Estimated reading time — 7 minutes
They say your dreams can take you to all sorts of places, but what if those places actually existed? We know so little about our world, our universe, and ourselves. Many of us cannot even control where we’re going in this life. Although most of us dream freely and even awaken to find that we cannot recall what we experienced. Some of us, however, not only remember our nightly travels but what we saw is as real as you and I. The people we met and the things that transpired in these dreams. But at the same time, these things never happened. At least, not in this world or on this plane of existence. What if I were to tell you that when I dream, I see through the eyes of another self? A version of my being that is either similar or entirely different according to the world they live in.
Time and space hold so many secrets, most of which we will never understand or discover. There are those who try, despite not being able to fathom the consequences of doing so. These consequences can be small or big, but each has a meaningful impact on the universes in which trillions upon trillions live. I have learned much from my childhood dreams, but the biggest of truths were not yet revealed until I met others like myself and those who wished to use us for their own purposes. The governments of the world have scrambled for decades to find and collect us in an attempt to win their arm races and establish themselves as the dominant force on Earth.
I am not good nor evil, I just am. So many people try to place themselves on one side or the other, but the illusion is that we aren’t a little bit of both. Because God lives within us all.
Dr. Martin Phillips, a scientist specializing in Oneirology, was currently sitting in his government office roughly five hundred feet below the planet’s surface. Oneirology is the study of dreams, and Dr. Phillips was the highest recommended doctor in such a field. Those who rivaled him were either up and coming scholars or from entirely different countries across the globe. One such rival was his protege, Evan Michaels, who was in his third year with the good doctor. Dr. Phillips, however, was not a good doctor. Although he was not proud of how he conducted his work, he was still fascinated with it, nonetheless.
There were several times that he feared the government would axe his studies and can the entire thing. But such a fear had yet to be realized. Either another country would make a major breakthrough or Dr. Phillips would have one of his own. The fact that he had managed to keep all six test subjects alive for nearly ten years was astounding, considering that those before him could barely hold onto one or two for more than a year. That is why Ronald Reagan gave Dr. Phillips the go-ahead to assume complete authority over the facility and the projects within it.
The lab was located in eastern Kansas, deep beneath the outskirts of a small town called Carbondale. The facility had existed for much, much longer than the town, dating back as far as the early eighteen-hundreds. The American Government, at its deepest core, held secrets that only a handful of individuals knew about, such as the advancements in technology that wouldn’t be seen for another hundred years. It is unclear just how the government acquired such knowledge, but the fact remains that a laboratory had been built deep enough that no one ever knew it was there upon the town’s founding in 1869.
It’s original purpose was to facilitate the constant inventions being created and hide them from the rest of the world. Each advancement was given five to ten decades before it could be made public as to prevent America’s enemies from catching up. Dr. Phillips, a man in his early sixties, never left the facility as he deemed his work too important to leave. He would send Evan to the surface when a new subject would present themselves and if Evan was incapable of manipulating them to come back, then government operatives would take them by force. This had only happened twice with the six current subjects.
Dr. Phillips rubbed his hazel eyes and ran a hand through his unkempt brown hair as he looked over the results from today’s testing. One of the subjects, a female in her late twenties, had dreamed of something quite interesting. She had walked through a world completely engulfed in smoke, where it seemed normal civilization had once thrived but was recently destroyed. All previous data points to one rule, that a subject only dreams from the perspective of a parallel self. So, it is rare that glimpses into an apocalypse occur, given that the subject has to somehow be alive in this other realm.
The subject walked barefoot for several miles and it seemed that all other life had been extinguished in some great fire or war, perhaps a nuclear holocaust. But it wasn’t until the subject had stopped in a burning city that it appeared, she was in Paris as the Eiffel Tower was collapsed to one side and in ruins with every other building having collapsed around it. She studied this view for a moment before raggedly dressed soldiers came from the shadows of smoke and fire and grabbed her. They were shouting in French and came off more as revolutionaries than actual troops.
They dragged her as she kicked and screamed, demanding to know what happened. Those who had snatched her seemed confused and only fought harder to move her. Those behind them seemed to be shooting into the smoke, desperately waving at the others to retreat with the girl. The subject caught glimpses of something inhuman emerging from the smoke and attacking the soldiers, tearing into their flesh and smashing their bodies apart like pinatas. This sudden reveal was so traumatic that she had awoken and refused to talk about her experience. Thankfully, Dr. Phillips was able to record what she saw. This breakthrough in technology was made only a few decades previous and made torture and truth serums obsolete in most cases.
The doctor exhaled deeply as he finished watching the video for the eighth time that night. He used the remote to turn off the screen and decided that he had studied enough for one day. This is when the door opened and into his office came Evan Michaels, a young man with blonde hair and blue eyes. He was the ideal pretty-boy, with a body that most work-out nuts strive for. His beauty was God-given as he had looked this way since birth. Sometimes Dr. Phillips wondered if these looks alone weren’t what got him so far. But more than that, the young man was a genius, his brain surpassing even his best physical features. His ability to convince a person to do what he wanted was unmatched, as his words paired with his smile were enough incentive for anyone to listen to him.
“Dr. Phillips,” Evan greeted the doctor with a nod and Dr. Phillips looked up from his work.
“Yes, Evan?” He asked with a raised eyebrow, “What is it?”
“Catalina is stable and resting as we speak,” he informed the doctor with a blank expression. “You told me to report to you when she was.”
Dr. Phillips slowly nodded, “Yes, yes. Of course. Thank you, Evan. I’ll resume with her in the morning.”
“Very good, doctor,” Evan said, but before he turned away his curiosity got the better of him. “Sir?”
“What do you think it means?” Evan asked and his eyes flickered to the now dark video screen. “Her dream?”
Dr. Phillips sighed and rubbed his eyes once more as he answered, “It could mean many different things. As far as we know the multiverse is infinite, spanning infinite possibilities. This is the first time you’ve seen one, isn’t it? A world that has ended or is in the process of.”
Evan nodded, “Yes sir. It’s as intriguing as it is terrifying.”
Dr. Phillips shrugged, “You’re speaking to the choir.”
“If you don’t mind me asking, just how many have you seen?”
“Even one is too many, Evan,” Dr. Phillips said honestly and then he cleared his throat. “But in the forty years I’ve been working here, I’ve seen only three world ending scenarios. This is the fourth.”
“What were they like?” Evan pressed, unable to contain himself or his imagination.
Dr. Phillips frowned and momentarily looked away from his protege, thinking back on the apocalyptic worlds he had glimpsed during his stay at the facility. The first and most shocking one actually occurred in his first week and served as the spark to his passion.
“In one dimension, the Earth and the surrounding solar system was wiped out by a black hole that collapsed everything. There was no pain or moment of acknowledgement. Just an ending. One moment the human race existed and the next it did not.”
“So, a spontaneous event then,” Evan noted and again he looked to the dark monitor on the doctor’s desk. “One that we could not prevent or even predict.”
“That’s how we learn these things,” Dr. Phillips agreed, and he gulped. “But the most recent event before today was one that we all fear. A nuclear holocaust. It was in the late eighties and Mikhail Gorbachev had not become the leader of the USSR. A radical who believed in the old ways of Joseph Stalin seized power and threatened the United States with war if they did not surrender West Berlin and West Germany alike.”
Evan’s eyes widened as he listened and he commented, “That couldn’t have gone over well.”
Dr. Phillips shook his head and replied, “It did not. In fact, the United States replied by firing nearly one percent of their nuclear arms and in response, China and the USSR did the same to the western world. Within a day the entire world had been wiped out and all water supplies had been tainted with radiation. Incidentally enough, the final human was the same test subject that was dreaming it.”
“Is it one of our current subjects?” Evan asked excitedly. He took a special fascination in the subjects, one that could even surpass Dr. Phillips.
“No,” the doctor answered, and his expression darkened. “That poor man slit his own throat the moment he had the chance. He had grown fearful of experiencing another apocalyptic event.”
Evan nodded with a slight frown and when the doctor seemed to be done with his storytelling, he tilted his head awkwardly.
“And what about the third one?”
Dr. Phillips closed his eyes and sighed, saying, “I do not wish to talk about that one. At least not tonight.”
Evan’s eyes flashed with confusion and frustration as he could interpret that this must have been the good one. The one that would tickle his interest the most and possibly stir some inspiration within him. But when Doctor Phillips made up his mind it was impossible to change or break it. Not even Evan’s smooth words or gorgeous looks could entice the doctor into talking when he didn’t wish to. Instead, Evan nodded and patted the doctor on the back as he could tell that this third scenario must have taken some kind of toll on the man.
“I understand,” he told Dr. Phillips and turned towards the door. “Thank you for sharing with me, doctor. I enjoy learning from you and look forward to the knowledge to come.”
Dr. Phillips only nodded as he saw Evan leave and he glanced back at the monitor before him. Despite how exhausted he was, his brain would not stop thinking about Catalina’s nightmare. What was happening to that world, that Earth? What were the nature of those creatures that had attacked and why had the soldiers made it a priority to save the alternate Catalina? It’s possible that she was as special in that world as she was in this one. But even then, what importance would a dimensional dreamer have in the face of such danger?
Credit : G.E. Howard
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