Lost in Thought

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  1. The World Report

    The Mind is Now Unlocked

    Author ------ ------, November 9, XXXX

    The mind used to be a private sanctuary for most. It had been a place where imagination existed, and where dreams were kept securely guarded from the world. However, psychologists report that they have found the key to unlocking the subconscious.
    Humans have always been curious and intrigued by the aspect of dreams. They were the wonderland of the mind, a private paradise that is only open when the subconscious is freed, and is only available to the one who beholds them. And only that person. Since the beginning, these dreams have been under strict lock and key, and with night terrors ailing the mind, one could be trapped by himself in a world of his own imagination.

    With new technology, however, psychologists have been able to generate a "master key" of sorts that is able to unlock the doors to the subconscious of one, and allow a trained professional to mentally enter the patient's mind. Professor ---- spoke to The World Report about this subject, informing us that "years of delicate research has allowed us to open the mind we could only dream of in the past... Through Transmensiance, we are finally able to explore the frontier that was the most unknown to us, and yet the closest to us- our own thoughts." They call themselves Dream Travelers, exploring the mind as new pioneers of what psychology has called their "Mental Frontier" Once inside, the Dream Travelers are on a mission to find the source of the night terrors that is ailing the individual and is able to communicate the problem source, and calm the person of the nightmare. A year ago, the team composed of Professor ---- and his graduate students performed their first successful Transmensiance on superstar ----- ----, who had been forced off of the staged by terrors that affected her sleep patterns and soon created hallucinations. When they found the source of the subconscious attacks, they calmed her and with weeks of hallucination therapy, have cured her. The professor once more is quoted talking about making this an available operation for those that can afford the thousands of dollars one session can cost. "This success has made us hopeful for the future of Transmensiance. We will be able to help the mentally ailed and set them to rest. While an expensive practice now, we are already in the process of making it more secure, and soon, more affordable so any one with a so called 'rebellious subconscious' may find peace through out work."

    Of course, the job isn't as easy as it sounds. When the doctor enters the mind, he or she is a subject to the subconscious' will. The night terrors the patient experiences is a world the doctor is thrown into and much navigate the ever changing and twisting dream. A psychologist trains for years only to be mentally capable to handle the kind of experiences the patient may generate when incapacitated. The mind traveler is also sworn to secrecy regarding any information or memory that may be picked up in his journey. This breach of security has created a heated debated from the affluent customers, the only class that is able to afford this treatment thus far in its research. Thankfully, it seems only trained professionals with years of experience and miles of signed contracts have access to the equipment that is able to unlock the sacred subconscious....
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  2. The Thief of the Best Kept Secrets

    Judith Meyers

    Age: 24
    Gender: Female
    Occupation: Currently unemployed, officially.
    Personality: A peculiar girl in the sort that she's quiet. Too quiet in the way it may seem unnatural. She observes objects and the movements of people with a cold, analytical stare, like a scientist's. She enjoys things from afar,having difficulty dealing with being dragged into social events, and often has most of her "friends" being kept at an acquaintance level. She enjoys solitude because it's what she understands, that she can trust that it will be that way. There are times she does feel loneliness however, and suddenly has a change in mood of being uncharacteristically friendly and nice, offering that one girl help on her homework despite turning her away a week ago, saying she was too busy in her own work.
    While being quiet, Judith is not timid. She may not speak her mind often, but she does have confidence in her thoughts. Her analytical mind can seem like a computer, proofreading ideas and thoughts, commonly held beliefs, assessing their validity. She figures all the possible routes and perspectives, before she finally makes her statement on the thought, and holds her own ideas steadfast, needing radical evidence of the other side to convince her differently.
    Looks: A pale girl, standing around tall around five foot, 11 inches. She is a rather thin and frail looking girl, with a slight curve to her back from bending over a desk, presumably from reading or working on a computer. Light freckles line her cheeks, and her pale, blue eyes stare rather disinterestedly in any direction when she is deep in thought, which happens to be most of the time. Her light blonde hair, nearly white, is often held in a bun or a tight ponytail, her bangs chopped around her eyebrows as to keep hair from obscuring her vision.
    Often her wardrobe consists of wearing dreary colors, as to not catch attention. Her shirts fit loosely over her long, thin frame, except at the collared neck, which is always buttoned to the top most one. Her bottoms are most often tight and black, and her shoe collection consists of five pairs of flats, and one pair of three inch, black heels, their color dull from their lack of use. She rarely wears jewelry, and she often carries around an army green canvas backpack. Her bag often is holding a large, thick library look, and bags of granola.

    #2 Newtella, Nov 9, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2015
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  3. I would love to be a part of this roleplay! I am curious though, is there anybody I should specifically be roleplaying (Professor ----, for example)?
  4. @clumsycayden: I'm sorry, but this is a private 1x1 role play between @Newtella and I. I hadn't finished my character yet, but I will post a 'work in progress' now to avoid future confusion.

    "Sometimes we pretend to be heroes so to expose the cruelty and irony of humanity."

    Caleb Kang

    Age: 24​
    Gender: Male
    Occupation: Researcher, sleep specialist
    Personality: Hailed as a prodigy by many Caleb is a serious-minded and strictly disciplined persona. He spends most of his time studying and researching in order to develop new theories, cures and etcetera. Many would describe him as pensive, someone who spends little time doing nothing, or at all for himself. A fact much true, Caleb uses most of his time, if not all, working, finding everything else a waste of time. It is due to his hard working personality that the young researcher has become so successful in what he does.

    It isn't by any surprise that Caleb has no social life at all. He doesn't like to interact with others, mostly caused by a certain kind of arrogance that he possesses. Inside of his mind, to his opinion, everyone is stupid. In the eyes of Caleb no one is intelligent enough, smart enough, or witty enough to deal with him. It is the result of the many praise he received as a child. Being hailed as a prodigy from a young age with heavy expectations does something with ones mind and the way they viewed themselves. As a result Caleb is extremely confident in himself and his own capabilities, usually finding the rest of his peers not worth any of his attention.

    However, that isn't all that makes up Caleb. Though the mention of his name usually strikes up the image of a work-a-holic there are more layers to the young man. There is an apathy within him, a dangerous kind of indifference that makes no discrimination in how he uses his knowledge and for who. He has no interest, no attachment to anyone, or anything at all, just the interest and lust for more research data and the freedom to study more about the subject. It is as such that he doesn't mind his motivations to be abused by others, that there are corrupted souls who want him to clean up their dirts. After all, he abuses their insecurities, their fears, for his own goals as well, so he really finds no reason to complain.

    Looks: Standing 6 feet and 2 inches tall Caleb is usually considered to be a lanky figure. Someone who never seems to put on weight no matter what kind of 'trash' he stuffs down his throat. Despite his lean and thin figure the male however has quite the baby face, begrudgingly getting himself often mistaken to be years younger than he actually is. It probably has to do with his mixed Asian genes, though he doesn't like it to be reminded of his naturally youthful genes and features.

    Dark eyes and equally as dark hair that is usually styled messily. Caleb doesn't really care much for appearances and does little with it. Fortunately he has been blessed with good features and skin that cooperates with him, making it so that he doesn't have to vigorously maintain it to at least look presentable. As for fashion, seeing as he is usually found in a lab jacket he can wear anything underneath it and get through with it. However, knowing that the media would like to see something that resembles a successful adult Caleb has opted himself to white shirts and jeans. A safe option that can never go wrong in his opinion, as long as his white shirts stay white and his jeans still resemble jeans.
    #4 Nemopedia, Nov 11, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2015
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  5. “Everything seems stable,” the assistant’s voice sounded.

    “Seems stable, or is stable?” Caleb questioned the lady as he was setting up the medicines needed to induce himself into sleep. “I need certainties, not almost's,” he continued in a gruff voice.

    His assistant just rolled their eyes at him, shaking their head before returning their eyes to the screen. “Is stable,” they exclaimed harshly. “The client is now in REM rest, you can enter,” they pushed up their glasses in victory, hoping for some praise.

    “Make sure to check the security. We can’t afford any intruders,” was doctor Kang’s reply instead. The male was never one for compliments, even not today where his mood was a slightly more amiable from usual.

    “We have been preparing this for months,” his assistant complained, earning a roll of Caleb’s eyes. "Everything is perfect," they continued to convince him.

    “Exactly why we should be extra careful,” he dryly replied, but knew that he would only face protest. Applying the sticker onto his arm the male lied down as he pressed the button to put him into sleep. “It is now all yours,” he yawned at the other as his eyelids grew heavy.

    Moments later…

    The fancy mansion of the minister was nothing too surprising to Caleb. He had seen many of such luxurious places throughout his career. Was it because everyone dreamed to have such a house, or was it because all of his clients were so rich? Caleb didn’t know about that, but neither did he care. All he really was interested in was to fetch his results, solve this problem and get his money. Shortly put; he was to complete his mission and worrying about trivial matters of the human mind wasn’t going to help him with that.

    “Nothing out of the ordinary here,” the doctor sighed to himself as he walked through the hallways. He hadn’t seen a single soul yet in the whole house, but even that didn’t surprise him anymore. Not only where his clients rich, but they were at the top of their game as well, making them lonely. It was something he could relate to, but that was again useless empathy that wouldn’t help him advance.

    With a determined look the male started to climb the stairs, careful not to make too much noise or to cause any disturbance to his environment. He didn’t want the army of sub-consciousness after him. Looking up Caleb started to count how far he still had to go before he reached the top, a slight frown appearing on his face as he realised that the mansion of earlier had turned into a watch tower.

    Now that was odd, however, nothing too odd for a dream.

    Moving faster he started to skip two stairs at once, advancing further and further until he reached a wooden door. It was in poor condition when compared to how grand the rest of the mansion had seemed, but if Caleb looked back over his shoulder now he knew he would only see darkness that descended down in stairs. The client had changed his environment.

    At least the client was asleep now, giving the sleep researcher the most stable time to work. He had to be fast however, for once the client woke up he would be in trouble. The sub-conscious was heavily influenced by the attacks from outside, so having the minister awake would mean that he would have to deal with the mental problems of this man, as well as the stress from outside. An unappetising thought.

    Pushing the door open Caleb stepped into a plain green field, the sun shining brightly above his head as the birds were singing. In the middle of a flowerbed the minister was standing tall in a suit, hands in pocket, and eyes fixated on the sky.

    Strange. Usually these politicians were among the most ambitious people there. They would usually dream of standing on top of a tower, looking over a whole city and feeling powerful. They would dream of power, of money, of anything that would expand their might. However this, this was serene.

    At least he had found the dreamer finally. Another thing about the client sleeping. The client would actually be inside of the dream if they were asleep, making his job only so much easier.

    “Layla,” he said, finally breaking his own silence. The man in front of him stirred a little, turning around to face Caleb.

    “Doctor Kang,” he smiled charmingly at the researcher, but Caleb didn’t pay much heed to it. The code word had worked it seemed, he wasn’t attacked, yet. Now he could continue with the next phase of the operation.
  6. A choked laughter filled the air, a snort that caused the office chair to shake and rock back and forth, till it suddenly sprouted a pair of hairy, fist-pumping arms from its top. “Oh god yes-,” the hands quickly flung down. “Shiii- My soda!”A sickly sweet smell filled the air, along with the sounds of forced breaths and the scrubbing of cloths against wood. Judith watched the faux leather chair for a moment longer, then turned her head away in minor irritation. With a light exhale, she faced her computer and continued her clacking away at the keys.
    System Reports:
    All systems are active.
    Diagnostic Test for System Errors:
    136 programs checked, no errors detected as of 17:47.

    Personal Note:
    As it would appear, the specialized programs were able to be attained, and the experiment is allowed to continue on its set time without delay. With seventeen diagnostic tests performed today, there is still a consistent message of 'no errors detected.' If the equipment and its programs performs its job correctly, the experiment may be a success.

    “Don’t ya want to know what that was about? How I nearly costed us a thousand dollars of spilling a coke all over the pretty computer? Of the success I had? Com’on Judy, Jammys, at least acknowledge me!”
    Judith laid her fingers upon her keyboard, taking her pale eyes from the words she had typed. Instead, she turned her attention to the reflection of a frizzy haired version of cousin it, except with glasses. She could see a tad bit of skin, with horrible pallor, sticking out (a nose probably), perched on the top of the chair. He must’ve really turned his body into in uncomfortable angle to look at her, so pleading for a compliment that he wouldn’t have a single intellectual thought as to simply swivel the chair to face her. She already knew he hacked into the “Dream Team” of her mentor’s, that he had access to the meticulously delicate and sensitive, high classified information and procedures that thus instructed in how to project oneself (his or her conscious) onto a patient, to be exposed to their deepest abstract thoughts that occurred in the cycle period of ninety minutes of REM sleep. She knew this, because that was his job. He was qualified, and that had become his role around here, having proven his skills before. He also did not completely understand the significance of this hack job, making it all the better for a quiet mouth. Of course, he only knew he did something praise-worthy, and wanted every precious second he could to soak in his accomplishment. Judith, at the thought, closed her laptop and pulled up a composition notebook and a blue pen and began to write her procedure notes.
    “Fine, fine you’ve always been that strict since I’ve known you, Judy Moody. I did it, and you can continue on your precious project. I’d be careful though, if you don’t appreciate me, I may just go find someone who will!”
    Judith kept her attention upon the lined paper before her, feeling each line with tiny, cursive scrawled words.
    After a few more silent moments, the harry man sighed deeply. “All right, you got it boss. I’ll get that fugly machine started up for you. T-minus twenty minutes, Judge Judy.”
    The chair swiveled to reveal a thin, lanky man. As he walked, he gathered up his mess of a hair into a thick, squiggly ponytail. He walked to the other side of the room to a compact machine, nearly the same size as the reclining, padded chair next to it. He placed a chip into the machine that he had burned off from his computer and began to fumble with the touch screen built into the blinking mass of metals.
    “Grand,” Judith finally replied. She closed her notebook with a sense of finality, rose, and walked over to a cabinet where a whole row of notebooks were being stored, and locked them in with a close of the doors.
    23.46 minutes later...
    Judith was at the monitor, a flicker of a smile at the edge of her lips at what she saw. By the levels of activity on the program her colleague hacked, it seems her old professor was beginning his own preparations. They would have to start going under sleep near the same time to account for the possibly odd activity from both ends.
    “Your throne awaits, Juju.” The bouncing hair appeared from behind the machine, a weasel faced man finally able to be seen behind the sheets of hair. From the metal lab table at his side, he produced a small series of electrodes and tape, gesturing with his head to the blue padded chair.
    Judith slowly raised pale blue eyes to meet him, looking him over as she logged out from the monitor.
    “Don’t worry, I’ll monitor your every dream spindle and any kind of wave length. Don’t give me that skeptical look.” A smile curled her assistant’s lips, oddly giving him a more normal composure. He has a thin-faced, with a sharp jaw, long nose, small beady eyes with long lashes, and thick brows, his smile made his face came together in a more proportional way. His smiling lips calmed his features, making his eyes seem larger with brightness, and his jaw more wide. He seemed rather average then.
    “Don’t forget to take your ponytail thingy out, it’ll probably hurt if you lay on it for a couple of hours.”
    With a nod Judith stood up, smoothening out her laboratory coat, and raised a hand to slip the ponytail holder from her white blond hair, depositing it into her pocket. She tentatively walked over to the chair, seeming to circle it, criticizing it, laying a hand upon the padded arm rest and the thick leather belt that would wrap around her forearm. With a light inhale, she slipped her hands into her pockets, glancing over the chair once more, from the leg braces up to the uncomfortable head rest. This was her least favorite part. This was where she had to be strapped down and her levels of anxiety, her great dislike of confined places, skyrocketed. She could logically reason with herself, that it was for her own benefit, her own safety during the process since the dream may have some chaotic motor movements in response to the hallucinogenic stimulation of the person whose mind she would enter. She even had a large part in designing the contraption, knowing that the straps would cross over the areas of her body that have the best effect without being uncomfortable. With another shallow breath, she ran her fingers through her thin hair, smoothening it out, leting it rest past her shoulders.
    “I’ll be right here the whole time, watchin’ over you Judy Ju. Are you ready?”
    Judith rose her eyes to the frizzy haired man once more, with one fair eyebrow rising incredulously. She must’ve been too apparent in that moment. She gave a nod, however, and lifted one arm rest, before sitting down and replacing it. In a matter of minutes, she was strapped in and her forehead was covered in electrodes, along with one in the middle of her chest. The mild tranquilizer was inject, and she began to feel her eyelids become heavy.
    “Yeah Ms. Judy?”
    “It’s Ms. Meyers.”
    A large, goofy grin came upon his lips. “Of course, Ms. Meyo.”

    It was damp, and it smelt foreign, weird. There always seemed to be a varying degree of mustiness when it came to entering the dreams of others. As she opened her eyes, she looked up to see an empty blackness. It like looking at the stars when there’s too much light around her, leaving s vast emptiness to stare into.
    As she turned her head to the side, a wall made of a tan marble, accented with what looked like emeralds. Tapestries, paintings that seem to date from the renaissance, along with thick, engaged columns. After she finally recognized the wall was marble, and so was the floor too, then she felt the dampness turn the cold hard ground from which she laid. It felt as if she just came from a sense depravity tank into the full blown world of stimuli. There was hardly a chance to recover, but she knew she would have to get up soon. Rooms only lasted one or two behind the sleep subject, and they fade quickly in oblivion soon after he leaves. As much as she was snooping around, trying not to get caught, she didn’t want to chance becoming stuck in a demolishing room.
    With a push on her hands, she curved upwards into a stand, brushing off her lab coat and her jeans underneath, settling her feet into her flats, and started on her way. Through the classic marble room, she lightly clicked as she tried to orientate herself towards the exit. When she finally saw it in the distance, she started to quickly walk towards it, gaining speed the closer it got. But like a sick illusion, the distance never seemed to close in. She ground her teeth, annoyed, before sighing and slowing to a light walk. She wouldn’t make it- the room wouldn’t let her. She glanced around with intent, her brow furrowed as she tried to reason on how to get out of this. She couldn’t get to the exit- it was literally a symbol of the subject being trapped mentally. What he couldn’t get out of, she wouldn’t be able to either. He’d only be able to accept it, to let everything around him change. With a sigh, Judith pressed the sides of her shoes together and raised a hand to cover her eyes. Mentally, she counted to five, and slowly lowed her hand, opening her eyes. She squinted, before she realized what she was seeing was the world around her glowing and fabricating as a different room. One of cold grey stone, of wooden supports. Judith marveled at the sight, at the sudden change. She wasn’t sure if she should amount it to the dreamer feeling guilt, or not worthy of his position. Perhaps, it was neither. She hadn’t met the man, or had read anything to give her a profile on him, so all she could do was guess as to where his dark secrets may be hidden, or if he was even thinking of them. He would definitely be more on guard knowing that there was already one scientist in his brain, and if it was a good enough secret, he wouldn’t just leave it laying around.
    She glanced around the vast, rather unfurnished room, pondering where to head. With moment’s debate, she finally headed down a corridor, seeming rather dark inside. However, the deeper she headed in, the brighter the path ahead of her seemed to get. Soon, it was nearly blinding, forcing her to squint and raise a hand in front of her eyes, taking steps, not sure of what was ahead. Then, all of the sudden, her foot sank, and a breeze came over her. Removing her hand, she saw a green pasture, a bright blue sky, and two small figures. The sleep subject and the professor- no, it wasn’t. He was young, with brown hair… Her eyes lingered upon him, though she knew it had to be a scientist. No one just wears a lab coat when he’s imagined up, and if he does, there’s usually more than one. Either way, she shouldn’t stick out too much to him, not when she wasn’t sure of his purpose. She started to slowly walk backwards, but then her back hit something firm… She glanced behind, and only saw a fence. Her eyes slowly floated around what seemed to edges of the world, every obstacle slowly seeming to fade into a new shape, with new exits, and sometimes none at all. She couldn’t do much about a lack of an escape, so she blended in. She slowly walked around the edge, her hands at her sides, and her eyes up, seeming enraptured by the fabricated world around her.
    #7 Newtella, Nov 26, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015
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  7. “An irregularity has been detected,” the junior assistant called out over his shoulder. Waving the mentor over the young man showed them the live samples he had just recorded. “Do you think it is anything we should warn Kang for?” he continued, pushing up his heavy glasses as he waited for the mentor’s response.

    The elder sighed a little, pressing the bridge of their nose. It would be wishful to believe that this irregularity was caused by Caleb himself. He was too careful for that, too good at what he did. It was regrettable how the man refused to make any mistakes, for that meant a certain loss of results. However on this case mistakes couldn’t be afforded, which is why he was sent.

    “Give him a sign,” the mentor ordered the assistant in the back. The woman jumped up, grabbing hold of a recorder and carefully putting the earphones on Caleb. “Make it a code orange,” the mentor continued to instruct, their eyes never leaving the screen. Who could this be?

    The assistant nodded, pushing in a few buttons as the recorder started to play.

    "What does it mean?" the junior-assistant asked the mentor. The elder just sighed deeply, rubbing their face as they shook their head. "Nothing too troublesome, I hope," was the solemn reply. The mentor had a slight idea who it could have been that was capable of successfully infiltrating their work and medicine. However, they rather not talk about it, or utter the thought out loud.


    “You have a lovely imagination,” Caleb complimented the minister. The green grass of earlier faded away, walls erecting up and a ceiling building over their head. It all went so smoothly. The doctor smiled a little to himself as a soft chair rose up underneath him. He sat himself down, watching how his client was in another chair, hands folded over his chest and eyes fixated on the newly created ceiling. It was funny how instantaneously everything could change within a dream.

    “I’m troubled doctor,” the man spoke with a heavy breath, eyes still on what was above him. A deep sigh escaped the prominent figure as he knacks his fingers. Caleb just hums at his words, encouraging the man to continue. If the minister believed him to be his psychologist he was free to do so.

    “So, very, very, troubled,” the man continued to sigh. Caleb felt the urge to ask what it was that troubled him so much. He wanted to get to the core of the mission already, but he knew he had to be careful, he had to be patient, get deeper into the dream and the minister's unconsciousness.

    “Does this have to do with Layla?” the doctor questioned. His form leaning forward a little. He didn’t expect himself to get to the delicate part so soon. It went so easy, so smoothly… Almost too easy…

    Just when Caleb had formed these thoughts, just when his pessimism had to kick in, the confirmation, that it was indeed going too smoothly, followed. A song played above his head, first low, almost in a hum, but then it became clearer, louder. Tapping his finger on his leg the man counted the steps, quickly figuring out that it was playing a beat too fast.

    A sign!

    “Mister, why don’t we move ourselves elsewhere?” Caleb suddenly spoke up from his silence, cutting the minister off mid-sentence as he got up. Offering an arm to the other the doctor grimaced slightly while he was trying to look out for any irregularities as well. “A change of pace,” he explained to the man who looked up at him confusedly. Poor thing, he hadn’t figured out that this was a dream yet. However, for him and this possible intruder that was a good thing.

    He had to move quickly now. Caleb had far from reached the deepest layer of the client’s conscious yet and now that he knew that there was a possible irregularity with him he had to move even faster now.

    “Let’s take a walk and talk,” Caleb smiled at the man. It was a known and simple tactic. The walk was only symbolical, but with the help of it they would literally move themselves deeper into the client’s unconsciousness. The only problem was that the intruder could easily track them. However, against that Caleb has his own ways.

    Leading the man out of the room, Caleb shot one more glance over his shoulder, his eyes searching for whatever may be inside of this dream. Raising a brow the male then proceeded to close the door, letting the scene behind of him crumble apart.
  8. Cold hands. It was rare for that: he had been told he had a comfortingly warm grip. It had been an odd thing he had prided himself in, since after all a friendly warm hand was the first known about him when he welcomed a new member into the congregation, giving them a greeting handshake with both of his cover the other's. A warm first impression, a preview to a friendly and welcoming church. Now, though, as his fists ran over the other in a slow, meticulous pattern, he could feel the lack of heat weighing down his hands, making them feel like lifting cement bricks.

    “Does this have to do with Layla?” The Minister repeated what the psychologist said, chewing and digesting the words, the meanings and implications behind them. With a slow, reluctant breath, he laid his wrinkled, liver spotted hands down upon his lap. The Minister supposed the cold hands came from fear. Telling a secret that had been hidden under lock and key for so long seems better left that way, especially since secrets had the tendency to return the favor by locking the holder up.

    Closing weary eyes, the Minister opened his lips, ready to give an unsteady speech-

    “Mister, why don’t we move ourselves elsewhere?”

    With a confused blink, the gaped-mouth clergyman let out a soft sound in place of the words he had been about to speak. At the smile from the doctor, the Minister gave a gentle nod and returned a soft smile, his features relaxing. "Well, my, a walk sounds heavenly." With his attention focused upon the doctor and reaching a slow arm to grasp onto him for support, the wood-paneled walls slowly peeled away. As he gingerly rose to his feet, the mahogany desk melted to the floor, taking the office chair with it. Thick grass sprouted from the white carpet, raising to the middle of their calves in bushy patches.
    "Tell me, doctor, what are your feelings about nature? Do you gather anything from it?" Rough-barked trees replaced the hallway walls, with the small enclosed space that had once been there now giving birth to an endless expanse of tree trunks and darkness. Flickers of groups of fireflies sat like lanterns upon every few trees, and bright plants sprouted from their footfalls on the grass path beneath them.
    "I realize that it is a vague question indeed," the older man gave a weak spurt of laughter. "I'm suppose I'm wondering about what you feel when you're surrounded by it. Do you feel fear from how these tall trees can look down upon you, nearly as if you were insignificant? Or do you feel freedom, a true sense of belonging?"


    Long strides with thick hiking boots made it rather difficult to be stealthy and quiet in an office. Judith roamed around filing cabinets and oddly placed wooden chairs with the "musical chair maneuver," where she savored her time behind the large coverage of the metal cabinets, and was quick to pass the areas that would have her exposed. While she was looking for dirt, and filing cabinets may hold certain documents that really should be held under lock and key, dreams had a more complex thought process than that. More than likely, they were filled with nothing but fluff, a small segment of a visual paradox that merely filled the gap in a scene so it would make sense to the dreamer. Judith also did not have the time nor patience to meddle through perhaps thousands of papers and flukes. She needed something solid, something that shouted to her from the heavens. In the physical world, the secret (if physical as well) and evidence from it is hidden in an exact location with the intent of not being found. In the dreamer's mind, a place that they had always used to believe was the most private and secure place on earth, secrets could be found anywhere.
    Her pale eyes scanned the scene, and, pausing to listen for movement, continued to move into a small room with an open door, with papers strewn about as if a gale force wind swept it up and waltzed through the room. The sight peeked Judith's curiosity, finding it rather random and uncharacteristic from the rest of the then, as with the sporadic fashion of dreams, the room slowly melted away, but it brought trouble with it. A duet of voices appeared, sounding far away, but like a distorted audio clip, they suddenly sounded close, a few yards away. A frantic gaze flickered from one structure in the room to the next, her heart pounding. Thieves can't steal if they are found out. The "victim's" never left them have a second chance when they realize why she was there. Then, as a saving grace, a world of trees sprouted from the sudden darkness and grew around her like a protective nest, burrowing her from sight.

    "Tell me, doctor, what are your feelings about nature...."

    With closed eyes and quick breaths, Judith rested her body weight against the rough bark of the tree. She doubted there would be many times that she would be this lucky. If she crept around without knowing the whereabouts of the dreamer like she had been, there was a high probability that she would be found out. She shook her head at herself, mentally reprimanding herself for her careless mistakes as she slipped under a thick, low-hanging branch. She gazed both ways upon the path, though knew the direction the two had gone by the brightness of the natural lamps to the Waiting a few moments for them to nearly fade from audible distance, not wanting to venture in the dark forest without the dreamer to count on as a guide, she sighed and looked upon the sprouting flowers. They were so bright, full of almost any color of a flower imaginable. Yet, there was one distinct color, all gathered in an odd pattern at this one area. With a furrowed brow of confused curiosity, Judith took tentative steps around delicate flowers, walking alongside the string of golden marigolds. "Layla," the pattern seemed to say. That in itself, seemed to marked the beginnings of a secret.
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  9. He hummed at the question of the older man. “It all feels like an illusion to me,” he replied. Partly it was the truth, for they found themselves inside of a dream. Nothing was quite as it seemed. However, partly it was also how Caleb truly saw the world. One big illusion, with no borders between realism and dreams. His mentor had warned him of this effect, this mindset, for it was dangerous, but Caleb felt that it was his inevitable fate. The borders between reality and dreams were bound to be disturbed, when one decided to tamper with them.

    “What about you, sir?” he asked, curiously, but also dedicated to his job like he always was. There must be something deeper to it, right? How would an ‘ignorant’ person look against the world as they know it? How did they experience the world when thinking of it as their reality? How did he see the world before he had been dragged into this all?

    Eyes shot around to take in the surroundings. Marigold; passion, creativity… Caleb had studied up the symbols to get the most out of the dreams of his patients. He remembered that the flower could also mean frugality. It could mean all three of them, it could also mean one, or all. The doctor frowned a little, his eyes going back to the trees as he checked out their conditions.

    The trees stood close to each other, densely packing the forest. Their roots were exposed, the body covered, bare patches decorating it like scars, and the top throned high over them. He could see its leaves, noting how they were turning into colours of autumn, barely holding onto their branches. The sign of decay. Odd, for the weather was pleasant and the flowers suggested early spring, but Caleb knew better than trying to see sense in this ‘reality’. Somewhere a squirrel was climbing, hopping over from branch to branch. Accompanied with it the warning of an owl sounded in a distance.

    “My life isn’t exactly private,” the man sighed at him. Caleb knew what the minister meant. Nothing around this man was elusive, or kept a secret when shared to anyone else but himself. Everything had been thrown out on the streets to discover a fault within him. The pressure of the public. Despite the public knowledge of his life the doctor knew there was more to the minister. More than this past that anyone could find who dared to type his name in the searching engines of the internet. More than what the press had dug up on him. Perhaps even a silent cry for help, a feeling of suffocation for the very public role he played.

    “I’m always watched, sought after at,” he continued. Caleb stared at the roots of the trees with a pensive look, then at the trunk. For its size it had a surprisingly few roots to stand vast. Caleb wondered if such a small foundation would be able to carry such an ambitious crown. “Relied on, expected to…” the minister didn’t finish his sentence as he spoke, continuing with what was the sum of his role.

    “How exhausting,” Caleb hummed, hand placing over one of the wounds of the trunk, brushing past it lightly. A mistake, he knew now. A mistake from the past that left a deep impression on the client. The kind that chased and haunted him in his sleep, when he was having a moment of silence, whenever… The doctor cocked his head a little to the side, turning around to the other. The prominent figure of earlier had decayed, shrunken into something small and fragile.

    Sensitivity. Any other day the man would have described this as a weakness. However, with this figure of power in front of him. He wouldn’t dare, but it was also unbefitting to the man.

    Closing his eyes the doctor then exhaled, an image manifesting inside of his mind. Gold, yellow, the warming sun of spring… He imagined the voice of a young girl, then a name; Layla. Would she look like him, the minister? The doctor had no idea, he didn’t know the person, but he knew that the dreamer did and dreamers could only dream of people they know.

    “Let’s play hide and seek!” the next time Caleb opened his eyes again he had morphed. The world became bigger, the trees taller, his hands smaller. The man in front of him suddenly had grown younger as well, not to mention, happier. Was this what the world had done to him? The male didn’t think too much of it as he skipped around, the feeling of air between his legs, the swift brush of a skirt around his knees.

    The man agreed to the proposal, smiling a little as he knew what to do. As in routine he turned around, eyes covered by large and callous hands and started to count. Caleb let out of a giggle, to support his image a little and tiptoed away.

    Now he had the time to find that intruder.

    With no clue on what they looked like, no idea what their motive was, or how dangerous they were. Caleb would have to figure all that out while he was tracking them. All the doctor knew was that an intruder was rather easy to spot, for they didn't behave like any of the objects created by the consciousness of the dreamer. They were like him, an entity that was trying to blend in, but still screamed out 'alien'.
  10. A shimmering world of light, the warmth caressing and embracing his body. It was so easy to move, to run as the long grass tickled his legs as he rushed past it. He craned his neck to the side when an unfamiliar stranger, yet his best friend, shouted: “Let’s play hide and seek!”

    What an idea! The trees were perfect for it. He chuckled, twirling and said: "Fine, you better hide good though!" With one more spin trees came around him to block the sun and make it dark. "One...Two...Three...Four-"

    "Hey," a sweet voice called out.

    The young minister froze, his throat loosing function as the counting words strayed from his tongue. The warmth of that one word seemed to suck away the rays of the sun, leaving a chill to roll over his skin. His rough hands slowly drifted from his eyes, falling to his side. The protective wall of the trees slowly gave way to a bright sun. It was a bright light that quivered in front of him, yet despite its magnitude, no warmth caressed his skin as it had before. Then, the bright form morphed into a humanoid shape, one with a round face and golden curls that hugged it. Lips formed and curved into a crooked smile, and bright blue eyes seemed to laugh.

    "Layla," the minister sighed with relief. His age edged his voice, and his felt his muscles and joints become strained once more under his weight. "It's great to see you again...."

    The face just smiled back at him, but instead of coming towards him, it slowly moved back, becoming engulfed by the light once more.

    "Oh no, Marigold, don't leave...." A sadness, near grief, crumpled his brow. With a gate, he stumbled towards the light, feeling weaker and older than ever. He felt like he wouldn't make it, but he couldn't let her go again. Not this time. There, now crawling and grasping the rough and jagged grass, he could touch the light. Just there.... heat touched his face, his blood seeming to ignite. A sweet darkness greeted him.


    The bark felt rougher than what it should. It had the organic, bumped shape, a muddy grid of browns that marked trees, but it felt about as organic as a cyborg. Light blue eyes gazed upon the tree in speculation, though it wasn't the bark that really sparked Judith's attention. Of all of the trees she had run past, this one had a particularly large gash. It ripped across the thick trunk, leaving a gnarly incision half a foot deep. she ran her fingers across it, feeling its ridges, its valleys, but as her fingers touched it, she swore it seemed to shimmer. Tilting her head, she furrowed her brow, trying to make sense of an illusion. Normally she knew it to be a fruitless endeavor, yet, as she gazed upon the tree, she saw the shimmer of a face. The bark seeming to curve around it, marigolds growing, and bright eyes seeming to stare back at her. Startled, Judith took in a sharp breath, instinct making her take a step back. She gazed upon the tree in curious wonderment, but as the face grew a mouth that started to open, the tree melted away. Then, along with it, all of the other towering giants collapsed into te grounnd, breaking apart and smacking into the ground like hail. The now exposed sky was a deep red, and the ground beneath her began to quake.

    No.. She swore the dreamer was still in this same room, it can't be falling apart like this. Either it was a night terror, or something was going on physically with the subject. The wall of trees had broken down, and the world became a lad of vast plains, a landscape of s bloody sky, and the biological brown color of death. yet- Judith squinted, seeing a figure still standing tall, moving erratically. It wasn't a piece of the dream breaking apart like the landscape, but one dreamer wouldn't react so horrified or determined without an illusory stimulus that a night terror created. No, it was the doctor. Judith exhaled, a bit annoyed, figuring the man probably already knew something about her and her meddling. With problem seeming to tear down the whole dream, she didn't feel inclined to naively believe she'd get off "scott-free" with him either. Her eyes scanned around the area, but only saw a powdery substance that was all that remained, seeming like ash from the trees. Now it was the time to manipulate the environment and allow the chase to start. She bent down to her knees, rubbing away at the ground till the ash was brushed away, and all that remained was a dark hole. Instead of taking the apprehensive moment like she had hoped for, she merely acted. Slipping into the darkness, she fell into the unknown of a mind that was going haywire.
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