In his dream, Sydney watched himself dream.
The dream of the orchard where he lay was clear and intense. The trees were inviting, one in particular seemed to positively glow. On that tree, one apple was glowing. After considering it for five minutes, he picked it, took two bites, and fell into a deep sleep.
He dreamed a dream of dreaming.
He dreamed he was standing in a magical orchard, holding a glowing axe. The head seemed eager for him to walk amongst the trees, and pulled him towards a particularly old tree that glowed faintly like all the rest of the trees. Except for a single limb that was black at its tip, with some sort of creeping sickness working its way up the branch toward the trunk. He understood that chopping off the dying branch to save the healthy tree was necessary.
He swung the axe with all his strength, removing a small chip from the bark at the base of the branch. The blackness moved a little closer. He swung again, the black moved again. He settled into a rhythm, taking chips out of the branch on both sides and from below with each blow. Finally after he had weakened it enough, he began to cut into the top side of the branch. It began to feel like it was going to be a close thing. Could he sever the branch before the black reached where he was cutting?
A final blow brought the now nearly completely blackened branch down.
He knew it needed to be burned to prevent the infection from spreading to the other trees. He also knew he shouldn’t handle the blackened areas himself, and that cutting into the black area with the axe might spread contaminated chips and make containment even more difficult. He surveyed the area and spotted a fire pit nearby with a fire set and ready to light. He lit it with a thought and gesture, and let the blaze become established as he worked out how to drag the branch to the fire without touching the black areas.
Finally, he fed the blackened branch into the fire.
As it burned, the flames changed colors wildly. He could almost see the disease burning up, and fighting for its survival the whole time.
Watching the flames was somewhat hypnotic, and he drifted off into a trance.
He dreamed a dream of dreaming a dream.
He was dressed in typical business day casual, and sitting in a large office, at the desk. In the distance, an old fashioned crank wound gramophone was sitting, and playing The Liberty Bell in vibrant but scratchy tones.
The music was soothing, and soon he drifted off into a nap.
He dreamed a dream of dreaming of dreaming of dreaming….
Sydney is caught in a different and more insidious loop.
Will he escape?
Will he be sane?
Is he actually dreaming the whole thing from an old warehouse in LA?
He has no idea.