CHAPTER EIGHT – Electric Dreams

I was running, running hard, but wasn’t tired. All I felt was fear. Darkness surrounded me, along with loud, weird sounds. There were figures in the dark following me. An extremely large ant jumped out at me with its mandibles snapping in my face as I ran past. Big machine turrets lit up the foggy dark, shooting out jets of light and sounding like wind. The floor became slippery, and I attempted to run. But instead of moving faster, I just slowed down. The turrets shooting out light and sounding like wind started moving the light in my direction. I looked behind me and the ant was chasing me, getting closer and closer. The sound of wind… no, the sound of crickets filled my ears and ouch. I slapped myself. Something had bitten me. My eyes opened, and I stared at the ceiling of the hut. Moving my arms in front of me to swat away flies above me. I looked at them and noticed they had covered me in bites. Taking the duvet off, I saw the problem had covered the rest of my body.

The sound of crickets was loud, and it was dark outside the hut. The lantern had many flying insects circling it. I needed first aid for my body and an insect net. Writing hovered in the darkness in front of my eyes. ‘Are you requesting a connection to “Wardrobe EMC”’? In my half asleep hazy state, I interacted with the text and the writing changed, “connected to Wardrobe EMC. Materialising request.” I looked at those words and thought to myself, what request? The sound of wind started again, sounding less intense than my dream. Light was emanating from the cracks in the wardrobe and I looked over, a little confused. After the wardrobe finished doing what it was doing, the room once again went dark.

I stood staring at the wardrobe, wondering what to expect. Too curious, I was standing there staring as I needed the toilet. I hadn’t opened this wardrobe before and Re was saying it could produce whatever I wanted. The doors of the wardrobe didn’t cover the entire wardrobe since it appeared to have thick outer walls. The doors were smaller than the unit itself. When I opened the wardrobe, the insides seem to be flush with the edges of the doors. The space inside looked small compared to the size of the whole wardrobe. The next thing I noticed was a lack of a rail to hang clothes up. It was just a wooden unit with nothing fancy inside. However, when I looked down at the bottom of the unit, I saw mosquito spray, cream to soothe mosquito bites, antiseptic and a mosquito net to go over the bed. I felt like it was a dream but accepted the products anyway. First thing I did was to spray myself with mosquito repellent. I found my bites were stinging from it landing on the skin. Then I applied some cream to soothe the bites and felt a little better. I threw the rest onto the bed and went outside as my bladder felt like it was bursting.

It was dark outside. I could only see the soft glow of light coming from the huts and buildings lining the side of this small beach. I relieved myself onto the side of the hut into the sand, there for a while, struggling to keep myself up as I leaned on the hut. It felt much better once I had finished, but it was cold, so I hurried back inside. I tried to get the sink working again, this time without effect. I gave up and instead put up the mosquito net. After I went back onto the bed and treated my bites with antiseptic spray. At that point, everything felt a little more real. It all felt somehow homely when knowing that I was on my own here. 

I laid my head back down and got settled. Just as I was about to sleep, I wondered if I would have caught a disease of some sort because of not having any injections before I went travelling. Then there was a small part of me that remembered that was perhaps impossible since they had only made the mosquitos yesterday. I felt confused as I laid there under that mosquito net and worried. However, I felt better than yesterday and better after I had applied all of the treatment. I laid under the duvet, feeling so comfortable, and once again fell asleep as soon as I closed my eyes. 

When I woke again, I laid there listening to the sound of the crickets and birds, refusing to open my eyes. I wanted to rest longer, however the light was getting brighter, and it was getting harder to sleep. Turning onto my back, I opened my eyes, looking at the hut ceiling. I wondered why I was still there and wondered about the events that lead me to be there. How could I have ended up here? When did I go abroad? How did I travel? Where did this fancy technology come from? Was I on an alien ship? Were there insect creatures that had kidnapped me and many other alien species? Am I alive? I swear I died… So many confusing questions ran through my mind, trying to make sense of everything. Then I realised where I was. Sitting myself up, I turned myself around. My clothes scattered on the floor and I felt for certain I was alone, so didn’t feel the need to cover up. I picked up my clothes and folded them, then placed them in the wardrobe. I closed the door, then heard wind again and saw bright lights coming from the wardrobe. 

I was staring at it at that moment, wondering what had just happened. After a small while looking at it, wondering what to do, I went to open it. I reached out and opened it slowly while peering around the door. My clothes had gone, vanished. I looked in shock and panic, looking for my clothes until ‘Please step back from the wardrobe when making a request’. What? I stared, confused at the writing but did as it asked. I stepped back, only to find the sound of wind filling the air once again. Staring as a ball of light formed in front of me, I squinted and then it settled. My clothes had come back except they seemed cleaner, more like brand new. Picking them up, I found they smelled so fresh. I looked at the wardrobe in front of me, smelling my clothes and I wondered.

I thought about drinking a cocktail. An exotic, berry filled cocktail with all the trimmings. I stepped back away from the wardrobe and then had a 3D image of a cocktail floating in front of me. Under it detailed the cocktail’s ingredients. Staring at it for a moment, I wondering what it meant. Reaching out to grab it only to find my hand passing through it and another cocktail being displayed. I swiped my hand again, and it displayed another cocktail. Again and again I went through the cocktails until I saw one that looked nice. Then pressing onto the hologram, thinking of the display in front of me like a phone. It then disappeared and the sound of wind filled the air once again. A ball of light was gathering inside the wardrobe and I shaded my eyes, this time with my hand. Once the light faded, I brought my hand away and looked into the wardrobe to see that exact cocktail waiting for me.

I threw the clothes onto the bed and I reached out to grab it. I took a sip and found it to taste so wonderful. It was fruity, delicious with just the right amount of alcohol. I was starving and was craving a cooked breakfast of some sort. I thought to myself about the breakfast I have had in Scandinavia. Very much like an English breakfast except also with fruit and yoghurt. I thought about how desperate I was to taste it and imagined it so vividly. The sound of wind once again filled the room. I looked over and found a plate of food waiting for me. While carrying the cocktail, I grabbed the plate with my other hand and then went to sit in the doorway to the hut. I placed the plate next to me on the floor and took a sip of the cocktail. I didn’t have a knife or fork to eat the meal. Again, the wardrobe did its thing while I looked out of the hut towards the forest on the opposite side of the beach. I watched the birds move around the trees as I thought about my problem. After, when silence fell, I got up and went to get the knife and fork. The hut had a flat square piece of wood in the entrance and I could balance my glass there while I placed the plate onto my lap and began eating. 

I was so hungry, and it was a large plate, a very large plate. Once I had finished, I felt so satisfied and full. I placed the plate back into the wardrobe and then, still dressed in just my boxers, I went out onto the beach. I felt the sun gently caressing my skin like a soft blanket. It felt perfect at that moment, cocktail in my hand and being on a beach without caring about being naked. I realised something was missing, something important. I was standing up and needed a deck chair. For entertainment, a good book. For a moment, I imagined having those things and then writing once again flashed in front of me. ‘Request connection with “VIP room 04”?’ This time when I looked at the writing, I accepted immediately. The writing faded. I heard wind and saw a ball of light form a few metres from me. An object appeared, and I realised my thoughts had once again become reality.

There was a deck chair, but there wasn’t a book. The instant I noticed, a 3D hologram of a book was presented to me. “The lost pirate, a story of a Tuhingan pirate who pillaged many ships to survive”. It was as good a book as any and so I chose it and it materialised. I sat down and read while sipping a cocktail with the sun beaming down on me. It felt so much like a beautiful dream. I tried to focus on the words, but as I did, flashes crossed my mind of the challenges I may have to face. Nightmares crept into this dreamlike setting as I remembered being overpowered by those terrifying ant like creatures. A tear formed and rolled down my cheek. I sat there staring out over the water, not understanding how it formed.

I had to place the book down as I remembered the reality I was living in. This dream, this pocket of goodness, was a bubble that could break at any moment. Nightmares had dragged me along without me being in control, and I was just lucky to be where I was. I realised at that moment that I didn’t know how long I had in this paradise and that thought scared me. I didn’t know what was to come next.

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