The ceiling above my bed slopes upwards too sharply. It creates long shadows throughout the room. The walls and their edges blur together until I can't see any corners. Staring straight upwards into the blackness gives me the sensation of being trapped in a broken elevator. I might go up. I might go down. The darkness slowly expands until it becomes as large as everything in the universe. I feel as small as an atom, or a fraction of an atom, surrounded by an infinity of nothing. I am going nowhere, I am doing nothing, in the outer space of my nightmare. I am trapped by my own inaction. I am trained by my dreams to feel claustrophobic in large spaces with high ceilings.
I can't remember whether or not I forgot to brush my teeth. My gums begin to swell. Bacteria crawl into the smallest, darkest spaces in my mouth. The swelling gums create a film of pink skin over the bottom of my teeth. Eventually my teeth and tongue are swimming in the flesh, my head is barely above the water, my teeth are barely above my gums. Finally, the two mobile parts of my jaw merge, pink gums forging with pink gums, and my mouth can no longer move. I peel back my lips to a wall of pink flesh. I can't speak. I can only breathe through swollen nostrils. My pallet reaches upwards so that air can no longer pass through my nose. I am trapped by a fear of my own words. I am trained by my dreams to regret what I say.
I am in the passenger seat of a car. A drive through the city night seems pleasant. The car passes through several stoplights without turning. Sometimes there will be a red light, and the car will come to a stop. I wait for the clicking sound of a turn signal. The light turns green and the car continues along the same straight road. My chest strains against my seatbelt. The cityscape deteriorates into smaller buildings and tufts of grass. The gasoline level ticks downwards. The road merges into single lanes on each side. I sit and I watch as the car drives me away from civilization and into the wilderness. There is not enough gasoline in the tank to bring me back to the city. The car keeps moving. I am trapped by a life that moves against my own will. I am trained by my dreams to follow the road to hopelessness.
I feel something slice through my thumb. A group of faceless men take turns cutting into the flesh of my knuckles. I try to grab the knife, but my hand is too hurt to be of any use. The men continue slicing. My arm jolts towards the men. I try to get the knife away using my wrist, my face, my hip, but it only results in more clean cuts through my skin and my flesh. Everything is blurred. I am numb to the sensation of physical pain. I am only desperate to make the torture of seeing my own body mutilated stop. I want them to stop using that knife to cut me. I am trapped by my own powerlessness. I am trained by my dreams to fear the parts of the world that I can't control.