So this is is…time to be brave. For the first time ever. Sharing my writing. Sharing some fiction.
This is the roughest of rough drafts, and a very small excerpt from the beginning of what I intend to be a much longer piece.
I’d love feedback, any and all, it has been a long time since I have written and this is very scary, so I am very happy to be criticised, as long as it is constructive, and it possible at all nice.
The In Between Forest
“Oh God. No. Not now.” Of course, I hadn’t planned for this shit, not today, well at least not now, but I had clearly fallen asleep on the sofa. If I had known I was going to nod off I would have changed my clothes. I’d had a shower when I got in and settled into some pj’s to watch some TV for the evening. And now I am in the fucking woods, wearing pink shorts, a ratty old t-shirt and fluffy Christmas socks. Wonderful. Normally I get into some outdoor clothes before sleep. Yes that’s right, I sleep in a t-shirt, sweater, camo trousers, wool socks and hiking boots, holding a wax jacket in one hand, with the strap of a backpack wrapped around the other arm. It is quite a feat that I sleep at all really.
Do you ever get that deep falling sensation, dragging your insides to the depths when you’re unconscious with sleep. You wake. A wave of nausea grasping your insides, you’re covered in goosebumps, your heart is racing, you can feel the pressure of your pulse in your throat, close to asphyxiating you, sweat drips down the nape of your neck and you can barely breathe, and you begin to wonder where you are? You’re momentarily confused as you re-acclimatise to the real world, leaving the dream world’s you have visited far behind, just a shadow on the edge of your consciousness. Have you really been anywhere? Was it real? Are you still in the same place that you were when you fell asleep? You’re unsure what is real, and what is not anymore.
Well not for the first time, I actually had woken up somewhere entirely different to where I had gone to sleep. I am still trying to find out why, why this happened to me, did I cause it? was I always like this? When I fall into a deep sleep, and that falling sensation begins to grip my insides and attempt to tear them from me, I know I am leaving my world. Not my physical world, but my time and place in the world.
This is the third time it has happened, the first, I was positive it was a dream, I curled up under the roots of a tree in the forest in which I had awakened, closed my eyes and returned to sleep, this took me home. I awoke, positive that it had all been a dream, I found some dried brown leaves stuck to my sleep socks, but it was late autumn, they blew in almost constantly when I left or entered my apartment, and could easily become stuck to the wool. I thought nothing of it. Then it happened again, I arrived to the exact spot as before, of course I again believed it to be unreal, I explored a little in the lush dream forest, and again I eventually settled to sleep and awoke, sweating and breathing audibly but in my own bed.
Then I had gotten up to go to the bathroom, I always had to go to the bathroom if I awoke in the early hours, I looked in the mirror as I washed my hands and saw a small cut across my cheek, below my eye. It was deep, and still bleeding a little but nothing to worry about, but it had not been there when I had fallen asleep. And I remembered, I’d caught it, on a branch, in my dream?! I had really been there? In a forest? But where, why… oh no, acid began to pool in my throat, and I expelled vast luminous bile across the mirror, not even making it to the toilet basin.
I stood bewildered, staring at the gash across my cheek, the mirror streaking my face a putrid green, trying to understand, I was obviously mistaken, still asleep, or not fully awake yet, or unwell, something, anything. Insane? I must have passed out or collapsed I’m not really sure, but I awoke, in a pool of my own vomit, on the bathroom floor, sometime later. I reached up, the cut was still there, and sore, clearly a little bruised, it was real, it was all real. I looked down at my socks, caked in mud, the forest had been damp this time. My mind began to spin and spiral, the acid was rising again, “breathe!” Deep breath, deep breath, holding my head against the cold porcelain wall tiles. And it passed, the wave of nausea calmed. “Clean up, clean up, and think.”
I thought, for days I thought, thinking, wondering, turning it over, thinking, over thinking.
And what did I come up with, nothing, nothing. This was all a week or two ago and I have been almost entirely afraid to sleep since, permanently sporting the aforementioned outfit in bed in preparation, the backpack filled with essentials I may require. Because next time I went there, I was determined to find out why, or where, or when, anything. But of course, after a rare day out of my home office, researching and in meetings, I had arrived home exhausted and fallen asleep with no preparation. And now I was here, unready. To sleep and return with my prepared belongings, to risk not finding my way back. Or to attempt to find what I could now, in case this was my last chance.
So, this is where you find me, in the woods. The dream forest, the real dream forest, the in between forest, in my pyjamas.