a handful of skeletal trains rusting quietly in disused sidings, it dispenses its human cargo on nondescript concrete platforms. Only once have I seen the network in what appeared to be summer, though the green rolling hills might point to it being another location entirely. This dreamworld is the largest of all the places I visit as well as the bleakest, reminiscent of a post apocalyptic world which I hope never comes to pass.
The school comes next. It is usually accessed via a short walk along a series of night blackened streets and then through a small park. Appearing modern at first, with a large concrete playground between and surrounding its two towering buildings, inside they seem much older. Exploring presents a maze of yellowing corridors flanked on one side by large horizontal opening windows and the other by an unspecified number of identical looking classrooms. Each of these holds a group of flip top desks for students, a larger one for the teacher and an old rotating cloth blackboard on the far wall behind.
Both buildings appear to be many floors high, though I have yet to find any stairs. Towards the far side of the playground past the school buildings is a raised grassy area. I have seen other dreamers here, children engaged in learning and play, though I do not remember being able to interact with them. It has much in common with the next location that I will describe, though I am unsure if the two are linked in any definite way. It might not be the norm to be able to rise up out of one and into the bowels of the other as I did on one notable occasion, though it is intriguing to think that there might be a direct connection.
For a long time I thought that the place I would come to call the asylum was nothing more than a derelict mansion. Yet as soon as I was able to explore a little deeper into the bowels of the building and escape the pull of the vast pool area that always seems to be where the dream begins, my opinion changed. The entire building is clad in the same tiny blue-grey tiles, is poorly lit and uninviting. Away from my starting point is a shower and locker area, and then some tunnels leading to small rooms with undefined contents that I am unable to explore freely. A musty smell of decay soaks through the very walls, and water damage is evident everywhere.
Only once have I met other dreamers In the asylum, a group of young people who were also using the lockers and pool, though from what I remember they could not see or hear me. It was almost as if they were living and I was haunting the place, a sobering fact for one so used to being in control. As mentioned previously, there is a chance that this location is linked in some way to the school, perhaps as part of a larger university complex. At least for all its decay, it is not as oppressive as the hospice. That is the final location that I am going to relate, and one of the most primally disturbing places in my whole nocturnal universe.
Unfathomably vast, a labyrinthine series of corridors lead off in a bewildering array of directions, intersecting with each other at security doors and rolling shutters. The wards are spacious and clean, though perhaps a little too sterile to be comfortable, and patients’ beds are segregated by strips of opaque plastic sheeting reminiscent of that found in an abattoir. Faceless figures lay in silence while life support machinery hums quietly around them, ignoring me as I pass. As you can see, all of these locations are not only disturbing but heavy with meaning as well, though pinning down exactly what that is may well take the rest of my sleeping life.