I’ve had another dream, not one like any of the others… this one, while jarring couldn’t be called a nightmare, neither did it have the same serene feeling I’ve grown so accustomed to in these most recent days. It was so entirely different from anything else I’ve experienced since all this started, and it left my bed soaked with sweat.
While it felt so incredibly real at the time, the apartment in my dream was just a skeleton of itself; I can recall its images strongly… much more so then I regularly am able. The hallway to the bathroom was a sheer blackness broken only by the thin white beams that gave it shape… it existed as contrast and wove twisted and shoddy past the horizon of my vision. I followed that hall fully deceived, believing that I was awake and as such went about my way preparing for my first journey back to school after the break. I walked this pathway on to the bathroom and climbed into the shower, itself a mass of shining tangled pipes standing free against the emptiness of my subconscious world. When finished I pulled back the curtain and walked clothed out from the room where I found the geography had changed. Out the missing doorway and across the hall stood another bathroom, and striding from it another man, a mirror of myself.
The two of us walked curiously toward each other until it became apparent who we each were… the answer to that very simply being me. We wore the same set of clothes and over them my favorite coat, had the same unruly hair, stood of equal height and stance, but there were differences. Most prominently the mask.
On his face a small purple mask sat, the kind people wear for Mardi Gras or other festive occasions. Just a little cheap plastic mask, other things too. He bore a slight beard opposed to my clean shaven face, and his clothing, though matching mine, was caked with dried mud and all manner of stains… and most finally he bore a smile I have never worn. This smile was the kind one get’s from another’s suffering, sharp and harsh and mad. He straightened, no longer playing my shadow and shot me that terrible smile of broken lips and yellowed teeth.
I stepped backwards frightened by this reflection, but it moved my way too, getting inches from my face and piercing through me with my own eyes colored cruel. And then he laughed, what a terrible laugh… it echoed all across that false existence. It sounded of such devilish glee, like he was so delighted to experience me cowering before him… like there was nothing in the world that I could ever do. And then… then with me reeling from his laughter, from my own laughter bouncing through the void, he turned his face downwards and pulled from it the tiny purple mask. When our faces meet again his was blank. Gone were my piercing eyes and crooked smile, gone was the unshaved hair from my chin. All that remained was an all too familiar lack of face sitting on my shoulders and still echoing that cruel laugh deep into my soul.
I woke up screaming and damp from the sweat that soaked my bed. I climbed into the shower and rinsed it off, went back to my room to get dressed and deal with my sheets. On the clothes I’d laid out for today was a mask. My mask. I’d gotten it over a year ago when my dad had taken me skiing at the Paralympics which his company helped sponsor. The mask, just as is was in the dream, was small and purple… a cheap Mardi Gras mask bought for $20 as a fundraiser that nearly won me a season’s pass to Vail.