Misha woke up screaming, sweat covering his face. He was back in his room, everything was ok. A sigh of relief escaped his mouth just as Sandra entered his room, her eyes blurry and red.
“Are you ok” she asked in concern.
“Yea” he replied “Just another nightmare” he added.
“You have to check this out, this isn’t normal” Sandra said in earnest, her eyes focused on him, looking for something.
“I know… sorry I woke you up” he tried to smile.
“Are you sure you’re alright?” she asked again.
“Yes I’m fine” Misha assured her.
“Ok, I’ll go back to sleep then. I have to wake up in a few hours” she got up and headed back to bed. She cast another glance back at him before she went out and continued on.
Misha had been suffering these strange nightmares for a couple of weeks now. One day they just started appeared. Ever since that moment his sleep had been average at best. He had been toying with the idea of going to see a doctor some time ago but he dismissed it. Who ever heard of a dream doctor or whatever it was called. But now, he wasn’t so sure anymore. The dreams had begun to take their toll, the lack of sleep he had suffered from them had started to affect his work and life.
He got up from his bed; he had found out that after having a nightmare he could never fall back asleep, no matter how hard he wanted or how tired he was. He walked towards the chair where some of his clothes lay and put them on. Outside all was dark; the sun wasn’t due yet for some hours. He walked towards the kitchen and fixed himself a cup of coffee. He turned on the TV pressing the mute button, and sat down in front of it. So he spent his very early morning. It became a habit ever since the dreams started. After zapping aimlessly through the channels without finding anything to his liking, he turned the set off and took yesterday’s newspaper from the stand next to the chair.
He was a thorough reader and was surprised to see a small article he had apparently missed.
Dreams of sheep
A new dream development research team led by
Dr. Richards from the NS tech university has
reached an amazing new breakthrough in
the understanding of dreams.
“Our new development will enable us to solve
almost any dream related problem” claimed the doctor
“We worked for a long time trying to bring
all the different dream faces into line within a
single session. This we managed to do by using the
Ariator. An invention we are very proud of.”
Although Dr. Richards is very known for his
improvements in dream therapy, his invention
is still regarded by some as a hoax.
According to Dr. Rice from the Boston general
hospital “a machine that registers dreams exists
it’s called an EEG, this so called dream register
is nothing more then an EEG with a big flashy monitor”
Dr. Richards had nothing to comment on Dr. Rice’s
accusations. In his words “The Ariator is a lot
more than a regular EEG” Either way the new
invention put quite a stir in the market, only
time will tell if for good or worse. Ted morose
The fin times.
Misha put the paper down and thought about what he had just read. If what that doctor said was true he might be able to get some help for his dreams. Did he intentionally miss this article? He mused.
Birds slowly woke up crying happily with the appearing of the first sun rays. Misha got up and opened the curtain and looked out at the empty street. The sun was slowly rising, casting small rays on the disserted street. The darkness slowly retreated as the world awoke to a new day.
A yawning figure walked towards the kitchen. Misha smiled “You ok?” he asked
A muffled grumble was the only answer he received. Sandra was not a morning person. She poured herself a cup of coffee and sat down at the table sipping it slowly.
“Turn on the TV” called the muffled voice of Sandra. Misha left the window and obediently turned the TV set on. A morning show about cooking something that looked like a disgusting pudding was on. Misha paid no attention to it and sat in front of Sandra.
“Sorry about last night” he said
“Don’t worry about it, you should check it though. It’s not healthy” she answered her face contorted in concern.
“I will, I just saw this article in the newspaper, I was thinking of going” Misha handed Sandra the paper. She looked at it, and quickly read the article.
“I don’t know, I think it’s one of those “he might be brilliant he might be nuts” kinda thing”
“It’s the first time I ever heard of anyone claming to be able to solve all the dreaming problems people have. Usually it involves lots of talking because they all say it’s something mental bothering you subconsciously. It’s why they always tell you to come for another session and sit on that stupid couch and talk about your mother. That’s why I never want to go. I hate all those Freud crap stuff…”
“If so many people say it, they might have a point. I’m worried about you; this has become a serious problem. How many hours do you sleep nowadays? 3? It’s been going on too long maybe you have something serious. You should check it at least one appointment won’t kill you will it? You can always decide not to go to the next one.”
“Maybe your right… I just really hate those things”
“Oh come on you have to give it a try you’re like a zombie walking around half drunk all day from lack of sleep. I’m not a doctor but even I know that can’t be good for you”
Misha didn’t reply he stared at the ground.
“Listen if you really don’t want to go don’t. But I think you should at least check it out… oh nuts, I’m gonna be late for work. I’m taking a quick shower” Sandra ran to her room, got some cloths from it and ran into the shower.
Misha smiled to himself: this was one of the only good points in having a computer job. He was a graphics designer, which meant that most of his work was done at home. Some things he needed to go to the office for, but usually he would just send his work over to one of his peers and get it back with corrections or just a thank you.
He looked at the table, he had the strange notion he was missing something… Wasn’t he holding something not too long ago? Misha pushed the thought away, no use dwelling on these things it will come to him later. He got up and took a cup from the cupboard. He was about to fix himself a cup of coffee when he realised he had already done this today. He searched around the room for his coffee cup but he couldn’t find it anywhere. He went to the window he stood by, looked around the chair he sat on, the TV… nothing. Did he make it? Or did he just misplace the cup? His head felt heavy, his eyes glazed. The sleep shortage was really getting to him.
He shook his head in an effort to clear it and went to the cupboard and made another cup of coffee. Sandra finished her shower already and was running around the house.
“I’ll see you tonight” she shouted as she ran out the door, slamming it shut behind her.
Misha nodded and continued zipping his coffee. He took the newspaper and reread the article again, Sandra was right, what did he have to lose? It couldn’t be worse than all those sleepless nights, all those nightmares…
He turned on his computer and searched for the address of the NS tech university. He printed a page with a small map out where the university was located. He stared around the house searching for something he might have forgotten. The TV was off, everything looked ok. He took his keys and went out in search of the university.
The building was impressive. It was at least 20 stories high. Windows covered the sides of it, revealing many strange machines and technical equipment Misha knew nothing of. There were big metal pipes, and white plastic constructions hanging from the ceiling.
The building seemed to be divided into two sections, connected by a walk bridge surrounded in glass. Students were making their way through it towards the other section that was just as big, if not bigger, than the first section.
Misha walked towards the entrance. Two big glass doors swung open as he got close to them, hot air from inside hit his face. He entered, in front of him stood a big desk, an information sign was above it. A pathway continued straight in what seemed like an endless corridor. Another went left where computers were located, the pathway on his right headed to elevators.
“Excuse me” Misha asked the guy sitting at the information desk.
“Yes, how can I help you?” he asked in a bored tone.
“Do you know where the…” he took out the small print out where the department name and map were on. “The science of dreams department is?”
“The science of dreams department?” the guy asked looking puzzled.
“Yes, it’s headed by Dr. Richards”
“Oh, now I know what you’re talking about that’s the neuropsychology department. Take the elevator on your right to the second floor and continue straight, you will see it in front of you”
Misha thanked the guy and took the elevator to the second floor. A woman wearing white cloth entered the elevator with him. She was good-looking, she had blond hair and her face seemed young, there was a smile in her eyes, a glitter of joy. The woman pressed the button of the second floor. “Are you working with Dr. Richards by any chance?” Misha asked.
The girl turned and stared at Misha for a while before answering “No, why?” she finally asked.
“I wanted to go there to have a look”
The girl smiled at him. “I’m not working there yet, I’m still a student I’m doing a master in neurophysiology it’s next to his department”
“Ah, ok. Do you also work with dreams?”
“No, I’m doing research a research on Alzheimer” she said, still smiling. The elevator reached the second floor and the doors slid open. “Well it was nice to meet you, I’m Linda, maybe we will see each other again” she went out the elevator without waiting for a reply.
“I’m Misha, I’d love to see you again…” Misha called quickly as Linda walked away. She just kept on walking not paying any attention to him. He sighed and set out to find where the dream thing was. He stopped in front of a sign baring the name Dream Research, Sleep Disorders & Science of Dreams. Dept. of neuropsychology.
He knocked on the door “Come in” called a voice.
“Hi,” said Misha opening the door “I was wondering if you could help me”
“Sure what is it?” asked a middle aged woman. She wore a tight fitting white robe that emphasised her big breasts. Misha’s eyes were glued to her cleavage for a while something the girl obviously enjoyed, because when he looked up at her face she was smiling. What’s with these people? I’m definitely at the wrong business he muttered to himself. The woman motioned to a chair and Misha sat down.
“Well, you see I’ve been having nightmares for the last ehh… well a very long time I guess. I can’t even remember a time without them I thought you might be able to help me here.”
“I see, well let’s start with this, you can sit at the desk on the right” she said pointing at a desk to Misha’s right “and fill this form in” she handed him a form with question. Misha thanked the woman again amazed her superior would let her work dressed like that. Then again her superior might enjoy it.
He sat down and started answering the questions. The first questions were formal ones; name, date of birth etc. The next questions were a little harder to answer. The biggest problem Misha had answering them, was the fact they were all very specific about his dreams. He never remembered anything about them however he always woke up with a terrible feeling, as if something was after him, something pulling him into somewhere terrible. Usually he awoke covered in sweat, breathing heavily. From Sandra he heard about his gasps, shouts and other noisy reactions while dreaming. Upon waking however he never knew a thing, only a fleeting memory of a terror greater than anything he had ever known. Nothing else, no image, no story he participated in or looked upon, nothing to actually prove he had nightmares at all…
“Excuse me” Misha said to the woman who was now busy applying makeup on her face. “I have a small problem with filling this form”
“You see I never remember my nightmares, I only know when I wake up that I don’t want to fall asleep again. I don’t actually remember anything about the dreams themselves. Just the feeling I have when I wake up”
The woman looked at him her hand carelessly shuffling pages around. “Well you know what, I will set you an appointment with Dr. Richards so you can explain the situation and he will give you the best advise, is that ok?” she asked fixing him with a plastic grin.
“Yea I guess so”
“Let’s see” she clicked on the mouse and her computer screen came to life. “I see he has an open spot tomorrow at 9:00 pm is that ok with you?”
“Yea no problem”
“Ok, it’s a date then” the woman said smiling at him.
Misha was a little dumbstruck. Was she actually trying to pick him up? It wasn’t that she was bad looking or beautiful, it was the directness and the way she moved which disturbed him. She moved in such a way that kept you staring at her breasts all the time.
“ehh… right” Misha mumbled.
“So how come your called Misha?” she asked
Wasn’t this going a bit too far? He thought to himself “What do you mean?”
“Isn’t it a Russian name? You don’t sound Russian to me”
None of your business “My parents met in Moscow and decided to call me Misha which was the name of the guy that introduced them”
“Wow amazing story” she exclaimed holding her hands up.
“I have to go to work now, so… I’ll see you tomorrow” Misha replied coldly
“Sure thing hot stuff” she said smiling
“Really professional, if that Dr. Richards guy is the same there is no way I’m staying here” he muttered to himself. He left the university with a mixed feeling. The secretary was terrible, but the university itself was very impressive. He would wait and see tomorrow.
Misha arrived at the house and opened the door. The TV was on. Had he left it on? He turned it off and sat down in front of his laptop. He turned it on and started his work. He was tired the restless nights were really getting to him now, he could hardly concentrate, and his eyes kept closing…
“Hey Mish?!” called a vaguely familiar voice.
Misha jumped up, he fell asleep, his computer was next to him. “What happened” he muttered, his head hurting. A strange notion something was wrong, terribly wrong attacked him, drowning him in fear. He stared around him his hunted eyes darting to and fro everything in the room, his breath was fast and he was covered in sweat.
“Mish! Take it easy, your home, everything is ok” came the same voice, soothing.
His eyes slowly focused on Sandra. “Hi Sandra, sorry…”
“You scared me! Are you ok?” she asked her voice filled with concern.
“Yes, thanks. I’m fine now, I guess I’ve just fallen asleep” he said apologising.
“It’s ok, you haven’t slept properly in ages, I would have fallen sick along time ago”
“What time is it?”
“10 in the evening?” he asked bewildered
“Damn! The last thing I remember is coming home from the dream research thing and working behind the computer. It was around 1 in the afternoon I think”
“You needed the sleep, you were shouting in your sleep again. It actually took me a while to wake you up. It’s a good thing you went there, wanna tell me what happened?”
“Well they made me an appointment for tomorrow at 9”
“Good, it’s about time you took care of yourself. I’ll fix some food for us, I haven’t eaten yet. I’m starving my boss is such a prick. He let’s me choose between a half hour pause at 2 pm or 2 small 15 minutes breaks. One at 12 and the other at 6 pm… Damn bastard. It’s a good thing the coffee is free or I would have been gone from there a long time ago”
“Come on babe you know you love your job thing. There is no way you will quit”
“Yes… well… I might!”
Misha smiled Sandra was always like that after a long day at work. Not a lot of people could handle her long tiring hours at the law firm. She was the linguistic of the whole firm, which meant she read every document anyone wrote, corrected it, and if necessary rewrote it. Language for the law business was not just important but critical. Cases were often won or lost if the written statement had too many holes or mistakes in it. The only problem was the hours. Sandra often worked from 9 in the morning till 8 at night or from 12 in the afternoon till 11 at night. Today was 9 till 8.
A good smell came from the kitchen. “What are you making?” Misha asked
“Nothing complicated, it’s a pizza and salad” came the answer
“Good enough for me” Misha called. “You really spoil me you know” he added “Thanks, really… I don’t say it nearly often enough”
“Don’t worry about it, you’re like the brother I never had, well I actually have 2 sisters that I don’t really get on with so maybe not really a brother… How about just a really really good friend?” Sandra asked
“I’m honoured” Misha replied smiling “Thanks” he said again
“Don’t mention it. Why don’t you set the table, the food will be ready in a few more minutes”
A beeping noise… Misha jumped to his feet and looked around disoriented. He was in bed, it was morning. He stared at the alarm clock 8. The Dream he had was already gone, he felt strange. He wasn’t covered in sweat and the terror feeling he always had was not completely gone, but less than it had ever been. It was almost as if the dreams were changing somehow.
He turned the alarm clock off and got out of bed. It was a nice evening yesterday he pondered. They ate talked and went to sleep. Sandra was probably still asleep she had to wake up in an hour or two. He quickly got ready and went to his designated appointment.
“Hello, how can I help you?” Asked a young girl, the girl that had helped him yesterday was apparently sick or something.
“I have an appointment at 9 with Dr. Richards”
The girl, who looked a lot more professional than the one he saw yesterday, looked at her computer screen. “If you will take a seat I will call you when the doctor will be able to see you”
“Ok. By the way what happened to the woman who was here yesterday?”
“You know the other secretary”
At this the girl looked puzzled, “Mr. Fisher. I am the only secretary” the girl answered.
“No, that can’t be. I was here yesterday to make an appointment and I talked to this woman she was older than you. She had this very tight robe thing on. She had black hair, I don’t remember her name”
“I’m sorry Mr. Fisher but that just proves it can’t be true”
“Oh? Why is that?”
“Because we don’t make appointments a day in advance, it takes at least a week”
“But I know I talked to her… Wait you said a week?”
The girl nodded.
“So when did I make the appointment?”
The girl checked her computer. “Two weeks ago” She answered calmly, her voice leaving no room for doubt.
“But that’s impossible I was here yesterday. I’m sure of it!”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Fisher but the computer doesn’t lie”
“Then how come I know this woman that was here?! I mean she even tried to pick me up yesterday, how can all this be happening?” Misha’s head was turning too many things were happening, he felt he was losing control. Things weren’t turning around him anymore, they were turning without him. He felt heavy, tired, dizziness attacked him and he nearly fell on the desk in front of him. He heard a voice in the background asking something but he couldn’t make it out, it felt like a dream, everything surreal. A feeling of panic suddenly assailed him, swallowing him whole, leaving him completely submerged.
Voices… there were voices talking, discussing something next to him. He slowly opened his eyes. He was in a bed, a hospital bed. The walls were white, florescent lights hung from the ceiling. He hated those lights, they felt unnatural, cold.
“Hello Mr. Hall, welcome back” said a kind voice belonging to a man in his 50’s. He had brown hair with strakes of grey in it, and brown eyes. He had an overlarge noise compares to his small face. His face seemed to be directly attached to his neck, his chin losing place somewhere between layers of fat. His face looked concerned. A name tag on his chest appointed him as Dr. Richards.
“Hello, ehh… what happened?” Misha asked
“Well, you fainted. You said some very disturbing things to our secretary”
Everything came back to him. The secretary that was someone else the appointment he made which he hadn’t. He felt nauseous.
“Misha? Stay with me here…“ The doctor called in concern. “We don’t want you to faint again, if you don’t mind I’d like to talk to you before we do anything. Is that ok with you?” he asked.
“Yea, sure… Just give me a sec”
“Take as much time as you need. Everyone please leave us now” the doctor said to the group of people around him. When they were left alone he turned back to Misha.
“How are you feeling” he asked
“Fine I guess. All things considered”
“Try to stay calm, and calmly tell me everything that happened. If you feel your about to lose consciousness again, I want you to stop talking, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Ok?”
“Interesting” Dr. Richards said after hearing Misha’s story “I must admit this is the first time I hear these kinds of problems from someone without any mental condition or history. And you said you didn’t take any medication or anything like that that could explain the illusions you had?” The doctor looked at Misha for a second and continued “It could be possible that the lack of sleep and stress caused this, although normally people don’t go so far in to their illusions as you did. At this moment I can’t say where this comes from without some more research. I would like to run some more tests and follow your sleeping patterns, although I will have to ask you to sign a waver form if you agree”
“A waver form?” Misha wondered
“Yes, you see in this day and age if by any chance something goes wrong the university can’t take responsibility. I wish I could say it was different”
“What do you mean if something might go wrong?” Misha asked feeling a little reluctant to sign the waver.
“Well anything could of course go wrong point is it very rarely does. I mean you have a bigger chance to be hit by a car in a manner of speaking”
Misha took a pen from the doctor and signed. He had actually made up his mind from the beginning already, he just enjoyed watching the doctor squirm a little.
“Ok, the first thing I would like to do is take an EEG. An assistant technician will do that, I will come back in about 20 minutes and look at the results” With that the doctor left. A few minutes later the technician came in with a machine he was rolling.
“I’m going to put a few of these electrodes on your head, I’ll need to use some gel to connect the electrodes to you’re scalp. These electrodes will register the electrical activity from large groups of neurons. All you need to do is close your eyes and relax. Every now and then I will ask you to open them and some lights will flash in your face. This will cause certain neurons to activate. I will tell you when you can close your eyes again.” The technician paused for the first time in his monotone lecture to look at Misha and ask him if he understood everything.
“Do you have any questions?”
“No” answered Misha. The technician started putting the gel on Misha’s head. The unexpected cold gel made Misha shake his head. The technician didn’t stop and just continued putting more gel on Misha’s head. He afterwards took some electrodes from the machine he carried with him and attached them to the gel. When he was done he turned off the light.
“I want you now just to relax and close your eyes, when I tell you open I want you to open them and look straight in front of you. When I say close you can close them again. Everything clear?”
“Ok here we go, close your eyes”
Misha obeyed. After a moment or so the guy said open. Misha opened his eyes and stared at some blinking lights. Another moment passed and Misha was told to close his eyes once more.
This continued on for quite some time, the technician asking Misha to open and close his eyes in different intervals. Until he told Misha to open his eyes, and instead of the blinking lights the regular room light was on.
“That’s it we’re done, the doctor will give you the results, you can wash your head from the gel at the sink over there” he said pointing to the sink and left.
Misha got up and washed his head at the sink, removing the sticky gel from his hair. It felt a lot like when you put too much hair gel in, all sticky and icky. He looked at himself in the mirror making sure he removed everything from his short black hair. His face was white and pale; his green eyes were surrounded by red blood vessels. He looked like a junky he thought. His small nose and dense black eyebrows were always a laughing matter in school now they seemed even stranger not fitting with his pale white face. Something reflecting in the mirror suddenly caught his eye; small letters next to his face on the wall behind him, they were red and he was sure it hadn’t been there a while back. Misha turned around, the wall was white nothing decorated it anywhere. He looked back at the mirror the letters were still there easily distinguishable in red on the white wall. He stared at them trying to make them out, he could make out a Y at the beginning… Slowly the letters were made into words until he saw it clearly. You are asleep.
Misha went away from the sink and back to his bed; his mind was racing what did all of it mean? How come he could see the letters only through the mirror? What the hell did they mean? A creepy sensation crept up in him, a strange fear from something unknown. He stared at the white ceiling frightened from something. The sensation grew stronger and somehow familiar the more he thought of it. As if he had felt this way before, this strange fear from something you don’t understand, something you don’t see. Something you can’t see. A sudden realization hit him. He could see it clearly now, he knew where this feeling came from, this was the same feeling he always woke up with. The only exception was this morning, the feeling was weak as if it was distant somehow, stepping back from him. Why was the feeling weaker today? Why did he have the feeling at all in the first place? He tried to think back to the first time he woke up to this feeling. This dread of the unknown, a fear he could not phantom. As hard as he tried however he couldn’t remember having a single day without it. A single waking where the feeling wasn’t there to remind of him of something. That was it, it reminded him of…
Dr. Richards came back into the room, holding some papers in his hand. “I have here your EEG results and I have to say they are very strange, usually the EEG can, through the wave patterns we see, give us a clue to what is going on with a patient. We can tell if there are any neurological disorders by the patterns we see. You however have a very strange pattern, what I can see here is many Theta wave patterns, which can be seen during hypnagogic states such as trances, hypnosis, deep day dreams, lucid dreaming and light sleep and the preconscious state just upon waking, and just before falling asleep. Did you take any medication or anything of the sort?” the doctor asked again.
“No” answered Misha.
The doctor looked uncertain “Hmm… I would like to run an MRI and CT scans with your permission”
“A what and what test?” Misha asked puzzled.
“An MRI and CT scan; these are scans that can give a very accurate and detailed image of your brain tissues. The one compensates for the other you might say, this is why they are both done. They are done to remove any doubt of brain damage” replied Dr. Richards
“So you think I might have brain damage?” asked Misha trying to sound very calm. His voice however must have betrayed him because Dr. Richards said
“You have no reason to worry, this is just a formality, and I just need to be sure that there is nothing else causing your irregular EEG. If indeed you are not taking medication, we need to find the cause as quickly as possible.
“So when will I be taking this test?” Misha asked
“Well as soon as possible if it’s all right with you”
“Good, do you feel any better by the way? No weakness or drowsiness?”
“No, I feel fine”
“Good. I will see when we can plan the scans for you. I hope we can still do them today”
The doctor left the room, leaving Misha alone with his thoughts. He stared at the ceiling, it was white and the paint seemed to be peeling in a few areas. It seemed as though only a second or two passed when the doctor reentered the room.
“Alright” said Dr. Richards “we are in luck someone canceled so we can go get the MRI right now, if you will follow me”
Misha stepped out of the bed and obediently followed the Doctor out of the room. Looking at all the sterile like white walls, the many halls, doors and rooms he was reminded of some cheap bathroom. Strange it never seemed that way before…
They passed next to a big sign warning everyone to turn all cell and electronic devices off. They continued through a few more halls until finally they arrived at a big door. A small sign on the wall marked this room as the MRI room. The doctor opened the door and entered. A big bed lay in the middle of the room surrounded by a large metal like tube.
“Here we will take the MRI and the CT. The circular tube you see is basically a large magnet, through it we will be able to see if there is any damage. A technician will tell you what to do through a speaker in the wall. He will monitor you from over there” said the doctor pointing to the back of the room where another chamber was located with a large glass in front, no one was there at the moment. “I will come and check up on you later, ok?”
The doctor left and Misha went to sit on the bed. He looked around; the room was plain there was nothing hanging on the walls and everything was painted in dark blue. Misha got up and walked to the other chamber, he stared at the big window, there were many computers and at least a few screens there.
“Please go lie down” said a voice behind him. Misha turned around; a guy in a white overall was looking at a clipboard. He looked up once acknowledging Misha and went back to looking at the clipboard.
“Please lie down on the bed and keep yourself as motionless as you can, I hope someone told you to remove all metal objects?!” He added in an annoyed tone of voice.
“I have no metal objects” replied Misha.
“No cell phone or anything like that?”
“I have a cell phone but it’s off”
“Doesn’t matter, can you give it to me? I’ll give it back to you when your done.” The guy was muttering something about doctors forgetting everything quietly and took the cell phone Misha handed him. It was quite a big black cell phone, it looked old.
“We can begin” The technician stated and went to the observation room, the thick mirror bridged between the observation room and the test room, was making it hard to see anything.
Misha positioned himself on the bed trying to make himself comfortable. He laid flat on his back his head between two pillows, keeping him in a set position.
“We will now start the scan” announced a muffled voice.
A loud pulsing like noise surrounded Misha as the bed he was lying on was slowly pulled inside the tube. Misha closed his eyes a small rush of fear startling him, his head must have moved a little because the voice immediately said “Please keep as still as you can”
The noise grew louder swallowing everything around him. His thoughts were drifting his eyes started to twitch, a feeling of dizziness clouded his mind, his head grew heavy and he felt himself give in, fading…
“Mr. Hall can you hear me?” came a voice from far away.
Misha slowly opened his eyes, his head hurt he felt strange. The figure of Dr. Richards loomed over him, his face twisted into concern.
“I’m ok, I think” Misha replied
“I have some disturbing news” Dr. Richards quickly stated looking down at a paper he was holding “It appears you have no brain damage from what we can tell, but when we attached you to the Aviator we noticed some interesting things. As a person like you probably knows sleep is a complicated process that no one fully understands. With the Aviator we can induce a deep sleep or for example REM, we can make you dream.” The doctor stopped here looking at Misha’s response. He apparently didn’t get what he wanted because he sighed and continued on “To cut things short we made you dream. But there is a little problem apparently you don’t dream, I mean we put you in deep sleep but there were no visible changes in your brainwaves. I would like to run some more tests and find something suitable for you, in the meantime try to rest.”
“Wait I don’t understand, wasn’t I going to have an MRI?”
The doctor stared at Misha strangely. “But we’ve already finished all of that a few hours ago. Remember? We found nothing wrong, we then came back here and tried the Aviator, are you feeling alright?”
“Yea, sure. I’m fine. It’s all this sleep and waking up stuff that’s throwing me off track” Misha answered smiling uncertainly.
“Alright then, if you feel up to it you can call any friends or family to inform them of our progress, if you want I could speak to them personally” The doctor smiled reassuringly at Misha although it didn’t reflect in his brown eyes. The doctor took one last quizzing look and left the room.
Misha was tired he had enough of fainting, doctors and all the other weird things that were going on. He was fed up. This day was on remising very strange, he never used to faint the way he did the last day or two. It seemed that his condition had changed. The nightmares he couldn’t remember were now replaced by episodes of fainting without having any recollection of anything. The feeling of fear he always had upon waking up was also gone.
He could feel them coming now the feeling of dizziness was something that happened just before fainting. If he could tell when they were coming maybe he could fight them. His thoughts were swirling, trying to find something he could grab on to, something familiar. His thoughts stopped on Sandra. Why hadn’t he called her? She must be worried about him by now. He took out his cell phone and stared at it. It was a white small Nokia model. Great, now not just I am changing but objects around me are changing… He didn’t feel as panicked as he thought he would be what was the point in panicking anyway? He called Sandra.
“Hey Mish, where are you?” She demanded immediately.
“I’m still in the clinic, you think you can come by I’ve been having a terrible day”
“Yea of course I can come, just tell me where you are and I’ll come as soon as I can”
“You’re still at work?” Misha asked. He looked at his watch it was only 13:00. He had the feeling a lifetime had passed
“Of course I’m still at work silly, I have a break in an hour though want me to come by then?”
“If you can”
Sandra laughed. Misha gave her the address and she promised to come.
The day didn’t turn as he had hoped. He thought he would find some answers to his nightmare problem, instead he got a lot more questions and apparently his nightmares were over. He stared at the white walls around him still deep in thought. Something red caught his eye, it seemed blurry and as he tried to focus on it he noticed letters. Not again he muttered. Now it was not through the mirror it was right in front of him. He got off the bed and walked towards the wall to take a closer look at the writings. He moved closer to the wall until he could see the letters clearly. It was a sentence written in red addressed to him. You are asleep!! Wake up Mish please
Misha stared at the words in amazement. Only one person called him Mish, no one else ever called him that, they all called him Misha. The only person to call him Mish was Sandra. His mind was racing, how could it mean him? Did Sandra write it? Is he imagining this? He tried touching the letters half expecting them to move. He was surprised they stayed on the wall in front of him. He tried scratching the wall to see if the color would come off. He stared at the red under his fingernails. Well that solved that problem. Misha felt his head spinning again, too many things were illogical too many things made no sense. His racing mind was making his thoughts incoherent even to himself. He didn’t know what to think anymore, let alone what to do, he didn’t have a lot of choices when it got down to it, the only thing he could do was wait and hope answers would come. He hated waiting though, he never had any patience, and Sandra could answer something though. He decided to call her again.
“Hello” Came Sandra’s familiar voice from the other side.
“Hi Sandra, it’s me again”
“Mish? You sound awful, are you ok?”
“I just saw something disturbing, I just looked at the wall here in the clinic and here written is in red is You are asleep!! Wake up Mish please…” Misha stopped here, letting Sandra take this in. a few moments later Sandra’s voice calmly said
“Then it is clear isn’t it…”
Misha wasn’t expecting Sandra to act so calmly she must be faking it. He listened closely trying to find any tremble in her voice, a hesitation something.
“WAKE UP!” Sandra shouted her voice piercing Misha’s ears, causing them to ring. The scream caught him by surprise and the cell phone fell from his hands to the floor, shattering it in a few pieces. The scream still echoed in his pounding head, and was slowly replaced by pain, a severe cutting pain going from his ears to his right temple and on to the left. He fell on the bed, putting his hands against his head trying to coax the pain, rubbing his temples but to no avail. He closed his eyes he felt dizzy, he knew he was going to faint. He felt it coming, his eyes rolled in theirs sockets he felt his consciousness fading from him, with the little control he had left he screamed “Let me wake up!” he had no idea if anyone heard him he could hear nothing, feel nothing, the comforting black of unconsciousness was welcoming him.
“Mish?” Came Sandra’s familiar and this time concerned voice.
Misha opened his eyes. Looking down at him was Sandra her face contorted in deep concern, on her cheeks tears running. “Sandra?” Misha tried to speak, but his mouth was dry as if he hadn’t used it for a long time. He tried moving his hand, but for some reason the movement was slow and his muscles hurt from the effort.
“Shh… Mish take it easy please let me try to explain to you why you feel as you do”
Misha looked up at Sandra. She wore a white robe and a name tag on a pocket on her chest announced her to be Dr. S. Stanton. He stared at her in amazement. She smiled back at him, her smile was comforting, and he felt comforted even though he didn’t really know why. She was important to him, wasn’t she? Memories were slowly fading, just as a dream would upon waking up.
“You were in a coma for the last 5 years. We brought you here for an experimental treatment. We in a way tap right into whatever it is your brainwaves are doing at the moment and try to get you out of whatever it is that keeps you there. I’m sure your memory is a little unreliable at the moment but that will slowly fade. I was one of the people helping in the experiment, I am also your sister” she said smiling. Misha smiled back, he knew it was true, it felt right it felt good. He felt alive the memories of his dreams were already fading.
A thought nagged at him, but he let it go. He didn’t care he felt good.
“I know you must die to know how you look like, so I got you mirror hang on it’s in my bag. Mom and dad are outside waiting I told them that seeing everyone in one time might be too much of a shock for you.” Sandra smiled and took a small mirror from her bag. She handed it to Misha. He stared at the image reflected from it, a man not bad looking somewhere in his 50’s stared back at him. He had brown hair with streaks of grey through them. He had brown eyes. His face was small and he had a big nose that reminded him of someone, someone different… A doctor? He let it go and looked closely at his image. The nagging doubt resurfaced, what did Sandra say? He was in a coma? And they taped into his brain? But wasn’t that impossible? Wasn’t a coma defined as brain dead? Something felt wrong and now that the doubt was immerging back he slowly understood.
He smiled and looked above him at the white walls. He wasn’t surprised to see something written there, something in red. Memories assailed him, memories of what he was, of what had happened and with the memories came a fleeting feeling of terror that he was stuck. A strong feeling of Déjà vu assailed him as he read the words on the ceiling. Sweat broke out on his face; the mirror fell from his hand crashing loudly onto the ground as he lost control of his hand. All he could do to keep from fainting was hyperventilating. On the ceiling written in red were the words. You are asleep!! Wake up Mish please.
I love this story it’s one of my favorites. I had a big problem with it and I just couldn’t get it right. It started as a paper draught I made which was nothing like the story you are reading now. The bottom line was similar to one another but the story started out as an action story at the time and it slowly turned into a psychological drama. I never did get it smoothly, I kept trying to force the story to a certain path and instead of it going where I wanted it to, it turned out very differently. I constantly rewrote this story and even now I could rewrite it. I think as a short story this is the one I spent most of my time on, making it the most precious to me. However, even now there are things I would be happy to change, but I guess that’s part of the charm this story has over me. I could keep on changing it, and playing with it for a decade and I would still feel it could be better. (2007)