I lay down, confused, paralyzed, and enveloped in a veil of total darkness and quietude.
Frantically, I attempt to rouse my body, seeking evidence of authority over my own flesh. But nothing. I can’t do anything.
It’s as though invisible arms keep me stuck in position, dooming me to a lonely and rigid existence.
I want to open my mouth and scream — to let my frustration out. To show the world that I am here. But I can’t. Silence is still all there is.
Am I then to lay here, alone with my thoughts and encumbered by the eternal nothingness?
Afraid. I am so very afraid, but there is no outlet for these feelings; instead, they keep building up inside, and soon I’ll shatter into pieces.
The funny thing is, I am starting to look forward to that. Because if I am but a brain drifting in space, feeling nothing but despair — then why do I exist?
But, what’s that? Suddenly there is something in the corner of my vision.
I see the outline of faces — blank faces, contorting and screaming in horror. And they are staring at me, peering inside the most delicate and private parts of my mind. Then they start to laugh, louder and louder yet. Laughing at my helplessness.
STOP looking at me!!!
Sweat runs down my spine; tears run down my cheeks. And, in the midst of darkness, deep, deep into the depths of my sorrow, I find a voice.
Lightning flashes and all becomes white. Distorted images flood my vision. And then, at last, I see something that makes sense. A woman’s face, crying as she looks down on me. She sees that I start to see, and her shock and excitement are made conspicuous by the widening of her eyes and the curving of her lips.
“WAKE UP, JON!”
I notice a face close to mine, tears trailing down her fluorescent cheeks. And, I don’t know why, but I feel a compulsive need to reach out and wipe away her tears.
I try to do just that, but it doesn’t work. My hand is still numb.
Another flash of lightning passes through my consciousness, creating a path that leads me back to where I belong.
I remember now.
I am at the hospital, and that woman, she’s my wife.
“Welcome back, Jon.”
Her soft but exhilarated voice thaws my frozen heart.
The nightmare has now ended.
And though my own voice is broken, I still manage to get the words out.
“It’s good to be back.”