Friday, May 12, 2017

Story 223: Hypnagogia

There are so few things I'm sure of anymore.  There's an indentation in the grass where I imagine Patty once was, but though I would have sworn that she was just here there's no other sign of her.  And the grass, now that I really look at it, might have just been blown by the wind.  There's a knife tucked into my belt, and there's no blood on the blade.  Wasn't that the one Patty used?  If she was even here at all.  If I'm here.

I'm almost sure that there was an accident.  I was at the loading docks and everyone was running past me - the scientists, the engineers, the serious men in dark suits that came and went every day.  I remember going past them like a salmon swimming upstream, going towards the sound of someone calling for help.  I remember throwing my mop aside and pounding on the thick metal door... but remembering doesn't mean it happened.

I used to be sure that I was in a coma, that I was dreaming this world with its monsters and ever-changing landscape.  I thought that for years, or possibly the dream started five minutes ago and that period of my life is something I've just now imagined.  There was grass here before, maybe with a Patty-shaped hole, but now it's all concrete.  It's cold, but I'm wearing a jacket that I never put on.  The trees are gone with the grass, and office buildings stand in neat rows into the distance.  They're empty, I'm sure of that.  There are so few people here.

The ones I do see are mostly insane, and they insist that I'm a figment of their imagination, a part of their dream.  I think that they're the figments and I'm projecting, but I could be wrong.  They could be real.  Patty might have been real.  She certainly insisted that I was real, and stayed as close to me as she could for fear the scenery would shift and leave us in different places.  Always close to me, no further than an arm's length.  I wonder where she is now?

My memory is bad, like it would be in a dream.  Maybe it's bad because nothing before now happened.  She might never have been pregnant for all I know.  When the ancient ruins turned into a beach around us and her belly was suddenly flat again it could be that nothing really changed, that the past six months had been imagined.  I think I told her that, told her that she didn't need to cry because it was all just a dream.  Maybe it was.  Maybe this is.

I'm sure that I should have known better than to hand her my knife when she asked for it.  My foggy memory tells me that I wanted to show I trusted her, that I wanted to believe her attempts to wake up from this world were over.  Maybe I just thought I would be able to stop her, but it happened so fast.  If it happened.  If it's even anything more than a false memory that keeps playing in my mind of her falling to the grass and then fading, insubstantial, ethereal…

There are so few things I'm sure of anymore, but I know that one way or another this is a nightmare.