This was written as a journal assignment for a class I took.
There is a dream that Hugo has been having off and on ever since he finished his bizarre machine. In it, he has full control over what he does. He is consciously aware that he is dreaming, and so his actions are not limited by his own mind.
The dream always takes place in the same world, a narrow and endlessly long hallway with a pair of doors every several hundred meters. Sometimes the doors are on opposite sides of the hallway, and sometimes they are on the same side, but there are always two of them. With every instance of the dream, the doors open to entirely different places. Some doors open to old or recent memories, but cannot be passed through. Other doors open up to what seems to be another section of the hallway, with more doors to choose from. There is no discernible pattern to where they lead, and it seems to be different every time. Hugo has tried countless things to escape the hallway and wake up from the dream, but nothing ever works. He usually ends up riding the dream out and exploring his memories until his body wakes itself up.
At times, Hugo can see a shapeless shadow wander from door to door. It pays no mind to Hugo’s presence, and sometimes even passes straight through him. It disappears into doors for a while, and will eventually come out and wander to a new one. All attempts to communicate with it are ignored. When Hugo tries to open a door it has just wandered into, the door is locked. It unlocks after the shadow leaves the door. When he is finally able to open the door again, nothing seems suspicious (or unusually suspicious, given the circumstances).
Hugo has tried to understand what these dreams mean, and why they happen. They only started occurring after his machine was finished. He always seems to wake up from them at strange times. One time he woke up sitting at a table with his head in a bowl of stew! It’s as if he suddenly passed out while going about his day-to-day activities. It only recently occurred to him that these dreams seem as though they represent what he does when he plays around with the existences produced by his machine.
Is it possible? Is this dream what happens to people who’s lifelines he tinkers with? Could someone else be toying with Hugo’s existence?