Have you been having weird dreams lately?

Were your dreams more vivid than usual?

Maybe something happened in a dream that seemed just that tiny bit off?

Everyone seems to have been experiencing strange dreams recently.

Something is undeniably wrong, I just couldn't pinpoint what exactly. Until now.

Tonight I found the cause by following a pathway to the edge of a dream.

There are many of these pathways. I've seen them quite often, and I'm sure so have you. You surely have come across those dirt roads, streets and so on heading off into the uncontextualized nothingness of dream space. You didn't follow them of course. I mean, why would you? They are completely unrelated to whatever you're dreaming about after all.

Well, even if you did follow them, you most likely were distracted by something before reaching the end, maybe by something by the road, your vehicle just crashing or breaking or perhaps even some monster attacking you. Or maybe you just went down some different way after losing interest, quickly forgetting about that unassuming path into the woods.

But tonight was different. I was dreaming about driving to a friend's house through an altered version of a nearby city. It was one of these oddly vivid dreams; vivid, but not vivid enough to take full control of the dream.

While driving through the dream equivalent of a normally busy street in the city center, this dirt road caught my eye. It led into a forest, even though the entrance was in the middle of the city, surrounded by large concrete buildings on all sides. I stopped for a moment, and, in a small moment of clarity, I decided to divert from the memory-generated path to my friend and go explore. I was just curious what my brain would come up with, about what I might find in the depths of my thoughts.

In hindsight, I perhaps should have just stayed on that busy street in the center of a not-quite-right city.

But, with excitement to explore the backrooms of my subconscious, I followed the dirt road for what felt like days, the dream slowly changing as I drove. First the woods grew denser and denser. Then the road's condition worsened. Several times I almost crashed, but I managed to concentrate enough to force my car to continue on in a straight line. Reality seemed more and more fluid. It was that odd phenomenon in a dream when something changes the second you look away from it, only not just a single object. It was the road, the car and the forest around it. Constantly.

It took all of my focus and determination to stay on that road. I suspect that it might have been that extra bit of lucidity that allowed me to keep control.

Eventually I wasn't even in my car anymore. I didn't even notice it disappear. I was just walking, no, gliding along the road. My body wasn't there either. I was pure perception, floating down a path through rapidly deteriorating unreality.

I wasn't actively moving at this point. I just continued forward, as if being pulled by some unseen force. There was no turning back now. I was afraid of what I was going to find.

All of this, however, stopped mattering when I reached the edge.

I hit it suddenly and without warning. It felt like crashing into a brick wall. The shattering forest gave way to an endless ocean of swirling fractals made of memories and ideas, impressions and sensations, all blending together in pure chaos. I saw images from my childhood, combined with smells of breaking fluid, the color blue and the taste of chocolate cookies, ideas for stories left unwritten and the sound of jet engines, together with the warmth of an embrace from a loved one.

Needless to say, this was far from being pleasant.

I tried to wake up. I tried to overcome the natural protective mechanisms that kept my body from moving too much during a dream. But the cacophony of everything I had ever felt or thought or experienced or even dreamt all at once drowned out all of my decisions. I wanted to scream, but I had no mouth, or lungs, or a body. I was thought experiencing thought, and I had trapped myself within this nightmare of my own mind.

But then the ocean of mind ordered itself. It became more of a crystalline net, stretching across the whole perceptive range. I could feel clearly. I realized I was still moving. The concept of direction had long since broken down, but I was moving nonetheless.

The thoughts became clear again. But this time they seemed different. Foreign.

Experiences I never had, feelings I didn't know, were suddenly within my reach. As this new thought space began to take form, I realized that I wasn't just experiencing my own mind. I was experiencing every mind.

The sum total of all emotions ever felt, all things ever seen or heard or tasted or felt, every idea, every dream and every nightmare lay before and behind and above and below me.

All that was, was here.

This was everything.

This was the collective mind space of all that is.

This was the noosphere.

Infinite things at once yet distinct from each other, all experienced at once. I felt a man somewhere driving a car, a little girl playing with a stuffed toy, a dolphin hunting for fish, as well as said fish swimming for its life, then the concept of rain being experienced by a trillion beings at once in different ways, a crow flying high over a city looking for food, an insect laying its eggs on a rotting apple, the last breath of a fox shot by some uncaring hunter and every tiny bacterium splitting and splitting and splitting and splitting…

How had I not already gone mad? Perhaps I had, but I just hadn´t noticed...

I reached out to interact with something at random and somewhere a bird suddenly thought of the internal politics of a small town in Indonesia. It of course disregarded this alien concept immediately. This didn't help it find food, build a nest, or care for its offspring. Why would it care?

As I moved further and further, patterns began to emerge. Stories and tales linked across minds. Concepts shared by untold numbers of beings. They began solidify into forms.

There was a lot of activity on this layer of the noosphere; Meta-concepts dancing an alien dance. These things seemed almost alive, like thought creatures created from the contents of the collective psyche. One of them, a six-eyed "being" with a head made of ideas relating to fire and and a body of general relativity approached me for a second, but quickly evaporated away into a cloud of the color blue and the feeling of touching a feather. I couldn't even begin to understand what it was or what it wanted. My human mind was not made for such things.

And then… Then I saw the connections. These connections between seemingly unrelated ideas, experiences and emotions and connections between connections were subtle at first, but the longer I looked, the more I saw. And these links weren't static. With plan and purpose, they slowly shifted and moved around the noosphere. They were reconfiguring into something. They probably had been doing this for millennia.

They were almost done with whatever they were doing, I could feel it.

The picture became clear. It was taking shape.

In this space of thought, something immense was hidden, something ancient and broken. A vast construct of feelings, dreams, impressions, concepts and the connections between them, utterly indescribable and beyond anything I could even hope to remotely comprehend.

And it was slowly becoming whole again.

As I stared into the collective psyche of every living being, this thing stared back.

And it stirred in its sleep.


Written by SixEyedFox
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