I taste purple
Char breathed hard as he ran through the jungle. Leaves slapped against his face. Twisted vines snatched at his feet. Behind him, an indistinct black shape chased through the trees. There was fur and tentacles and fangs. He yelped and ran harder.
Suddenly, he realized he wasn’t moving. Below him was quicksand. He was sinking.
Whoa, slow down, he thought. This is a dream.
Master Joseph had taught him to control his dreams. The first trick was to realize it was a dream. That was sometimes hard to do. In this moment, it made perfect sense that an indistinct black thing was chasing him. He questioned his thoughts. Why exactly was it chasing him? For that matter, what was it?
He searched his recent memories. How had he gotten here? What had happened before the jungle? There was nothing. That was the second clue that you were in a dream—you had no memory of getting where you were.
Once you had determined you were in a dream, you had power over that dream. Char spun to face the creature. It was a swirling mass of people from his past.
He concentrated on the faces. The black shape froze in place and started to dissolve.
The next step was speaking commands in to the scene.
Wake up, Char.
The voice in his head was jarring. It was a voice above his own voice. It was the voice of his logic. It was the voice of his waking self. It was how to rise out of a dream.
Instead of using his will to bend the dream, he was using his will to leave the dream. His real lungs filled with real air. He gasped.
Char sat bolt upright and opened his eyes. Around him, the cave was dark. There was a dim light. He found himself looking at the expectant face of a man he did not recognize. Was he in danger?