A Dream Within A Nightmare

9 minutes read


A lone candle in the night, a drop of purity within corruption, neither good nor evil can survive without the other, nor can one be purely devoted to one trait without a trace of the other lurking in its depths. Hollow is no exception. It is filled with despair and malice, but despite this fact, there is one who is a beacon of light to the masses, the purity to the corruption, the flame in the night, the sweet dream to the sour nightmare they all seem to live in.

This beacon was in the form of an optimistic young scientist whose dream was to create dreams for everyone on Earth. He hoped that someday if he gave birth to enough dreams for the residents of Earth, he would have life brought to them just like the nightmares that roamed Hollow. Anodyne watched from above, curious to see the young scientist’s plan unfold before him, wondering how long it would take to break his spirit.

Unknown to Anodyne, this particular individual was hell-bent on bettering his world; somehow, he grew up with a positive view of the horrible world around him. Knowing that his field of science was frowned upon, he took all he owned and moved to a small island off of the main content of Nyil-Vispyr; the island was the largest of a small unnamed archipelago not too far from shore. It was to be here that he set up his labs from funding he received for a nightmare manipulation paper he submitted to the floating Isles.

Nearly a full year of construction was needed to clear the landscape of nightmares, level the ground, and build the structure. His lab was small with no equipment; he had to be careful. No one knew what he was doing, so he ordered the parts for his equipment from multiple companies to avoid anyone piecing together his true intentions. It was a further six months before his lab was fully operational and ready for him to start production.

His island was littered with hills, so he made his lab domed to blend in with his surroundings; as a final touch, he laid a layer of grass over the whole building to ensure it blended as much as possible; despite the multiple vents and chimneys poking out of it. He knew if he blended into the environment, the nightmares that returned after the construction was completed would be more inclined to leave him alone. He could still hear them as they lumbered past his cleverly disguised laboratory; each time they drew close, he would slow his work to a standstill to ensure he didn’t draw attention to the monstrosities outside his walls.

With all the stopping and starting from him trying to avoid being noticed by nightmares, it was a whole week before he sparked up the machinery to begin the ramification process. It is a relatively simple process; a portal was opened above his lab using high intensity trans dimensional beams powered by relics from Earth; these beams were targeted at a large platinum ring above the lab, igniting the necessary chain reaction to open a portal. The next step was to prime the dream machines; to do this, they needed to have a source of fuel to convert into the much-desired dreams; the dream maker harvested imprinted memories from Earth relics and then condensed them into a liquid which filled cylinders that were fed into the dream machines. The fluids were thick and filled with a rainbow of colors; it was also highly explosive when in this state, so one would have to be careful not to drop any dangerous substances.

With everything primed, the machine was turned on, and a loud creaking and clanking started as the devices saw life for the first time. The dream maker ran around checking every dial and every monitor plugged into the dream machines, everyone reading within the optimal parameters. It was to be a great success. He waited eagerly for the final product to be ejected from the machine, but as he waited, so did Anodyne. Wandering invisible around the dream makers’ lab, Anodyne watched, waiting for the machine to buckle under the extreme stress of manifesting a dream cloud; the machine creaked and clanked further, bringing a grin to Anodyne until the machine made a single ding, followed by green lights illuminating along the boards. The dream maker had done it; everything was nominal; now was his time to shine; he closed his eyes and let out a small prayer before pulling one final lever.

The machine screamed as the multiple vents on the lab roof opened, allowing a plume of rainbow-colored clouds to billow out, pulled upwards into the suck of the interdimensional portal above the lab. All the nightmares in the area started running from the toxic cloud, for if anyone inhaled it, they would be put into a deep sleep. The cloud was intended to be pumped directly into the minds of Humans from the Earth while in a natural sleeping state; if someone conscious was to inhale it, they would fall into a deep sleep, unlikely to wake.

With the portal safely linked with the minds of sleeping humans from Earth and the machine in full production of the dream cloud, the Dream maker had his work cut out for him, maintaining all the equipment and keeping a steady supply of harvested memories for the machine to convert into dreams. As he scurried around, Anodyne watched in utter disbelief that a lowly human was capable of such a feat, not only generating a portal that was linked to the minds of Earthlings but to be able to pump dreams into them via memories lifted from lost items from Earth. Anodyne instantly became enraged at the notion that someone was trying to “better” his world, which he had spent thousands of generations crafting for the current inhabitants.

Although angered, he was not about to directly sabotage the machine that would announce to the Dream maker that he had bested Anodyne, so instead, he had a more cunning plan on his mind. He left the Dream maker to his work supplying dreams to Earthlings as he traveled to Earth himself. It was only a short time before he found what he was looking for, a man.

This man happened to be a mall guard standing at the entrance eight hours a day doing nothing, slowly losing his mind to the dull days that went by like clockwork. Anodyne waited till the man was heading home one night to grab him; he transported him to a lone hill with a tree that had been struck by lightning. Here, he stared deep into the terrified man’s eyes, imbuing him with powers beyond his comprehension. During the process, the man tried to run; he flailed his arms around until he made contact with the dead tree right when the transfer of powers concluded. The man had vanished; he had fused with the tree. Anodyne took the time to tell the new Demigod that his job was to control all inter-dimensional travel between this world and Earth, then he adorned him with the name “Enadrome.”

As these events unfolded, the Dream Makers portal flickered and closed, allowing the cloud of dreams to fall around the Dream Makers lab. He panicked as the cloud descended around him; he knew this meant that his portal technology had failed but could still be fixed, for no matter what Anodyne threw at him, he always stayed positive. To ensure a crushing defeat, Anodyne appeared before the Dream maker announcing the creation of Enadrome, the guardian of portals; this truly crushed the Dream maker; he had lost and had no chance of defeating a god.

Anodyne slowly faded away, leaving the dream maker alone; he waited a few moments and then started working. All day and night, he worked dismantling his creations to build a capsule capable of holding a person within. He then made a condensed dream machine only capable of weak emissions from raw relics, knowing he could not extract the memories in his soon-to-be state.

By the time the Dream maker had finished his work, his archipelago was covered by the dream cloud, unable to cross the waters it pooled around the cluster of small islands. Here is where he would make a stand, show the world that Anodyne’s law was not absolute, that even the most substantial powers are weakened by a competent hand.

Looking around his half-dismantled lab, he took one last deep breath before finally closing the lid to his capsule; as the cover clicked shut, the machine started to whir and crank. Anodyne watched from outside his lab, staring in the windows and laughing at his desperate attempts at what he assumed was a suicide; unknown to Anodyne, he was about to face his greatest opponent yet.

The machine finally started to expel the dream cloud into the pod, and the Dream maker’s body fell still under the hazardous cloud’s touch.  Anodyne was laughing at his victory, he wandered into the lab to get a closer look, but he could not pass through the walls; then he felt a force pushing him back from the island itself, a force that picked up the pace at an alarming rate. It was only moments before Anodyne could not touch the archipelagos; he was infuriated and confused, which fed his rage. Force after force, Anodyne tried them all, attempting to break this force field just to be stopped by the sight of the portal re-opening, allowing dreams to flow back into Earth’s sleeping inhabitants. Anodyne stood floating above the islands with his face carved with a dumbfounded look as a colossal figure emerged from the colorful cloud; it seemed to be made from the dream cloud taking form as it grew.

The dream maker had put himself to sleep, allowing his dream of being strong enough to stand against Anodyne to come true in his dream coma; from this, he transcended his earthly bonds and became a god, having true power each time he slept. He had enough power to control his islands, keeping Anodyne from interfering with anything he was doing.

Although he had succeeded in holding off Anodyne and supplying dreams to all on Earth, he and Anodyne knew it was a waiting game; the relics could only fill his machine for so long before exhausting all their memory fuel. Although Anodyne was infuriated, he knew he had still won; once the dream maker was to wake, Anodyne would rain all manner of hell fire upon the Dream maker. Making his final statements to the Dream maker about waiting for him to wake Anodyne left, leaving the Dream maker with a distinct taste of victory; he had defied a god, he had won, even if it was to be a short-lived victory, he proved that not all gods are absolute in their powers.

So now they both wait for the day to come when the machines stop, and the powers of the dream maker are lost, for that day will be a day of blood and carnage, labeled in the people’s books as “The Day a Deity Dies.”