Note: Started a new story today after a yoga flow and prompt from Creative Warriors.
I went to Dreamers for a quick escape from my life. This world is so dark right now. We can’t breathe unaided outside. Food and finances are scarce. When the Great Reallocation occurred, I found myself on the wrong side of the divide from the minimal family and friends I had left after Cataclysm. Dreamers promised a cheap, mind-bending respite from the darkness, a franchise of charlatans brokering magical dream moments across the allocation divides. Some even claimed you could reunite with family and friends in dreamstreams if you were lucky enough. I was just hoping for some sunshine and maybe a beach I remembered from my youth, the crisp, white-capped waters of what was the Lake Michigan shore nipping at my toes.
About a month ago, I first went to Dreamers after saving for nearly a year. Although my mind is flush with confusion right now, I remember the woman at the front desk. It was unusual for a human to be at a reception desk. They had long ago been replaced by virtual agents. It was better these days to keep your distance from other humans as old diseases raged new again. Being at a reception desk was a risk, but Claire did not seem to accept the gravity of her situation. She had a tight blonde bun and red lips, a vain attempt to offset eyes sunken from hunger and skin covered with grime that was impossible to remove.
“Hi, I have an hour session booked today. I went with the basic Midwest Memories dreamstream,” I said with my voice shaking slightly over the thought of trusting unknown others with my brain.
“I’m sorry, those are no longer available since you booked. We are happy to replace it at the same charge with a package one level up called Adventure Dreamscape. It is a guided dream to conquer a fear and lead you to the best adventure in your life, all in the safety of your dream, of course” Claire said with a tone as hollow as her eyes.
I stared at her for a moment, not entirely friendly to the concept. “I was really just looking for an easy first go at this dreamstream thing. I just need a break from the things we probably all need breaks from.”
Claire sighed. “And how is an adventure not a break?”
“Well, the fear part of it. For example, I’m afraid of heights. I’m not looking to escape to a mountain.”
Claire huffed. “Your fear is more of a falling, and I guarantee, per the thousand-page agreement you read and signed before paying us, that you will not fall in your dreamstream.” Claire was unmovable. If I chose to stay today, I knew the Adventure Dreamscape was my only option. I hadn’t heard of anyone dying from this, and according to Amazon 2.0 reviews, this was the best fun available on this dying planet.
“Okay, I guess I will give it a try. Is there a way to set it to stay away from heights though?”
Claire puffed. “The adventure chooses you. That was on page 600 of the thousand-page agreement you read and signed.”
…to be continued