The boy is jolted out of his sleep. When he looks up, the light stings his eyes like pins to a cushion before drowning him in a blinding white. He squeezes his eyes shut. Although he feels the creases etched along his eyelids, there is no reprieve from the glaring light, for it does not come from without but from within his head. His instinct is to rub his eyes but his body is rigid as slate.
He appears to be stuck in a half wakened state, a kind of vision which he cannot escape. He feels helpless. He is afraid.
The light vanishes as he is thrust into a dream. He is rocking sideways in a powder blue room. A woman is humming in the background. Her voice has a soothing familiarity. She emerges into his view and the rocking stops. He first notices the blonde hair, which tumbles to partially obscure her face. She gracefully moves it to one shoulder, where it flows like silk and sheens when it catches the light coming through the window.
That is when he sees the familiar grey eyes; ice and steel on a field of snow. As she inches closer to him, he sees that she is a giant or he unusually diminutive. He smells vanilla and strawberries on her; a fragrance he just remembers he likes. She comes in closer until she kisses him on the right cheek. As her warm breath grazes his face all his fear melts away.
Although he doesn’t have a sense of déjà vu, he knows the truth of the matter. It is not a dream but a memory. A memory buried so deep that he no longer had jurisdiction to it. He is a baby in a crib and the woman is his mother.
Before he can make sense of the circumstances, he is sucked out of the memory as quickly as he had been hurled into it. Then he feels it; the entity guiding him. It is not as much inside him as it is intricately connected to him and indistinguishable from him. For the brief moment that it will show him the way, it will be a part of him – a part of his mind.
The light returns but this time he recognises that each pinprick is a memory. He is inundated by his childhood memories. They come one after the other in relentless succession. At first he doesn’t recognise any of them. But as they continue, they become more familiar, more recent. He also gains control of the rummage through his head. If his mind is a labyrinth, he becomes the intrepid explorer, with the entity slowly fading to a shimmer.
Time slows to a trickle as he darts through the eight years six months and twenty three days of his life. When it all ends, he has relived his entire life in a matter of hours. Far from exhausting, the experience is elucidative. A muddled mind is unravelled; that which was obscured, exposed. He has been given unbridled access to his mental faculties. He was intellectually gifted before but he knows that when he wakes he’ll be the smarter for it.
When he feels himself ready to wake, the entity holds him back and plunges him into another vision. It is not a memory this time. It is a world where fire rains from the heavens and the starlight is ominous. A world where space and time are distorted. A world where everything dies. The future. A warning.