Saturday, April 16, 2011

IITAW Chapter 1 Excerpt

Copyright 2011 Johnny Domawa
All Rights Reserved
Chapter 1

People have nightmares and sometimes they wake up in them.
But nightmares, like dreams are not real. They are simply products of the restless mind, as fleeting and as short lived as the blink of an eye between two eternities.
One scream, one shortness of breath and one wakes up from it.
At least that is what it should be.
            But it seems all wrong now.
         Darkness stares at me. A damp and heavy air, so real I could almost taste it oppresses my senses and a deep throbbing pain in my left arm pulsates across my body threatening to snatch away my consciousness.
Am I in those dreams again?
Dreams where I find myself running forever from a nameless pursuer; body and mind ravaged with pain and nameless fear.
            But this, this is different. From the depths of my mind, I felt that it was different.
            There was only the darkness as opposed to the white.
            In my nightmares, there is always the never – ending white.
And this… this feels so real.
Nightmares are not supposed to be real.
My eyes momentarily probed the darkness, attempting to see through it, looking for anything distinct but only a blanket of inky blackness stares back at me.
It can only mean one thing.
I am indeed dreaming…now to wake
I blinked. Doing this would sometimes make me wake up from such dreams.
The same darkness stares back.
And from somewhere down in my consciousness, something cold was brewing. I vaguely felt it, felt it slowly growing. A faint flicker at first then rapidly building up to a flare. A sinking feeling enveloped my mind as it burst forth.
I fought the feeling.
It was all in vain. My body involuntary shuddered as it broke out; pain erupting where muscle strained and where flesh met rock.
A scream…
And then again there was only darkness…
That…and the ethereal pitter patters of water droplets against a puddle somewhere.
I attempted to move my body but the pain in my arm was more than anything I’ve ever experienced and I felt that every nerve of mine will snap if I made the least motion.
Calming myself, I waited attempting to stabilize the pain. I lay still.
I didn’t know how long I lay there coping with the soreness that ached with such bitterness I felt like fainting. There was something morbidly fascinating about it. The only comfort there was, I told myself, is that it was just a dream and that sooner or later I’d wake up with no memory of it whatsoever.
            But the moments dragged on to eternity and the darkness stayed.
Why was I not waking?
 I am supposed to be waking up.
            There are the thoughts that invaded my mind now.
My shock grew when I realized that my sight has grown accustomed to the darkness and slowly I discerned the silhouette of a murky protrusion of something irregularly pointed around me and over me. A stray thought from my mind; a distant memory from a near forgotten classroom told me that such formations are only found in caves:
Or was it stalagmites...
Strange that the terms come to me now.
And like a key to a door, they suddenly opened up an avalanche of awareness in me.
I felt….
I felt…. water…
Water was dripping over their tips and I could feel them falling across my body, small impacts of water on exposed skin, rivulets flowing in predetermined courses found randomly to provide passage to …. somewhere…
Then I felt the cold. It was damn cold, and then I felt the sharpness of the… the stones that made my bed; and then I became acutely aware of the searing pain that started from my right hand which pulsated towards my chest, I gagged in pain as my senses came back to me, my body spasmed up in an involuntary convulsion. My head snapped back and I banged my head into something hard making my sight spin
            And like the curtain in a gothic tableau, I woke up.

            What is real?
            How does one gauge the reality of things?
            By what one can feel?
            Or is there something else that defines it.
            I tasted the saltiness of my sweat mixed with blood. I could feel!  Everything, from the stalagmites, the water dripping from them, the stones gouging my back and the damn cold were terrifyingly real.
But this must be a dream
This has to be a dream…
            Dreaming or not, my mind knew that I had to get out of this place: whatever this place is. I flipped to my sides and the anguished pain in my muscles told me that I was in no position to do so. Doggedly, and more due to frustration and a sense of utter survival, I felt for anything to grasp. I found an outcrop, cold… cold to the touch. I grasped it but my hands, it seems could not obey the will of my mind. I couldn’t hold on to it. My fingers didn’t have the strength.
            That realization filled me with fresh terror and it served as a signal for adrenaline to rush through me. I found a sliver of strength that was just enough. Painfully I turned over flat on to my belly, willing my mind to ignore the pain that flared every time my muscles strained for motion.
I have to do this…
Mind over body…
The pain was searing and for a while I felt like giving in but a part of me wouldn’t have it. Slowly, the throbbing pain dissolved to numbness.
My body yearned for rest…sleep but I knew that sleep would not be the answer to it. A voice in my head told me that I had to get out.
I must focus….
            I saw a glimmer of light across the darkness that faced me. Whether it was a trick played on my mind, the only thing that mattered was that I had a goal. Maybe it would wake me up to consciousness. It was the only thing that was definite and it revved up whatever strength there was that was left.
            And it was all that mattered.
I crawled towards it, I don’t know how
An eternity perhaps, a body without a mind. A zombie fuelled by desire…
The desire to escape….
If only to escape…
And then after an infinity of pain there was again the darkness…

Everything is a cycle.
There is nothing constant.
Everything changes.
Light fades.
Darkness falls.
And even that which is anchored in a mighty foundation must reckon the day when the stones that support it will weaken.
But that doesn’t stop you from resisting.
And so life is all about delaying that which is inevitable.
To what end?
To whatever end.

            I felt something walking over my back.
A small thing having four legs…
From the stupor of my mind, recognition slowly flared.
Consciousness flared through me as my mind made up its conclusion. I have a rat in my room and sometimes it crawls over me in my sleep. I jerked and felt the satisfaction of it being swept aside.
I silently hoped it would strike something and have a nervous attack.
Damn rat!
My momentary stirring subsided as the satisfaction of slumber still lingered. The comfort of the bed was far too tempting to pass up. My half awakened mind feebly juggled my memories to remember what today is.
Memories of yesterday flashed through my mind’s inner eye:
The class… the exams… the students grades… Marie’s smile---
Maries smile
Of course.
Maries smile told me that today would be Thursday, and that my first class would be ten thirty.
I smiled at the thought. I can bear to sleep through.
It’s probably 7:30 anyway. I snoozed back to contentment.
            And reflexively I stretched my body ---
A massive shot of pain shot through my left arm as if a thousand needles had suddenly pierced it waking me to full consciousness. I opened my eyes in shock and pain, my face contorted in agony. I reflexively grabbed for the window ledge for support, and felt it give way, coarsely crumbling like the earth to my grasp…
            From the depth of my mind, I felt something give way.
            A stray image of a nightmare passed through my mind’s eyes A maelstrom of images swam up randomly after it threatening to swamp my thoughts.
The pain was momentarily forgotten as I experienced the shock.
This isn’t real, I must be dreaming or my senses are playing tricks on me
it is not….it is not…it is not…
A dismembered voice… my voice… from the images
Open your eyes…
With terror almost getting the best of me, I brought my eyes to focus. The ‘room’ rapidly came into perspective. I blinked and stared.
A cold feeling enveloped my gut as the ‘room’ registered
Is it as I expected?
No computer greeted me. I felt around: no blankets, only the rough walls and ceiling of a gross sculpture seemingly made of soil.
I became acutely aware of the grainy feel of a rough surface against my back. A fresh blizzard of images flared through my mind.
            My mind drew a blank.
I whited out.
For a tense moment, I lost all feeling and then consciousness came rushing back in. I struggled to calm myself from its onslaught.
This cannot be happening to me.
But I am awake…
I am awake
            This is real. If I’m awake… It has to be….
By the time I felt calm enough, my mind has worked itself to a crazy conclusion that I might be in one of my fantasies:
Reality versus imagination kind of thing…
            I found myself incredulous at the thought.
            I closed my eyes hard until I saw the dancing lights and then opened them again willing the previous scenario away by will of thought.
            But for whatever belief children have in that age old maxim, it didn’t hold true to me.
            The same gross sculpture greeted me as I became acutely aware of the smell of damp earth and decaying matter around me.


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