There was gentle harp music playing. I sighed and tried not to open my eyes. The music was so lovely and calming. Something soft was supporting my head and a fluffy blanket was draped over me. I imagined Heavenly things and thought that it was no wonder that angels were always depicted playing harps, could no other sound be so pure?
I opened my eyes, realised I wasn’t in my bedroom and raised my head off the pillow. The room around me was a circle, all the walls were clean white and the only furniture was the bed. I sat up, the fluffy white blanket clinging to me. I went to toss it away, then notice I was only wearing a thin white nightdress.
‘Where are my clothes? What is this? Heaven?’ I spoke aloud.
My voice sounded slightly different in my ears, too childlike. Wrapping the blanket around my shoulders, I got up and walked around the room in my bare feet. The floor was white wood, but it didn’t feel hot or cold underneath me. There was nothing else in the room; no doors, no windows, no visible messages or way out. I went back to the bed again, confusion spiralling through me.
Checking the bed out, I found a small green book with gold edged paper under the other pillow. A long white feather was stuck to the back of the pillow I had been laying on and I picked that up to. I peered under the bed and found nothing, not even any dust. Sitting down, I looked at the book.
‘New Testament and Psalms,’ I read aloud, ‘I must be in Heaven…pray books, feathers, no dust, white everywhere and that music!’
I listened and could clearly hear the sound of a single harp being played. I didn’t recognise the song and after a few seconds another harp seemed to start playing. The two instruments intermingled with each other and became one, their sweet notes kissing my ears.
I looked at the green book again and flipped through it. Words rushed past, a mixed jumble of Gospel, Acts and Psalms passages. There didn’t seem anything un-normal about it. I stopped at a random page and read the first numbered section I saw then I uttered some of it again aloud, ‘I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I knew a man who was caught up to the third heaven, with body or without, I don’t know- God knows- he was caught up to paradise. There he heard inexpressible things, which no man is permitted to tell.’
I looked up and glanced around the room. Nothing happened and my last words faded into the harp music. Why did that extract seem so fitting? I closed the book and got up again. Another search of the room turned up nothing new. I went to the wall opposite the bed and feeling foolish knocked on it.
‘Hello? Is anyone there?’ I called.
‘There has to be a door or something…’
I knocked on a few different sections of the wall then the floor, calling out each time. Only the now sad notes of the harp came back to me. I sat down again, wanting to feel frustrated, but unable to do so because of how calm I was. Turning to the pray book again, I read some more random passages and twirled the feather in my other hands. It didn’t look like it had come off any bird I’d seen or read about. It was too big and white with a sharp almost quill tip to then end.
Laying back down, I carried on reading, though my thoughts kept drifting away with the music. I felt my eyes beginning to shut and resting the open book on my chest, I dozed off. My eyes fluttered up an unknown time later and I could hear nothing but my own breathing. I rolled over then sat up. The wonderful harp music had stopped. Frowning, I looked around the room then noticed a line of light low down on the first section of wall I had tried knocking on.
I got up and peered down at the yellow light. I traced the line upwards and saw a door taking shape before me. I pushed against the wall, expecting nothing to happen but it swung outwards as soon as I touched it. Gasping, I stared at the door then at the opening before me. It seemed to be a corridor though it was hard to tell as the bright white floor and walls emerged into one. Still clutching the Psalms book and feather, I stepped out, holding my breath. The sound of a swooshing silk dress turned my head to the right and I saw coming towards me a towering angel.
He had long, white loose hair that flowed down the white gowned that covered his entire body. Only his milky white hands and head were visible. His neck was hidden by a large lace collar and there was a large gold chain with a cross dangling from it that reached almost to his waist. His face was spotless, with no colour to his too high cheek bones or wrinkles to his brow. His eyes were large and a dark orange shade framed by white eyelashes. His eyebrows were white too.
‘Is this Heaven?’ I uttered.
‘No,’ the angel spoke softly, without moving his mouth as he stopped before me.
‘Then what? Who are you?’
‘This is the Dreams Central. I am Garson and you are…?’ he asked, his voice floating into my mind.
‘Abigail,’ I answered, ‘so, I’m not really in Heaven? Then why does it look like it?’
‘It makes the transference easier. At least that’s the idea,’ Garson replied, ‘follow me and I’ll explain to you why you are here.’
I frowned and looked at the book and feather again, ‘so, this is all a dream?’
‘In a way…really it’s a different dimension where dreams are kept. But that can be difficult for humans to understand and we like to keep things simple here,’ he explained, ‘let’s walk.’
He turned, the silk gowned sweeping in a circle over the floor and moved away. I followed, trying to calm my panic and wondering thoughts. We reached the end of the corridor in a few steps and going under a tall archway, entered a maze of other corridors. It seemed like we quickly became lost between the never ending walls and tight corners.
‘How do you remember the way?’ I cried.
‘You don’t,’ Garson replied with a glance at me, ‘everything works differently here. You’ll experience it soon enough. We are not bound by the laws and rules of Earth. We have some of our own, yes, but you see here anything can happen and most of the time it does.’
‘What? I’m so confused,’ I moaned.
He glanced at me again, but didn’t reply and turned a corner. I hurried to catch up and saw that we had entered into a large oval room. Above was a glass dome displaying a starry dark blue sky. The room was empty, but for a large white table in the centre upon which was a purple velvet book.
I followed Garson as he went up to the table and picked up the book. He handed it to me and I saw the title etched in golden letters on the front cover.
‘The Arcana Of Dreams,’ I gasped, ‘I have this book! I was reading it before I fell asleep.’
‘Yes,’ Garson responded, ‘it is what brought you to us. It’s a portal and you’ll need to keep using it in order to fix the Dream Web.’
He handed me the book as he spoke. I took it from him, juggling the pray book and the feather. The Arcana felt lighter this time, but I resisted opening the pages and tried to get back to understanding the-not-angel’s words.
‘That’s why you are here,’ he finished.
‘Fix the what?’ I asked.
‘The Dream Web. It helps to keep all the dreams here and safe. But something has gone wrong and we are unable to fix it. You see, we can’t pass through dreams like humans can. Our job is to catalogue and store the dreams, which means that we don’t need the power to enter them and thus don’t have it,’ Garson explained in a strained voice straight into my head.
‘So, you need human to do it? And I ended up being the one. Why?’ I had to question.
‘There’s no reason. It didn’t really matter who it was. We have been trying to cycle the dreams of so many to get them to question why they kept having them and so go in search of the portal. It just so happened that you were the one,’ Garson droned in his monotone voice.
I looked at The Arcana then back at him, ‘am I trapped here?’
‘For the time, but no matter what happens we’ll return you safely back. It’s in the contract. So, if you die you shall awake and if you don’t fix the Web you’ll awake too. That’s why you must keep the book and feather. They are your attachment to Earth and your life.’
I looked at them and nodded.
‘Here,’ Garson spoke and pointed, drawing my attention back to him, ‘wearing those clothes will also help and there’s a satchel to put everything in.’
I looked and saw on the empty table a pile of neatly folded items. There was a pair of brown knee length suede boots, black socks, grey leggings, a leather mini skirt, a grey vest top and a long sleeved white jumper. I touched the clothes and felt a cooling warm breeze coming off them. I picked up the jumper and saw underneath some white knickers and a bra.
‘Get dressed,’ Garson said, ‘I shall wait outside and when you are ready I shall take you to the Tower of Steps.’
I turned, ready to question him, but he’d rushed from the room and I was faced with a closed door. Dropping the jumper back down, I took off the night dress and put on all the clothes. They fit snuggling against me as if they were my own and yet, there seemed to be some more to them. After tugging on the boots, I slide the large dark brown satchel over and undid both the bronze buckles. Inside was empty, but there was a lot of room and pockets for things. I put both books and the feather in then put the long strap over my head. There was no mirror to see myself in, but with a quick look down I thought I looked still myself and as if I was going on a casual school trip.
I went to the door and opened it. Garson, the-not-angel was standing against the wall to my right. He looked at me and there was no change of expression on his robot like face. He nodded and started walking without a word. I followed, my mind still a pot of questions. We went back through the white maze of corridors then walked through a small grey arched door. We stood in a small circle room with a spiralling staircase built into the grey brick wall. Looking up, I saw a light blue shimmering haze, but before I could ask about it, Garson spoke gently into my head.
‘You must climb the stairs and at the top you shall enter the dream realm. I must leave you now, so good luck.’
‘But wait! What if I need something?’
‘The Arcana will guide you,’ Garson said then disappeared.
I stared, shocked at the spot he had been in, but there was nothing there. Turning my head back to the stairs, I tugged at the satchel’s strap and decided I had no choice but to climb them.
To Be Continued…