Stone of Dreams
Type: Original Stories
Everyone is given a Stone of Dreams when they reach seven years of age. Your Stone of Dreams allows you to record your dreams and view them whenever you want, but you can never experience dreams while you are asleep. But maybe it is not entirely your dreams that you see.
"Take care of this, Liam. This will be the most important thing you ever own." A mother handed her son a smooth, round stone. The top of the stone was flat, polished and shiny. It seemed as though small ripples were moving below its surface. "This is your Stone of Dreams. Your entire life's dreams will be held here. In time you will learn how to use it..."
The scene faded from Liam's mind. He had dreamed of his mother many times over the last week since she died. He missed her with all his heart, and wished that his Stone would stop showing him times past of her. He grasped the stone in his hand and thought about the dream from a few days ago, wishing to see it again. It was harder to recall dreams the further back in time you went, but if you focussed properly any dream was retrievable.
Liam replayed the dream of his mother taking him to the park when he was young. He often dreamt of real events that had happened, especially of things that had happened when he was young. He remembered the park visit fondly; his mother had bought him ice cream - milky vanilla with a flake - and then they had played on the swings. As the dream progressed, a cold uneasiness started to fill Liam. The sense that something was not right.
Then it hit him.
The events of the dream were all wrong.
It was close, granted. Everything was there: his mother, the park, the ice cream. Liam remembered the day perfectly. He had had vanilla, not chocolate ice cream. He dropped the stone. The more terror flooded him; what if the stone had broken. His most precious item would be gone. He'd heard stories of what had happened to those who damaged their stones when he was younger. He believed them then. He'd mostly forgotten about them until now. Now he just wasn't sure.
He was almost sure that it must just have been him. He must have dreamed it wrong. His mind must have fixed the story together badly. It never had before. In fact, the more Liam thought about it, the more uncertain he became because all through his life, dreams had been the most precious thing. You could make a fortune on the black market in selling dreams. And now he felt uncertain. A new emotion. Something different. Something changing inside.
◙ ◙ ◙
Over the next weeks, Liam continued as normal. He went to work, he ate, he watched the TV and he slept. He did not once check his stone. Was it fear? No, it was something more basic that fear. Three weeks since he had last viewed his dreams, Liam decided to reach out for his stone. He quickly scanned through three weeks worth of dreams about his mother, about fantasy lands and about twisted versions of reality. Nothing seemed overly amiss and yet he still lingered over the dreams of his mother. They were not quite right.
He then realised that he knew what the feeling was. It was fear of curiosity. It was the fear of discovering that in fact not all was as it seemed. He knew well what happened to those who did bad things with their stones. The question he was asking now, though, was what defined a bad thing?
He delved into one of his fantasy dreams. In the dream, dragons. Fire and screaming people as their homes burned and their lives demolished. Through the smoke stood a figure. They wore a black suit and an old fashioned bowler hat. Dream-Liam tried to walk over to the figure, but it held out its arm and Liam was held back, paralysed. This was not how dreams worked. Panic.
"Stop digging, Liam Brooke. You will not like what you find. And remember, those who break the laws are punished... severely."
Liam came out of the dream, covered in a cold sweat. That was definitely not how dreams worked. Who was the figure? What was truly going on? What was being hidden? Liam knew it should have been a deterrent, but he just found himself more fascinated by what was going on. Perhaps if he slept again, a dream of some clarity would come to him. After all, it was late. He found that he slept uneasily that night.
The following morning, Liam's first action was to check his stone. There was a dream, as there was every night. This dream felt dark and heavy and strange. Hesitant, Liam played it in his mind.
Static. A room - or wherever he was - full of static. But silence. Liam looked around, terrified. Knowing he could not control the dream, he stood like stone, looking around quickly. In front of him, the static shifted. Liam gasped. A woman stepped from the wall.
"Hello, Liam. I have not much time. I am Lyssa, and I have intercepted your dream. You are on our list of those who have started to doubt the truth of our dreams. And you are right. The government are carefully monitoring the dreams of every person, sending what they desire most to see to keep them docile. It is all a lie. When you awake, an address will be inside your head. Leave your stone and come, quickly. Tell no-one where you are going. You will know what to do-"
The dream stopped abruptly. "No!" whispered Liam. "What do I do? Come back!" Liam reached for his stone but the dream was gone, as if erased. Either the dream had been his imagination, or it really had gone. Could the government have so much control? Liam wanted answers. An address to an abandoned warehouse suddenly came to mind. This made Liam wonder how far minds could be controlled. Why?
he placed his stone gently on the table of his living room. He then placed his phone down next to it. He did not want to be tracked, so anything with any form of GPS had to go. Now he just had to act normal. His throat dry, he left his house decisively.
It was too late for him to be going to work, so he kept his head down and hoped that nobody he knew saw him. Taking a sharp turn into an alley to avoid a friend, Liam realised that he did not know where he was going at all. He couldn't ask anyone, but maybe if he treated the address like a dream? Perhaps Lyssa had planted a map or something.
Sure enough, there were directions attached to the address, as if it were simply an email in Liam's mind. Fortunately, he was going the right way. He exhaled and set off. It wasn't far, but on foot it would take some time, and Liam wanted to get there as soon as he could. He walked the streets for an hour or so, before the directions told him to turn onto a footpath, through a small wood.
Uncertain, Liam hopped over the stile. He was having a walk, that was all. Simply having a walk. Nothing wrong with that. Still, a sense of danger enclosed his heart. Liam forced himself to maintain a steady walk, even though all his senses were screaming at him to run. A crunch. Liam whipped around.
"Who is there?" he called. He swallowed his fear as a man in a bowler hat stepped into view.
"Are you aware that this is private land?" the man asked, almost demanding an answer.
"No sir, I was not." Liam said. "I thought this was a footpath."
"Not any more it isn't. Too many bad lots down here, if you get what I mean." The man nodded to himself, and Liam quickly agreed, faking surprise.
"Oh gosh, I wasn't aware. I hope they've all been caught?"
"Nah, tricky blighters. Can't get them. Calling themselves the True Sight group or something stupid. Trying to make people give up their stones."
"No!" Liam gasped, horror boiling within. If the man caught him without his stone, he was screwed. "Why would they do that?"
"Don't know. Some rubbish about lies." said the man, suddenly seeming disinterested. "All nutters. Lot of them." Liam decided to make his move.
"I'd better get home before I get killed by nutters then, hey?" The man nodded as if impressed.
"You do that boy, and don't come back here." Liam nodded before turning and jogging off. As he reached the edge of the woods, he realised he had no way of getting to the rebels. Then the map updated, like one of those old sat-nav things from years and years ago. This route took him through town.
Liam continued without incident. It was well into the afternoon by the time he reached the warehouse. He knocked on the door and announced himself. "Hello? My name is Liam Brooke. Uh-" Before he could say another word, a section of the large doors opened.
"Take off your jacket." Liam did so. "Who sent you here?" Liam struggled to speak.
"Lyssa." he said simply. He was told to enter. Within lay several old computers, all being monitored by about 50 people. In the centre of the warehouse stood a woman. She walked over.
"This is the only way they cannot track us, to use old technology." she explained. "You must be Liam." He gave a thin smile.
"I am." The woman smiled broadly.
"Welcome. I am Lyssa, leader of the True Sight group. Come in and welcome true dreams. Come and help us stop the government's dictating hand."
Liam stepped inside.