Friday, 24 February 2012

More than dreams (Part 3)

Previous episodes:
More than dreams (Part 1)
More than dreams (Part 2)

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More than dreams (Part 3)

Squinting against the brightness I turned to look at the dome. The door had already closed behind me, there was nothing on the outside to re-open it with, no handle or button, no lever, nothing. The immense structure arced away from me in either direction. Above me the opaque glass curved away out of sight.

My eyes quickly grew accustomed to the new brightness and I turned my back to the dome and surveyed my new world.

It was just like in the dreams. Long grass waving gently in a warm breeze. Close by, the trees I had seen in my sleep, reaching up almost to the clear blue sky. Brightly coloured birds chirruped and chirped as they flew from branch to branch. Winged insects hummed by. In the distance I could see green, tree-covered hills. And above all of this, shining down on it all, the bright, yellow, life-giving sun.

The dreams had shown me all of these things, and the sounds they should be known by, but the dreams could never have prepared me for the overwhelming beauty of it all, the sweet fragrances of it all, the musical sounds of it all.

I sank to my knees in the long grass, and for the first time in my life, I wept.

I wept with an all-encompassing joy, tears did not exist inside the dome. I let the salt liquid roll down my face and laughed and wept at the same time, laughter did not exist inside the dome either.

* * * * * *

Many cycles passed, these are known as “days” according to the dream voice in my head. I soon fell into the routine of sleeping in the dark hours, where the dreams continued, revealing more and more of this world, and food gathering and exploring during the light hours.

I had discovered a large cave set into a nearby hillside and made a comfortable bed of branches and foliage inside.

Hunger had gripped me not long after leaving the dome. Of course there was no food queue to join out here, no dining area. The only thing I had ever eaten in my whole life was the protein mix supplied twice daily by the food servers.

I had seen some of the small creatures eating the colourful fruits that hung from the trees, and driven by desperation I had finally plucked up the courage to take a bite from one. I almost fainted from the sheer sweet taste of it, nothing could have prepared me for the sensations I experienced as I ate. Eating was for sustenance, for work energy, and now it had become a pleasure, a delight, another gift to treasure from this beautiful and wonderful world that I now lived in.

Over the many following days I tried other fruits and plants, and soon learnt which ones to eat and which to shun.

Despite the legends of ferocious creatures, diseases, and the other dangers which I didn't understand the meaning of, radiation and mutation, during my exploring and wandering I never came across anything that would be thought of as a danger. The insects and birds were a joy to watch, going about their lives, busily, diligently. The largest animals I see are furry creatures less than half my size, they also eat the vegetation, and scamper away if I try to get too close.

It had become my custom to cross the long grass and visit the dome occasionally, I don't know why, maybe I have some inner need to keep reminding myself of where I came from. Or maybe I was feeling another emotion that also doesn't exist inside the dome, loneliness.

Today was one of those days. After walking between the trees gathering fruits I made my way back to where the grass began, and stood looking at the dome from a distance, enjoying the sight of the sunshine glinting off the structure while I ate.

A small movement caught my eye.

My gaze returned to the base, the door was open...

I watched unbelievingly as through the opening stepped a group of people, six whitesuits, two bluesuits and one of the redsuit elders. Nine in all, four brothers and five sisters.

As I walked towards them they all looked around themselves with the same wonder that I had when I first stepped outside. Each of them smiling broadly, each of them fascinated by the feast of colours, sounds and scents that flooded their senses.

I came to a standstill a few feet from the group.

“Why do you leave the dome?” I asked the redsuit.

“I have been having strange dreams.” He answered, his gaze flitting around, drinking in the beauty of his new surroundings. “We all have.”

“What is your number?” One of the bluesuits asked me.

“I no longer have a number, I have a sound instead now, a name, as you will too. The name I go by came to me in a dream. The name is Genesis.”

The newcomers followed me through the trees to my hillside cave, and began learning of life in their new world.

Apart from myself, they were the first people to ever leave the dome since its creation.

I didn't know it at the time, but soon many more would follow.

The End.

©2012 Stephen. J. Green.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

More than dreams (Part 2)

Previous episode:
More than dreams (Part 1)

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More than dreams (Part 2)

In the dream I walked naked through soft, waist high green shoots, my outstretched hands trailing across the tips, savouring the texture. My upper body warmed by the bright yellow light shining down from above. The darker colour of shadows from the larger plants cut across the greenery. Tiny creatures scuttled up and down the rough, dark bases, others flitted here and there on gossamer wings.

Larger creatures flew from plant to plant, their many colours dazzling and beautiful.

For each new sight there was a sound, a voice in my dream, with words I had never heard before.

Sunshine... Grass... Tree... Insect... Bird...

Where these words came from I have no idea, but the dream was so vivid, so real, so inviting.

And all the time I dreamt, I felt happier than at any time in my life. I wanted to stay in the dream forever, to never wake up again.

* * * * * *

Slowly I returned to wakefulness and opened my eyes, the dream still fresh in my mind.

I looked around, everyone else in the dorm was still asleep, it wasn't time for our wakevoice yet.

The dream clung to me, refusing to fade. Suddenly the the idea overwhelmed me, flooded my senses until I felt I would burst... What if?

What would happen if I tried to leave the dome? Would I be allowed to leave? Would I be investigated?

Deep inside me I knew that I really had no choice, I had to try. The dreams had changed me, they were now the only true happiness I knew. Work no longer brought the pleasure that it used to. I no longer felt as though I were a part of my own society.

I climbed out of bed and pulled my whitesuit on, set off walking.

Each person I passed smiled and nodded, then looked at me strangely when the smile was not returned.

I ignored their stares and just kept on walking. I knew which direction to go, everyone knew where the exit door was. People would sometimes just go there to stare at it, some with wonder, some with awe, or fear.

It was a long walk but I eventually reached the door, the bluesuit on duty there smiled at me.

“Be happy in your work, brother.” He said.

I looked back at him, unsmiling. “I wish to leave the dome.”

He looked at me in astonishment, his smile almost slipping from his face. “Why brother? Are you not happy here? Are you not happy in your work? Come, accompany me to the remedial chambers, the physicians will restore your happiness to you.”

“I do not wish to have my happiness restored, I wish to leave the dome.”

“Brother, I would think you insane, but insanity was eradicated centuries ago. This behaviour is unprecedented, I must consult with one of the elders.”

He tapped a few buttons on a panel and a screen slid from the wall, and smiling down from the screen the benevolent face of elder redsuit number 4.

The bluesuit explained the extraordinary situation to the elder, who smiled thoughtfully as he pondered how to deal with it.

“Why do you wish to leave?” The elder said. “If you are unhappy, we can restore your happiness.”

“I have a disease, I am infected, and I wish to leave.”

“There are no diseases or infections inside the dome, what is this disease you believe you have?”

“I am infected with unhappiness, with dissatisfaction, with an overwhelming thirst for knowledge. There is no cure for my disease, nor would I want one if there were.”

“Where did this disease come from?” Asked the redsuit.

“From inside my head.” I replied. “I have been having strange dreams. No, they are more than dreams, much more. They have changed me inside, altered me, so that I now no longer feel as though I belong inside the dome. So that I no longer have any wish to belong inside the dome.”

“There are legends of fierce creatures that dwell outside, of terrible dangers, and even more terrible illnesses and diseases.” Said the elder.

“Yes.” I said. “I have heard of these legends.”

“And yet you still wish to leave? Even though it may mean your failure to survive?”

“Yes, I still wish to leave.”

The elder closed his eyes for a few moments whilst he gathered his thoughts and prepared his answer.

“This infection could spread to others if allowed to remain inside the dome, it could upset the balance and harmony of our society. The law does not prevent anyone from leaving the dome, only their return is forbidden, for fear of what they may bring back inside with them. No-one has ever expressed a wish to leave before, but that does not mean they should be refused. I hope you find happiness on the outside, you are free to leave, go in peace my brother.”

The elder's smiling face faded from view and the screen slid back into its wall recess.

The bluesuit punched a series of buttons on the keypad and the door hissed quietly as the seals opened and it slid sideways into the wall.

I stepped through the doorway into a small chamber, and began walking towards the opposite wall as the door closed behind me and resealed itself.

A large red button jutted from the wall, the only colour amongst all the uniform opaque whiteness.

I pushed the red button and a section of the curved wall slid silently aside, bright yellow light angled through the opening.

Shielding my eyes with my hand I walked forward and stepped outside.

Continued in :- More than dreams (Part 3)

©2012 Stephen. J. Green.

Friday, 10 February 2012

More than dreams (Part 1)

Hi everyone, last week I posted a very short flash entitled “In The Dome” I have since decided to expand on the idea and have written a 3 part mini-series. I know this theme has been covered many times in books and films, but I hope you will enjoy my own version of the story. Thank you for reading.
Steve Green.

More than dreams (Part 1)

“Numbers One seven four two five to Three eight six four nine, please rise and collect your food, you have one hour to shift start... numbers One seven four...”

The soft female tones of the wakevoice, along with the gentle, but insistent Ping-Ping of the alarm pulled me away from the dream.

I had been having a lot of dreams lately. Strange dreams. Dreams that I dare not mention to anyone else. Dreams about running for hours without meeting glass. Dreams of a light the brightness of which I have never seen, and of a darkness never known. The only darkness I have known in my life lies behind my eyelids.

I zipped myself into my whitesuit and walked out of the dorm. Because the dream had held me to sleep a little longer than was prudent I found myself near the end of the food queue, this wasn't a problem, but could possibly develop into one if it happened too often... and became noticeable.

Looking far down the line I could see 24868, easily recognisable amongst the long line of whitesuits by his characteristic head tilt. There would be no whispered words between us in the food queue today, he would have eaten and be on his way to start his twelvehour by the time I reached the head of the queue. I would have to eat fast to be at my station before belltime, tardiness was noted, and frequent tardiness could spark investigation.

Investigation. The word itself was a mystery. I only know that people who have been “Investigated” tend to not sleep in their beds for a while, then when they return seem changed somehow, subtly changed, brighter of eye, wider of smile, more positive of speech, more... watchful of others.

By the time I reached my designated table space with my food the immense dining area was almost empty, just a smattering of whitesuits dotted here and there, and a couple of bluesuits strolling up and down the aisles between the rows of tables.

I ate as fast as I could without appearing to hurry, head down, spooning the protein mix rapidly from dish to mouth, I was hungry, and was already feeling the need for the next meal which would come when my twelvehour was done.

“Only seven minutes to belltime, brother.”

The voice startled me, I hadn't heard the bluesuit approaching, his soft shoes silent on the composite floor.

I raised my head and looked up into his smiling face, returning the smile with one of my own. Everyone smiled here, all the time, we were all happy and content and had every reason to smile.

“Yes, brother.” I replied pleasantly. “I fear I found myself one of the last in line for food, but I shall be at my station before belltime. Work makes me happy.”

As one, everyone remaining in the dining area laid down their spoons and took up the chant.

“We work for happiness, our work makes us happy, our work makes our brothers and sisters happy, our brothers' and sisters' work makes us happy, we are happy in our work. Amen.”

The bluesuit smiled even wider. “Work is good, brother. Life is good.” He said, then strolled away down the aisle in his silent shoes.

* * * * * *

I arrived at my station with two minutes to spare, and took my place behind my opposite twelvehour worker.

Belltime. As the soft chimes echoed down the production line the workers at the conveyor took a pace to their right, then a pace backwards bringing them side by side with their relief man.

Those of us just beginning our twelvehour stepped forward a pace to the line and carried on with the work, the change-over so smooth that there was no need to even slow the conveyor

The whitesuits ending their twelvehour walked off quietly in the direction of the food servers, smiling at each other, talking in hushed tones.

My twelvehour seemed to pass unusually slowly. I added a single component to each unit as it trundled past on the conveyor, one every twenty six seconds, and all the while I was smiling.

My face hurt. Like the dreams this was also a new and strange addition to my life. My face hurt from smiling all the time, I dare not mention this to anyone else either.

* * * * * *

My twelvehour over, and my food eaten, I sought out 24868 in the recreation area, I found him sitting at a far table, some distance from any of the other whitesuits. I walked over and took the seat on the opposite side of the table.

“You look tired my brother, are you not sleeping well?” He asked.

“I have strange dreams, they disturb my peace. I dream of what it might be like on the outside.” I had spoken without thinking, now I was not the only one who knew of the dreams.

“No-one knows,” said 24868, “no-one has ever gone outside. The law says that anyone leaving the dome can never return, so no-one leaves. There are stories, legends really, that tell of dangers and diseases, of fearsome creatures, of things called radiation and mutation, and of unhappiness. Are you thinking of leaving? Are you not happy in your work?

“Yes my brother, I am happy in my work.” I smiled across the table at him, and hoped that my eyes didn't tell a different story than my mouth.

For the next couple of hours we chatted about how the production figures were growing daily, and other happywork subjects until it was time to sleep.

I laid my head on the pillow, the sweet tones of the sleepchime soothed my mind.

I closed my eyes and drifted away.

And the dreams came.

Continued in:- More than dreams (Part 2)

©2012 Stephen. J. Green.

Friday, 3 February 2012

In The Dome

We are told that if we ever leave The Dome, we will never be allowed to return.

In all my life I have never heard of one single person who has left The Dome.

Inside The Dome there is safety, comfort, warmth, light, food.

Inside The Dome there is repetition, uniformity, sameness.

We are told that outside The Dome there is danger, starvation, radiation, mutation.

These are just words that no-one understands the meaning of.

We have been given explanations of these words, but without comparison, without experience, they still have no meaning.

I have heard of other things outside The Dome.

Other words that also have no meaning. Forbidden words.

I have overheard them whispered in dark corners.

Words like adventure, excitement, courage, freedom.

I have no idea what these words mean.

But I intend to find out.

©2012 Stephen. J. Green.

Authors note:
Since posting this short story I have written an expanded version, a 3-parter detailing the society within the dome, and the MC,s decision to leave the dome and what becomes of him.
The story is entitled MORE THAN DREAMS and the first part can be found here:-

Thank you for reading.
Steve Green.