FLASH Fiction Challenge 100 – Day 23
I think on some level, I knew I was dreaming when I first dreamt of the monolith. But it doesn’t matter because the dream pointed me towards something true. In the garden of Eden, the tree of forbidden fruit gave Adam and Eve knowledge of both good and evil. My monolith was like that. It was a duality that was simultaneously both real and not real. A paradox that has mystified me for over half a century as only a recurrent dream can.
I was seven years old when I first saw the monolith in a dream. It wasn’t tall for a monolith. But then again, as a seven-year-old altar boy, I wasn’t familiar with average monolith dimensions. The young boy who still had two significant stays in the hospital just months ahead of him that year wouldn’t have been able to define the word ‘monolith.’ But he had seen one – in my dreams. Which is truer? The definition of a word or a direct, visceral experience of the power behind the word? (I’m probably not giving away too much when I tell you I believe the latter to be the more potent.)
The monolith terrifies me in my soul (which I no longer believe in – a foolish consistency and all that). I can feel its transcendent humming, drawing me to it, like a moth to a flame. I don’t want to explore its depths, learn its secrets, but I feel compelled to do so. My feet draw me towards it even as my heart fills with dread.
It is a grayish, white stone structure that sits at one end of the church property. With a logic only found in dreams, it is a structure I’ve never noticed before – until I saw it in my dreams. Perhaps it truly stood there next to the church but blanketed with the will to remain unseen? A cloak of invisibility that made people not sense it. It looms. It feels portentous. The monolith electrifies my dreams. I’ve never felt more mixed, opposing desires, ever. I want to run from the monolith. I want to self-medicate with something, with anything that will make me forget the pull the monolith has on every fiber of my being.
But another part of my psyche NEEDS to explore this forbidden mystery. It is this part of me that pulls my heavy feet closer.
Frequently in my dreams, I’ve noticed a two-foot square brass door that sits close to the ground, on its east-facing edge. The dark, rusty door has no handle, no keyhole. I do not know how to open it. Sometimes it is open. Other times it isn’t. I can’t see anything within when the door is open. The open door pulls me even closer as my eyes seek to see what is inside. When I get closer, especially when the door is ajar, I feel my dream hair stand on end; I feel the vibrations of some ancient force I suspect might be harmful. The vibrations smell of sulfur. A tangible field of evil, electrifying everything within its range, which is considerable. I feel it luring me inward. Inviting the boy that I was to enter it, to marvel in mysteries as they irreversibly change me.
Years after I was a cross-carrying altar boy, mom had pulled my siblings and me into a different church. A church where the pastor strongly warned us against the dangers of ‘blaspheming the holy spirit.’ Like any good, budding existentialist, once I learned it was a sin I could voluntarily commit, I imagined that one day, I would. Whether I wanted to or not.
My monolith feels elemental to me. A given. More than anything, the monolith fills me with a recognition of its utter ‘wrongness.’ It shouldn’t be here. It doesn’t belong here. It is an alien or supernatural artifact. If it has any intelligence, it must be of the malignant variety, filled with the knowledge that could catapult humanity into a higher plane of existence or shove it back into dark times filled with violence and despair.
I’ve not dreamt of the monolith in decades, but I can still sense it, quietly lurking deep within my unconscious. Sleeping, but aware. Still quietly radiating its magnetic pull on me, waiting, watching, biding its time. I’m sure I will dream of the monolith again one day. It is inevitable. As an adult, will my ability to deny its pull be stronger or weaker? Will my sanity survive if I surrender and crawl through the tiny brass door, immerse myself in whatever secrets lie within its cold alien interior? Will I meet my seven-year-old counterpart? Will I wake from this waking dream into that one? Will I be seven years old when I wake, gasping for air, searching for something to distract myself from the awful dark secrets that no one (whether seven or fifty-seven) should ever learn?