It was an unfamiliar world she was in. A world imbued with many hues and flora of the most outlandish design. Yet there was a sense of familiarity about it. The tree under which she sat and pondered this world’s intricacies was short and stout. It had the slenderest of branches, branches that could almost be passed off like leaves. Set upon these branches were scores of thick pointed leaves the weight of which caused the branches to bend towards the ground and even touch the ground at places. Like the braided hair of a woman she thought they were. The entire sky was suffused with a dull yellow colour that gave the illusion of warmth but in this world, the colour of the sky did not affect things the way they did in her world.
A perpetual fog permeated the world around her. None of the objects in this world cast any shadows. Besides the sound of her measured breathing, not a single sound could she hear from anywhere in this world. There was no wind. Nothing moved unless she touched it. The framed door through which she had entered this world stood before her. She only had to proceed through it to escape this dream world and grasp reality. But it was also the door through which she had chosen to escape reality and enter a world that challenged every notion of reality she had built up over the years. Once she stopped looking around, she began to feel the world.
It was cold. She was alone yet she felt calm and unafraid. It was a fantastical realm, yet everything had parallels with reality. She walked on through the haze the sound of her footsteps and the sound of the grass crushing under her feet magnified by the silence of everything else. The braided branch trees she saw everywhere. No birds nested among its branches; no fruits hung off them. Where had all the birds flown away to, she wondered? The sun gave life to every living thing she had been told. Yet no light gave life here only the light that kept away the darkness.
She walked on for a while. The grass beneath her feet grew sparser and the trees she could see became fewer. It began to brighten, and the ground began to grow translucent. She walked a few more steps until there was nothing more on the ground. It was like standing on a glass floor. She was enveloped by a brilliant yellow light. That was when she realized that the light had always been coming from below the ground. That was why nothing cast shadows as she expected. After her eyes had adjusted to the brightness, she began to perceive shapes and movement beneath the surface. She lay face down on the ground pressing her face as close as possible to the ground. She saw what appeared to be the same trees she had seen before moving gently this way and that their slender branches waving like tentacles of a jellyfish. One of the creatures was moving upwards heading to where she was lying down. Its movements were so graceful she wished she could reach through the ground and touch it. The creature was now so close that only the ground separated her from it. The tree-like structure formed only the upper part of its body. Below that it had a heart-shaped head with hundreds of blinking eyes set upon it. They all blinked at the same time when it looked at her. The creature began to come even closer. It began to pass through the ground and came so close that the top of it brushed against her face. She tried to push her hand through the ground to touch it, but the ground remained solid. The creature shrank away at this gesture and floated downwards gracefully until she could see it no more.
Where had it disappeared? She needed know more. She walked a few steps further and then broke into a run. The creature was nowhere to be seen. She stumbled on a tree root and fell. She pounded her fists into the ground in frustration. Every time she pounded her fist, the light beneath her faded just a little bit more. Tears began to stream down her face as she began to pound harder and harder. Just as she was about to give up the light vanished, and she fell through the surface. She could see nothing, but she felt herself floating downwards. Where was the world she had seen from above? She felt herself land on something soft. The light began to come back into the world. She blinked once and it was as bright as when she first got here. The same tree appeared above her.
She got up and began retracing the path that she had taken before. Everything appeared as it had. The world was suffused with the yellow light. Things didn’t seem quite wondrous now. The yellow began to feel ominous and foreboding. Her mind couldn’t grasp the unreal. This time when the light began to fade, she stopped and turned around. She couldn’t face the darkness again. As wondrous as this world had first appeared, she craved the familiar. The more answers she tried to seek the further they crept away. There was nothing more she could discover here. The door to reality called to her. She headed back through the door. She looked back one last time at this world and thought of the world that lied beneath it. A world she could only see but not touch.
She woke up with a start. Her eyes hurt from the sun rays filtering through her window. The room glowed with a yellow light. Her heart began to race. Was she still dreaming? She got up, rushed to the window and pulled the curtains aside. The searing light caused her to close her eyes. She felt something brush against her. When she opened her eyes a hundred eyes were looking back at her. The creature from her dreams was back. She jumped back from the window in fear. She tripped backwards onto her bed and sank into it. The lines between reality and dreams had now vanished.