The lady at the front desk was on a fully-fledged mission to hunt. By that I mean, it was made fairly obvious she had further business with me by sprinting full-throttle in my direction. Without any warning, she pressed something cold against my palm. What now existed on my hand was a silver tag with H418 engraved on it.
LFD: Excuse me! My apologies, I had forgotten to hand you your verification tag.
H418: What’s H418?
LFD: In our database, you are known as Patient H418. All patients are referred to by a number based on your registration. Think nothing of it and focus on enjoying your time here. Oh, before you run off, remember to fill out a DOP form before every session, and hand them to the specialist overseeing your appointed slot. That will be all, thank you for your time.
After pinning the tag on my shirt, I walked towards a wall lined with plastic folders. The sign above the folders read “DOP forms here” in big, bold letters. You had to be blind to miss it. I figured grabbing quite a few now would save me time in the future.
After some time had passed, I finally finished filling out the form. As if on cue, a man in an extremely long beige coat appeared from the door in front of the room. He took a quick glance around the room each time he would look down at his clipboard. We met eyes, and he immediately rushed over. Silently, he scanned me from top to bottom, successfully making me uncomfortable as he flipped through a couple papers and scribbled something down.
SC: Apologies, my last session ran overtime. Are you Patient H418?
Pointing to the tag on my shirt, I answered,
H418: That is I. Also just to let you know, I’ve already filled out my DOP form.
SC: Wonderful! Pardon the sudden intrusion, but I am Specialist Connor.
Gesturing at his coat, my eyes followed the coat’s seams, and was drawn to a gold tag with the imprinting of RK400.
SC: Curious? All specialists in the facility also wear tags, for patients to feel more relaxed around us. To be on the safe side, we took certain precautions to ensure our services were given with the utmost delicate care. We wouldn’t want our clients feeling like we just slapped a label on their heads like prisoners as they begin their first sessions.
Hearing that, any existing nerves I had loosened, and any suspicions I may have had about the place disappeared. This place seemed secure, and safe, for the most part.
SC: Anyways, let’s not dally too long. Please follow me to our assigned area.
We walked for a good five minutes until we reached a set of gray doors. Connor pulled back to the side and motioned for me to enter. Four other beings, besides Connor and I, were in the circle I signed up for. Walking to the nearest empty seat, I caught a glimpse of some of their tags. P705 and L618.
SC: I apologize for keeping everyone waiting. I’m running a bit behind schedule but we may begin. Is there anyone compelled to share what’s on their mind?
H418: I’ve always wanted to get this off my conscience, but I couldn’t wrap my head around this dream I had recently.
The first thing I remember was a burning tree. Although the tree was on fire, the tree remained intact. I wasn’t sure if the fact that it was raining affected it, but logically thinking I doubt it. Adding to the abnormal tree burning, there were hooded figures chanting as they encircled the tree as it burned. Mad cult vibes.
If it wasn’t obvious, that was pretty unsettling to see. I felt this weight in my stomach and my heart quickened, a few signs signaling I was frightened. I wasn’t sure how, but I transitioned onto riding on a train. It was completely pitch black outside. Somehow, I came to the conclusion we were in an underground tunnel in the night hours.
Despite not having stations underground, the train kept stopping randomly and opened the doors to darkness. The people on the train carried on as usual, yet no one seemed to suspect the oddity of the situation. No one went in or out of the train. I didn’t know what this had to do with it, but the movie Train to Busan flashed in my mind, and I became fearful I’d see zombies start climbing up on the train each time the door opened.
Fortunately, our time in the tunnels didn’t go on for too long. We finally came out of the tunnel and were greeted by the morning sun’s rays. For a while, it was just a peaceful train ride. Peering out of the train, I studied the two sets of worn down wooden train tracks ahead. They were built atop red gravel with a grayish tint. If you looked at the window across from where I sat, there was a stone wall with houses lining the top. A few vines and plants grew along the wall and in between cracks.
Feeling adventurous, I decided to walk towards the back entrance of the train. Almost instantly, the door slid open and I was thrown off the train. You can imagine falling out of a train traveling more than a hundred miles per hour was not good for my health. Even though it was a dream, I felt that landing pierce through my soul. The train getting farther and farther didn’t help calm my inner monologue of panic.
This would’ve been pointless if this happened in reality, but I started chasing after the train. Through some messed up and inaccurate dream logic, I caught up with the train. But something– no, someone else caught up with me. Three men were running along the wall behind me!
Two of the men began to slow down, leaving the other still in pursuit. Without realizing, the man ran past me and was yelling in fury for the train to stop and let him in. Sudden friction from the wheels had rubbed against the tracks and produced a deafening screech. The train had stopped. I remember feeling relieved seeing the train within a short run away.
I attempted to make my way back onto the train but my efforts were halted by the mysterious man. He had begun yelling at the driver for taking too long to let him in. To my alarm, the man shouted, “Your delayed reaction of stopping this train has now cost the life of this child!”
Sensing my life was in danger, I bolted through the door towards the train car my family was on. Seeing my distress, my dad suggested we get off the train but for some odd reason, I insisted we stay.
Strangely, it was revealed to me the man that threatened to kill me was named Charles. He appeared in the train car we were in and started comparing computer parts and medical instruments.
It was obvious he had a screw loose when he voiced his curiosity on whether the train operator could run the train while under medical operation. I summoned all the courage within me and had begun to push Charles away from the driver. All I had hoped for the remaining duration of this trip was the passengers’ ability to keep a hold on him. What I didn’t count on happening was the train operator feeling challenged to a point where he allowed Charles to operate on him. He threw what was apparently called an ESP medical tool in my direction, and instructed me to hand it to Charles.
Debating on whether I should doom the entire train, or simply have the operator’s ego deflated, Charles was freed and grabbed the ESP from my hands and started operating.
H418: I’m not entirely sure why I felt the need to get this dream checked out, but I just wanted to know what it could possibly mean. I mean, telling the dream made me sound insane.
SC: Which is exactly why you are here. Why everyone gathered here has brought a story to tell. We’re here to help you and rest assured, we’re doing everything in our power to do so.
H418’s Letter of Analysis
Dear Patient in question,
We have been a respected institute for many generations, and take pride in the trust patients throughout the beams of time have given us. Here at Dream Counsel, we firmly believe in the accuracy of our examinations and our success in identifying the needs of our clients. Based on years of tailored research and your refined tellings, we’ve come to a conclusive interpretation of your dream.
There were some symbols I detected while listening to your recollections, the burning tree, for instance. Based on the DOP form, I take it you are a follower of religion. The burning tree phenomenon sounded strikingly similar to the story of Abraham and his son Isaac in the Bible. The burning tree and the burning bush were both unharmed by the flames. In the story, Abraham was tested on his loyalty. Loyalty could be a virtue your mind unconsciously believes to be important to your life.
Dreams often are triggered by thoughts you might have before going to sleep or events that are especially memorable to you. Often times, fragments of your dream mirror the past, present, and possible future memories. This is in no way suggesting you’re some kind of seer or psychic, but simply notes the peculiar ways the brain works.
The event where you had found yourself on a train in the dark was your brain processing moments you may have had while you were awake. Prior to sleeping, you mentioned on the DOP form you had watched a couple horror movies, the film you referred to as Train to Busan.
Dreams could also insinuate fears you may not even know you have. When you had seen the train leaving you, you chased after it. You were afraid of being left behind. Whether it’s in loneliness, or in fear of being chased on the street and killed because you were an easy target, your brain seems wired to think of the worst-case scenarios. The train operator being operated on while controlling a means of travel could also be a worst-case scenario your brain has come up with. In light of these findings, I suggest getting a brain scan. There may be a chance your brain is unbalanced in certain levels of thinking, and a brain scan would guarantee the state of your mind. Luckily for you, this is one of the many services we offer. You may schedule a scan on the second floor.
I hope that by the time this letter has been read through, you have begun to perceive your own interpretations by taking account of our analysis as well. By understanding these dreams, we hope you could better uncover your thoughts, feelings, wishes, and fears.
Praying for the best,
Specialist Connor of The Dream Counsel