Dream Asylum

I don't pretend to understand them.


Two beings get on a rocketship they find poised at the center of a green valley in the middle of a forest. They sit side-by-side in the cockpit and press a few buttons to test it and the hatch closes. The rocketship powers up.

The beings had not expected to trigger a launch, and are unprepared for space travel. They can't go back and get their luggage now.

The rocket blasts up through the blue atmosphere and into space. A whirl of pinpoint stars flows by the round cockpit portal. In a short amount of time they've traversed deep space, and head towards a gigantic blue sphere, a gaseous orb alive with neon flares and tailed comets arcing from it's surface. The senses crescendo with noise and compression. The blue expands to fill everything. An indeterminate amount of time fills a psychic break and the rocket blasts away from it's tangential course, burning smoothly away from the blue orb into a space that is billions of years younger, and more brilliant.

The ship auto-pilots to a rock slowly twisting in blackness. An efficient touchdown on a platform. Gravity is towards the base of the rock, curving in to a point. This underside is sharp, glassy, and solid. A dark corrugated mass that resembles sculpted icing on a black dessert.

On the polar opposite is the tallest spire of a four-sided castle, built of black brick, covering half the asteroid. Several landings and a parapet break up an otherwise sheer wall, encasing a tangle of bridges and smaller rooms.

Our two heroes exit the rocket and walk a short path to the mouth of a cave set in the side of the rock. It is one of several openings, all of which lead to a huge central room that occupies the center of the asteroid.

This room is a half-dome shape, with smooth walls. The floor is a circle of cracked pieces, resembling desert mud. From the ceiling to the floor stands a massive column, tapering down in a series of square ridges like a telescope to a connection in the middle of the floor.

One of the beings is holding a sharp glass spike, resembling a crystal horn. It is an object of magical power. The being walks up the ceiling and down the pillar, scraping material from the surface as it goes. There is a layer of thick clay coating everything. Scraping the horn reveals intricate carvings on the center column, set into a golden metal. Runes of power, perhaps.

The being walks down the column and steps onto the floor, while it's companion watches from the cave archway. It scrapes the horn horizontally on the floor, as if wiping a window, and the mud flakes and rolls away. Underneath is a scaly surface. The being scrapes a little more. It has found something partway across the floor, under the mud. It scrapes a patch away, revealing a glassy surface.

From the ceiling we see that it is a gigantic eye.

For the first time we notice the breathing. The floor of the entire cave is rising and falling, bulging smoothly up from the center in a gentle mound. The column is telescoping in and out along it's ridges to accomodate the height change, like a massive accordion.

The windows of the castle are warm and well-lit.

Understanding dawns on the beings. They walk outside the cave to the landing by the rocket, and look out at the castle.

A wizard in a thick blue robe steps onto the parapet. His secret is exposed to these beings, but he has decided to kill them before they can do anything about it. He prepares electricity magic to burn his foes to death.

The beings stand side by side, one with the transparent horn in hand. The lightning explodes from the wizard's raised hands towards the figures, but vanishes before they are struck. Instantaneously, the same lightning coalesces in the air above the wizard and strikes his head repeatedly, sending him reeling to the wall of his castle. He realizes that his spell has been reflected back on himself, though he doesn't know the magic horn is responsible for this.

He has to try another approach, so he prepares a spell that will place the two beings in a shield of stasis, not harming them, but imprisoning them. A translucent bubble-sphere whisks from his fingertips towards the two, but as soon as it closes around them, it vanishes and reappears around the wizard.

His magical powers have been cut off from his surroundings. With his presence no longer registering, his standing magical spells fade away. All the lights in his castle wink out. There is a clank deep within the castle walls as machinery stops. From the bowels of the asteroid begins a sharp crackling noise.

As the wizard stands powerless in stasis, the two beings climb the ladder of their rocketship and slam the hatch. The engine blasts to life and they shoot away from the platform. Some distance away, they witness the asteroid as it explodes from the bottom up in a storm of black rubble and mirrored shards. Within the chaos, a gigantic pair of scaly wings unfurls. The reptilian shape issues a triumphant shriek as it's prison cascades away into deep space. It had been imprisoned in rock-ice and kept at near-freezing temperature, it's heat-life siphoned to power the devices in the castle above.

The rocket and the two beings approach the blue orb again, running down close to it's fuzzy surface at millions of miles per hour. The same psychic break divides reality and the rocket shoots away from the orb into the space of the present, towards the home planet of the beings.

I wake up.