He had left them all, one day, for his dreams. More precisely; he had woken in a dream, and decided to stay. He had heard them, occasionally, as he lay there. Their frustrated – and later frantic – attempts to wake him, the doctor’s visits, the tests, the physicians puzzling as they insisted that there was simply nothing wrong with him. He hadn’t cared about any of it. Then there had been that one, terrifying day where they had injected him with something, something that made his heart race and melted the walls of his dreamscape – he had had to hang on with his fingertips, clawing, tearing at the fabric of unreality, feeling the waking world pulling at him as he screamed. He had heard himself outside, screaming, he heard their horror. They had never tried that again.
He had lived in the most amazing dream for so long, his days spent with the greatest minds in history, his nights with the greatest bodies. He had come to so many great understandings in his dream – pure, unassailable knowledge that just clicked neatly into place with the world. He knew that this was perfection, such as it could be. But one day, he knew that he knew all that he ever would, and he knew that now he had to share it. He bid fond farewell to his companions, to the amazing dreamscape he loved so much. And after one long, lingering kiss with a woman too perfect for reality, he let it all fade away.
He woke into the harsh sterility of a hospital. The glaring fluorescent lights a brutal contrast to that last rose-pink sunset he had left behind. But around his bed, friends, family – so tired, but waiting patiently for him, they had not yet noticed his return.
“I had the most amazing dream…” he started. They looked up in unison, startled. “There was…” he faltered, he frowned.
“There was… something… about a sunset?”