The Equilibriums

My dream last night started out in an apartment.  I was looking for work, and apparently had been doing so for a long time because my apartment was really barren and I had no utilities.  It was as though I had been slowly becoming homeless from the inside out.  The difference between being in this apartment and being out on the street was ever slowly diminishing.  The walls were all a pale blue every night from the streetlamps outside, and seemed to keep that same color during the day as well.

There was a place I knew about, not far from where I lived, that I knew wasn’t going out of business.  All I knew was that it was some kind of mining operation, and they had new people hiring there all the time.  Like everyone else, they never called me back, but I was now completely determined, and ready to do anything.  I thought, “Even if I have to volunteer there until they hire me, I won’t give up until they do.”

I walk in the door of this place and somehow the entrance to the mines was simply in the rear of their front office building.  The woman at the front desk didn’t even ask me my name, but simply waived her hand to the back of the room, as there was a group of new workers entering the mine at that very moment.

I count my luck and hop into the back of the line.  As we are escorted through the door, everything is dark, but not as dark as it should have been.  The walls were clearly earthen, but illuminated with a pale blue light.  It seemed so unnatural or perhaps supernatural, until we were led forward to a watery surface that was none other than some kind of port or boat dock.  The water was lit from deep within, and the whole tunnel we were in could not have been more than 20 feet wide and only 20 feet of water until the tunnel tapered down underneath.  “How can a boat fit in this place?”  I wondered.

At that moment, a submarine-like vessel suddenly roared to the surface, startling all but our escorts.  I just had enough time to notice that it was black, with a nose and two wings – almost like a man-made sting ray.  Someone handed me a mask, like a scuba mask but it covered my whole face, and said “Use this.”  “Put this on,” they said to the next person, then some other curt variation to the next.  We were then ushered to the passenger part of the vehicle.  The doors were completely open, like the belly of a helicopter.  As we strapped into our seats, I was fearful that the water would entrench us if they didn’t close the doors, but there didn’t seem to be anything to close at all.  At least our masks were connected to something that kept us breathing.  Then I blacked out.

I woke up again in the dream.  I was still strapped in my seat and the passenger bay was still dry.  I seemed to be the only one awake.  All the other passengers were asleep.  The cockpit was illuminated blue and captain and co-captain stirring with this and that.  We flew fast and low to the bottom of the floor, as I could see the kelp and coral and whatever else was growing just beneath us.  From the speed at which they whizzed by, I guess we were skimming along at about 30 miles per hour.

Then I started getting paranoid again about the bay.  “How did this thing stay airtight?”  I could only imagine that the speed that the sting ray submerged had something to do with trapping the air inside.  My fear became so pervasive, that the sub then seemingly responded by actually making a hard enough turn banking on its left so that the trapped no longer was held by the ceiling and upper walls of the passenger bay, and cold rushing water woke all the passengers up.  Then we were all thankful we had the scuba masks on.     Shortly afterward, the sting ray arrived at its destination.  The captains sure had a polite way of waking up their crew.  Then I blacked out again.

I woke up and was in a place that could only be described as a different world.    There were hardly any inhabitants, and the passengers I was with quickly diffused into the place and were gone from sight.  I was basically alone.  There were buildings and signs of civilization but the whole place was just so different than anything I’ve ever seen before.  It was like an alternate reality in some other part, some other level, like the center of the earth – that no one knew about.

I met up with some people my age and we found these balls filled with a strange gas that made a popping sound whenever you bounced them.  We were really amazed by them and kept bouncing them on walls, buildings, each other and whatever else we could find.  We finally met someone who seemed to live here, and when he saw us playing he said, “Oh, did you invent something?”  We placed the ball in his outstretched hand.  “It doesn’t pop as much as it used to,” I said, “The gas must be gradually escaping every time we pop it.”  “I see,” the butler-like man said, “It has an equilibrium line, just like this place.”

Sure enough I noticed that it had a seam bisecting the ball, like an equatorial line, just like any ball made in a factory.  The man continued, “Does the ball have any inhabitants?”

I was horrified.  Inhabitants?  We had been smashing this ball on everything we could find.  Any tiny living things in there would surely not have survived.  I grabbed each end of the ball and separated it at the equatorial line.  It gradually gave way and the two halves began to separate again.  Inside was just a sticky green, gel-like goo.  The butler looked smug.  “I knew your invention couldn’t have been that good to match this place,” he seemed to think.

Then the young men and myself knew we had to find a way out of this place.  We were no longer content to simply idle our time away in this other world.  There had to be a way back.  We searched everywhere and must have found a way that seemed different than the rest.  We found ourselves ascending until we reached a shale-like stair case.  The stone was deep red, and stairs eventually came out in a desert like place that could look out at the stars again.  However, the lookout was either an illusion or was some kind of window that we couldn’t pass through.  We had to keep going around another hidden path to the right and up again.  Finally we passed through an entrance, that not-surprisingly became the back door of this giant house.  “This is some kind of crazy network of underground passages in all these buildings and homes,” I thought, “I wonder where else this thing goes.”

After eagerly exploring, only somewhat apprehensive that one of the residents might return, we counted 8 total bedrooms.  I slept in the lower level room just to the left of the cave entrance.  White curtains billowed around a gust of wind, revealing the same view in the window that the ascending stair case did a quarter mile behind us, but from a different angle.  “This window is actually real,” I was relieved, “I can jump out through it back into the world anytime I want.”  That satisfaction calmed me enough to collapse to sleep.  It had been a long long journey, and all I knew was that I now was re-located to a high desert state, mostly likely in the US southwest.  I fell quickly to sleep, wondering if my new life would be any better here than when I left, and also wondering if I would take the time to see where else this new reality connected to.

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