As you sit under the old maple tree, book in hand, nature envelopes you. It submerges you in its deep green palette, leaving you at peace. This peace of mind is not an easy reward to attain; people spend their entire lives and cannot grasp it, and somehow, you’ve managed to find it in only half a century. 

But with your peace, comes something unfamiliar. Do you hear it? There is nothing, not a sound. Such great quietness that the world around you seems to have gone silent.  The insects do not buzz or skittle, while only moments ago they screamed around you like children. The birds do not chirp and sing to you their beautiful songs. The grass does not whoosh and the trees do not creek as they had for years. The sound of the wind vanishes, and it seems as if the river ceases to flow. It’s crushing isn’t it? This silence. Silence like this can drive a person mad, but you enjoy it, don’t you? After years of listening to the world, ears perked to the noise, you don’t want to hear it anymore. It’s your choice, and I’m only here to watch. 

The horizon grows darker. What was the deep green colour of nature is turning black. The darkness begins to engulf everything around you. First the river which sits at the edge of your reality, then the branches of the trees which reach to the heavens. It slithers across the flowers and the animals, and finally, it devours you. A pitch-black world, frightening isn’t it? But you aren’t scared, are you? The things that can be seen in the light are far more terrifying than any darkness. The burnt corpses of thousands of bewildered people who never expected death; babies riddled with holes, barely a carcass left for the beasts; and the cold, dead eyes of people who you called your brothers. Compared to that, what is a man cloaked in black. You aren’t going to escape the darkness, I know you aren’t. If you tried, you would lose the very thing that you spent decades to achieve, peace of mind. Are you willing to give it up? Are you even able to walk away?

Finally, the wind vanishes. It’s probably still there, but how could you know? You are unable to see it blow the on the grass underneath you and the branches above, you fail to hear it, and now, you cannot feel it brushing against your face. The land upon which you sit has disappeared. It almost feels as if your falling into an endless abyss. The book that you were holding is also gone. I wonder if it’s still in your hand? Or perhaps it fell? You can’t even feel your clothes anymore, it’s as if your naked.  In the darkness, do you feel the cold, like a hand grabbing at your foot.

The universe about you is gone. Not a sound to be heard, not a sight to be seen, and not a thing to be felt. What separates a world like this from that of a dream? Nothing. In a world such as this, life and death dance together, hope and despair have no reason to quarrel, dream and reality are one and the same. But will you try to leave this place? Call for help? Cry as a child for its mother? Or, do you stay here, with your peace? It seems that the choice isn’t in your hands anymore. Those at the bedside have decided.

You begin to notice the sound of machines beeping. A bright light blinds you like the darkness did, you feel the warmth of a hand which wasn’t there before. There are some people in the room, some you recognize, some you do not. There are men clad in white watching you, frozen, tearing you down and building you up with their eyes. Can you see it? The exhaustion, the fear, and the relief in the eyes of everyone in the room. But there’s someone else in the room, isn’t there? A monster that reaps. But is something like that truly here? Is it a part of your reality? Or, is it a part of your dream? The line has been blurred, and one day, you will cross. Unfortunately, until our time is up, the same question must be asked every passing moment. Is this reality? Is it a dream? Or is this the world where both are one and the same?