Bijili by Sharath Komarraju is a short story set in Palem, India and the second story to be featured by this author in the Lair this month. Bijili begins with a suicide note and the narrator contemplating memories of his life. The subtle reference to the story Rescue drew me closer to Mahender and his conflicting emotions, only to be utterly horrified at the details of his life. The supernatural element left me with so many questions.
One of my biggest fears is that one day I will start seeing things and not realize I am seeing things. This presents a huge problem in the case of a horror scenario. What if I find myself in a surreal situation and I don't react because I think I've lost my mind? What if I do react and it turns out I was delusional and did great harm to myself and others?
I've dealt with a similar issue when it comes to dreaming and waking. I have vivid and extremely detailed dreams, which can make a false awakening a nightmare in itself. I've read about a couple of reality checks someone can perform to find out if they are awake or dreaming. One test is simply to smell something. The human brain can be fooled into hearing, seeing, feeling and tasting things, but supposedly the brain can't perceive a scent that isn't there. However, I've also read a small percentage of people do dream about scents.
The other test is to read something in the dream. Again, I've been informed it's next to impossible to read words because the attempt causes a dreamer to wake up. I've found this to be true with one exception: I once read the word "cow" in a dream. Unfortunately, I became so excited at having been able to read my first dream word, I woke up right after.
Of course, being able to tell dreaming and waking states apart might not help with seeing things while you're awake, which brings us back to square one...