I have had this recurring dream that I am locked up in a prison/mental institution, circa the early 20th century. Conditions are horrible. Everyone around me plots their escape constantly, while the medical staff, and guards do nothing but work to ensure no one escapes. No help. No actual counseling or treatments. Just watching over everyone constantly.
As a secured facility, the institution is deeply flawed. Patients (or prisoners) have unfettered access to corridors, stairwells, and a large industrial receiving area where they reclaim scrap metal, or so it would seem, from disposed industrial machines. Steam powered locomotives dock in open bays where scrap is brought in, and beyond the bays, a rail yard with open spaces, fields, and scrapped vehicles invites dreamers that plot their escape with a temptation only discouraged by the armed guards, and railway workers who are always looking out for escapees.
Within the confines of the institution, large windows in the main common area look out toward other buildings, or other sections on the same building. A glass foyer type entrance way, which was a former gate to the outside world, has been built in, and blocked off, but still used to allow people from the secured outside world into the common room. It has an open ceiling, and sits directly below the only window which can be opened to let in fresh air. All other windows are bolted shut, and secured with out-of-time magnetic alarm triggers.
I spent some time here with another inmate; both of us seeking freedom. We discussed the easiest ways. We climbed the walls of the glass entryway to reach the window, and theorized, with a rope, we might be able to get a hold of the adjacent building, and swing out of the open window. We explored the rail yard beyond the receiving area, carefully avoiding any workers, or guards. We felt the sunlight, and smelled the grass, and knew we could make this work if we could only stay hidden until out of the range of the busy work area. We ran around the interior corridors, up and down stairwells, and found a parking garage, and an elevator, but they only lead to emptiness, darkness, empty rooms, empty spaces, and no hope.
We returned to the common room to discuss our options. I was confident I could make the dangerous leap to the other building from a closer, secured window if we could figure out how to open it without tripping the alarm. We decided to wander back to the receiving area. I became fascinated with the locomotive sitting in the dimly lit bay. I sneaked into the foreman's office to get the schedule of when trains arrive, and depart. I told my friend to go hide by the bay door. I would create a diversion, and then he could make a break for it. I clanged around in some old machines on the floor, and noticed the floor in this area was coated in old, black grease. I decided this was good knowledge, and I played dumb when the guards arrived, but I gave my friend the time her needed to run.
My friend didn't return. It never even seemed like they knew he was gone. I waited days. When no word was heard about his escape, I decided to quietly make my own move. I stole belts from one of the larger men in the lock-up, and made my way back to the train bays. I quietly coated myself in the black grease for camouflage, and then slipped under one of the locomotive tenders. I climbed up into the under-carriage, used the belts to strap myself in, and then waited for the train to depart....
I've been in this institution before. I recognized it. I'm not sure if it was a recurring dream, a distant, artifact memory from another lifetime, or just something my mind is tricking me into seeing as repetition on the spot. Brains are funny things like that. Who can say? What is real in my brain, is just as real as the reality I live in, when it comes down to it. And to use my brain to figure out what my brain is doing... now, isn't that the conundrum?