The 9th day had come none too quickly. Since mentally investing she just wanted to be immersed in it, not just going on day to day living while the dream chronicler did its thing while she slept. As she sat in the backseat of the cab, she reassessed the old brick building, battling feelings as though this may be the worst thing she could ever possibly choose in this life. Death is at stake and she would simply disappear. No explanation to family, children or friends. “All or nothing,” she whispered as her fingers pulled the door open.

“While I extract the Chronicler then view and put together your personalized program, you will be sleeping but in a dream free zone as you will need optimal rest before going inside.”

Ruth shook her head as though it all made perfect sense. “And how long until I’m entering The Cervix?”

Embryo smiled and clasped his hands together. “You remembered! Not long, my love. A few days at best. Then straight in.”

“And $5000 if I fail. $20000 if I come back out alive?”

“Yes my love.” Embryo assisted Ruth to lay down as he opened the syringe to put her to sleep. Much had to be done.

Ruth grabbed his wrist. “Wait. How do I know the difference between dream and reality?”

Embryo inserted the needle and slowly pressed down. “Everything is now dream but you are alive. Reality begins again the next time you see this room. You will be floating beside it.”

Two days later

Ruth is naked, lying in a float tank. Her eyes are open yet she is deeply asleep. A headset adorns her face. A crown of wires is attached to her skull, connected to a wall and behind the wall is Embryo, also crowned but fully focused on his headset monitor.

Inside Ruth’s head, there were no days transpiring, not even minutes. Immediately after she was put to sleep, she found herself awake inside a very familiar basement.

Day 1 inside The Womb

“Oh shit!” Ruth tried to cover her mouth. Icy terror decended upon and throughout her very soul. She was standing in a dark, windowless, musty basement and her heart was beating out of her chest. Looking closer at the walls there were hunting trophies. Heads of deer and other dead game. Also amidst these animal heads were small human skulls, though all babies.

“No, no, no, this can’t be happening.” She recoiled in fear, her hands over her ears as she sank to the floor. When she spoke she could hear and then she realized she could playback her own thoughts, like a reminder that she was in her head and nothing else was real.

She managed to pull herself up and slowly crept toward the door of the next room, turning the knob as though her life depended on it, and it did. A loud stomping was heard upstairs combined with guttural growls and high pitched laugh that made Ruths blood run cold. It appeared that no one was in the next room and as she tried to collect her wits the lights came on a the door to upstairs flung open.

Ruth tried to move but looked down to see her feet in shackles. The pounding of heavy feet on the stairs provided her blood with enough extra white cells to stop her heart. The growls of animals seemed to surround her; scratching, barking, gnawing. Another set of feet hit the stairs too, both accelerating faster to the ground level where Ruth would be seen easily for she couldn’t move and at this point barely breathe.

She whispered barely audibly, “This is just a dream. This is just a dream”…..

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