Inescapable Hell

I’m stuck in a dream.
In a stupor so real, depicting actuality grows inconceivable. Smothered in the womb of darkness, my legs give out, plunging my body into an inky trench. Acid. Briskly leaping to my feet, I swipe at my searing flesh, the smell of decaying skin sending me into a frenzy. Harsh heaving follows, but the burning stops. Nervous to feel the damage done, my now trembling fingers inch towards my face only to discover nothing; no boils, no blisters, not a single cell out of place.The rest of my body replicate of my face, completely fine. I am relieved, but I remain very afraid.
Still unable to see the things around me, I warily trudge hopefully opposite the pond of acid I’ve already encountered. I need light. Within seconds of the thought, a flicker materializes in the distance ahead. Feeling despondent, I make my way, my eyes set on the goal afar; just get to the light.
As I walk, the ground beneath me sinks in, leaving prints. Black sand perhaps. I look to my left and then to my right, each direction carrying the same gloaming qualities. The flicker is closer now, the distance only minutes to closing. I make out the shape to find its a tree; a willow tree that’s been set ablaze. Seeing the image of such beauty being destroyed, isolated, surrounded by nothing but the eerie embrace of endless deep black walls leaves me feeling dejected. The branches are mostly ash statues now, the flame growing dimmer as each second passes. I become anxious knowing that my only source of illumination is fading and that soon, it will just be me and the darkness again. In a fleet of surrender, I fall to my knees, crying up towards the hell above me, repeatedly asking to be free. “Wake me up,” I shout, my voice spreading nowhere. I drop my head, accepting my fate and crawl next to the base of the tree. I lay back against its rough trunk, turning my head towards the flame which has sunk to the size of a lit match; ten seconds until its imminent demise.
I count down.
Ten. I inhale. Nine. I pull my outstretched legs towards me and cradle my knees in my arms. Eight. I exhale. Seven. I feel myself tear up, but refuse to let them fall. Six. I glance at the puny flame, jealous of its upcoming fearless exit . Five. I let my head fall into my lap. Four. I breathe. Three. I breathe. Two. I breathe. One.
I shut my eyes.


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