The prescience of recurrence.
To see the future as one would throughout a re-lived life.
This is one of my favorite dreams, and it only changes slightly in detail each time I have it.
I'm on the same train as before: as far as I can tell it stretches into infinity upon rails the size of houses. This is the supertrain; a mansion in motion. There are bedrooms and bathrooms and dining rooms and centers of commerce: wet bars, convenience shops, curiosity emporiums. It feels like an oversized cruise ship on rails but everything is much lower to the ground. We are moving at such a speed that the outside suffers from a permanent motion blur.
I know this train. I've been here many times before. Only this time, I seemed to be the owner.
Just like Terry Benedict would walk the floors and pits of the Bellagio in Ocean's Eleven, I walked the halls of this supertrain with the satisfaction that comes with ownership. I was the benevolent master. I had no one to chastize for slacking off: everyone was friendly and courteous and happy to be a part of the operation.
But every time in this dream, I wind up at the wet bar. And every time in this dream, the same ruggedly optimistic bartender in his early twenties talks me into the same thing.
"Let's fly," he says. Or maybe I think he says. Dialogue is always vague to me in dreams. What I do know for sure is that I know exactly what's coming next.
I strap myself into the harness. This is the stupidest harness I've ever seen, and I've seen it before. It looks a lot like a bear trap in reverse: two oversized concentric semi-circles of metal hinged at the top via the curved parts. My arms are strapped in to the hinge and my legs rest unfastened on the edges of the metal below. Maybe there's a little stub there at the end to put your feet; I'm not sure at all. I'm not looking down at this point. I'm looking straight ahead.
The tour guide explorer guy always starts with the same speech. Something like "this is the greatest ride you'll have in your life" and "this is the pinnacle of conservationism" and "these are the last reaches of the unexplored earth."
I've been here before, but something felt wrong. Different. Unhinged.
And without warning we pulse into motion. First, the sickening sensation of disconnecting from a high speed object at an opposing and instantaneous high speed. It's like weightlessness for a fraction of a second -- too short for the mind to register but too long for your body to take. After that, I am traveling on a harness that appears to be guided by invisible wire high up in the atmosphere, above the supertrain and the rest of this world.
From up here the world is a thing of absolute beauty. We have moved far from the train now, high up above a body of water pristine as a flat translucent plane of shimmering blue crystal. Giant lily pads punctuate the perfection. For some reason, it appears to me as a grid. Kind of like looking at lap pools from the sky, there are floating separators at equal distances apart that form a kind of cartesian coordinate system.
And suddenly my harness comes unhinged. This is new, and rather frightening. Somehow my feet stay attached to the bottom of the harness but my arms are free and I am awkwardly swaying and gagging the same way a tightrope walker would if forced to run across the rope. I am certain I'm going to fall. Instead of fearing death, I instead wonder what it would be like to make contact with the crystalline blue below.
For some reason, I keep thinking of cutting through an inviting sea of blue jello with nothing more than the weight of my falling body.
But before I fall, the harness circles quickly clamp down on my arms and it hurts worse than most anything I've felt. They release, and then reengage as they were before and I am left stinging with two potentially maimed arms.
See, I don't have time to think about that now.
This is the part where we descend. Quickly. Think rollercoaster without the coaster. Or the roller, come to think of it. It's just pure downhill at speeds so unsafe you can't open your mouth to breathe for fear of accidentally ingesting eagles and kites and meteors engulfed in the flame of their own personal descent.
Instead, you just suck in your insides because otherwise gravity and force would be doing it for you. Experiencing this is terror. Surviving this is the greatest thrill ride I could ever hope for.
We have now flattened out and my feet are inches away from the crystalline waters. This close I can look down and see what appear to be giant koi swimming about, amassing an aquatic army. They are countless; endless; boundless. This water was pulsing with the overabundance of life and I -- barely breathing from shock and near dismemberment -- am skimming the surface of this living thing.
Times before I never touched the waters. I don't think we were ever that close. But this time, I changed the course of the dream. I stuck my feet in the blue. I was now cutting into the crystal beneath me, feet bashing fish after fish as I sink deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper and
Huh. That drowning part was new, too.