In my sleep, I go places. These places are not quite dreams--of that, I am sure. However, their actual nature continues to elude me.
Behind my eyes lies not blackness, but rather swirling colors and smells. So many of them. Too many. They are warm to the touch, but skitter from under my fingers. My body is solid, though flimsy enough to blow in the wind. I have no mass, no substance, but somehow everything congregates in my chest.
In the words of someone else, it is like existing "slightly to the left," but instead "mostly to the right."
I forget that I am not awake. In my dreams, I know that the Waking tastes different. When I travel, everything sits the same on my tongue.
Cats in my family home. I know this to be impossible, but I accept it as a fact. A law of the universe. A young tortoiseshell looks at me; her breath becomes my own and I fall into step with her. Night swallows the walls. Moonlight filters through windows that only exist between the lines. The tortoiseshell opens a closet with hands she cannot possibly have. Yet she does. She vanishes, but I feel her beckon.
I reach, though not with an arm. I feel myself moving forward and something snatches my gaze. Three more cats. Their forms melt into the blackness of the night, but their eyes do not betray. Orange and gray. Rings flit from their irises to my skin and I know who they are.
A massive stairwell. Cobblestone that bends like sand under my footsteps. Ever-changing, yet impossibly stubborn to my wishes. I climb. Another presence trails behind me. Their face, I can't remember, but their gait, I can't forget. I think to myself that they must travel too.
They seem lost--too enchanted. I worry without realizing. Torii gates loom in our shadows. The harsh red is so inviting, but I can't shake the weight in my limbs. Green falls beyond the gates. Leaves and branches that blanket something--just something. I don't want to find it.
"I'm going," they say, their voice too far now. "Follow me."
No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.
The last torii gate is too big. No matter how far I look up, there is no end. My eyes won't let me see. The rings under my skin burn and itch knowingly.
I run the other way.