Estimated reading time — 8 minutes
The human brain is an odd thing. Your memories, mostly from your childhood, are vague and ambiguous. Is what you remember even real? Could it be that you’ve manufactured your childhood memories from the stories your parents tell you about yourself? Think about it for a second, do you actually remember? For me, I don’t think I do. Why? Well, my story, the story I’m telling, will explain why. I have had this recurring dream since I was a child. Maybe around 8? I can’t exactly recall when it started.
This dream is, well, simple. I’m standing in the middle of the desert, alone. Isolated from humanity. It’s always daytime when I come here. I say “when I come here” because this is where I always am in my dream. It’s really hot. There’s beads of sweat trickling down my forehead, the sweat lingers for a minute at the tip of my nose and drops onto the sand. It’s so quiet that I can hear the sizzling sound of my sweat as it hits the scorching sand. I look down and I see that I’m standing there barefoot…Not just barefoot…completely nude, but the sand isn’t burning me. I just stand there, in isolated silence for the entire dream. That is until the end. A giant wave, yes, a giant wave, in the middle of the desert comes out of nowhere. I try to run from it, but I’m firmly planted into the ground and I can’t move. The wave hits me with such force, I swear, I can feel it. I can feel the water going into my nose, my mouth, my ears. Then, suddenly darkness. I’m laying there, I don’t know if I’m in my bed, or if I’m somewhere else. There’s a cloth of some sort covering my entire body. I think I’m dead, but I can hear my heart beating, “pump, pump, pump”, a steady, healthy beat. I can feel the blood coursing through my veins. Except…I’m not breathing. I take one giant gulp of breath in and I wake up. It is the exact same every time. I know what to expect, when to expect it, but I can’t control the dream.
I know what you’re thinking…go see a psychiatrist. You don’t think I have? Of course I have. That is why I have been prescribed everything from sleeping pills to anti depressant medications. None have helped. And wanna know something else that’s odd? I don’t dream, except for that dream. Sometimes I don’t think this “dream” is a dream. I think it’s real, but I have to gather my composure and tell myself that I’m just paranoid…right?
I am a single 30-some year old woman with no husband, no kids, so yes, it is possible that I might be slightly depressed, but I can assure you that I’m not crazy. Something happened to me a year ago, and ever since then, I’ve never been the same.
I was driving home from the grocery store when I fell asleep at the wheel. I don’t know why, I don’t know how, I just suddenly got extremely tired and couldn’t keep my eyes open. I blacked out.
When I opened my eyes, I was, where else, but the desert. The exact same desert as I had seen so many times in my dream. Except, this time it was different. I was inside a tube filled with liquid, like a fetus. I freaked out and started touching my body to see if I was still an adult human, thankfully I was…not that it made me feel any better. I was in so much shock when I first opened my eyes that I didn’t notice what was around me. I, floating in this glass jar filled with a mysterious liquid, could barely see what was out in the desert, but as I squinted, I could not believe what I saw. I saw millions, if not billions of tubes…like the one I was in. There were people in them. Strangers. Small, medium, big, female, male, young, old, people of all colors. I immediately got nauseous. I stuck my face to the glass to try to get a better look at these strangers and all of their eyes were closed, they looked dead.
I closed my eyes and kept repeating over and over again “this is not real, this is not real, this is not real…” I probably said it a hundred times, but I still felt the liquid caressing my body. I started to cry, not that anyone or anything would’ve noticed. I frantically started punching the glass, but liquid makes the force of movement much slower. I had no success. It was then that I realized there were wires sticking out of my head. Oh god, they were inside my skull, attached to my brain I would assume. I touched them gently, and shuddered. Chills ran down my spine. I didn’t know what to think. Can I rip these out? Will this kill me? Would it matter? I’m probably already dead. So I said fuck it, and ripped the wires out of my skull. FUCK it hurt so bad. Crimson red filled my entire tube. I thought…this is when I die, just accept it. So I floated there waiting for the darkness, but then suddenly I heard a noise. I looked around, but I didn’t see anything. I looked up and I saw a glimmer of light shining through. That’s when I realized that the latch closing the tube had opened itself at the top. I popped my bloody head out and there it was, that hot sun beating on my face. I had never been so happy to breath in air…that is until I started choking on it. I was gasping and coughing and gasping and coughing. It was like my lungs had never breathed air before. After a good 2 minutes of pain, my lungs started working again. I plunged out of the tube onto the hot sand. That sizzling sound filled my ears, except this time, I could feel the heat. I could feel the hot sand against my skin. It felt like a freshly heated griddle against my body. Fuck it, fuck it, fuck it, this isn’t real, this is a fucking dream, I’m dead, just go. I got up, burned, bloody, and naked. I started running towards the closest tube. I didn’t know who was in there, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I knocked on the glass, screaming and crying.
“PLEASE!!! WAKE UP!!”
I sat down on the sand in front of this stranger’s tube. Hopeless. I put my face into my palms and started bawling. This is what my dreams have been warning me about. I’m going to die one day. I’m going to end up in my own hell, and this is it. Then, something came over me. I don’t know what it was, but I looked up at the stranger in the tube and I felt that this was not the end for me. I felt that there was something more to this place…not that I am special or anything, but that I was meant to come here. All those nights waking up, wondering what the hell this dream meant, led me to this point. There must be a deeper meaning to this. I stood up, wiped the mixture of blood and tears from my face and climbed onto the top of the tube. I started pulling at the latch as hard as I could but it would not budge. Not one bit. I sighed, and as I was about to jump off, I saw this circular impression on the top of the tube. I touched it, nothing. I pushed it and it opened. It opened just enough for me to stick my arm through.
“What the hell?”
I stuck my arm in and swish around, trying to feel for the wires. The top of the tube is black so I couldn’t see where my hand was going. I felt something so I just grabbed it. I think it was the stranger’s shoulders. As my skin touched his, I felt this surge of electromagnetic energy. My muscles started cramping up and I felt my entire body stiffen. I couldn’t control my body, my eyes began rolling into the back of my head. I heard a loud sound, an alarm like sound…it went “BEEEEEEEEEEEP” and didn’t stop.
I wasn’t able to take my hands of the stranger, I was stuck here. I began to freak out, and then I saw it. I knew his name. He lived in Moscow, Russia. I saw his life through his eyes. I knew his every thought, his every move. Things I didn’t want to see, I saw. I started screaming, but no words came out, just cries of despair. When the vision of his life finally stopped, I flew about 100 feet and landed in the sand. The loud sound was still going – it was deafening. The life had just been drained out of me. I laid there gasping for air, my mind racing a mile a minute. My muscles were still cramped and I could feel the air escaping my lungs. I started to come in and out of consciousness. I was groggy, but I heard inaudible sounds coming from around me. It sounded like people, real humans. I felt relief for a brief moment, like I was going to be okay. I felt them…there was definitely more than one…they grabbed me. They were carrying me. Thank god, they’re taking me to get help. Then…I felt my body get dunked back into the mysterious liquid. That’s when I realized. Nope. I’m not going to be okay. Before I completely blacked out, I heard the latch above me close and lock.
Next thing I remember, I woke up, and I saw one of my girlfriends, a strange man, and 2 strange women standing there staring at me. I was so confused. My friend started tearing up, but I had no time for emotions, I was confused as fuck.
She started whimpering, “I can’t believe it…you’re a-.”
I immediately cut her off, “what…what…what are you talking about? I need to talk to the police, I need to talk to someone.”
“Calm down, you are in good hands. Do you know where you are?” The strange man came closer to me.
That’s when I saw the name tag. DOCTOR. I realized…I was at a hospital. “The hospital?” I said reluctantly. As confused as I was, I was relieved.
He smiled, “Yes. You have been in a coma for 2 months. You were in a bad crash, but you’re going to be okay. We are just glad to have you back with us. We almost lost you a couple times. Your lungs collapsed, you had burns all over your body, and severe swelling in the brain. We thought there was a high possibility that you were going to be a vegetable for the rest of your life, but it looks like you will be fine.”
“I…uh…thanks.” I didn’t know what to say. I just wanted to get home.
“Let’s fill out the paper work and get you out of here!” The Doctor said as he waved for the 2 nurses to follow him out of the room.
My friend held my hand and asked, “Promise me you’ll take care of yourself?”
“Yeah.” I looked at her, “Hey…uh thanks for being here.”
“Oh my god. Of course! The others visited you too, but you weren’t awake. I came on a good day.” She smiled.
I looked around my room. There were flowers, cards, chocolates, and balloons everywhere. I’m not gonna lie, it felt good to know that people still cared about me. I was relieved that I was okay, but more so that I was no longer in that tube…in the desert.
Now, yes, this might just be another one of those, I was in a coma and I saw some crazy shit because my mind was tripping for 2 months, kinda story. I honestly laughed when I got home from the hospital.
There was just one thing, one little thing I tried to explain away, but couldn’t. It always nudged at me, so recently, about a week ago I went onto Facebook and searched for the stranger’s name that I had seen in the desert (keeping it anonymous for the sake of this person’s privacy). I was pretty confident I wouldn’t find anything, but there was glimmer of doubt, so I wanted to be 100% sure. As the browser loaded, I anxiously watched the screen. The results popped up. I didn’t recognize any of the faces. Thank god. As I was about to exit the browser I saw that there were 2 more profiles that I needed to scroll down to see. My hands shaking…I began to scroll…the first face…nope…I felt slightly better…now down to the last profile…nope…SO MUCH RELIEF. But wait…the face on the last profile. It looked familiar. It wasn’t him…but…I stared at it for a minute.
I felt my stomach drop. I’ve seen this face…it’s his…kid. I clicked on the profile and quickly clicked through the pictures he had available to the public and there they were. Pictures of that stranger’s face, although he no longer was a stranger to me, I was to him. I kept clicking through, yup, that’s his wife, that’s his house, that’s the restaurant he always eats at on Fridays…Holy fuck. I slammed my laptop shut. Denial. I had been in denial for a year.
That is why I’m writing this. I can’t explain to you why it happened to me and not you, but it happened. Believe me, don’t believe me, I don’t care.
All I can say is that I have come to understand, that my time in the desert was real. It was not a figment of my imagination, but a genuine experience. I don’t know what I discovered, but what I believe is that the lives we are living right now, are fabricated lies…the experiences we perceive as ours, aren’t ours at all. We are just one of billions of strangers trapped in a tube…part of a bigger experiment – something more mysterious than any of us could ever understand.
Credit: Christinaa Danks