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The Dream
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The Dream
A short story with a surprise ending.
[1,163 words]
Literary Fiction
Daniel Brown
Hey I'm 17, and I live in Champaign, Illinois. I've been thinking about writing a story like this for a while, so I'm glad I finally did. Enjoy!
[July 2005]
[email protected]
Russian Roulette (Short Stories) Five men find themselves in a room being forced to play Russian Roulette. [616 words]
The Dream
Daniel Brown

“Yeah he’s stable.”
A second voice, farther away, maybe a few meters: “Is he conscious?”
“I don’t think so… Hey fella, you awake?”
“His eyes are moving.”
“Yeah I see that… Hey, John! Yoo hoo!”
Rage, fear, anger…
“He’s freaking out, put a shot in him!”

John wakes up in his sun-filled suburban bedroom. He can smell his wife’s cooking floating up from downstairs… eggs and pancakes. John hates pancakes.
He gets up out of bed and walks to the conjoining bathroom. He goes through his morning routine… brushes his teeth, takes a shower, puts on his clothes…. Then he goes downstairs for breakfast.
“Hey honey.” He gives her a kiss.
“Hey sweetie… Sleep all right?”
“I had the dream again.”
“Oh… what happened this time?”
John grimaces at the memory. “I was tied up… I couldn’t move… and suddenly I felt trapped, I was enraged. I just went crazy, then they put a shot in me.”
“Wow… Why do you think you’re having these dreams?”
“I have no clue.”
“Maybe you should see a shrink?”

As John drives to work he tunes the car radio to his favorite station – 95.7, classic rock. His favorite song is playing: Stairway to Heaven. He starts singing along with it.
He arrives at his work. It’s a small building on the corner of a busy intersection. An accounting firm.
“Hey John,” says John’s friend, Andrew, as he walks in.
“What’s up, Andrew. Great party last week.”
“Yeah, thanks.”
John sits in his cubicle and starts checking his e-mail. He hates his work.

“Wake up, John.”
John’s eyes open.
“Yoo hoo!” A man in a white coat is waving his hands in front of John’s face.
“John, it’s time for your breakfast.”
Pancakes. John hates pancakes. He closes his eyes.
“John, wake up! It’s time for breakfast!” He opens his eyes. His wife is lying over him, waving her hands in front of his face. “You awake?”
“Yeah… can’t we have something other than pancakes for once?”
“Sorry, this will be the last day… I just ran out of batter.” John gets up and goes through his morning routine.

“I keep having this dream where I’m in some sort of an institution… it’s weird.” John is lying down on a sofa in front of his shrink, Dr. Donovan. “They’re usually very brief… like maybe a minute at most, but they’re always disturbing. They usually end up with me being shocked, and then I wake up. And they’re always so real and vivid… I never forget them when I wake up. I’ve been having them more frequently lately, like every night or every other night.”
Dr. Donovan writes a few things down on his notepad. “Did you have any bad experiences with doctors or institutions as a child?”
“No, not that I can remember.”
“Have you ever suffered from anything traumatic?”
“Not that I can remember.”
Dr. Donovan scribbles some more things down on his notepad. “Well John, I’m not sure what’s causing these dreams, and it doesn’t seem that you are either. We can try hypnotherapy and see if there’s something hidden in your past that you chose to forget and is now manifesting itself in your dreams. Unfortunately I’m not a hypno-therapist, so you’ll have to set up an appointment with Dr. James. You can do that on your way out in the lobby.”
“Thank you, Doctor.”
John sets up an appointment to take place in one week.

“You look tired,” said Andrew.
“Yeah… I keep having this weird dream and it wakes me up, then I can’t get back to sleep.”
“What’s it about?”
“I’m in some institution and usually there’s doctors around me, talking to me or about me… they’re always surprised when they see me, and then I go berserk and they put me to sleep with a shot.”
“Huh… weird… have you seen a shrink?”
“Yeah, I’m going to a hypno-therapist tomorrow. “

“Okay John, I want you to relax. I’m going to count to three… when I say three you are going to go to sleep and you are going to tell me what you experience. One, two, three.”
John is suddenly in his dream… a white room with a man in a brown cardigan sitting in front of him. “I’m in a room… there’s a man in a brown sweater – a cardigan – sitting in front of me… I’m in a straightjacket.”
The man in the cardigan speaks to him: “Yes John, that’s right… go on.”
“He’s telling me to go on… He’s writing some things down in his notebook.”
The man in the cardigan stops writing and again looks up at John. He speaks to him. “John, I want you to stand up. Can you do that?”
“He’s telling me to stand up…”
“That’s right John, I am. Can you do that?”
John is scared by how real this is. “Doc, I don’t see where this is going… I want out of this.”
“Are you talking to me?” the man in the cardigan asks.
“No, I’m not talking to you!” John is very frightened.
The man in the cardigan writes some more stuff on his notepad. “John, you need to calm down. Talk to me.”
John looks around. He could swear that this is not a dream. He knows he is actually here. “No way, get me out of this… I want out… this isn’t real… get me out now…”
“Who are you talking to, John? Get you out of what?”
“John, calm down—“
“John, stop. Do you want to hear some music? Led Zeppelin? I know it’s your favorite.”
“Led Zeppelin… No! I just want to go back to my wife!”
“You don’t have a wife.”
“Yes I do! Who are you supposed to be!? Shut up!”
“I’m Dr. James.”
“Bring me back to my real life! I don’t want to do this any more!”
“This is your life, John. You are a schizophrenic in a mental institution. You seem to have delusions that you live somewhere else, with a wife and a job. It’s not real John. It’s all a dream.”
John is so frightened that he can’t speak.
“You’ve been responding very well to therapy lately, becoming lucid many times a week. However, we’ve had to start restraining you with a straightjacket lately because of your violent fits.”
John screams. Dr. James stares at him. John keeps screaming. Two men in white coats walk into the room. John keeps screaming. They give him a shot.

John wakes up to the smell of pancakes. “Honey, I thought you said you would stop making pancakes….”
“I’m sorry John, this will be the last time. I just ran out of batter.”
John falls back to sleep.

The men in white coats are feeding John pancakes. He obediently takes in every spoonful, even though he hates them. Afterwards he is rolled back into his cell and is rewarded for his good behavior with a cassette of Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven. John listens intently then falls back to sleep.
He has the dream again. This time he and his wife are reading outside in the backyard. He kisses her and then goes back to reading. John likes this dream.



"Dan, this story kicks serious ass. you should submit it to one of those literary magazine thingys. ~Aaron" -- Aaron Jones, Champaign, IL, USA.
"i think it was really good" -- Kaitlin.
"Wow. I'm very serious when I say "That is awesome". And now I'm saying it. Well done for creating a great and desriptive story. And as someone else said, it "Seriously Kicks ass!"" -- Bernay, Cooranbong, NSW, Australia.


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© 2005 Daniel Brown
July 2005

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