The Dream Booth – The Good, the Bad and the Worst

 

Tonight I was to wake up early but got lazy and wanted to get a few more minutes of zzzz. Needless to say, the few minutes turned to an hour and by the time I woke up, the sun had risen high in the sky as if glaring at me for being such a lazy-bone.

But it wasn’t the sun that had my insides in a twist. It was a dream, a dream somewhere between Harry Potter and the Hunger Games. Of course I was one of the protagonists as it was my dream but so were the two other girls I had befriended when I first arrived at this old castle-ish sort of school. I no longer remember their faces… no scratch that… I don’t even remember if I saw their faces which proves the theory that when we dream, we can only see faces of those we have seen in the real world while others’ remain faceless. May be that is the reason I do not remember the faces of these two girls.

So… when I arrived at this castle, it was a scary thing with dark corners and hidden creatures that came out only in the dark to terrorize and sometimes torture people. No one had ever seen what they look like, so imaginations ran askew. Some said they were large creatures like  giant spiders with razor-sharp blades for its legs, and others said that were giant elephants who walked so silently that they even shamed the ninjas. Whatever the theory, it had my guts in twists and I was ready to flee this horrendous place. But like any lead actor in a movie,  I couldn’t because of a secret – a secret that forced me to stay here and wait.

Hence, with a frightened heart, I started my first class (which for some reason stayed my only class) and there I met the other two ladies – a bright and energetic girl who loved to talk and a calmer girl with an air of confidence and warm eyes. This other one was a leader-material, the mother hen who looked after her chicks but from a distance. With these two girls, I started enjoying this place and my lessons but then my nightmares started – again.

The professor who taught this class was a teacher of mine in high school, a fellow with a cynical smile and eyes that hinted at malicious intentions. I used to be very uncomfortable in that class and for some reason he turned out to be in my dream, playing the professor who taught this class. I could sense there was something sinister brewing deep in the recess of his mind. His eyes and smile made shivers ran down my spine. If not for the secret reason that forced me in this school, I would definitely have run off this time.

In the dream, I had been in a situation much like the hunger games where I was compelled in a secret mission because I was the prophesied one. But something happened and everything went wrong or may be I found out I was battling for the wrong people who were using me for something big and sinister. So after I escaped from there, I promised to remain away from all that. Sealed those days of my life, locked them up in a chest, never to be opened again.

But here in this professor’s class, everything started repeating and my worst fears came true – it had started all over again. Only this time, it wasn’t me and the rules had changed. There was something more dangerous and dark controlling all of this. A mystery no one knew about. This professor preyed on the fears of his students, shrouding them in dark for a few seconds if something displeased him. It wasn’t the dark that they feared but its creatures. The same spiders and elephants who came out in these seconds of darkness to prey on a student whose shouts of agony could be heard loud and clear in that dark, silent room. I feared if next time the creatures would come for me because they knew who was. 

On one such day, after two students disappeared in the dark, yet again, the professor handed the class some papers and four questions to solve. Early on, he had caught my talkative friend whispering something to me and I was scared one of us would be the next victim. The questions on the black-board were maths questions with all the roots, complex numbers and everything that makes maths so scary to students. I wonder if this part of my dream was due to the fact that I was scared of the subject during my high school years.

As usual, my hands started sweating, my breathing became laboured and when I put the pen to paper, every question I solved gave an incorrect solution. Just then everything went dark, and somebody screamed. Another victim. Taken. Lost.

As soon as the lights came back, I saw a hooded figure, a familiar old lady standing just beyond the threshold of the room. Although none of the other students could see her, I and those who sat before and after me could see her from our corner seats. As soon as I saw her, I knew what would happen next. I slowly turned my answer-sheet and the large number printed there confirmed everything. FIVE.

To my surprise, she never beckoned me but my friend – the calmer one who had been like a protector to me these past days.I felt betrayed and… angry. Was befriending me a ruse? Did she know the truth about me or was she as innocent and clueless as I had been that time? Would I’ve to fight a friend this time?  For some reason my instincts told me to be wary of the talkative girl beside me but never her, the girl sitting in front of me. Why? What was the truth and what was the lie? Whose side she was on – the good or the bad?

As soon as she rose from her seat, I seeked my eraser and started rubbing at the number written with a pencil on my page. This was a message from the one behind all of this, and the old lady was now telling my friend to look for the message written on one of her classmate’s paper. I hastily scribbled my roll number over the now erased number – forty-seven.  

I watched my friend’s back, her light purple clock decorated with yellow stars and moons. The old lady then pointed her finger in my direction and my friend turned. Once she was inside the class, she searched each classmate’s answer-sheet but could not find the single digit message. When she arrived at my seat and took my sheet, I held in my breath. What if they found out I had the message and erased it?  She looked at my paper, frowned and then gave it back to me. As she sat back in her seat, I knew what she was thinking. Why was there no message when the old lady came to tell her there was?

All of a sudden, she stood up and came back to my place. I watched in horror as she grabbed my paper, frowned and then went to the person sitting behind me. “Could you please read this number for me?”

The person in question looked at the paper, hesitated and then muttered, “four five seven.” She gave him a nod and then came back to sit beside me. She knew! She knew! My mind screamed but I held in my emotions, careful not to let them show on my face.

She turned to me and smiled. “You silly girl. You forgot your roll-number, didn’t you? 457 is mine and 47 is yours.” She took my eraser and started rubbing at the numbers on my sheet. After neatly writing down my roll number, she returned the sheet back to me and smiled, her usual warm and kind smile. “There now, you’re safe from the professor’s wrath.” She winked and then went back to sit at her seat in front of me.

It was then I knew. She was still the same friend who took the position of my protector when I came to this school, a position no one wanted in all these years. I was wrong. I shouldn’t have erased the message. She couldn’t be fighting for the wrong side. I now knew that. I should tell her. With that thought in mind, I tapped at her shoulder and watched her turn. And then… I woke up.

Surreal, wasn’t it? And verryy vivid. Sometimes I have these kind of dreams – dreams that can be woven down in a story. Have you ever had this kind of dream?

Hope you have a good day.

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