The Dream Cell

The Dream Cell

A Story by Barry Thomas-Brown

Lucid Dreaming or Insanity?

The sound of a clicking pen disturbed the silence in the white padded room. Dr Leavy sat comfortably in a wooden chair staring at his patient, who lay on the soft cushioned floor bound by a straitjacket. In the doctor’s lap rested a clipboard with a partially completed medical questionnaire. Above them the light flickered casting a broken sinister shadow across the face of the patient whose eyes peered through locks of twisted hair. 

The click, click clicking of the Doctor’s pen continued as he reviewed his notes. A gentle smile grew from the patient as he waited for his inquisitor to speak. Taking a sip of water from the drink tray beside him the doctor obliged his patient and spoke.
“Do you know your name?”
Outstretching his legs and tilting his head back against the wall, looking down his nose at the doctor he responded in a mellow tone.
“I have no name…we have no name.”
Dr Leavy stopped clicking. His forehead wrinkled with confusion.
“Who is we?”
“Me, you and the worlds people” he replied with a yawn.
“I see” 

The doctor began scrawling notes and then reached under his clipboard to pull out a book entitled ‘Coherence in Thought and Action’ jumping to the back pages and running his thumb down the various entries in the Index. He found nothing relevant to his initial assessment and closed the book, taking another sip of water before continuing.

“Lets talk a little bit about why you are here. Do you know why you are here?”
The patient cleared his throat and paused before answering.
“I’m here because I want to be here. I exist because I want to exist, you are here because I want you to be here, I am my own creator and I am your creator.” He chuckled half heartedly, shaking his head as he watched the broad shouldered Doctor reach for his book once more. 

He examined the doctor for a few moments, watching him sifting through pages, pushing the brunt of his pen against his narrow lips. loosening the knot of his tie before plagiarizing the author’s theory.
“So you believe you are God?”
“No. I’d consider myself more of an illusionist, manipulating my own illusions to make them appear more real. More of a living example of page eighty six of your book.”
The doctor narrowed his eyes, unsure of his meaning. The patient began rubbing the back of his head to and fro against the padded cell wall. The Doctor shifted uncomfortably in his seat, fighting to refrain from looking into his book, but the curiosity was too great.

He manoeuvred his pen into its middle and flapped it open at page eighty six, which was the beginning of a new chapter entitled ‘Lucid Dreaming: The Paradox
of Consciousness During Sleep’ A particular sentence caught his eye; ‘During lucid dreams, it is often possible to exert conscious control over the dream characters and environment, as well as to perform otherwise physically impossible feats.’ He was briefly disrupted.

“Is the answer to life in books, I’ve often wondered? Then I realise, I am the author of these books.”

The doctor went back to his book after his patient’s interruption, only to find the text on page eighty six had changed to a hypothesis on Reality: Truth and the World. He was taken aback and snapped at the patient with cynicism, slamming his book shut.

“Funny, this book was written by a Paul Thagard, but I suppose you created him to?” he looked at his watch “ Lets move on. Lets talk about the murders, the people you killed. Why did you do that?”

The restrained accused took in a deep breath before using his back as an anchor against the wall to stand up. He slowly began to pace back and forth with his head lowered, gently breathing in and out, in a state of mindfulness before answering. The doctor noticed his patient had an extended fifth finger nearest to his thumb with which he began to caress, he assumed it was an abnormality from birth.

“Some Christians believe that God decides when it is time for us to leave this world, does that make God a murderer? Some characters which I had created had come from the more sadistic and sinful part of my mind and I simply decided their existence was of no benefit to my world or yours.”

“So you killed them?” snapped Dr Leavy, who noticed that the elongated finger had now doubled in length, a trick of the light he thought.

“You cant kill something that doesn’t exist, that’s empty, devoid of any real substance. It’s conditions that bind me together, without them I die.”

Dr Leavy hadn’t been with a patient like this one before. There was a deeper understanding and meaning to his thought than the others. He was coherent in his speech and gentle in his actions, and the doctor found it increasingly difficult to comprehend his way of thinking without his books at hand. He felt an urge to learn more from his subject’s abstract theories before he left the cell.
“You say we are empty, how do you mean? You believe we have no spirit?”
The patient stopped and smiled. It unnerved the Doctor his constant grinning.
“Look at the paper in front of you. What do you see?”
He looked down and took a few moments.
“A medical questionnaire, writing, ink I guess.”
The patient shrugged his shoulders.

“I see trees, I see clouds, I see water and I see sunshine. The paper seems full of all these things to me but its just an illusion, its empty. Without the trees, the clouds, the water and the sunshine, the paper doesn’t exist. It’s dependant on conditions, has no real substance. Just like me and just like you.”

The doctor thought about his patient’s philosophy, his mind becoming instilled in tranquility and embraced in a hypnotic state before being interrupted.
“I know once you walk out of that door, you will cease to exist. There is no life for you, your life only exists whilst it is in mine. I will prove it to you, I will do as to you what I did to the others.”

The doctor’s heart rate began to increase as his inner peace was filled with fear for his safety. He began fumbling for his belongings, looking at his watch, a whole three hours had passed since he had looked earlier. Impossible he thought, “Well I guess we have run out of time but I will be back tomorrow.” 

He feared this lunatic would break free from his Jacket and lunge at him with claws and teeth, the images of violence made him queasy. The flashing light above became more intense and quicker as he held onto his things. The patient slumped down into a crossed legged sitting position and lowered his head with a smile. The lights went out and the room was plunged into darkness. There was silence with a strong flowery odour pervading the room.

“Do you smell the roses?” asked the patient, before the light reenergized illuminating the room…and Dr Leavy was gone.

© 2011 Barry Thomas-Brown

Author's Note

Barry Thomas-Brown
Not sure what I was talking about here. If you can make sense of it let me know :)

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Featured Review

Wow! This story is really something else. I began reading it thinking I kind of knew what it would be about but you really proved me wrong. I'm still confused about the roses but in a good way. The main question I have after reading this is, where did you get the idea?

Posted 12 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


RE: Mr. Morgenstern review,

The smelling the roses section; The idea here, was that old saying 'wake up and smell the roses.' The story is open ended for that reason. Did the doctor wake up from a dream, or did he learn the true nature of all things and cease to exist?

Story Idea: There really wasn't anything which prompted me to create this story. I sat down wanting to get across one concept of reality from a crazy viewpoint. The result was this story.

Posted 12 Years Ago

Wow! This story is really something else. I began reading it thinking I kind of knew what it would be about but you really proved me wrong. I'm still confused about the roses but in a good way. The main question I have after reading this is, where did you get the idea?

Posted 12 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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2 Reviews
Added on December 22, 2010
Last Updated on January 26, 2011
Tags: Psychology, Sanity, Dreams, questions, life, and, other, various, insanity, weird


Barry Thomas-Brown
Barry Thomas-Brown

Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northumberland, United Kingdom

My Life: writing, reading, hiking, single malt whiskey, a film then bed. more..