Dream Asylum

I don't pretend to understand them.


The world was secretly being taken over by some alien force. It operated by planting suggestions in the minds of the people, telling them that the thing they most desired was in a certain direction. I knew this, and was following my particular path to see where we were all being led- because I had given up hope in rescuing the human race.

At some points I was driving a car, in others I was walking. Eventually I came out upon a ledge and saw, below me, a hole in a cement lot. The hole was smaller than a manhole, exactly big enough to admit a person standing straight up. Over it was standing a person, whom I knew was not really a person but one of the alien force. As I watched, another person walked up to the alien, the alien stepped aside, and the person rapidly floated straight down the manhole and disappeared. This was how they were collecting their victims.

At this point I screamed to the alien "Why? Where are you taking us?" The alien race, I felt I knew, was not from another planet, but from deep underground where we have never looked. I was about to enter their lair. I somehow found myself standing over the manhole, and I was sucked down into it. The circular walls shot up extremely rapidly, directly in front of my eyes. I knew if I moved my head even slightly to the side, I would get my ears or nose sheared off.

After a feeling that many many hours had passed, I landed at the bottom of the "pit" and began crawling down a narrow tunnel. At this point I had a companion I cannot remember much about, and I knew that it was essential that I traverse this tunnel as quickly as possible if I wanted to remain alive. I told this to my companion, and we crawled together along the claustrophobic tunnel, I in the lead.

We arrived in a room half filled with water, that was some sort of puzzle. Somehow I knew what I was supposed to do because "that was how they did it in the movie." The exit was a squat top-down sliding panel set into a wall that was about one and a half feet wide and seven inches tall. Obviously not big enough for me to fit through, but so what. I picked up a metal disc from one end of the room, tore a panel off a box in another, and walked to another corner, near the "exit." I pressed a code to get the exit panel to move open (I knew it wouldn't stay open long enough for me to pass through). When the panel opened all the way, I threw the metal disc across the room into the open box. It tangled in some wires and electricity writhed in arcs around it. This apparently jammed the mechanism which shut the door, and a good thing too, because the water had almost filled up the room.

So did I pass through the "exit" panel? No. Now that the panel had been properly jammed open, I simply reached up and grasped the top of the metal "divider" that the panel had been set into all along, and clamored over it as if climbing a fence. Presto, I was on the other side of the "wall". The "wall" apparently was a divider that didn't reach nearly up to the ceiling, and the "exit" had merely been a window in the divider. Well, I don't know why, but I did it that way.

I then entered a tunnel that resembled a corrugated drainpipe, crawled along this for awhile, and emerged inside... a house! At this point I suddenly gained more knowledge: My entire family had been taken aside by the aliens and placed in this house. I walked around and greeted various family members, and happened upon our lovable white siamese, tuna. I picked her up and cuddled with her, and noticed that she was digging her claws into me almost painfully.

As I examined the cat's claws, I again knew more of the story. I saw that they had been replaced.- Each of tunas' paws now had metal and plastic implants worked into it, which extented and sharpened her claws to vicious knives. I knew that Tuna had been modified in this way by the alien race. I felt her head and discoverd many long scars at the top of her skull, hidden under the fur. A sadness passed through me, for I knew that our beloved cat had been biomechanically modified- if any of us showed evidence of trying to escape our underground "house", our cat would remorselessley slash out our throats. If we didn't try to escape, our cat would remain the cuddly, gentle creature she had always been. It was a cruel device. I knew I had lost my cat forever, even as her living body and mind was still with me.

I put down the cat and looked out the window. It seemed to be daylight outside, on the surface- but my family told me that the view was merely a hologram. I walked "outside" with my father. I looked up and thought I saw sky. I looked out into the "distance" and thought I saw a forest. I told him this, and he said that too was a cruel joke. He walked up to a box in a tree and pressed a few buttons, and abruptly the horizon faded away to reveal a solid black wall. At some points the black wall stood halfway through trees, cut straight across rocks. It was a square enclosing our entire residence, making it about half the size of a football field in all.

I looked up at the "sky" and saw it change colors rapidly as my father messed with a few more of the knobs. So that, too, was fake. Here I was filled with an acute sadness as more knowledge came to me: my entire family and I would spend the rest of our lives trapped within this little box, miles underground. All our "nature" would be lifeless holographic displays, enough to fool only the superficial senses. I cast my gaze down and told my dad to please, turn on the damned holograms again, perhaps we can eventually pretend.