The dream worm

I had a strange dream last night. Or was it a dream? To call it merely a dream doesn’t account for the sneezing fit it brought on. Or the sneezing fit that brought it on. I am still not sure which is the case.

I saw, and I felt, a tiny wormlike creature fly quickly into my left nostril. It was as if I felt it, and at the same moment in my dream state I created a picture to understand what I felt. But I can’t really say whether my body simulated the experience of my dream or whether my dream accounted for my body’s experience.

A worm flew into my nostril. The flying worm was smaller than the tiniest centipede, the size of a nose hair (which is what I am telling myself this morning it was, a stray nose hair I inhaled).

As I imagined the worm making his way through my sinuses and to my brain I began to sneeze; or as I began to sneeze I imagined the worm making his way through my sinuses and into my brain. In any case, the sneezing fit became so violent that it woke me and got me out of bed, my body leading my spirit out of sleep and trying to purge itself of the dream worm.

I sneezed five, six, seven times. No sign of the worm.

Even this morning I worried that the dream worm is in fact a real worm. Having managed to survive the sneezing typhoon, the tiny creature has lodged itself in my brain, where it will do its work.

The worm has no grand strategy. He is there to do the work worms like him have done for ages, addling the brains of their hosts. He doesn’t do it overnight. And he does not do it alone.

The dream worm burrows deep inside the brain, tunneling his way through the delicate brain tissue, until he has lodged himself inside one of the nooks or cracks or crevices that you see in models and illustrations of the brain. He arrives at his niche fat and sated on tissue. Once situated, the worm enters a period of gestation, as if the brain were a giant soft cocoon, where a worm can wait. And, of course, turn — as worms will.

Being mortal the dream worm eventually will metamorphose: not into a butterfly but into a dream. And by the time this worm becomes the chrysalis of a dream my brain will be teeming with other worms, all waiting to be born into dreams. And by then, I sense, it will be too late for me.

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