Teaser: Shock Theory

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a fragment stripped from the middle of a novel I'm timidly working on. Lemme know what'chu think.

Submitted: November 13, 2011

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Submitted: November 13, 2011

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Dreams were notoriously insecure creatures, easily frightened away by the waking consciousness. They taunted the mind with nightmarish half-concepts, snatches of memory pressed into shapes that made the skin crawl. It was true that sometimes they dabbled in a different art, spreading about pleasant imagery, but it was taunting nonetheless.
 
Cale thought about his dreams and his tendency to forget them. He never cared to remember them, never bothered. He preferred his sleep a void. It left things more bearable in the real world if he had nothing to stew over from the night before. Supposing he did care, there wasn’t even enough time in his schedule for a dream journal. It was grab your things and run out the door without tripping headfirst down the stairs. 
 
Today, however, proved differently. He stared up at the skylight, through which he could see a pair of passing birds. It felt like he had been laying with his eyes open from the beginning, though he knew there was a gap in his memory. He remembered a period of intense light, and a calm that rose with it. He had seen a house, a tiny shack in that whiteness, and noted the absence of gunfire. A complete lack of sound. When he tried the door, he found it locked, and then he had walked away . . .
 
Perhaps more things had happened. He didn’t doubt it. The fragment of dream was nothing but a fragment –he’d been asleep long enough to experience at least a hundred fragments like that. Given that time didn’t operate the same he wasn’t sure he could justify it, but it seemed right.
 
“Mmh.” He rolled onto his side and faced his bandaged arm.
 
This was the reason he didn’t like recalling dreams. Too many right answers.
 
Throughout the morning, or what he assumed to be the morning, a pair of nurses would enter the room and run a series of tests of him. One man, one woman. They were the first to inform him that his arm was still intact, and that he was lucky not to have sustained worse injuries. “You cut it up real good, but you’ll live,” he had said, while he female counterpart took his temperature.
 
Now they returned back to his room to administer more drugs and tests.
 
“Can I have the paper?” he asked while they rolled a cool piece of cloth and pressed it to his forehead. The male nurse handed him the morning addition, and he rolled up beside him. Didn’t feel like reading it right that moment. His head went dizzy, the room momentarily a blur of colors and shapes. He gripped the mattress in attempt to steady himself. 
 
“Are you going to be sick?” she asked.
 
He couldn’t muster up enough strength to answer. His stomach quailed. 
 
Taking his silence for an answer, the woman quickly placed a deeply rimmed bowl before him. There wasn’t much in his stomach, but everything came up and out. She handed him a glass of water to rinse the sourness away, and patted his mouth with another cloth. 
 
“He’s got quite a fever,” he heard the man said. “Reactin’ to the tonic?”
 
“It’s probably what upset his stomach, too.”
 
Then they left him to rest, though he assured them he wouldn’t be able to. He never slept well when he was ill. Something about the taste in his mouth or the general lack of comfort made it difficult to relax. They probably ought to give him a dose of sleeping pills, he thought. How long he would be able to hold those down, he wasn’t sure.
 
He was sure that things looked grim, anyway, from the looks of the paper. Every article was about Machina sightings growing more frequent –which they weren’t –or rising levels of unemployment. He couldn’t necessarily dispute the second claim, but there were plenty of job openings in his area of specialty. If only people valued their lives a little less.

 


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