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Chapter 1 Becoming aware in a dream

My firstexperiences with this phenomenon occurred, when I was still a child. Even then,I had a clear recollection of my dreams, and I still can recall many of thedreams of my early childhood in detail. I can also remember my first timeviewing a dream from an unexpected angle. I had this dream when I was elevenyears old. On a clear summer day, my school friend and I were returning from asuburban dacha to my home. In life, this path takes about an hour, but in thedream, all space has been condensed multiple times, and the whole journey wouldtake no more than five minutes.

For example, on a dacha street, there would in reality be twenty-fivehouses. In the dream, however, I saw no more than ten, a large forest nearbylooked more like a small forest belt along the road and so on. Despite this, itwas easy for me to believe in this clearly absurd reality. Just continuing tofollow the route, discussing something with my friend, I had no cause toquestion my environment.

When we were already halfway there, I noticed a railway to our left, which caught my eye due to an incongruous detail. In my recollection, the view of the railway had always been obscured by a row of garages built alongside it, but in the dream there was a field of dandelions in their place. It's possible the dream recreated this view from an album of old family photos or a, well, incredibly early memory, not even accessible to my conscious mind.

After walking for some time on the road in my dream, my brain suddenly woke up independent of the rest of my body. I could physically feel the convolutions in my brain tense from the effort with which it was laboring. In the dream, I began lagging behind my friend a little. And then, looking at myself and my hands, I realized that all of it was fake! This was not reality, and the person who had been walking beside me was not my friend, at all. Looking closer, he barely resembled a real person. The figure was shapeless with easily deformable limbs. It seemed to sense what was happening to me and stopped about five meters from me, silently observing my reaction. I was not scared, but I was confused. Looking around, I noticed that I could see no further than a hundred meters from the place where I was standing. Beyond the familiar street, only a vague emptiness was visible. Even the road on which we had walked only a minute ago had vanished from existence. As the small scale of this world dawned on me, as sense of dread overcame me. It reminded me of the sets of old movies. From the camera's point of view, everything looks real, but if you look behind, you will only see that the houses are only flat facades. It was the same way in the dream. As if I had stopped following the script of the film, and had become aware of something I shouldn't have seen.

The figure, my former friend, was still looking at me with curiosity. After a moment, my consciousness drifted and I arrived in a completely different dream. Now, there was nothing bothering me anymore. Had something been the matter?

I recall clearly what a strong impression this dream left on me. The uniqueness of my experience was clear to me, but at the time I only considered it an accident. It did not even seem noteworthy enough for me to tell anyone about it. Just imagine, it's only a dream, but in a dream, anything is possible.

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