Shanghai United International School Jiaoke Campus Literature Club
Thisroom was a little too bright, even though only one of the four lights was on.The white walls were extremely smooth, like the surface of water.
Ipushed away the white sheet on me and slid off the bed. I was not sure if onecould call it a bed, since it was as hard and as white as the walls.
Thewhite floor under my feet was so cold.
Everythingwas so pale.
I tookthree hasty steps to the shelf on the opposite side and yanked open the seconddrawer to the left on the third level. Nothing. Why did I open this drawerfirst? I kneeled down and started over from the leftmost drawer on the bottomlevel.
AfterI went through five of the drawers, I finally found a bottle with a greenstripe. It was such a comfort in this monotonous environment.
It goteven more pleasant when I found sweet-scented pills in the bottle. I couldn'thelp swallowing one of them.
"Wheredo you want to go today?"
"Ithink I have booked sky-rocketing. Do you want to join?"
"Mypleasure. I will meet you outside the Center."
Tracy'smessage woke me up. She also reminded me of my plan for the day.
Myhome was way better than that boring white room. It consisted of four roomswith changeable wallpaper. When I wanted to look outside, I could also changethem into French windows. There were an infinite number of flying machinesoutside, speeding past each other, never colliding. Behind them were otherbuildings, their shape ranging from ellipsoids to cubes, all attached to white buildingbranches. If I looked down I would not be able to see the ground, unlike thatin my dream.
Iopened the door to the port with my fingerprint. My own flying machine paintedred was outside, waiting for me.
Tracyand I undid our seatbelt once we were above the clouds. The ride was enjoyable,as usual. From the portholes we admired the top of the city's new defensetower. It was not open to visitors so far, so we chose take this trip aroundit. We could see the part of the tower above the clouds. There was an antennaon the very top of the tower, surrounded by five sets of radars. Below thatwere exterior walls constructed by black reflective boards.
Whenwe had enough view of the tower, we each put on a parachute bag. I turned thehatch on the cabin door, and we jumped out into the open sky. Then I rememberedit was the first time Tracy and I ever parachuted.
Parachutingwas awesome. I enjoyed the slow fall, although I liked the quick fall in bungeebetter. The clouds were so soft and so white. Out city looked so magnificentfrom above. I couldn't take my eyes off the busy streams of traffic even afterwe landed accurately on a platform on the no-flying level.
ButTracy was a little freaked out. She complained about the too-hot sun, thetoo-heavy parachute bag and the too-ugly parachute, therefore wantedcompensation of some kind. I had to buy an extra-large ice cream from the bestice cream shop on the no-flying level, where the price was the most expensivein the city. I was explaining the story behind the two knights on the top of myice cream when Tracy suddenly bit off Sir Green's head.
"Great,now that his head is gone, their duel finally ends. Sir Black wins."
I tookmy first bite on Sir Black's sword while observing the rough texture on the icecream scoop.
"Oneday I will also get a chocolate-flavored sword. It's so good."
Tracylaughed: "Do you want to go fencing next?"
"Let'srest for a little while. The sun's too bright."
Dr.Wells said it was highly unlikely to dream after an exhausting day. But I stilldreamed last night.
I wasin the bright white room again. There was a difference though. When I sat up, Icould not see things very clearly. The edge of the bed was blurred this time.Same with the shelf; I had to blink a few times to make sure it was there. Mybones hurt from the hard bed. I let the sheet slide off my shoulder. Iburied my face in my palm, trying to clear my head.
Myleft foot was on the cold hard ground when a beep went off in the room. It wasnot loud, but I looked up, trying to locate its source.
I wassure it came from behind me, but when I looked back, I saw nothing but thecolor white. The emptiness in this room was disturbing, although I saw noreason for it.
Ididn't even bother pushing the drawers back this time. I lied down on the bedwith a sweet pill from a yellow bottle in my mouth.
"Tracy,I had the weirdest dreams ever." I finally decided to tell Tracy about mydreams after we finished our late night ride around the city.
"Perhapsit's time for you to visit your physician again. I'm sure he has a solution foryou." She was always so gentle, so caring.
"Butwe have plans for tomorrow."
"Don'tworry. I'll meet you at the Center. It won't take too long."
"OK.You are the best."
Ikissed Tracy on her neck.
"Soyou have been dreaming last night."
Dr.Wells was my physician. He had a pair of glasses with golden frame. His clotheswere always plain and appropriate, unlike most people nowadays. People came upwith new styles of clothes on a daily basis.
"Doyou feel anything uncomfortable, like headache or dizziness?"
"No,doctor. My daily life is completely normal."
"That'sgood. Your condition is certainly not getting worse. Indeed, I think you areprobably getting better."
"ButDr. Wells, I am still dreaming almost every other night. They were extremelyunpleasant."
"Iunderstand. Dreaming syndrome is not easy to cure. You are doing very wellnow."
"Rememberthe tips. LOOK FOR COLORS."
"LOOKFOR COLORS. Yes, I will. Thank you, doctor."
I tooka deep breath outside Hygiene Center while I was waiting for Tracy. I neverknew exactly how high Hygiene Center was. I was sure that it was on theadministration level, which was higher than the resident level, the businesslevel and the industrial level. In fact, the whole trip to The Maze was adescent into clouds.
Tracygripped my hand so tight in The Maze that it created a bruise. I was afraid,too, but I still opened doors with trembling hands. We both lost our voicescreaming. Ghosts wearing ragged clothes choked us from behind. Monsters withrotten skin chased us through the narrow pathways. At the end Tracy turned thekey in the keyhole with bloody hands while I was desperately holding themonsters back with a wooden stick. But we were successful in escaping, and gotour reward- two ghost dolls.
"Lookat them, they are so cute." Tracy said as she watched the doll making aface at her.
"Whotold me to beat them to death a few minutes before?"
"Theones in The Maze were not nearly as cute." Tracy pouted.
I knewI was dreaming the minute I felt the pain in my back.
I wasgetting used to the white a little. I looked around before I went to the shelf.
It wasa square room. The bed was next to the wall to my right. I could see the wallin front of me completely. The corner to my front-left sat the shelf. I turnedto my left and found a door on the wall. It was the first time I saw a door inmy dreams.
I hadan urge to open the door just like I did in The Maze during daytime. I stood upand approached it with caution. What would come out from that door? There wasno Tracy holding my hand and encouraging me with shaking voice.
Myfingertip was almost touching the handle when my legs gave out. I slumped ontothe floor and drifted into darkness.
When Iwoke up, the first thing I thought of was the ghost doll. Since it was so lateat night, I had better not disturb Tracy with my non-sense dream.
I feltdazed, but I was able to locate the doll and bring it to my bed. I cuddledmyself in my bed with the cushions and looked at the doll. The doll looked notcute at all to me. I felt like something was scratching my heart when I lookedat its huge, round black eyes. They were like two bottomless holes to me. Itwobbled its head and waved its hands at me under the ragged white cloth. Then everythingstarted fading away into blackness.
I feltlike something was pressing against my eyelids when I woke up. They were soheavy that it took me almost one minute to force them open.
I wasin the white room again, only this time I was on the floor near the door.
Myhead hurt. I put my hand up to my temple in attempt to ease the pain. But myhand touched something else first.
Therewas something attached to my head.
I wasalmost pulling my eyes apart from my eye socket, but I couldn't see what was onmy head. So I felt it with my hand. It was hard and cylindrical, with narrow,shallow dents around it. I tried to find its end, but ended up holding a long,soft wire going to the direction behind me. I recognized the material asplastic. It kept going on and on, and I was able to turn my head and see theactual wire. It was white, like the room and the few things in this room.
Ididn't have a wire on my head in my real life.
Myeyes followed the wire to see where it ended up in. It went directly into the wall.
I squeezedthe wire a little as I was thinking where it could possibly go. It was hollow.The far end swelled up a little. It was a tube, pumping liquid into my head.
Asudden panic took over me. My palm was already sweaty.
Irolled over and knelt on the ground.
Mylegs were numb. I thought I was going to fall over.
Ifumbled when I tried to get up. My limbs were not obeying my commands. Irealized it was impossible for me to stand up and walk to the shelf, so Icrawled my way there with considerable difficulty.
Thankyou for reminding me, whoever it was speaking in my head. I almost collapsed onit when I opened the first drawer. Nothing but white.
Despairwas consuming me. I felt as if my blood had been replaced by mercury, and itwas paralyzing my hands and poisoning my mind.
Everybreath I took was draining the last of my power. I dragged open the nextdrawer. White. I lost control of my arms for a moment, and my elbow slammedhard on the corner of the open drawer.
Iscreamed in agony. The pain raced through the mercury in my veins likeelectricity, all the way to the tips of my fingers. I stumbled onto the groundand hit my head on the floor.
I hadnever experienced such pain in real life. It was all so dreamlike.
Onemore, one more drawer before I give up.
Ipulled open the last drawer inch by inch.
Thered inside was so warm. Although it hurt my eyes to see red after so much timeseeing only white, I embraced the bottle.
Thebottle bounced on the ground and spilled the pills inside. The mercury in myveins vaporized and brought the pain with them when the first pill slid down mythroat. I felt that I was lighter than ever, about to float in the air. I wasfinally able to let out a sweet breath of relief and allowed myself to collapseonto the floor when the third pill fell down into my stomach.
"Yousaw doors in your dream? And you tried to open it?"
I hadnever seen such a serious expression on Dr. Wells' face. And I had only toldhim about the part where I tried to open the door.
"Yes,doctor." I needed to pause and breathe between words after thatdreadful dream.
"Allright. First, you must know that dreams are subject to changes. Sometimes youbegin with different positions."
Itseemed like Dr. Wells thought what I just told him was the worst it could get.I had better not tell him about the rest of my dream, since I would probably belocked up and become the subject of a case study.
"Next,you must remember to stay away from doors. Among the little knowledge we haveon dreaming syndrome, this one symptom is the most reported. Many peopleexperienced terrible feelings in their approach to doors. Do not ever opendoors in your dreams."
"OK,Dr. Wells." My voice was so weak.
"Areyou OK?" Tracy touched my forehead, "You look all beaten up."
"Sortof." I replied, "I'm worried, Tracy. My dreaming syndrome is gettingworse."
"Butthe doctor gave you advice. Listen to him. He's the expert. You'll befine."
I saidnothing. My mind slowed down to the point which I couldn't follow her words.
"Youknow what? We'll go shopping. You are always exhausted afterthat." She grabbed my hand and pulled me into her flying machine,"Then you can have a sweet dream."
Tracywas right about the part of me being exhausted. I thought I walked intohundreds of stores with Tracy, carrying the clothes she just bought in my righthand and her milk tea in my left hand.
"Youjust never get tired of it, don't you?"
Isighed as she pushed another glass door.
Wedidn't head back until I could carry no more bags. I stared at the illuminatedcity through the glass of the flying machine. She was right about me beingexhausted.
"There'sstill something on your mind." Tracy covered her hand on mine. I onlyrealized how cold I was when I felt the warmth of her hand.
Hearingme, Tracy froze for a moment. Then a relaxed look appeared on her face. I couldtell she has an idea.
Sheuntied her necklace and handed it to me.
"Putit on. It brings good luck."
"Ido not believe that. Besides, it's a women's necklace."
"It'sneutral. It will look pretty on you, my dear."
It didlook neutral. It was a triangle with one side missing. The chain hung it on oneof its vertex. I put it around my neck reluctantly.
"It'snot going to work."
Imessed up trying to fasten the lobster clasp. Tracy couldn't stand it anymore.In her hands, the clasp clicked in a second.
Shewas not right about the sweet dream part.
I wentthrough all the drawers and found no bottles. There was no sweet pills for methis time.
Itwirled the tube connected to my head between my fingers. What should I do? Getback onto the hard bed? I could barely stay there for one minute.
Itouched the white wall where the tube went into it. What is flowing in thattube? What is behind that wall?
I letthe tube fall between my fingers back to the ground. The closed door was stillsitting there. I took a small step towards it. Nothing happened. Will thatpanicked feeling come back?
Ididn't know anything.
I ranout of place to look for except the door. There was not much to look for tostart with.
"Donot ever open doors...in your dreams..." Dr. Wells' warning echoed besidemy ear.
Igathered up all the courage in me. And I needed use all the help I had. Iraised my hand, expecting to find the necklace Tracy gave me. Then I realizedit was not supposed to be there, since nothing in this dream replicated my reallife. But it was too late.
Mypalm touched something. It deformed when my hand ran into it.
Myhand jerked away instantly, but I soon brought it back, to feel the embeddedtube on my throat. It was like the one on my right temple, only wider. It hadthe same hard, cylindrical end buried my throat, and the long, white tube thatwent all the way into the wall at a different position.
I gotup with blood burning in me. I desparately beat every inch of the wall to seeif there was any hidden space, but only ended up with a pair of sore andswollen hands. Wherever the walls were white, they were solid concrete.
"No,no..."My voice trailed off because it sounded too loud in this room.
Aftersuch a workout, I sat down onto the ground and focused on only inhaling andexhaling. I felt my body leaving me. The senses faded away from my fingertipsand toes, working their ways up the limbs and invading my torso. My view wasgetting blurred; all the white seemed to be blending and flowing to drown me. Iwas suffocating.
Myhead was also aching around where the tube went in.
Icould stand it no more. I would give it a try, since I would die anyways.
Ipulled at the tube on my head that was absorbing all my thinking abilities. Tomy surprise, it fell out. The beeping sound went offthe moment I pulled the tube out. This time it beeped every second. Therewas still a small piece intact in my head, but I detached the tube from myself.Clear liquid was still flowing out of it drop by drop when it was lying on theground.
Astream of hot liquid was also streaming down my face. I didn't care about it.
Idefinitely crawled in worse forms than that of a newborn. My whole body wasshaking violently. But the one goal in my mind got clearer and clearer, andthat was the white handle.
Iscratched my way up at the foot of the door and broke my fingernails in theprocess. My bloody hand finally grabbed the handle and turned it.
Thedoor opened a little to the inside.
I wasfalling apart. Please, let the colors be behind the door.
Imoved myself to the right and pushed the door to the inside of the room. Then Ihalf rolled, half stumbled out of the door.
Ibelieve I had hurt all of my joints hitting into things at that time.
Thefloor outside the room was still white. No. No way.
Iallowed myself two deep breaths before I raised my head up.
I sawpeople in white protective suits between two ten-meter-long rows of screensflickering with codes. Two giant black dots replaced their eyes on theirhelmets. At the sound I made, they all turned to me, and stared at me withtheir huge, round black eyes.
Themstaring at me was tearing me apart and drawing threads of me into thosebottomless holes. I tried to say something, but I chocked on my words.
Colorred was flashing on the screens. It was so relaxing.
It wasall so dreamlike.