35. Snow's Dreams, Pt. 2
29 Jan 2055 | 1600h
‘Don’t look so uncomfortable,’ Jessica giggled. ‘How old are you, anyway?’
‘Then there’s nothing illegal to worry about. Not like this is even a date, or anything. But, you know. If it was.’
Snow laughed emptily. He did feel kind of weird, and he wasn’t surprised that Jessica picked up on it. He had met Jessica Jordan at the protest over a week ago, where she had asked for his number. A week later, she had asked him to come chat over coffee in the Government Building cafe. Part of him was paranoid. Was he under surveillance? Did she know about the Aubergine? Why would a twenty-seven-year-old professional want to get coffee with a high schooler? He was almost getting the same sort of signal his dreams had been sending him—like he was much cooler than he thought he was, and everyone could see it except for him.
‘So there’s nothing to worry about,’ Jessica said. ‘Look, I like you. Every day I have to deal with all these people with super strong opinions, and half the time, they don’t even know what they’re talking about. I could tell from talking to you at the protest that you have a fresh perspective.’
‘And you don’t even know it!’ Jessica laughed. ‘Well, that’s part of what’s so endearing about you, I suppose. But I do think a little confidence could go a long way.’
‘Well, I appreciate that,’ Snow said. There was a chance she was right. Maybe he did have a fresh perspective. He felt like what he really had was a pitifully empty perspective. A lot of confusion about life that left him unsure about pretty much everything. Was that really what was unique about him? Did that mean that he would never get answers? He had hoped that this emptiness would disappear with age, but it was certainly possible this was just a trait inherent in his personality.
‘So anyway, what’s being going on with you?’ Jessica asked. ‘Clue me into the life of Snow. I’m sick of thinking about my own life.’
‘Um, okay,’ Snow said. ‘To be honest, I’ve been having these really strange dreams lately. That’s been most of what’s taking up my mind.’
‘That’s so funny!’ Jessica said. ‘I ask you about what’s going on in your life, and the first thing that comes to your mind is what’s going on when you’re asleep! See, not many people would start there.’
Snow was starting to feel more comfortable. He suddenly didn’t feel like he was under much pressure to be interesting. Jessica seemed to find him interesting regardless. He didn’t have to worry about earning it. He could just be himself.
‘So what have these dreams been about?’ Jessica asked. ‘Don’t worry about boring me. I love hearing about dreams. Especially weird ones.’
‘Okay,’ Snow said. ‘Because these ones have been pretty weird.’
‘Here’s one that was actually pretty funny. I was actually interviewing the Mayor.’
‘Yeah. I was doing some sort of show with him, and after the interview—do you know what a 3DS is?’
‘Oh, yeah, those old handhelds Nintendo used to make! My dad had one when we were growing up.’
‘Right. So I had a charger for a 3DS in my room, and I brought it back to the kitchen to ask the mayor if it was his. He said it wasn’t. Then I told him that I was pretty young and inexperienced, but he could come to me any time if he needed to talk about what was on his mind.’
‘That is strange!’
‘That’s not even the weirdest part,’ Snow said. ‘After I told him that, he leaned in toward me and slowly rubbed his cheeks on mine, one at a time. Then he saw my friend Adam standing next to me. Adam’s a pretty short guy. The mayor picked him up and put him right in the microwave, then turned it on and ran away giggling like a little kid. I watched him for a moment, then remembered I had to let Adam out. When he came out, he was hyperventilating, and told me never to do that again. I told him it was all Krispyman!’
Jessica laughed. ‘That’s absurd!’
‘Well,’ Snow said, ‘I had another dream that was really off-putting. I was interviewing for a job. I think it was supposed to be my first job after college. The man interviewing me started itching his nose. At first, it seemed natural, but it went on for way too long. He started itching harder and harder, and the whole time he was talking to me like everything was normal. Eventually he was scratching so hard that he literally scratched the skin off his nose. But he didn’t stop there. He kept on scratching past the cartilage, then right through the muscle until you could see the bone. And the whole time, he just kept asking me questions and listening to my answers, like everything was normal.’
‘Eugh,’ Jessica said, ‘that is off-putting. Have you always had weird dreams like these?’
‘I think so,’ said Snow, ‘but they have been much more vivid lately. Plus, now that I have Lucidity, I can watch them when I get up.’
‘You have Lucidity?’ Jessica asked.
‘Yeah,’ Snow said. ‘My parents work in the Labs, so they gave it to me for Christmas.’
‘And you’ve been watching your dreams this whole time?’
‘Yup. Ever since I booted it up, I’ve watched them all. So I think my dreams were weird before, but since I didn’t always remember them or write them down, there was no proof. Now I know. The majority of my dreams have been extremely weird.’
‘Okay, give me one more!’
‘You really like dreams, huh?’
‘I do,’ Jessica said. ‘I dream all the time. I’ve been keeping a dream journal since high school.’
‘Then maybe you should tell me one of your dreams,’ Snow said.
‘I guess that’s fair,’ Jessica said. ‘Let’s see. I remember one I had last week where I was in a big bed with my parents and grandparents and brother and sister. The bed was about the size of a living room, so there was a lot of space to move around on. I remember going up to my brother in the corner, and he got really mad. Apparently that was the pee corner, and sure enough, there was a little urinal on the wall. He had been over there for about twenty minutes, though, so it must have been a really long pee! Then my sister kept getting food, but she wouldn’t tell me where. I kept telling her how hungry I was, and my dad heard me and yelled at my sister for eating on the bed. She just kept eating, though, ignoring him entirely. He kept getting angrier and angrier. Eventually I saw a lump under his skin, and it moved up his side and around his back to the top of his left shoulder. Then the lump burst, and a miniature version of my dad popped out and started screaming like a ghoul.’
‘Now that is a crazy dream.’
‘You’re telling me! And that’s only what I could remember when I woke up. Who knows what else I would have found if I had been able to go back and watch it like you.’
‘It’s definitely a pretty wild technology.’
‘Alright,’ Jessica said, ‘now it’s your turn. One more dream.’
As their conversation developed, Snow was starting to realize how fascinated by dreams he had become. If he had felt awkward at first, he was now totally comfortable. Perhaps that was why it felt natural to tell Jessica his next dream—the dream and the resulting phenomenon he hadn’t planned on telling anyone, other than possibly Ricky 2 and Carlton. Then again, part of him was itching to tell someone.
‘Actually,’ he told Jessica, ‘I can give you a dream that is even more interesting than a dream.’
‘Seems to go against the reflexive property of reality,’ Jessica said, ‘but okay.’
‘Well, I mean, it’s what happened after the dream that’s really interesting. But you have to keep this between us, okay?’
‘Of course,’ Jessica said. ‘I don’t think anybody else would be quite as interested in people scratching their noses off their face, anyway.’
‘Seriously, though,’ Snow said. ‘You either won’t believe me, or if you do, trust me, you’ll want to tell somebody. I’m just asking you to please keep it between us. At least until I understand what it means.’
‘Okay,’ Snow said. ‘So I’ve been having this recurring dream that takes place in this forest. But it’s not like normal woods. It’s more like a complete tree village, a whole civilization built into these huge trees. There are walkways between the branches and natural staircases into different tree homes. It’s really beautiful.
‘Most of the time, I’m just exploring. But I’m also kind of a king in that community. All the animals respond very positively to my energy, and I can kind of get them to do whatever I want. I don’t really exercise that power, but it’s almost as if they can sense if I want them to bring me water or guide me on an adventure or something.
‘So I’ve been having a lot of dreams in this area, almost once a night for the past week. And in every dream, I see more new animals from the area. Some of them look like animals we know, but usually they are a different color, or have an extra body part or something. And sometimes they look like totally new animals.’
‘Almost like Pokemon?’
‘You like Pokemon?’ Snow hoped that his reaction didn’t sound too lame.
‘I love Pokemon,’ Jessica said. ‘I’ve been playing since I was a kid.’
‘Wow,’ Snow said, ‘I love Pokemon, too.’
‘But anyway, finish your dream!’
‘That’s pretty much it for the dream. There’s never too much action in the forest.’
‘No bear-pig ever stuffing your friend into a microwave?’
Snow laughed. ‘No. But yesterday, I was taking a walk on the Mountain Ring near my house, and I saw one of the creatures from the dream. It was a green deer with no eyes or mouth, and antlers like tubes. The way it moved its head toward me, I think it was looking at me through its antlers.’
‘That’s odd,’ Jessica said. ‘And you didn’t bring it out with Imaginary Friend?’
‘You can do that with Lucidity, right?’
‘Yes,’ Snow said, ‘but you have to set it up to do that. And I’m positive I didn’t. But even if it was some sort of glitch, that wouldn’t explain what happened next. I took off my glasses, and I could still see the deer—or, at least, I could see part of it. It’s head was just floating in the air right in front of me. I walked toward it to see if I could touch it, and sure enough, when I reached out to pet its head, the head floated toward me, right under my palm, just as it would have in my dream.’
‘What the hell?’
‘I know. I couldn’t touch its body, but I also couldn’t see the body unless I had my Lenses on. The head appeared to be completely real.’
‘And that’s not a dream.’
‘If it was, I would know, wouldn’t I? Lucidity would have recorded it.’
‘I guess that’s right.’
‘Anyway, I’m sure it wasn’t a dream.’
‘Wow,’ Jessica said. ‘So what do you think it was?’
Snow thought he knew at least part of what had caused it, but he wasn’t about to tell Jessica about the Aubergine. ‘I don’t know,’ he said. ‘But it kind of freaked me out.’
‘Are you going to stop using Lucidity?’ Jessica asked.
‘I don’t think so,’ Snow said. ‘I doubt this happened because of Lucidity. And if it keeps happening and I’m not reviewing my dreams, I’ll have even less of a handle on the situation. At least if I’m watching my dreams, I know what I might come into contact with.’ Plus, he thought to himself, he sure as hell wasn’t going to take any more Aubergine. ‘Now do you see what I mean when I said you would want to tell people?’
‘Yeah,’ Jessica said. ‘I believe you but… That’s wild.’
‘So,’ Snow said, getting a little nervous, ‘you’re not going to tell the mayor, are you?’