The Keys to Lucidity

Page

Foreword

This story is about my first lucid dream & is the first piece of fiction I’ve written since high school (5-6 years ago). It’s going to be interesting to see what I remember from English back then.

I think I was about 20 years old when I had this, back in my first year of Polytech (2011). There are some areas of this I had to make up since I only wrote a simple form of the dream in my journal at the time & I don’t have eidetic memory. This features a real person who, for the sake of anonymity, I’ll simply call “R”, although it’s pretty easy to guess who it is if you know me in person (he doesn’t like this dream because of what he tried to do towards the end). Here we go…

The Story

I enter the supermarket. Huh, I haven’t been here in ages.

The store doesn’t seem very busy. Ahead is the main aisle running the full length of the store, dividing the checkouts on the left from the aisles to the right. To my immediate left is what I suspect to be the items on value, & opposite is the dairy & frozen foods area with bakery on the far side. I can only see a few dull faced customers around, shopping carts more empty than full. The lino floor is a pristine white with scattered black splotches; the ceiling lights reflect off the surface. About a metre in front of me is a small piece of paper. Wait a minute.

I pick up the piece of paper. On one side it looks like a receipt. On the reverse side it is carpeted in gold circuitry with several small cubic buttons embedded amongst it, like those you would find on a calculator. Wow, does this belong to one of the staff members?

It only takes a second for me to spot a nearby young employee working on one of the shelves.
“Excuse me. I found this thing on the floor,” holding up the receipt.
He turns to me. “Hmm? Oh right.”
He takes the receipt out of my hand, unzips his fanny pack, & pulls out a dollar note. “Here you go.”
I take the note. $100! For some fancy receipt! Puzzled, I thank him & walk away, I dare not argue with the guy.

I smile to myself, staring at my reward. Sweet! I wonder if there are any other lost pieces of electronic paper technology to find.


I begin a systematic search of the store, eyes glued to the floor. Around the corner of the first aisle I find a small piece of paper. Ha! I pick it up. Damn, just an ordinary receipt. A couple more steps forward & I find another piece of paper. Receipt again. Several more strides & another receipt. I start jogging. I look up & face-plant a support column.

Game over. Restart?


I enter the supermarket. Did I die just then? I better be more careful of where I’m going. Now, where was I?

I go to the second aisle down. This aisle’s busier than the previous one. I walk on down, examining the floor but keeping an eye on where I’m going. I can’t see anything on the floor in here. I continue onto the third aisle. Same result, nothing. Could they be somewhere else? Perhaps off the floor?

I raise my eyes to the towering shelves, fully stocked with pre-packaged meals, sauces, & other crap. Right at the top of a shelf of tin cans I think I see something small protruding out. By the time I stand before it I discern what’s poking out – the corner of a receipt. I can’t see anything special about it but it’s worth checking out.

The top is too high for me to reach from down here. The shelf is at least twice my height & I doubt I can reach it by jumping. I flick my eyes side to side before I grasp the highest shelf I can handle & start to climb.

I pause when I think I hear the shelf creak. Can this thing hold my weight? I look back up to the paper corner poking out above me. I just need to climb a few shelves higher & I can reach it with my fingers. I step up, one, two, three, & reach up. C’mon. I brush the corner of the receipt with my finger. C’mon.

I then feel myself start tilting backwards. I let go & slam back-first onto the ground. Oddly I don’t feel much of an impact, perhaps because I’m watching a fully stocked shelf lean closer to greet me. I try to shield myself as the sharp edges of tin cans barrage me.

Game over. Restart?


I enter the supermarket. I sigh to myself. Well that was a stupid idea. Lesson learned, stay on the ground.

I resume my search towards the middle aisles. Search one aisle, nothing. Next aisle, I start to frown. Third aisle, damn it! Am I just wasting my time now? Fourth aisle &… wait. That isn’t paper.

I pick up the small object. It’s a small dark green card of circuitry. Was this part of a receipt like the one before? Maybe not, the previous one had gold circuitry so this might be for something else. I spot another object a couple metres in front of me. I pick it up. It’s a microchip. I then see a breadcrumb trail of electronic pieces leading around to the next aisle. I raise an eyebrow & follow the trail, picking up each piece as I go.

The trail continues all the way through the fifth aisle & around the corner. It stops at the end of the sixth aisle. By then my hands are full of small circuit boards, chips & RAM cards. I scan the immediate area for a computer or hand-held scanner, anything that could potentially use these things. Except for the light fixtures above, I don’t see any electronics, & I doubt light bulbs leak microchips. I look back to my collection of hardware pieces. None of them appear to be broken or snapped. Perhaps I can still get something for these.

I find a shelver in the next aisle.
“Hey, do I get anything for finding these?” I hand him my findings.
He gives them a dull look, “Hmm… nope.”

Game over. Restart?


I enter the supermarket. What! Why am I…? This is starting to get really annoying. What aisle did I get up to? Ugh, fuck it; I’m starting at the far end.

The aisle ahead, the most direct route to the far side, happens to be crowded this time. I could probably go around the long way, but I just want to get this over & done with. I power walk onward, slipping through gaps within the traffic of loaded carts & customers. I dodge speeding trolleys & nudge past idle shoppers. How do you get anywhere in this congestion? A solid force collides with me.

Game over. Restart?


I enter the supermarket. What the hell did I hit this time! For fu-, “R? What are you doing here?”
He shrugs his shoulders, “I thought I’d tag along.”
I give him a puzzled stare before asking, “Have you seen any electronic pieces of paper lying around?”
He reflects my previous reaction. “No I haven’t.”
“Hmm, okay. Could you help me find something like that? One of the staff members gave me $100 for one.”
His eyebrows rise. “$100!”
“Yeah.”
“Shit! How does that work out?”
I shrug, “I don’t know. One of the shelvers just gave me money for one; I didn’t ask him about it. You want to help me out?”
“Yeah man! Let’s crunk.”


While R remained near the entrance, I start heading to the far side. The aisle ahead is emptier than before so hopefully nothing should block me this time.

Along the way I spot something on the floor & pick it up. It’s an mp3 player, earphones plugged in but no music playing. I press a button on the top edge & the small screen lights up blue with a list of songs in black low res pixels. It still works but I don’t think the staff will give me anything for something this outdated. I pocket the mp3 player & move on.

I finally reach the far side, the produce area. It’s just like with the receipts & circuitry, I take a couple steps forward & find an mp3 player, some more steps, find another one, several more steps &… keys?

I pick up the full set of keys, not as heavy as I expected. How many keys are attached to this thing? Twenty? Thirty? Somehow the key ring had enough space for a yellow round fob with black text on it, fashioned like a logo or something.

I spot R approaching me. “Did you find anything?” I ask.
“Only thing I found were these iPods”, a bunch of them in his hand.
“Yeah, same here”, I said without enthusiasm.
“I don’t think we’re going to find anything else dude. Do you think it’s time to give up & try our luck with these?”
I breathe in slowly for a moment. I somehow get the feeling they’ll reject them, just like with the hardware I found earlier. I don’t think there’s much more of the store to search.
At last I sigh, “Yeah I guess.” No point in staying around here.


“Aw really, we don’t get anything for these!”
“Nope. Sorry” said the girl at the checkout, lacking in sincerity.
“But, surely we must get something for these,” motioning towards all the mp3 players we found strewn across the checkout counter “We checked all over the store. We…”

I barely pay attention to R’s attempts to bargain with the checkout; I honestly don’t care anymore. Instead I watch the bustle of shoppers going about their business on my left, beyond the checkouts. I look to my right, beyond the wall of glass panels, & watch the cars drive past. The store is located beside a set of busy double lane roads stretching from the suburbs to the city centre, an ideal location. Beyond the traffic, on the other side of the road, is a mixture of old brick houses & small time businesses. I gaze above them towards the endless blue sky, devoid of any discernible clouds. I wish I was out there instead of being stuck in here.

I then get this weird feeling, like there’s something unnatural about this place. My gaze returns to earth. The cars driving past seem normal & there’s nothing odd about the businesses beyond. I look back to the store. Shoppers went about their day, some with shopping carts, some with baskets, all with groceries; all of them appear to be normal. R walked back beside me. He exhaled in defeat; nothing odd about him. Everything looks normal but the feeling persists. What the hell is going on? Is this real?

I then recall the keys I found earlier. I reach into my pockets; I grab hold of something & pull it out. It’s an mp3 player. I give R a quizzical look, “didn’t I find a set of keys in here?”
I look back to my hand & instead I’m holding the set of keys. What?! Are these the same keys? It looks the same, key ring jam-packed with keys & a brown square fob amongst them… Wait! Before it was circular & yellow! This fob’s different!

I look back up & the world slows down. Everything seems to become more colourful & yet more silent. I almost stop breathing as the weird feeling inside me increases. The feeling becomes an epiphany.

I grab R by the shoulders, eyes wide. “Are you real? Is this a dream?!”
He responds, “If this is a dream then do you really think R would be here?” Holy shit.

His fist thrusts downward. I jump back, dodging a punch to the balls. As I touched ground, the world became a dark blue void. R disappears before my eyes but I can still sense the presence of this dick-ish projection. Crap! What do I do? I then recall something. If this is a dream I can control what happens. I look down, perform a quick gesture, & will for a magic barrier to appear over my crotch.

I dart my eyes around the void. Where is he? Thunk! Something kicks my crotch barrier.
“Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!” I get the impression he’s hoping on one foot.

The void darkens & I wake up.

Afterword

… yeah, my first lucid act in a dream was to summon a magic crotch barrier. I don’t know how I should feel about that 😐 . A sudden end, I know, but that’s typically the nature of lucid dreams when you first have them.

Anyway, I recall feeling really glad that I achieved lucidity in my dreams for the first time. Sure, I felt annoyed that I woke about ten seconds later but still I’d proved to myself that it was possible to lucid dream to some degree.

I’d like to hear some criticisms on the story & writing. I prefer honesty over lies designed to make me feel better. Regardless, thank you for taking the time to read this.

Farewell.

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