Fake, all of it. I believed that nothing in my life existed except my long-ago memories. I’m not even sure if I exist anymore. Perhaps I am now deceased, just a spirit of what I once was reliving this nightmare. Or maybe I’m still alive, but nothing I see, smell or hear could be real. But once more, I will try and recollect everything I remember, because it’s the only thing I believe could be real anymore.

The only thing that keeps me alive are my dreams. They take me farther than these streets ever could and higher than a hot-air balloon, there I go to faraway lands on my never-ending quest for discovery. To journey across uncharted seas, to soar through unknown skies, to find the never-ending horizon bringing new islands of life and civilizations, with each visit only making me wonder more about these lands. But when I find one city on the edge of my scope where the balmy sea touches the perfect blue sky, a city which is too far away for me to exactly see that peaks my interest and demand to head there as soon as I can. However, it is the moment where I begin to see more than a black dot do I wake up, and find myself in the noisy, grey and depressing streets of this town.

It drove me mad, but one day, although I’m not sure at what point of my life did I decide this, I made my way from the city to somewhere far away from here. So I walked, I wasn’t sure how long, but it felt like an eternity, but I was determined to find it, I did not know where it was nor did I care, I only wished to live in lands where no shade of gray would touch its surface.

After for what seemed years of traveling, I came across a city with huge stone walls protecting it. From what I saw it seemed to be a fortification of some sort reaching about fifty-feet high. A guard was by the gate and I asked him where I was, he told me the name of the city, but I can’t properly recall it now. As soon as I went in, I was blinded by the splendor of the town but only for a moment, and shortly after I could fully take in what was before me. A town in which the streets were laced with white marble stone that shone as bright as the sun. Above me on the balconies of the building made of the finest wood my eyes ever laid on, people played music that ringed and echoed down the streets and into my soul. I wept, I danced, I kissed the ground and sang at the top of my lungs that this was the greatest place on Earth!

It was only the beginning, when I went down these streets every face I saw was new and happy. Each building was filled with aromas that I never knew existed and made me want to go into each one and see where they came from! The aromas were sweet, balmy and re-kindled my weary soul with a new breath of life. I felt as though I found the place I looked for my entire life, and I wanted to enjoy every moment of it! When the sun came down, the music turned more soft and melodic. The stars in the now dark-blue sky sparkled and shimmered around the lofty moon that hung over the world, seemingly protecting the planet from harm with its comforting glow. I turned around and found an untouched bed that seemed to beckon me to lay my sleepy head on its inviting plump pillow and continue my new life here. I no longer wanted to travel the lands of my dreams anymore, for this life had now become even better than my dreams ever could have. Or, so I believed.

I didn’t have a dream, but instead woke to the screams of what seemed hundreds of people. That blood-curling, stomach churning screams that only the most sadistic methods of pain could ever extract from an innocent soul that has never felt its wicked touch. The repelling smell of a thousand rotting corpses that piled up against the walls of each building had their limbs falling apart from sheer decay onto the streets that were wet with blood and other body fluids which I dare not speak of.

A fog had beset the town, the licking edges of the choking air went into every corner and rot the wood with its sheer putrefaction. The fungi which laid on every dead flesh pulsed and spread its spores in plumes of mass corruption that filled whomever was still alive with pores that soon infected their throats and killed them. I couldn’t look anymore, not only from the sheer smell that stung my eyes but the unspeakable horror that laid open before me. Few words could truly describe what I witnessed, for it would indeed throw any man into the darkest chasms of madness that could possibly be imagined. The screams were of the survivors, they were merely swollen monstrosities that barely look human, killing one another and eating them alive upon the streets, their flesh soaking in the putrid body fluids and puss.

I couldn’t stand it anymore, I threw myself upon the bed and despaired until it went away, and it did. I found myself once again in the comfort of the warm bed sheets and a beautiful morning once again filled with aromas and music. Yet the effects weren’t so powerful on me as they were the day before, but I had cast that aside. I was simply distraught from that horrible nightmare. I spoke with the locals and they told me it was just a dream, I could only try to believe them.

Oddly the city in my nightmare looked like it happened in this city! But it couldn‘t be true by any sense, how could such a lovely city turn into a nightmare at night? To find the answers to my dire questions, I went to the cemetery.

Much like the rest of the city, despite it being where the dead were buried, it looked beautiful beyond comparison. The tombstones were of the same shining white marble as the streets with the names on each of them etched in pure gold. Flowers were on each grave, along with incense and a garden surrounding them and the silence of the cemetery made it feel as though this was a place of peace. The grass swayed to and fro gently in the soft breeze and whistled in my ears, the birds chirped and sung in perfect harmony as the quiet rustle of the leaves in trees that surround this haven murmur in the background. Flowers of every color and shape dotting the ground beckoned me to sit against the many trees, and lulled me into a deep sleep.

Suddenly I woke wrapped in thorny vines that choked me with its suffocating grip. As I tried to muscle my way out, they only strengthened their grip, determined to choke the life out of me. After exhausting all of my strength, I managed to break free from its deadly clutches and found myself in the same cemetery, but morbidly different. The flowers that were once there had been replaced with wicked vines that came from the ground lashing in anger at the sky.

Instead of seeing tombstones I saw limbs dotting the surface from their severely shallow graves; the cemetery had become a necropolis from the minds of the most perverse. The birds were gone and in their stead crows that darted into the shallow graves and violently pecked at the ground in search for the dead that were only a few feet from the surface. As I looked up I saw an eternal twilight of red with clouds of crows swirling to descend upon the rotting dead. There were coffins that were stacked onto each other, waiting for a burial that would never come, and upon stirring it the wood crumbled and I braced myself for what I assumed would be a wave of rotting flesh to descend upon me and crush my horrid existence into a forgotten memory.

I screamed and woke up, back against the same tree before I went to sleep. Although the scents and sounds were still there, it felt as though nothing had happened during my dilemma. I felt insulted, as though this was real and everybody was forsaking me. I hated it, the music mocked me and the scents only made me more furious. I tried to find the gates out of here but every turn I made was an entirely different place, despite the city walls always found in the distance. No matter how much effort I made into reaching the walls, they never seemed closer or farther. The faces I went by now seemed indifferent and their voices monotonous. And every single turn I made, even standing still, I found myself somewhere else.

Eventually, I despaired, but then I remembered the dreams I had before I found this city. Everywhere I went was a whole new frontier to explore. Maybe this was just a dream! If I could kill myself, I would be out of it! So I went onto a rooftop and descended towards the glowing marble below.

But upon hitting I found myself in the nightmarish city that haunted all of my dreams. I was distraught, confused, angered and scared. I didn’t know what to do, I was lost between what seemed two different dreams that I eternally damned to. I tried wandering blindly, for once again the stench blinded me, but I did not want to use my hands ever again because of the things I felt, they were moist with the stench of a thousand burning corpses, prickly and covered in a layer of fuzz from the surrounding fungi that thrived on the distasteful food it chose to live off.

I eventually resorted to just aimlessly walk down the morbid streets until something happened upon me, I had no means of seeing, smelling, or feeling as the spores from the fungi were numbing. The sick corruption sinking into rotting flesh, sucking the unknown juices of their carcasses violently, pulsing with putrid blood until it bursts and spills it with spore onto the sharp, jagged floor that cuts flesh like butter, creating pools of bodily fluids that the monstrosities bathe themselves in, screaming until their horrid souls shriek into the red-stained sky.

Soon I slipped and smashed my head against the cold, wet ground. I had a concussion, and went in and out of consciousness for what seemed hours. Eventually, my pain came to an end and once again I found myself in the same city I walked into. Despite me being back where I began, the walls were no closer and soon I gave up hope. I knew I would never leave, and every time I dream I’ll find myself in new and unthinkable horrors that wait to haunt me every time I wake until I fall asleep. As I wake, I’ll find myself in another dream that torments me with fake serenity that leaves me to my fate. I’ve been here ever since, doomed to be imprisoned here for all of eternity.

Written by Lathyndis
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