There used to be a way back. There used to be some way out for her. Sometimes it was a struggle to break free and escape, but up until now, there had always been a way out.
Now, though, Sondra could not find the key that would unlock the door and let her out of this place. She turned and looked back, watching the landscape change behind her. Until she arrived back at the door, it had been a soft green valley. Slow undulating green hills sloping down towards a gently meandering stream.
Then she’d arrived at the door, standing alone on the crest of one of those hills. She’d walked up to it, as it was the only feature in the otherwise bare landscape. Apart from a smudge of woodland she could see on the far horizon.
It was only when she’d arrived at the door that the walls had grown out from it, spreading left and right for as far as Sondra could see. Then the green grass under her bare feet had changed to cold, dusty flagstones. As she stepped back in confusion, Sondra saw the sky disappear, replaced by a low, thick beamed ceiling.
Sondra knew that the door was the way out of here, back to her waking life.
There had been an increasing number of doors in her dreams of late. At first, she’d thought this was just another one.
A few months before there had been doorways, or archways, she had to pass through to leave her dreams as the alarm on her phone dragged her into the new day.
Then there had been doors. Open ones at first, but then increasingly closed ones.
Yesterday, her dream had another closed door, but she’d managed to force her way through it and out of her sleep into the world of the bleating alarm.
She’d sat there on the edge of the bed for a while as her eyes slowly worked their way open. Then she’d searched around her familiar bedroom as though that was the alien dream landscape. All of the rest of yesterday, she’d felt as though she was apart from the world, feeling like a visitor, an alien. It seemed almost as if she’d already said goodbye to the waking world.
Sondra turned back to see that the wide-open valley landscape had turned itself into a dungeon. The cell was small, dark and cold. She shivered, wishing for once that she didn’t sleep naked. The stone was cold to the touch and the room… the dungeon… smelt old, musty and damp.
Sondra wrapped her arms around her and shivered, wondering if she would ever wake up in her own world again.