"Are you listening?" said the elderly man in a bright red rain poncho.
"No." I said. Instead I stared around at my surroundings. I was standing on a grassy sunlit shore overlooking a perfectly calm lake. It was sunset and everything was cast in a warm glow.
The guy who was trying to converse with me had graying hair and a bristly beard. There was something wrong about him though, as if I was looking at him through half closed eyes.
Then it hit me, this was a dream. Remembering a trick for proving this, I looked down at my watch. Normally I do not have one at all, but since I wished it that way, there it was.
It did feel like it was there, it weighed down my arm and swear I could feel the warm plastic. What gave it away was its display; the numbers on it shifted erratically and changed colors.
This and the poncho wearing man were more than enough to let the dream break hold.
Armed with the knowledge that I was indeed dreaming and had conscious thought, I set about to control the dream. My first goal was to replace the creepy guy with someone else, anyone else.
To do this, I willed the dream to change.
At first nothing happened. Well, I guessed that was to be expected. In the corner of my eye, though, something moved. It was the man in the poncho and he was walking towards the lake.
At this point I noticed much more about him then before. I could see his wrinkles and watery blue eyes, where before I only got an impression of what was there.
What also struck me was his resigned look as he walked right into the azure lake even a ripple.
Before I could say anything, the man's balding head passed beneath the surface of the water, leaving behind not even a ripple. I stood there stunned.
Dream or no dream, I felt as if I had done something horribly wrong.
Moments passed, and not even a breath of wind was to be heard. Abruptly, the silence was shattered by the sudden arrival of a crowd of people behind me.
At the sound I spun around to face them, whereupon I was addressed by the leader of the group, a girl.
In a cool and level voice she said, "Why are you wearing a poncho?" I looked down and stared at the thick, bright red, plastic poncho.
Feeling quite a bit foolish, I said, "I do not know." I paused for a second then said "Maybe it was raining earlier." The speaker remained silent.
She instead looked up at me through eyes of a startlingly dark shade of brown. Under her penetrating stare, I quickly shifted my gaze and looked over the motley group.
Unlike either me or the now absent man, she and the rest of the group wore normal clothing. No ponchos.
I felt very out of place. I quickly altered my poncho to a normal shirt with a brief concentration of thought.
The girl looked at this transformation impassively, and then said, "You have too much power.
" She paused for a second, then pointed with her left hand over my right shoulder, "You must press the dream reset button.
" Where she pointed, delved into the landscape, was a splotchy white nothingness. I slowly walked over to the void, to behold it.
At the center of the distortion was the button. In truth it was shaped more like a bomb detonator than anything else. It was a silvery foot long shaft with a ruby red pulsating button.
I had never had anything like this happen before; well this whole dream was wholly new; but it made me curious.
I quickly glanced over at the group to see that the majority of them shifted impatiently; waiting for me to press the button.
The girl however looked simply bored, and was fiddling with the ends of her short brown hair. I looked back to the button, where it continued to glow ominously.
After a few moments of indecision, I gently lifted it up, and pressed it.
The reaction was immediate; the world around the group and I faded to white. Slowly the world rewrote itself, defining the space with seemingly random memories and sensations.
With the completion of this, I found myself and most of the group in a white room. The floor and walls felt as if they were made of an inflatable fun house.
Everywhere shown touch sensitive games and puzzles. I attempted to play with them but gave up. My companions were at even more of a loss.
They were huddled around what appeared to be an instruction manual. With nothing else to do I walked out of the room. The outside was quite a change from the interior.
In the light of a single naked bulb was lit a damp and grimy stone corridor. There I found the brown eyed girl, and someone else playing gloomily with a dilapidated pinball like game.
At the sound of my approach, the dark eyes turned to face me. She moved as if to speak... but I awoke, the sound of my alarm wrung softly in my ears.