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Lost- Raphael Kariuki

You may or may not be familiar with the phenomenon known as lucid dreaming.  Google it if you aren’t, it’s pretty interesting. There are different ways of achieving lucid dreaming, according to different schools of thought and practice. I am not familiar with any of them beyond casual reading, though I clearly remember an out-of-body once as a child, obviously without any knowledge or training or whatever back then.

Some people manage though, they somehow get it, and their dreams are usually different experiences altogether fromwhat  you and I are used to. I think it depends on how intent you are on being able to, how much it matters to you to explore that side of the moon. There must be plenty of wherewithal and discipline involved, in addition to curiosity. But different people do it for different reasons.

Foebe had just turned 36 when she finally made it. It happened after a month of trying different ways, seriously this time, though she had been interested in these things in an amateur, dabbling kind of way since her twenties.

It was the third sleepless night in a row and she was tired and deprived enough, as required. It was quiet and calm, around 11pm, the room was dark and peaceful and she lay under the warm duvet on her back, perfectly still, arms straight by her side, eyes closed, she resembled a body lying in state, awake.

For over half an hour she resisted urges to turn, scratch an itch, shift a limb, even yawn. And she managed to not sleep the whole time, which took all the strength she could muster. Still, it was a bit of a surprise when she noticed the weird shadows on the ceiling. The light felt wrong. And she thought she had closed the curtains. She hadn’t. The foliage of the tree outside her third floor apartment made a fuzzy pattern that shifted eerily in the slight breeze outside, playing with the silver light of a full moon that seemed kind of harsh as she gazed at it from the ledge of her window, where she was perched like a gargoyle surveying the night.

She leapt off and as she floated down, wondering where on the road below to land, she decided it was better to fly. On her way up she wondered where she would go and decided to explore the town centre, which was near. She was soon flying over the empty, dead market square, looking down, wondering where all the pigeons and doves sleep and being bothered by a moth she had seen that somehow felt too big. Or had it been a bat?

She was not enjoying the flying. There was something.

She had not expected it to be fun in a walk-in-the-park way, but she starts to realize she had not prepared herself, had not had an idea of what to expect, no reference point for the experience. It was disorienting.

The town looks closer to normal now that she is walking, but she knows this is not the town. This is somewhere else. It is only two minutes to the bookshop at the end of the street that leads directly back to her suburb and she decides to walk back home, get over with it. It does not occur to her that she is in her undies, out in the streets, unaccompanied. That is not what is making her afraid.

Was that a person crossing the road behind her? She is afraid to turn and look because she has a feeling she will not want to see who or what it is, but she turns anyway. Nobody, nothing, just cold cars, silent houses, silent street lights, silver streaks of moonlight on the walls, a leaf falls off a nearby tree and lands gently on the asphalt. She does not know how long she has been standing on that spot taking in the scene, could be a second or a full minute. She turns back, this time she knows what she wants. Just get home, sleep. A few meters later, this cat emerges from behind a dust bin about a block down and grows big. It is walking towards her and now it is nearly the size of a dog. She arrests her terror, an instinct tells her that to give in to fear, here, would be a very bad thing. And somehow the cat feels friendly. They make eye contact, but she wants nothing to do with it and wants to hurry past but her feet are stuck on the concrete, can’t move a limb, and the cat is now at her waist. The cat’s eyes are dark and smoky, they have no sparkle or shine, they feel dark grey and far away, but not hostile.

“We’ve been waiting for you,” it says in her mind.

In the corridor at her place, walking towards the bedroom, Foebe tries to remember the colour of the cat. She is also trying to understand what on earth it meant.

She is relieved to be back home and can’t wait to get back to bed. She opens her bedroom door and stops. Because there on her bed, smoking a cigarette, is Foebe, who says to her, “No, you can’t come back.”

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