You stand before an adamant door, your feet secure on thin steps of stone, and in the way of the dream the structure around the door is shrouded in shadow that may be only behind your eyes. Your skin and the clothing you wear--you have just come, from school from work from life--seems cooler than the temperature surrounding, and it is at the door at which the shrouding shadow brushes away.
It raises above you just tall enough to be strange and low enough yet to be personal, and it is of black smooth stone. Reflections caught from an unseen sun make marble of the agate. There are furrows down from the top and across from the side, sloped-walled channels in the shape of a cross. It smells like a rainstorm in the air, like Everest struck by lightning. There is something of the wonder of a child about you, the effect looking upon it has, and your mind is clean and open.
The door swings upon silent hinges. You step inside. The temperature nears your own, and you continue on into shadow that does not obscure your sight. The door swings in an arc of shaved rock, but you step up onto this lip and beyond it is a hallway of lacquered flagstone, perspective making its ending a curl of fog. The walls of this wide way are unclear, obvious yet as foglike as the walls outside, and the roof can not be seen but for buttresses curving from the unseen walls to height-distorted ceiling. You think your thoughts. You walk on.
Your footsteps echo, and you look around as if to follow where those echoes have gone. You breathe evenly, because your breathing and your footsteps are the only sounds eluding the ringing in your ears, and they slowly synchronize.
There is a stairway to the left. It is thin with shallow steps, and ascends evenly before subtly curving to the left and disappearing above itself, and it is made of stone like but not like the material of the house and floor. Where the flagstones are black the stair is silvery white like the inside of a flash of lightning, and where the cracks between the flagstones are gritty and brown the stair is a fluorescent shine, blue-green-white-depth. There are no supports below the horizontals and verticals of the steps, none that you can see.
You turn and ascend, and after the curve the walls grow close and not so foggy. They are wood, you can see the slats like in a basement or attic--coincidence, the impartiality of elevation?--and your steps no longer echo. It could be they are pulled up by the closeness of the walls.
You reach the top. Think your thoughts, and then they are swamped by visual. There is an enormous place up there, a cavernous open vista of a room, the smoke here slinking along the ceiling a red-brown or blue color, almost obscuring wide rust-red arc supports to the invisible roof. The floor is red-dark yellow wood, and there are four pools or cavities with barriers little more than a foot high ringing their four sides. On closer inspection, these open onto the swirling fog of the lower floor. There is a man sitting at the edge of one of these, sideways to you with his wrinkled hands bracing against the concrete texture and his head turned back, looking into the open square; his hair is long, thick and white, his skin old and middling dark. He is wearing brown pants, a white old-cut shirt and a brown driving cap. You approach slowly, silent because the world is silent, and he looks at you with blue eyes from a thickly defined face.
"Do you know why you're here?"
You speak immediate truth. "No."
"Because the author dictates it so." He smiles.
You blankly wonder.
"She likes analogies." He gestures around. "This is fiction. For a minute or moment or lifetime, she has you trapped."
You do not understand. You say, "Go on."
Or the equivalent something inside you mumbles.
"That's about it." He says.
"What! Am I dreaming? What is this place?"
He smiles serenely, slowly. "You are yourself. You are an instrument of the Plot, its avatar and creator. You are a writer, of course, and this is your continuum."
"I never dreamed up anything like this."
Another slow, truthful smile. "Well, you have now."
"This isn't mine." You say.
"In a way, it could be. Can you Write, can you feel the Plot?"
You think about it, feeling as if you should know what these obviously capitalized words mean.
The man stands, synchronizing this with a fist against the hard railing. His anger looks righteous. "You are a writer. Have you never crept into the space between the words, felt the fog waiting to be shaped, known what was happening and realized that you had never imagined any of it at all but that that is what imagination is?"
You think, you fidget, you say, "Maybe." You think about all the things you've written and never shown anyone, and all the things that people have seen but not known enough.
He smiles again. "Good. See how description opens the mind?" Then he turns, and from out of nowhere or behind him he wraps a thick brown cloak around his body and walks away.
You sit on the ledge he left, prepare to think, and look down the hole into the level below, which promptly blows your musing away.
Colors swirl out of gray in a twister-sea through which words climb, words in a black, spiking, beautiful language you can't read. And there within this torrent, like a television screen set an inch below the highest surface of the fog, your own familiar stories wait, playing out from the moment your last word was set down. Characters you know intimately and yet must and do seek out with senses you aren't sure you have move through worlds crisp and clear now. The dark one schemes, the girl shows her emotion in her tears, something like a sword is drawn on someone that mustn't be killed, you never would have made that his fate...but yet it is. And you know it. Your characters lead you on.
I like analogies.
Your worlds await.