Chapter 3 - Madness

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Something beckoned Thrain from the edge of his consciousness, demanding his attention and urging a return to reality. At first it had been easy to ignore; so deeply buried in the dream that, up until now, the distance had fought the battle for him. But the pull was becoming stronger.

He just needed to hold on until she arrived.

She would take away the frustration, the exasperation he felt at society. She would remove the limits.

Like every other dream, he was in the same place.  An industrial reprocessing plant that was common place on the edge of every Corporation’s main city. A small hideaway at its rear nestled amongst giant refuse containers. Towering great cylinders of green awash with waste products. Not an idyllic location for a rendezvous, but one that limited the opportunity to be disturbed. 

Then she would arrive and he’d be swept up in adoration for her. The warmth of her affectionate touch; their shared smiles; the tales she told him; the curiosity and excitement for experiences she awoke in him. 

Even when he woke in the real world, back in his dormitory on Probation, he took strength from the memory of the dream. Memories that extended beyond just evocative feelings.

He often remembered the things she had told him about before the Veil Wars that led to the creation of the Conglomerate.

Deep down he knew this was not usual, but deep down he knew he was not usual.

There had been times he had remembered a story they had shared or had become aware of a piece of information that, in the real world, he could use. Something that would help him with his obsessive pursuit of knowledge of what it was like before the Veil Wars.

But there was something different this time.

Around him everything was damp and dreary, not vivid and comforting. Twisting in front of his eyes, it was all indistinct as it started to rush past him. The buckled concrete beneath his feet became a long grey smear. The wall of bins a blur of green. Shadows of grey and brown spun at the edge of his vision. Between that and the rank stench that seemed almost visceral, he was amazed he’d not thrown up yet.

He quickly realised it was him that was spinning. His arms were out wide to try and keep upright, his feet were moving round and round as though he himself was creating the movement.

He knew he should be questioning why, but he couldn’t get a firm hold on his thoughts. They slipped from his grasp as he spun. Instead images of being here before flowed around him like a kaleidoscope of memories. 

He focussed on the glimpses of her that caught in his eyes. It was his defence against waking. If he could just hold on until she arrived then he was sure she would stop him spinning.

She would tell him the stories of heroes and villains he so loved. From long before he was born. From before the Conglomerate declared such tales as distracting and dangerous. Tales of love and adventure; sagas of heroics and sacrifice. More than just entertainment, they were stolen moments that ignited his inquisitiveness of the the galaxy that existed long before he was born. Of course he’d asked her questions about who she was, where she was from, but he only ever received an enigmatic smile as an answer. He didn’t mind. Instead he’d asked her if she knew about him. If she knew why he seemed so different from everyone else who would never be interested in the stories she told.

With a start his hands snapped to his side. He teetered when his feet refused to stop, but he managed to stay upright.

An anguished cry escaped his lips. She hadn’t always turned up. His memory was faulty. Sometimes she never arrived at all. Sometimes she was late and so full of apologies that , despite it being a dream, he was quickly with forgiveness. But as he’d progressed through the system on Probation, the dreams became more infrequent.

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