Chapter 0:

I don't get it


A dream journal. That's what it was.
I bought it without a second thought believing 'with this I can properly document my dreams.'

But things didn't go exactly as I had hoped. One morning, I would wake up with vague memories of what I dreamt the night before but it was still a recollection clear enough to put into words.
Then, days would pass.
Soon, it would be weeks before I would be able to remember my dreams.
And when I'd open the pages of the dream journal once more, I'd find that we jumped ahead a month or two since the last dream I wrote down. That made me wonder if I had dreamt anything at all within that time. Was I forgetful of what happened, or was I just too lazy to make a record of my dreams?
But that couldn't be right. Not when I had so desperately yearned for something bizarre to write on the pages of the journal.
After all, that's the reason why I bought it in the first place. Because my dreams are ludicrous and I wanted something silly to look back on. But what could be more ludicrous than watching a wrong-way truck driver crash into your house, setting it on fire as you watch the chaos unfolding on the sidewalk? Or witnessing your own mother shot down in your backyard by a famous rapper, even though there's no way you'd ever meet or share any connection to this celebrity in a billion years?

And for every drought came a wave of dreams. Each one came in quick succession of each other, night after night. One night, I dreamt that someone was trapped behind a glass cage, and in another, there was a shark that escaped from the ocean and somehow learned how to fly. Most of my dreams were about fictional characters and franchises I would hyper-fixate on. But more important were the awkward sequences I would dream of real-world instances. I saw my friends and our experiences, or rather the situations I'd typically find ourselves in. I dreamt I had said something wrong or misinterpreted something about them, or it was something else where they ended up saying hurtful things to me. These were words I couldn't comprehend, words that left me shattered and bewildered. And without fail, I always woke up second-guessing the bonds I share with my beloved friends.
Silly me, allowing myself to be fooled by my own delusions.
I haven't felt this way since high school where I held my tongue in the cafeteria, not wanting to sound like an idiot recalling a false memory no one else remembered.
Well, how could they? It was all in my head.

What's even stranger is the act of drifting. You're dozing off into a deep slumber and before you know it, you've seamlessly drifted off into the dream world. Or you're like me, an insomniac. Your eyes remain peeled open until you're using every muscle in your eyelids to keep them from closing shut. It's a losing battle and you finally black out. Soon, it all becomes a matter of consciousness.

You've unknowingly entered a dream where who knows what's going on? And the weirdest part is that it all feels normal as if it's happening in real-time. It's like you never went to sleep at all. Or maybe something's off after all. You get the feeling that you're dreaming.
You know you're dreaming.
You're an active part of the story or you're just a bystander sitting in the cinema inside your memory bank. None of it is real, and yet you can't escape. Either you're trapped and powerless until morning comes, or you're just curious to see how it all unfolds.
And before it even hits you, you find yourself waking up, only to realize it was all...just a dream. You feel as if you've just returned from an involuntary trip to another dimension. Whenever this happens to me, I feel my heart beating faster and my breathing rapidly increasing. My body is out of place and my nose feels funny. I think I'm snoring even though I swear I don't snore. I wonder if this is what they call REM sleep? That's how I know something went down inside that other world inside my head.

And finally, my dreams start spiraling out of control. Night after night, it's always something different, and so on. From accidentally wearing cosplay in public, making up music that doesn't exist, to eating snack foods shadow pulled off the shelves...because nostalgia, I guess. Then, it all comes down to the pinnacle of absurdity, dreams beyond my comprehension. For instance, I dreamt of two characters discussing their morals and ideologies in the most Shakespearean way imaginable.
That's when I couldn't take it anymore.

I absolutely lost it.

I woke up, wrote everything down in my journal as best as I could remember, and asked myself...

'What the heck was that, man?'