“Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream?” – Edgar Allan Poe
It all started the night I lost my phone. I came home tired and went straight to bed. Then came this dream. I am on a trek alone in the remote Himalayas. As the evening descends on the snowy landscape, I realize I am lost. I cannot remember the campsite nor make out the place where I am stranded. Darkness engulfs the mountains while I try to decipher my bearings from my compass. Distraught, I frantically search for my phone to call for help but it is missing.
I wake up trembling and terrified, my heart resounding in the midnight silence. I reach for my phone by the bedside but it is not there. I try going back to sleep. It takes a long time to close my eyes. The dreadful thought of being adrift all alone high in the cold mountains surrounded by pitch-black darkness makes me utterly scared.
Next morning, for some odd reason I do not quite understand, my friend who works at the same place fails to greet me. He neither makes conversation nor answers my questions. Soon I forget his unusual behavior and get busy at my desk. That night I come home exhausted and go directly to bed. Again there is the same dream as the night before.
I have this recurring dream for many nights now. It makes me very afraid to sleep in the night. I have not found my missing phone yet. I do not have any idea where I might have lost it. There is no answer whenever I try to ring my number.
One night a strange feeling overcomes me and I decide to go to this remote place in the Himalayas which I keep seeing in my sleep. The images have been so vivid, I am certain I can chart my way to the place of my nightly visions. So the following day I am off to the mountains, on a trek to find the meaning of my dreams.
The air in these massive ranges is so pure and pleasant, I feel alive for the first time in my life. Tall and ancient conifers greet me as though I am their childhood friend. There are birds everywhere, and the fragrance of the earth fills me with immense bliss. Before long I am ascending the familiar summit of my dreams, and suddenly life has vanished from the place. All around me is barren and full of snow.
Ahead in the distance, there is someone lying prone on the ground, his body half-covered with ice. As I near him, everything about the person seems very familiar. I sit beside him and turn him around. His face stuns me to the sheer depths of my being. Gazing at me frigidly with a vacant and vacuous stare is my own self. And besides my stiff body is the phone that I lost many nights ago.
An occasional writer but a regular thinker, Beryl sometimes fiddles in speculative fiction. He sees both humour and tragedy in everyday events and is extremely concerned with the fate of other creatures trapped in the monstrous march of 21st-century human civilization.