Arlindo Batista – “The Vain Lady, Family Fun and the Elves” in Lucid Dreaming
I hit the sack at 1.30am and didn‟t take long to fall asleep. I wasn‟t even planning to have a lucid dream. I dreamt that I was a time-traveller inhabiting the body of a stranger – like the fictitious Sam Beckett in the science fiction series, “Quantum Leap”. The most memorable part of this non-lucid stage was when I was trying to convince somebody that I was not who I appeared to be and that I had travelled from the future. I completely believed that was my reality and that my time-travelling was made possible by quantum mechanics.
A sceptical dream character accused me of pulling the wool over his eyes and remarked that the idea of travelling through time was too far-fetched. I saw his scepticism as an obstinate problem in need of urgent rectification before it was too late. There was a strong sense of me being the protagonist in what was unfolding. An unmitigated love of being the hero blinded me to the fact that the sense of urgency was unjustified.
I did not even stop to ask myself what was at stake if I did not succeed in convincing the sceptic that I was a time-travelling stranger. It didn‟t even occur to me that the idea of having enemies was vague and there was no sense of purpose other than asserting my pseudo-reality to someone who was not willing to budge.
We continued to argue as we went to the upstairs of a house. When we reached a terrace, the sceptical character stated emphatically that he did not believe me and was not willing to listen to me anymore. He left through another door (adjacent to the one we used to enter the terrace) and I gave up on my mission to persuade him. Something was changing in me as I was beginning to analyse my situation.
On the terrace, I beheld a night sky in contemplation. Then, something that hovered a few yards away caught my eye. Two looped objects, somehow superimposed and spinning in opposite directions, were the only things that exhibited movement in the vivid dreamscape before me. The estimated diameter of the loops was around 10ft.
As I watched this wondrous peculiarity, I pondered the possibility of dreaming what was before me and the reality of the experience hit me: “I am dreaming!” I entered the strange residence via the same door used by the sceptical character earlier. I went down a few steps and turned left at a hallway that led to an antiquated room. A middle-aged woman of strong build sat in front of a large bevelled mirror and seemed preoccupied with her appearance. She sported dark straight hair at shoulder length and was attired in black leather. The mirror displayed a varnished wooden edge and its surface limpidly reflected the room except the woman. I grabbed her arm, pulled her towards me and the two of us danced in celebration of my lucidness.
I dropped the woman when I noticed two doorways on opposite sides of the room. These doorways revealed sunlit interiors – as though light was seeping through unseen blinds. The sunlight that bathed the rooms was a bold contrast to the nightscape observable from the terrace. It defied logic because it couldn’t have got that bright in such a short period of time. If that happened in the real world, anybody who witnessed it would have been dumbfounded. In the lucid dream world, I smirked triumphantly as the phenomenon only served as a reminder of being well aware of the illusory nature of my surroundings.
Vision was strong but sound was minimal and in need of amplification. I focused on listening in and heard voices coming from downstairs. I exited the woman’s room and glided to the end of the hallway where I found a set of stairs to my left that struck me as being the same ones used by me and the sceptical character earlier in my ordinary dream state. I went downstairs and noticed the voices getting louder and more familiar. I found my wife Stacey and the kids playing together along a corridor that I came to realise was looped due to an elongated oval-shaped wall at the centre of the lower floor. Strong red and blue colours highlighted the stony surfaces that composed the hall-like environment.
My pseudo-family raced joyfully along the looped path and I decided to join in. I ran alongside Alfred and told him: “Daddy is dreaming and he knows it!” I glanced at my wife who was catching up with us and saw that she was apparently happy for me. I found the way Alfred was moving quite comical because he could barely balance his head as he ran. I could see that my son would inevitably fall and my initial instinct was to prevent this. But then, I realised there was no point in bothering with rescue, because, after all, it was just a lucid dreaming eventuality. So, cheekily, I opted to tickle my son as he ran and chased his guffawing self all the way to a doorway where he stumbled and fell in a kitchen area. The dream simulation of my boy bumping his head on the floor and crashing into nearby cupboards did not concern me in the least.
I shouted excitedly to Stacey who was still running with the other children: “I‟m dreaming!” I joined them in the corridor and tried to recall a plan of action that I‟d written in my journal a few days ago. I couldn‟t remember anything so I decided to improvise by exploring whatever I found. I began to touch objects around me until I found the front entrance to the house (or at least that‟s the impression I got when I found a white door with two vertical rectangular panes). The door was solid at first, but, as soon as I willed my hand to go through it, my fingers began to sink into its surface with little resistance. Eventually, I slid through it with no expectation of finding anything on the other side.
It was pitch black but the spatial sense lingered. The temperature was lower and I got the impression of being outdoors. My auditory faculty appeared to be fully functional when a couple of vehicles zoomed past me. I could hear them realistically – even the Doppler effect was conveyed precisely – and a breeze was felt each time but all I could see was blackness. I touched a tarmac floor and heard my kid‟s voices challenging me to another race, this time, on the road.
In the darkness, I started to see the dimly lit forms of my wife, mother and children getting aboard what resembled a motorised rickshaw. What was odd was that all of them got inside the cart and the vehicle took off without a driver. I pursued the rickshaw by gliding through the air and felt there was a road beneath me that I was unable to see. I reached for it with my fingers and felt tarmac again. Suddenly, the road started reflecting crisp moonlight but there was no moon to be seen in the black sky. I had a strong desire for clarity and it didn‟t take long for a fully developed nightscape to come into view.
There was a faint sunset in the distance and a silver moon illuminated a somewhat familiar foreground. I wondered why I was experiencing déjà vu and thought that perhaps the outdoor environment had featured as a setting for my previous non-lucid dream. I imagined that the sunset indicated west and later I would create a dream cartography piece with cardinal points. The centre of my dreamscape was a park mostly composed of grassland and a few trees that beautified it. That‟s where I imagined my cardinal rose to be.
The house with the spinning loops on the terrace, the vain lady, and where my family and I had fun was to the north. The tarmac road circled the park, and, to the west and cropping the sunset background, there was a myriad-storied building. On the north side of this structure, there was a gazebo, table and chairs under a little tree – this was where my family were now sitting and conversing. The south side of the building indicated the start of a new road. On the southeast side of the building stood an enormous tree that dwarfed it.
In fact, this tree was the tallest landmark in this lucid dream setting. Its branches brushed the dark sky and almost reached the moon. Exquisite pink flowers adorned the branches and part of the trunk. To the south and east of the park, there were rows of little properties which looked the same. As I performed some midair acrobatics over the park, I listened in on the conversation that was going on under the gazebo not far from where I was. It was like I had switched my super hearing on.
My mother was telling my wife that I scare her sometimes. I began to fly in their direction and my mother looked at me. Stacey replied by saying that she gets scared of me too but that she is also getting used to it. I gently floated above their heads and told them: “There is no need to be scared. Lucid dreaming is harmless and makes me happy.” I looked up at the tall tree and saw bizarre bubbly clouds in the sky. I flew towards them and realised they were not clouds at all – or at least not anymore! On closer inspection they turned out to be foamy snow on the tree‟s upper branches. Below me, the building resembled a miniature skyscraper. I descended to the east side of the structure and peered through its windows to discover sleeping elf-like creatures inside. The naughty child in me compelled me to clutch the top floors like mattresses and rip them off in complete mayhem. I felt like a mad flying giant who took pleasure in watching the little people being flung about.
While I disassembled a few floors, I noticed that the building seemed to be made of polystyrene and cardboard. I landed on a surprisingly intact roof and looked to the west where the sunset was brighter and its prominent colours evoked joy. It should have got dimmer because it was supposed to be a sunset (going by the fact that it was daytime in the vain lady‟s room earlier) but, judging by the nature of dreamland, it might as well have turned into a sunrise.
The west side of the building that was previously hidden from view now revealed a luxurious platform area that included a swimming pool. The sight of this appeared to brighten the sky. Then, in the corner of my eye and to my right, I spot a dark patch on the floor. Upon inspection, a circular hole was unravelled. I anticipated discovering a wrecked building interior by peering through the black hole but what I found was more astounding. There was a staircase that revolved around a hollow centre and spiralled into infinity.
I couldn‟t resist jumping in to deliberately fall in an upright position. I crossed my arms and began to spin gradually during my fall. It was intentional and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was better than a funfair ride albeit brief. I landed on floorboards and looked around in a dark environment. It resembled a barn interior. I took a few steps and the lucid dream collapsed abruptly. It was 6am and I felt extremely happy and invigorated. Stacey woke up briefly and picked up on my joyous expression as I recalled everything. I felt fulfilled and had no intention of lucidly returning to the dream world.