There is a mountain near campus. A light somtimes appears near its top, tiny, like glass catching the sun, but no one knows what it is. A legend, none who venture to find out return. I take this for the classic haunted house excuse, and reason that no one has ever bothered, so me and my little brother walk up the mountain one day.
There is snow. It is a pine forest. The way becomes progressively steeper, until I am using my hands to pull myself up on rocks and vegetation. There is someone above me, reaching down.
There is a discontinuity, as if I've passed out. I'm in a low building with a dimly lit interior. 'Lodge' is the word that comes to mind. A little boy with short blond hair is telling me that this is a hostel, but his description make me think of an orphanage. It is a 'place for the lost'.
We walk past rooms. Some have doors, but most are blocked with brightly colored hanging rugs. I am shown a room where I can sleep for the night. It is like a hotel room, well furnished. Gray light streams from a window and catches dust in the air. There is a television, dark, and a gaming system. The bed has a canopy. It seems I sleep.
Later, I exit the room, not having slept long. The building is now much more than it was. It is an enormous palace or mansion with great open spaces beneath domes and marble tile floors and suspended walkways between halls. All is brightly lit like a summer afternoon. I become lost exploring. There is an astonishing sun room of white sculpted plaster and dark green felt couches with a ribbed glass dome above. There are acrophobic staircases that climb walls at impossible angles. I become stuck in a railing somehow, half suspended over a great abyss. But I pull myself out.
There are happy people everywhere. This is striking. Everyone is doing the exultant contented bliss thing.
I talk to people about how I am lost. They are all very erudite. I am guided back to my room, (though not the same room), by a young man who counts doors (and rugs) by naming famous Germans.
I am given an understanding. This is the same place, a 'place for the lost', but is made by the people who are in it. The people here are cared for by each other, and their education is provided for, many are students at my college. Something is said about an owner/caretaker, he is a hereditary owner and is dying, and there is something that must be done before he does. This is very important.
The room I am led to has a bed on one side of a cafeteria or communal eating area. I lay down, then get up. I walk around and see other areas. The place is vast. Night becomes morning.
My cell phone rings in my pocket. It is my mother. She has arrived here after having searched for me, and is hysterical. She shouts about having had her blood drawn, and shows me a mark on my arm where she says my blood was also taken. We depart.
The side of the place opposite the mountain looks like a strip mall. There is a parking lot. Everything is lessened. We talk about the place, which now seems like a dream. But by comparison I find it is not. I persuade her that it was a good place. We drive somewhere, a different place with no meaning. The world incoporates my alarm.