Since before the days when we invented writing. Since before we had language, we have shared something. Every living thing – be it animal, plant, or human has been party to a single shared experience that defines us in ways we never know.
We have all met, in the Dream.
When humans did begin to speak, did begin to write, we began to share. We began to speculate. We knew that something happened, we saw things, heard things, learned things. But we could never hold it, never fully grasp what we went through. So we made stories. We made gods. We made a thousand, a hundred thousand reasons to explain the mystery that was happening just behind our eyes. As learning and science progressed, we found new ways to try and study, to try and explain our dreams – from horror writers to great learned men, we tried to conquer this intangible mountain. But in truth, we were all still just scrabbling in the dark.
Dreaming is like shouting through a radio transmitter, the receiver only hearing static. It is an imperfect translation that is doomed to be misunderstood. How can a place that does not know our rules, be heard by our rules? How we be heard by theirs? Like trying to describe the colour of freedom, or to hold a handful of morality; it simply does not translate.
But still we are connected. What we experience, what we see, do, think, feel, these things never leave us. In the same way that a memory, long since forgotten, can suddenly strike us decades later, so can we influence dream, and dream influence us. Some unfortunate peoples, who are cursed by ill treatment, by traumatic experience, by horrid knowledge, they will carry this burden with them for their entire lives. They carry it into dream. And while it will never truly be understood by dream, the howling, screaming mass of terror that is dropped into it’s mid can not be entirely forgotten. And so, these unfortunate souls will be cursed, not only to bear this burden in waking, but be haunted by it in dream.
Imagine what dream makes of us. This mass of infinite strangeness, infinite complexity, that flickers in and out with no seeming pattern or structure. Imagine the chaos we inflict. Imagine the wonder. What do they make of us? Do they know that a human is different from a dog? Do they know that a dog is different from a tree? Or are we all the same; invaders who never relent.
Or perhaps we are a gift, a sign from the gods, something to be deciphered and decrypted. Holders of great mystery, granting power to the chosen who can understand.
Or perhaps, perhaps we are a terror. A ghoul in the night, who strikes with no warning. A beast who does not listen, cannot be killed, striking down those unfortunate few who are caught in our path.
Or perhaps not. Perhaps we are all of these, or none.