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.
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.