Most of us will only read about adventures, never having the gall to take the risk. But there are a few among us who, unintentionally, tend to venture into the enterprise of life and death, thanks due to a unique capability. A capability that if they knew they possessed, they’d furiously pray each waking moment of their lives to be rid of it or try to do the impossible, which is to never fall asleep again.
Mercifully then, perhaps, it’s good that they don’t know they have it. That how on some nights when they go to sleep, unlike most people, they wade a little too far into the still waters of restfulness. How sometimes, this quiet repose that feels at first like a tranquil retreat for the mind, suddenly opens into a cataract. How their body belabors in vain against the sharp undercurrent of this paralyzing slumber as it smoothly sculls them into a world suspended just beyond the edges of consciousness.
Here, death is as real as your steadily rising heartbeats. It’s a realm where reality and dreams meld into a singularity and nightmares come to life with only one purpose to heed and that is, to incessantly try to pin you down and make sweet, sweet love to you. Before you have a chance to take in the surreal surroundings of this alien zone, you’ll already be in a fight for your life. Kicking, screaming and throwing punches, sometimes one or two that look sure to be knockouts but do as much damage as a peck on the cheek. The whole thing feels unreal, like some over-budgeted action movie made out of hundred different, badly written scripts with only one scene to be shot on every outlandish set that shows you being hunted over and over by creatures unseen.
Laws of the Universe don’t seem to work right either and gravity seems to have an eccentric mind with a special grudge against you. Running between obfuscated streets, passing faceless strangers that sometimes turn into acquaintances, out of breath and scared out of your mind, you keep hoping to wake up and find yourself in the comfort of your bed, maybe in the arms of a concerned loved one telling you, “Hey, it was just a dream!” Oh, how you keep wishing you’d wake up!
And most nights, out of those few unfortunate souls who find themselves crossing over into a land unknown, many do wake up. But every now and then, there is an obituary in the newspaper that mournfully informs its readers of a Mr. So and so, a beloved member of the community, now survived by a loving wife and two daughters, who passed away peacefully in his sleep.