Part 1: The Sounding
Part 2: The Blank Slate
Part 3: The Infinite Jest
Part 4: The Third
Part 5: Portals
Part 6: The Dream Reader
Part 7: The Deity's Bedroom
“He isn’t God in the sense you’re probably used to thinking of deities,” the man said. He tapped his chin thoughtfully, and his eyes widened to the point it seemed they might pop out of his head. “Would you like to see?”
The prospect flooded my body, and I felt like I might drown in it. Though I remembered so little about my identity, I had the opportunity to learn something that others could only guess at. The prospect of uncovering the biggest mystery of existence frightened me, but I couldn’t turn away from the opportunity.
“Yes.” My voice sounded so small.
He led me across the room, past the lives of thousands of people I would never meet, but my mind was too busy to notice them. Would I still want to stay after this, or would this be so overwhelming that I’d need to forget?
Large though the room was, it was also more deceptive than it initially appeared. It seemed to be contained by the square images as they wrapped around the room, but as we walked, the wall of pictures morphed and twisted around us. We kept walking long after we should have reached what appeared to be the other side. The shifting started to turn my stomach, so I stopped looking.
When The Dream Reader stopped, we still seemed to be standing in the middle of the room. I watched carefully as he reached a hand toward one section of wall. The tapestry of images split and slid aside, revealing a door set into a solid wall. A mundane sight nestled in amongst the insanity of all the other things I’d seen.
The door seemed to be several yards away at first, so when I took only one step forward and found myself standing right in front of it, I was momentarily taken aback.
The Dream Reader was suddenly beside me again. He read my reaction perfectly. “This room has its quirks. It takes time to get used to it.” Then he laughed. “Besides, shouldn’t you feel off balance before meeting your creator?”
Yes. Yes I should, I thought.
The door opened onto a little observation platform. Just beyond that, there was a glass wall. Thinking back on it, the setup was like something you might see in a zoo. However, at that moment, this recognition was nowhere in my mind. All I could see was what resided just beyond the glass.
There was nothing extraordinary about it. A wooden dresser stood in the far corner of the room. A bed was pushed up against one wall. The window just above the bed showed the deep dark of night. A few stray moonbeams filtered through and faintly illuminated the bed’s occupant.
A human boy.
He couldn’t have been any older than twelve. A few dark locks of hair fell across his eyelids, and a thick blue comforter was pulled up to his chin.
“What’s this?” I asked, stunned.
“This is the source of life as you once knew it. All of the images you saw back there are fed to us from this room. If you trace anything back to its origin, it comes from here.”
No. How could it be? “Are you saying . . . is he dreaming everything?” It sounded so ridiculous coming out of my mouth that I could hardly believe I said it.
He nodded. “Yes. The world I watch so intently, the world you come from, is all a byproduct of a young boy’s dreaming. Knowing that, suddenly all of the absurdities of that world make perfect sense.”
My comprehension was still faltering. “That can’t be God.”
“It is if you define God as the creator of you and everything you know. I’ve tried to see beyond this room to what may have created him, but I can’t. The layers of reality are permeable between here and your world, probably because he’s dreaming them both, but this is as far as we can go. You’re at the end of the line.”
The end of the line? Jester said that. I realized she knew about this. All of it.
“How can anyone dream all those lives at once?” I asked.
“He’s in an entirely separate layer. Things work differently there. From my analysis of this room, each minute there translates to millions of years here. I’ve been here since the beginning, and he has yet to wake up.”
“What happens to us when he does?”
The Dream Reader shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe we’ll continue to exist in his mind. Maybe we’ll wink out of existence.” His words sounded offhanded, as if merely an afterthought.
If it’s all so dependent on this, I started thinking to myself. Then I shook it off, unwilling to believe it. “I exist. I know I do. I think, I feel. I have to be real.”
“Even if you exist as a dream, that doesn’t negate your reality,” the little man replied confidently. “If this little boy has the power to dream us all, his imagination is extraordinarily vivid. So vivid that he dreams not only us, but our consciousness as well. The world he dreams is quite insane at times, but also startlingly lucid.”
We were silent for a long while after that. I found myself imagining an infinite regress of deities, hopelessly trying to make sense of it. Was there only one God behind this boy’s existence? Ten? Twenty? None?
When I spoke again, I felt like the slightest breeze could disintegrate me. “What do you think lies beyond that room?”
“My beliefs should not influence yours,” the little man replied. “I suggest you focus yourself on something that feels right to you. Belief is a personal thing. It’s not to be forced. Even if this is truly all there is and this boy is everything, you still have to live your life.”
In that moment, I only knew one thing with any certainty. I needed to find Jester.
Part 8: Explosive Ecstasy
Part 8: Explosive Ecstasy