You escape that hideous reality you have become so entrenched in by running from it in a dream, coming to what would probably be a gate or fence, only the structure is covered in ivy. Only light your mind strangely transposes from memory into this subconscious realm cascades onto what you see, but your elusive sense of touch falls on these things equally. The ivy looks tasty, but you're not hungry--you salivate only because the vegetation is so alluring.
Searching for an entrance, you stumble upon a manhole, which seems to be the only thing around without some sort of mystery defining it. You're suspicious.
Either way, you would love to reach whatever it is that you're trying to reach, and as dreams, unless lucid to their fullest extent, are only products of psychological fate, you lift the metal cover up, expecting it to be heavy, and fly back because of its strange lightness. It escapes your grip and glides with grace like a frisbee until it slices through the ivy you first met, chopping it all to pieces. Revealing a door.
You knock. Once, twice, three times. No answer. You know someone will come though, since it is somehow impossible for you to turn around and leave this place. You stand observing the details of the door and the ivy and the open hole to your left, and your mind becomes almost unaware of your very existence, when a voice bellows, "Password."
You belch out a timid squeek, which apparently grants you access to whatever is behind this vast wall of ivy. The door opens slowly and smoothly. No one stands behind it.
Following a trail of dirt the color of the moon, you survey this vast scape in front of you. An enormous estate lies some 500 paces ahead, and before it there is a garden of overwhelming and delicious flowers. Though there is no wind that you can feel, some force pushes the garden as a collective toward you, pleading silently for you to come toward it.
You finally reach the garden after feeling like you have just woken up within this dream within this dream, and some tall, stalky plants split as if gesturing for you to walk into the garden in between them. You do so, knowing you will experience something beautiful.
Falling like a dead stone, you can't remember how the ground gave way, but you're in absolute darkness. Fear wraps around you, and what you knew feels as if it were a childish fantasy. You wish to be anywhere else, you feel your real body sweating, your figment self trying to push the weight of a million tons of dirt from your suffocating body. But there is no pain; all the torment is self induced. You learn to accept all of this, and just when you do...
"There you are!" cries a voice marking eccentricity and consistent happiness. You're standing in the center of a great hall--the inside of that great, gothic structure you could sense from far away.
You ask where you are but the voice laughs in mocking. It asks you where it is, which makes you laugh, somehow.
The voice is the same that asked for a password, earlier, you notice, but there is still no body attached to it. You can't even tell whether it is the voice of a man or woman.
"Answers are wishwash, but I'll see what I can do for you, anyway," the voice says. "Follow me." An antique lamp shaped like an hourglass wearing a great pyramid as a hat produces legs, arms, and humanoid features. It jumps from a mahogany table onto the blood-red colored carpeted floor and waves for you to come.
Up the stairs you and the lamp go. It jokes about light and shade, making riddles you know you've heard somewhere, and finally you enter the Heart of this place.
"Here you are. The Heart of Max's Mansion of Moods. Max was a highly not-influencial pioneer of doing nothing that important, during the Last Days," proclaims the little lamp.
"The Last Days? Max? What are you talking about?"
"The Last Days on the planet your mind came from. Silly that you humans always assumed there would be some after"life" and not an after"dream". The beings who're dreaming you right now miscalculated one of their comets and instead of shooting one at a planet they were attacking, they shot it at your planet, destroying the whole thing. Your people knew the comet was coming for some time--the War of the Dreamers went on long before your people came to be, by the way--but, of course, couldn't do anything. But anyway, here is the center of all the madness, or whatever you might call this strange place.
From here, you can enter any one of these 4 doors, and from there, you can come back here. This is a product of Max's mind, a person who you don't know, but who had a psychic connection to you which you, nor I, nor the Dreamers, understand. This guy was apparently very moody, but also kind of interesting. These 4 doors emcompass all that he was about.
The first door, here, with the word, "Wonder" is one of my favorites. It can take you through all kinds of ideas that you might or might not have thought about. It contains all eastern, western, and other philosophy that had existed before the comit hit. Whether or not this guy knew all of this stuff is irrelevant; since he wished to, and had an interest means that all of it is contained behind this door. There are some other goodies behind it, too."
You scratch your head, confused. Will you ever wake up?
"Door 2 is labelled "Issues". It's an acquired taste. It documents all the emotional troubles Max ever went through, which are all kind of petty, but if you're feeling down or compassionate, reading through some of these papers will make you long for a friend. Well, that's how I get when I look at them all.
Door 3 is labelled "Shadowmarch". I've never actually gone through that one, myself, because I've heard that lamps aren't allowed. Kind of a cliquish place, according to those who've ventured there and have actually wished to come back."
"Hey, I think I've heard of that one," you say, but the lamp isn't listening.
"The last door, well, look at it. Notice how there are interchangeable, endless symbols, mixing, matching, transforming? This one changes everytime you walk through it. Sometimes you can walk through that door and end up swimming at the bottom of the sea, other times you can be in the bleachers at a Junior-High soccer game. My last journey through that one cost me a few watts...
There there you have it. You can't really leave, though you think you can, and when you think you've gone, you won't know you haven't, but hey! that's the fun of this place. Nothing seems to make perfect sense!"
As soon as the lamp person finishes his sentence, it starts disappearing before your eyes. You can feel its essence leave the room, and yours take over. These doors are the only things worth distinguishing in this room, and... somehow, the stairs that brought you here are no longer behind you. You decide to choose...