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LJ Idol - Week [26] - Happy Talk

Jailee stood with Conroy by her side, in a room with no apparent exit. The room was shaped like a sphere, solid white and was illuminated by a bright floating bulb that resembled a bubble, about four feet above her 188 centimeter frame. When Jailee looked at the sphere, it dimmed to a luminescence that permitted her eye to view it without the retina being harmed. If she stared at it, she could make the room go almost pitch dark.

She couldn’t see him, but she knew that Lou, the odd, cowboy oceanographer/explorer she met as she was rushing to save Conroy from a booby trap was running this experiment and the elements involved. Jailee looked down and smiled at Conroy, placing her hand on the top of his smooth head. He tilted his face upward and brushed his bristles across her palm. Still, she felt it was odd that Conroy hadn’t said a word. Not like him.


Suddenly a shock of icy cold salt water raced into the room! Jailee squealed in agony as the water went from her ankles to mid calf in just a few seconds. Meanwhile, Conroy flopped his flippers and bounced around, like a big baby beluga on a bayshore, hoping it would fill up enough for him to start paddling, quickly.

That’s when Jailee realized: this was a dream. And that’s when Jailee remembered: dreams do not exist.

Not quite.

The State had simply created an additional level of protection, a way of screening people from dreaming, or preventing people from remembering their dreams. First there were people who reported never remembering dreams. They were the easiest to handle as nearly nothing had to be done.

Next were the people who sometimes would remember elements of dreams: impressions, places, images, and faces. Typically, The State could implant an innocuous chip that would play a series of musical notes in succession or have their viewfinder screen stick so that a certain word or phrase would repeat over and over just as the person was waking and realized what was going on. The repetition usually would be enough to knock any realization of what they experienced out of their heads.

Jailee marked down that she was unable to dream. She had taken a mix of powders in a drink she downed a few hours before she went to the Building of Science to be tested. She slept like a stone and had no Rapid Eye Movement during her session at all. But, Jailee was, in fact, what they used to call a “lucid dreamer.” She is a person that can not only tell what is a dream while she is in it, but she can control the dream by making active choices and exploring the landscape of the dream, effectively being in charge of it.

Lucid Dreamers were very rare for a long time, then a generation of Dreamers (“g.o.D.”) were born, and nine out of every ten births was a child that had this ability, naturally. As The State investigated the phenomenon, it seemed that more and more of the children from that group were meeting bad fates, suffering shocking and high profile accidental deaths that were consistently publicized everywhere. Soon, all discussion of the topic of lucid dreaming had ended, and the apparent disasters also faded away to small family’s tragic and unmentioned misfortunes.

Jailee lifted herself out of the swirling ocean water and toward the glow of the floating lamp above her. She touched the orb. It was smooth and warm, not hot as she first thought…

“Ow!” Jailee felt the tip of her index finger and realized that thinking about how hot she thought the bulb was made the bulb hot.

Thinking coolly all the while, Jailee grabbed the floating lamp and threw it down into the surging waters beneath her! Instantly, the resulting splash caused all the water to rush up the walls of the sphere room in a gush, the walls of the room came down as the water touched them, the water landed like rain on the floor and Jailee landed on the globe, her bare feet rolling it around the lab like an oversized dolphin spinning the world by tail swimming vertically in the warmth of the North Pole.

Jailee saw several cameras had photographed what had just occurred.

“Hey. I didn’t agree to any of this,” she shouted at the Observation Room, hopping down from her lightbulb perch.

“Yes you did.” Lou calmly stated over the loudspeaker. She still couldn’t see him.

“Why would I agree to you making a recorded document of me, dreaming?” Jailee screamed, “If anyone official ever saw it...”

Lou threw open the Observation Room doors and rushed down to her.

“So, that’s it?” Jailee eyed him sadly. “Now you have something to take to the authorities.”

“I have hope of taking it somewhere, but The State would be the last place I would take anything like this!”

“Why should I believe you?”

“You’ve trusted me so far.”

But that was just it. Jailee didn’t trust him at all. He was the only option in a dire circumstance that ended wrong anyway: an opportunist that had some equipment, a stoic expression and some seemingly well-intentioned words and phrases that all fell short.

“Look,” Lou shrugged as Jailee seemed ready to pincer off one of his appendages, “I’ll share something with you that would be deadly for me. Then we’ll be even. Would you feel better about that?

Jailee had a clouded and hurt expression.

“I mean, really, if The State came in here and saw any of this, they would arrest us both!” Lou nodded. “I’m running this lab!”

“Tell me something PERSONAL!” Jailee grabbed his throat, the rage of everything she had been feeling going into the squeeze: the accidental death of her parents, the loss of her one true friend and now the revealing of her greatest secret.

“Tell me!” Jailee wailed horribly as Lou burbled and tried to just breathe, saliva foaming from the corners of his mouth.

Suddenly, the lights in the Lab came up to full brightness and a bell chimed.

“What was that?” Jailee asked, dropping Lou and looking around.

Lou collapsed, wheezing, coughing and moaning on the floor, stroking the front of his neck with the palm of his right hand. He lifted his chin and moved his head left and right, making sure that the equipment still worked.

Finally, he looked at Jailee in the eye, and groaned: “Conroy’s ready.”

//

This story was written for LJ Idol using the prompt “Crabs in a Barrel.”

Also, note: this is Jailee’s fifth LJ Idol appearance. Her previous four appearances were in

Week [3]
Week [15]
Week [16]
and Week [23]

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
halfshellvenus
Oct. 28th, 2014 11:25 pm (UTC)
Conroy flopped his flippers and bounced around
I did not see that coming!

But finding out that it was a dream made sense. Now I wonder about the meaning of it, since both Conroy and Lou appeared in it.

I would hate not to be able to dream, and I wonder whether we might go crazy without that capability-- unless it's the sleep and not the dreaming that really matters. OTOH, all of our cats have clearly dreamed at one time or another, so it seems they need it too!
penpusher
Nov. 4th, 2014 05:28 am (UTC)
I like the concept of exploring dreams because no one is really sure what dreams are all about. Is it a release? Is it a foretelling? Can dreams warn us about things, give us ideas? Really they're all that and probably a lot more!

Dreams are important, but not remembering dreams is also something I find fascinating. And why does the subconscious block us from remembering parts of our dreams? What's so dangerous that we can't know what we just experienced?

It's a vast, deep and fascinating area I've been looking to explore! Thanks for your thoughts here, and for your always wonderful and useful comments.
i_17bingo
Oct. 30th, 2014 08:19 am (UTC)
Finally, he looked at Jailee in the eye, and groaned: “Conroy’s ready.”

Th bell-ringing that came with this gave me the image of Lou in an apron, removing a slightly steaming Conroy from a toaster oven and blowing on him.

I really want to know Lou's deal. It just doesn't seem to make any sense, like, at all. And that's what's scary about it.

Edited at 2014-10-30 08:20 am (UTC)
penpusher
Nov. 4th, 2014 05:30 am (UTC)
Lou is quite something. It's difficult to know what his motivations are based solely on what you see him doing, which is why it's so hard to understand him, which is why he's a pretty fascinating fellow.

He's starting to talk a bit more, so we might learn some more interesting tid bits about him if he speaks up!

Thanks for these thoughts!
witches
Oct. 30th, 2014 03:03 pm (UTC)
This was so well-written and interesting!
penpusher
Nov. 4th, 2014 05:31 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading. It's been a fascinating journey that I had no idea I would be going on, as LJ Idol began!
rayaso
Oct. 30th, 2014 04:58 pm (UTC)
This is such a rich dystopic world, and so well written! I enjoyed it all the way through.
penpusher
Nov. 4th, 2014 01:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for this. It's really encouraging for me to continue this story, no matter what happens in LJ Idol.
crisp_sobriety
Oct. 31st, 2014 12:02 am (UTC)
Very well-written!

Also, heh, I'm a lucid dreamer IRL, so this was very interesting to read from that perspective. :)
penpusher
Nov. 4th, 2014 01:28 pm (UTC)
That's fantastic. I've had some modest success with lucid dreaming and I'm sure that just regular dreaming has a meaning, an importance for all of us to help our minds somehow.

Maybe cell phone towers are disrupting - or cell phones themselves have an impact.... but I'm just wildly theorizing. Still, it seems that anger and hate are rising for no apparent reason. What if the destruction of dreams really impacts behavior? This is what I'm starting to explore with this part of the story, though cell phones aren't a part of this society...

Thanks for your thoughts and for reading and commenting!
alycewilson
Oct. 31st, 2014 01:00 am (UTC)
Nice portrayal of lucid dreaming. I have some experience in the subject myself.
penpusher
Nov. 4th, 2014 02:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much. I have played around with lucid dreaming and find it fascinating. Dreaming has to be an important part of life, but what is it and how does having and remembering dreams change who we are? Even pets dream! Maybe every living thing dreams?

I think that dreams disrupted have a negative impact which then gets expressed in negative ways, so we probably should be more careful about that! And thanks for getting me to think about this a little bit more!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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