The existence of demons, apparitions, werewolves, and vampires, they are all constructions of the human mind; monstrosities conjured by our own phobias. Why do we create such devilish beings? Why fabricate things that cause our weary minds to experience the feeling we know all too well as fear? Maybe it is because the demons we fear the most, are the ones that exists right beneath our feet. They are the ones we see every day, those we consistently interact with. The monsters we create keep us from losing sanity in the realization of the worlds vulnerabilities to evil. The existence of these faux creatures helps us to forget about the ones in real life.
Despite their differences they have their way of influencing one another through the experience of nightmares. The realm in which reality and fantasy overlap in the most intriguing of ways. My nightmares, which only now began to plague me, consisted of a creature that continually haunted my childhood, condemning me to a life riddled with doctor visits and psychiatric screenings. The help sought out by my domineering parents finally gave way by the age of 12. Being now 25, I thought I was forever rid of the creature; that is until it returned in the form of a phantasm.
I decided to pursue a cure for my steadily decreasing health; insomnia began to vex my sleeping habits and I began having vivid hallucinations. It became routine to lie awake in bed, gawking at the empty, barren white walls that now mocked my inability to rest. I found my desired relief when I stumbled upon an institution by the name of Heisenburg Institute. They informed me of their activities in the science of Oneirology, how their development of experimental technologies could have the ability to infiltrate your dreams, constructing them into more pleasant experiences.
They were looking for potential candidates for a research study; 3 men and 3 women completely isolated, only having the freedom to sleep. There brains would be monitored with transmitters throughout the experiment, especially during the hours of REM sleep. Communications between participants would be prohibited, acting against said rule would result in the removal of the participant. I thought on how sketchy it all seemed, but the desperation to rid myself of my woeful nighttime visions allowed me to act against my suspicions. I half-heartedly agreed to partake in their experimental analysis, as so did a few others. When we arrived at the institution for the experiment, we were all led into a vacant room, void of all personal possessions.
The room was bare, several beds were sprawled about the room, specks of haphazard lighting trickled through a single, minute window that was smeared over with soot. The floors were cracked and unpolished, as if stampedes of sewage floods had marched their way through. The only sanitary thing seemed to be the beds. We were all handed a small notepad to document our experiences whilst staying in the room, once again reminded not to speak. We all claimed a bed then settled in; the door was closed, a boisterous sounding click followed close behind. Whilst lying in bed, I couldn’t help but notice a girl around my age sitting in the bed opposite of mine.
Majority of the participants were of old or middle age; it was nice to see someone of my age here. She quickly took notice of me as well, flashing me a rather hesitant smile. I smiled back then looked around the room, scanning it for hidden cameras or microphones. When I was sure there were none in sight, I quickly scribbled the word ‘hi’ and held it up in her direction. She froze from my sudden advancements of communication, but reluctantly returned my gesture. “Is it safe to talk here, what if there are cameras around?” I made one last glance around the room, making sure to cover every crevice. “I don’t think there are from what I can see, I think it’s safe if we write.”
She nodded in comprehension and began writing another note. “So, what’re you in for?” I chuckled quietly at her comment, scrawling my clumsily dictated letters onto the notepad. “Just wanting to get rid of these stupid nightmares, what about you?”
“Same, been feeling like s**t for weeks.” She jotted her words down in perfect handwriting. I made an overly exaggerated, taunting face of concern, “Awe, the princess can’t handle a bad dream?”
“Bite me.” She returned my rhetorical sarcasm with an elevated middle finger. “
I snickered, just beginning to write a quirky comeback, when the latched door suddenly clicked open. I quickly closed and slipped the pad under my leg, the girl hid hers between her folded arms. Several men dressed in white medical attire wheeled in buggies carrying what I assumed were the transmitters. They were all collectively connected to a large, futuristic looking machine. They handed us each a helmet, instructing us to put them on and flip the switch in the back. They informed us that these machines could somehow monitor the activity in our dreams and possibly allow us to voyage into others dreams as well. I began to feel the experiment wouldn’t be as unsettling as I originally thought, but one of the scientists words forced that feeling under submission.
“There may be times where you begin to confuse reality with fabrications. You’re nightmares will more than likely become real hallucinations, but please try to keep a calm demeanor, they are nothing but illusions.” And with that, they all left, locking the door behind them. We all wore an expression of fear and confusion. None of us were prepared for what was to come during this experiment.