I'm at work.
I'm not in my cubicle in the library or anything resembling the university where I work in real life. This place looks something like a hotel complex.
But it's not like a traditional building.
The walls, windows and floor have the contours of nature, almost as if this were a natural space. There are trees, foliage and grass, but spots might be filled in with an odd-shaped window or there might be a light fixture protruding from a boulder.
I am in a room that resembles the layout of a bar. I sit at the bar working on some paperwork.
My old friend from grade school, Scott, is sitting next to me.
We talk about old times. He's working for the university now.
Scott is now blind. He tells me a story about how he saw someone murdered at the university by a gunman on a bicycle. He describes the man - overweight, shaved head, acting somewhat retarded, riding a teenager's bicycle.
For some reason that isn't quite clear, Scott tells me that he felt a pain in his eyes and he hasn't been able to see since then. I feel sad for him.
Scott changes the subject, talking about a project we are working on.
The room was already crowded when I first found myself sitting at the bar. Now, it seems stifling - people keep coming into the room. They are everywhere.
There are more and more people trying to sit at the bar. Some people in the room sit in chairs with notepads in their lap; others stand, holding computers and talking on cell phones.
The cacophony and press of the people feels overwhelming.
I have to get out.
I push my way through the crowd, trying to move towards an exit.
Soon, I find myself in a corridor and another area that resembles a conference room, full of people. Then, I am in something like a large cafeteria, again, completely filled with people.
I look out a large window in the moss-covered rock walls. I long for the open space outside.
As I look, I notice that we were moving. The ocean surrounds us and there's a landmass in the distance.
As I listen to snatches of conversation, I begin to understand that my workplace is a kind of floating island - it must be five miles long. All of us have been placed on this "ship" to work for a period of a few months as the "ship" makes it's voyage.
I finally make my way towards a door and open it. The door closes behind me.
I am outside - it is steamy hot, the kind of humid tropical weather so typical of the South in late Summer. I smell the ocean. It is finally quiet; the only sound are the waves lapping against the side of the vessel.
I am on a path that leads to a tall building, just up the hill. I feel I need a walk and some time to think, so I start walking and follow the path.
Eventually, I come to the building and go inside.
It is the hospital side of the campus. There are large, roomy hallways and rooms. I walk and walk, not seeing any people in the building. It seems deserted. There are no windows in any of the rooms.
I think I should get back to work. I make a turn and find myself at two large double doors. Through windows in the door, I see the path that brought me to the building. But, outside, it is night - the sun was gone and there are two moons hanging high in the sky. It is snowing and some of the snow has drifted in the path.
I try opening the door, but it is locked.
"You shouldn't go out there, you know."
It hear a voice behind me.
I turn and see a woman, dressed in a nurse's uniform.
"This planet doesn't work like yours," she says.
There is a small compartment next to the door; the nurse opens it and takes out a space suit. She offers it to me.
"You'll need this," she says.
I take the space suit and look down at it, confused. I look up and the nurse is gone.
I put on the space suit, struggling to make it fit over my clothing and carefully placing the helmet on my head.
The helmet locks in place and some lights on the helmet and suit come on. I can hear the suit steadily pumping oxygen to me.
With the suit fully on, I try the door again and it opens.
I slowly and carefully walk outside.
It is difficult to walk - the gravity has changed and I have to struggle to take steps. If I move too quickly, I begin to float.
The wind blows hard and snow comes from somewhere. There are no clouds in the sky and I can clearly see the stars and the two moons.
Finally, I come to the building that I started from. I open two metal doors, step in and they close behind me.
I am in a tiny room, almost like a decompression chamber.
I take off the space suit and move forward through another set of doors.
I am back in the room that looks like a bar. It is still packed with people, but the room is dark and quiet - everyone is asleep on the floor, in chairs, or leaning over on the bar.
I quietly walk around the room, looking at the people and trying to understand.
Then, I see it - through the window.
There is a man with a shaved head, wearing a short sleeved t-shirt with large red and white stripes. He looks to be about forty. He acts as if he were retarded in some way. He is riding a teenager's "banana seat" bicycle on a path outside the window.
It is the murderer that Scott had seen.
I duck down, peeking out at him from the corner of the window.
He stops, looks in the window, and takes a rifle out of a pouch hanging from the handlebars of his bike.
He aims and shoots, breaking a hole in the thick glass of the window, the cold air rushs in. I turn and see a man that was sleeping at the bar; he has been shot and is dead. No one in the room moves or wakes up.
The man on the bicycle presses another button near the trigger of the rifle and a bright red light comes from the barrel of the gun - it is some kind of high-powered red laser.
On the moss covered rock wall, he slowly etches a message, letter by letter.
It reads "RED RUM".
He puts away the rifle and peddles away.
Then I woke up.
Update, 7/30/2007: I told this dream to a friend last night who noted that it mixes up themes and images from three different Stanley Kubrick movies - "2001", "Clockwork Orange" and "The Shining". I hadn't noticed that...