House Of Dreams
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In the center of a forest, a lake.

At the bottom of that lake, a cavern.

Deep within that cavern, a house.

It sits alone, undocumented until now.

But there are those who have known of its existence for years. Decades.

They discovered it through arduous trial and error, and almost always unintentionally— they would locate the building amidst the search of other, grander things.

And with it, they found its power. Its ability.

They call it The House of Dreams.

And still it remains, idlily awaiting its next subject… Whoever they may be.


I parked my car in the middle of an otherwise empty lot— one surrounded by forest and fauna so dense and thick that one would have no use of a vehicle beyond this point. Such prose was true even for myself, for I would go the rest of my journey on foot. Though the sharp branches cut through my clothes and skin as though they were paper, I knew that there was no other option if I was to go where I desired. It is said that The House of Dreams demands that one commit themselves entirely to finding it— no shortcuts can be taken when attempting to complete the pilgrimage to its location.

The woods were absent of life. While it is common for most animals to leave their residence when confronted with a human, I do not believe that was the case for this stunning silence. Rather, the absence felt more as though there never were a presence to begin with. I had entered a patch of ground that had never believed in the ecosystem, never allowed the intricacies of mammals to puncture through its vail and reside within its domain. The deeper I went, the more my apparent intrusion became. There existed impossible formations of terrain within this place, unruly walls of dirt and grass which defied the very laws of mother nature herself, if they were even meant for her to begin with.

All the more upsetting to my psyche, I eventually began to realize that the sun would not set within this forest. My watch had begun to function erratically from the moment I left my vehicle, as though I were finally in The House's dimension, and it now appeared as though time adhered to those rules as well. While I trudged through the mud and brush for several hours, an unwavering dusk constantly surrounded me, refusing to settle into night no matter the circumstance. It then dawned on me what The House of Dreams was trying to convey via this place: it was resolve. It would be unmoved by my presence, and it would not allow me to control it. I then reasoned that I could only progress further if I submitted to this power rather than trying to fight it, and with that I chose to let The House guide me to the next area…


The lake was an unending stream of liquid, sprawling both to the north and to the south in what seemed to be infinite directions. Though it did not look impossible to close the distance, something about the other side of the location told me that I would never reach it, never touch the ground which stood across from my perspective. It was not made to be walked upon, at least not by me.

No, the only way forward was below, through the film of water which acted like a barrier between myself and The House. It was not an act that would require thought, but action. But as I mindlessly plunged into the lake and prepared to swim to its bottom, I was stunned by the sight with which I was greeted by:

Surrounding the ground of the lake sat several rows of large crystalline objects, which applauded my sudden entrance by refracting the waters around them in a beautiful and mesmerizing show of manipulation. They were like gorgeous mirrors, surrounded by a drab setting which failed to capture my attention in the same way that they did. My goal— The House of Dreams— would pale in comparison to these great deities of distortion, and that I was sure of. I was sure of it, at least until I began to run out of air.

Panicked, my mind snapped away from the distraction and fixated itself on the goal at hand: the lake! I was in a lake! And I would drown before I could ever escape it, that much was almost certain. Unable to go back and with further descent being my only option, I would do the unthinkable and dive further into the body of water, reaching its submerged surface and discovering a strange hole which protruded from it. It appeared to be my only option for survival, and with that assessment I entered the hole without any further hesitation.


My arms flailed wildly as I careened into the abyss, only to abruptly land into a small pool of sorts that had formed in the middle of some kind of cavern beneath the lake. Oddly enough, though the hole I had entered through seemed to continuously pull water from above, it failed to fill the chamber any further beyond this small puddle. It was yet another example of The House's refusal of nature— though it now appeared to be a refusal of reality itself. By this point I was hardly surprised however, as it became abundantly clear that the place which I sought was more than a mere building of construction. It was, in its own way, a god of sorts. And all around it was a realm of its creation, the anomaly of this cave being yet another small part of that realm.

As I rose from the ground and gained my balance on top of the rocky floor, I reached into my jacket and produced a box of matches which I had brought with me, although more than half of them had been ruined by the previous trial. However, as I sorted through those which were still flammable and began to strike them against the walls of the cavern, they failed to produce any light. Yet again, I was sent another message by the deity of this dimension: I would not succeed if I relied on my own tools. I would need to adhere to the rock— feel through its jagged edges and sharp points until I blindly stumbled onto the holy grail of my journey.

And so I did as The House of Dreams had commanded. Each piercing jab into the skin of my hands was like a foreboding attempt to dismay me from my destination, every time I would trip and find myself in an unknown part of the cavern, another haunting sign that I was not prepared to meet the maker of this world— perhaps even the maker of my own. But as I was forced to map out the cave in my mind, exploring every dead-end nook and cranny until I had it burned into my memory, my curious hunger only grew further. I needed answers. I had come this far based on heresy and word-of-mouth alone, and so far the reality appeared to be even more fantastical than what the stories spoke of. If my persistence was to be rewarded in even a fraction of what was rumored, then my forthcoming knowledge would be enough to eclipse the sky, my power an unrelenting stream not too dissimilar to the lake which I had just conquered previously.

I needed to see The House of Dreams. I deserved for it to grant me my every wish, and to make me a king among lesser men. It had to happen.


And there it was. The answer to my call. The House of Dreams.

It sat at the base of a gigantic expanse, with only a small sliver of light shining from the ceiling to illuminate its presence. I stood in one of the openings of its room, basking in its distant and inexplicable glory as it dominated the air around it. My confidence— once at an all-time high— was wounded by the realization that this was its world. Not mine. I was not yet a god as I hoped I would soon be, but rather a spectator of god. A mere observer of The House's elegant abilities.

It answered my entrance with a quiet and dull groaning noise, almost like it was bored by my intrusion upon its turf. A nearly unnoticeable change in the air followed the sound immediately after— and then it began to speak to me. Though I am not sure how, I knew it to be true at that very moment. And I responded.

"What are you?"

The creature paused for a moment, and then began to groan once more. But as it droned on, the noises which echoed all around me began to take the form of words. It did not speak in a recognizable cadence or accent, but rather manipulated the sound it produced into something more palatable to the human ear. It was communicating in a language that I could understand.

"I am trees. I am water. I am stone. I am creation. I am judgement. I am acceptance. I am here."

The response aggravated me slightly. I had come all this way for real answers— not carefully constructed wordplay.

"I know all of those things, so please— elaborate. How can you do the things you do? I want a resolution here, not—"

Clearly upset by my line of inquiry, it interrupted my speech by resuming its awful groaning noise, only to once again reshape it into words of fiery condemnation. My lack of hubris clearly infuriated the creature, and its response would once again humble me.



It concluded the rebuttal with a hateful roar which vibrated the cave walls and shook me to my very core. As it began to dislodge rubble and collapse the room we were both in, I fearfully retreated back to whence I came, never to speak with The House of Dreams again.

My following escape would bring me back to the first chamber of the cave that I had encountered. Where there once was a hole on the ceiling, now there was a set of crudely-constructed wooden stairs that lead back to the surface. And from there, back to reality. This final message was far clearer than all the others: To get out while I still could.

I went up the steps with a pitiful look on my face, one that had been empowered with foolish confidence and subsequently crushed by truth. Though this place represented a fantastical escape from reality, it was not meant for the likes of the living— a reality which proved even more painful than the one I had to return to.

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