Dreamachine

The following is an excerpt from a short story I’m writing. It’s nowhere near complete, but the inspiration came in a dream. The dream was one of those long 3 hour epics, going through different scenes. I’ve only managed to describe the first scene, taking liberties with the story as I can’t quite recall the entirety of the dream. But the general idea is here. I’m having trouble progressing though to the latter scenes of the story, though I roughly have it in my head. So any suggestions as to how I could move on from here would be appreciated. Please leave your feedback. Thank you!

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The technology was simple, I was told, yet executed with the most meticulous detail. On entering the room, one hadn’t the faintest notion of what was going on. Yet within those four walls a magician’s hand was at play.

Howl had no name for his device, or even its application. Howl had no interest in the glorification of the modern world of science. Howl was only interested in the use of his technology, and this is where I came in.

Within those four walls, time stood still or at least in another time and place. The means to explain what he was doing in words seems beyond me, as the plebes stared on at Jesus of Nazareth, I too was for a while simply dumbfounded.

The room was not real, at least not in the way we are used to perceiving ‘reality’. Everything I saw before me was from another time, yet existing in the present plane, as though it were completely normal. Yet there was a trick to this magic. I looked under every table, above every cupboard, every nook, cranny and corner, but there were no signs of the machinery at work.

A perpetual state of ‘is’ness, was what I had begun to call it. Howl quite fancied the term. Within those four walls we were able to live a seemingly endless moment. Or at least be enchanted. You see, the contents of the room were very much real. If you knocked on wood, you would hear a sound.

Yet, the idea was that whoever entered the room, entered another time. Technically, outside the room, I would be in the present, and on entering, I could be in any moment I chose. A perpetual state of ‘is’ness; where any moment could be frozen, yet experienced as a whole, fluid reality.

We had only begun discussing how we would go about making use of the machine when it happened. His body lay there, in suspended animation. Died of natural causes, the report read. He was the only one who knew the operations of the machine, which left me with an illusory room stuck in the same place. And what use was that, really?

That was until I met her.

To this day I am unsure of just how real she was. She appeared while I was in the room, taking me by surprise. She said her name was Maya. She spoke of her maker; she asked if I knew of him. She called him Ahti. I was fascinated by her reverence for what sounded like Howl, yet puzzled by the name she had given him. Maya had never met Ahti, yet his name was imprinted in her mind.

She did not speak of the room, or the machine. As far as I knew, she had no idea none of this was real. Maya would follow me around, pretend to be interested in what I was doing, hanging on me like a shadow. Then she began to sing.

Words foreign to my ears fell off her lips, hummed to a tune she would repeat over and over again. I never asked her what the words meant. The notes registered in the back of my mind, and as I returned home I would hear her voice and those words. Those words would soon reveal their worth to me, but for now, I was unaware.

I spent days inside the room, trying to decipher the workings of the machine. Maya watched, unsure of what to make of my strange behaviour. Over the days it only got worse, frustration overwhelmed me. Then she showed me the way.

Pointing to the windows, Maya asked why the sky always looked the same. The answer descended on me like a hammer to a nail. I had never thought to look outside; convinced the machinations took place within the confines of those four walls. There was something in the light that shone through the window, making even the sky seem unreal.

There it was, staring me right in the face, casting this illusion that created the room. It was ingenious, I thought, to hide it right in plain sight. On opening the windows the machinery was revealed to me, though I had the faintest clue of how it worked. But this was a start.

Maya watched as I examined the intricacies of the machine. There seemed to be some source of power that kept it running, yet it was not plugged into any electrical source. Batteries? No, they could not possibly sustain an output of this much light. A strange aura emanated from the centre of the machine, a blue-ish glow that felt both warm and cold at the same time. Circular in shape, there seemed to be some sort of material generating power. Maya walked towards the shape.

Her fingers traced the contours, as a strange electric charge disseminated through her body, every strand of hair lifted. Her eyes shone blue-silver, as she turned to look at me. I felt a chill run down my spine, as she began to speak in tongues. Words foreign to my ears began to reverberate across the room, a cacophony of syllables I could not begin to fathom. As moments passed they began to overlap, as though her voice multiplied. My ears began to ache.

I only remember waking up inside this place. The walls are not what I remember, neither is the floor, or the ceiling. Somehow the room had transformed itself. I wondered if Maya had something to do with this. Dust covered the floor, cobwebs lined the ceiling, and the pungent stench of decomposition filled the room.

“Home”, said Maya.

Then I began to recall. The speaking of tongues, those words she sung; they were one and the same. It was Maya who brought me here; I had yet to understand why. In this new room I could no longer place the machine, there was no window, and I had no sense of direction. Yet somehow, it felt larger. Though physically impossible, the room had expanded. Was this some trick of the mind? Yet another optical illusion?

“Maya, what are we doing here?” I asked.

“Home”, was the only response she would give me.

“Where is this place? Are we still inside the room?”

“Home”, said Maya.

She then began to walk towards the door. I followed. The door would lead us back to reality, outside the effects of the machine. Maya opened the door, letting in a light so intense it threatened to blind me. I stepped outside; this was not the reality I remembered. Once again, the floor was covered in dust, the ceilings lined with cobwebs, and the lingering stench followed us.

Maya walked on.

Walking through what seemed like a broad corridor, I began to notice the inscriptions on the walls. Again, the words were foreign to me, yet there seemed to be a purpose behind them. Like some strange hieroglyphics, the walls began to speak. Perhaps Maya knew what they meant, but she was too far ahead for me to ask her. I quickened my pace, not willing to lose her.

“Where are you taking me?”

Maya turned to face me, “where are you taking yourself?”

What did she mean? She offered no explanation as she turned and continued walking. I did not bother to ask, my mind now seeking knowledge of the writings on the wall. Though I could not understand the language, there was something about the shapes that communicated to a primal sense. Like staring at a flame, there is no meaning to it, only warmth and colour. It was much the same with the inscriptions, but just what was it trying to tell me?

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Comments
7 Responses to “Dreamachine”
  1. fmerza says:

    What a beautiful excerpt. I really hope that you do get a chance to finish it as it holds great promise. I know I would buy it in a heartbeat! I must say that it is always a pleasure to read your posts because you really do have a way with words.

    As for the story, I don’t really know how the story could progress to be quite honest. Would you consider weaving a love story into your story? It seems that Howl is transfixed with Maya, so I would assume it would be only natural to pursue that avenue. Furthermore, I am curious about this machine. Maybe ask yourself what is the nature of this machine. When I say “nature”, I mean that is it one of those things that, if in the right hands, be used for good? Or is it one of those things who, if in the wrong hands, could have dire consequences. Again, I am intrigued! Please continue!

  2. Dili says:

    I like this. Very much. I can see a ton of possibilities from what you’ve started here. The way you’ve set the scene, literally anything could be possible. To make a gross oversimplification of sorts one could say you’ve blended scifi and fantasy to make the seed of the story. Really wanna read the whole thing 🙂

  3. Angel says:

    This is great… the sentences are fluid and the scenario unfolds itself beautifully. Would love to read the rest!

  4. That’s some place to keep the reader hanging! What out the window???

  5. fmerza says:

    ooo the plot thickens!

    You really have a knack for building this mystery that shrouds the machine, narrator, and Maya. Even though you mention Maya’s origins, I am still curious about her. I would love to see her character develop. I find it interesting that you don’t include physical descriptions of your characters. Is that intentional? Oh, and where is “home”?!?!?!

    Needless to say, I want more!

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