The Dream Bank (work in progress)
Monica rolled over and kicked Dean in the stomach, “Wake up, you’ll sleep too long.”
Dean opened one eye, grumbling as Monica opened the blackout curtains.
“Come on, up. We’re going to be late.”
He looked at the clock by the bed. One side read 20:00, on the other, 00:00 flashed red. Delivery time.
Outside the clinic, slumped over, twitching patients stood rubbing their blood-shot eyes raw. Like dumb cattle waiting for the slaughter, only the occasional wail broke the silence.
“Look at them,” Monica said, shaking her head in disgust.
Dean was more compassionate, but he nodded silently in agreement. It was easier.
They entered through the side door where the donors punched in with an old card system, the kind used in 20th century factories. And sweatshops.
Dean and Monica gave each other a quick kiss before heading to their respective wards. Monica was more ambitious than Dean – that’s what attracted him to her. She climbed her way from the donation wing, where Dean still met with patients too poor to pay for quality dreams each evening, to the museum bank, where dreams were saved for posterity. There was no telling how many donors were left or when they’d run out.
On the top floor, Monica settled into the plush reclining chair that always reminded her of the dentist chair she marveled at as a child during school visits to the Museum of Health. The Oral Hygiene Wing was her favorite. She thought the little metal scrapers and heavy x-ray aprons belonged in the Medieval Museum with the spiked clubs and sharp spears. She touched her jaw at the thought, wondering what it was like before the Regeneration Age.
"Ah, Miss Monica,” Dr. Wendy Lachot cooed as she waltzed inside and closed the office door, “How are we feeling today?” As always, Dr. Lachot’s chocolate brown hair was swept back in a tight ponytail and her red lipstick perfectly matched the fiery shade of her stilettos.
“Well rested, Dr. Lachot,” Monica replied with a cheeky smile. She didn’t mention she and Dean had needed to run to arrive on time. She worried her stress hormones would be high.
Dr. Lachot gave Monica a look of disbelief. Monica had been under Dr. Lachot’s supervision since she was discovered as a teenager to be a Dreamer. Dr. Lachot knew Monica better than Monica knew herself. But it would be impolite to answer any other way.
“Shall we get started then?”
Monica closed her eyes as the chair reclined, listening to the snap of Dr. Lachot’s copper-lined gloves. The beta waves began to hum and the spicy, sweet sense of Myrtle wafted through the air. Monica placed her focus on the amygdala and visually massaged her grey matter. She relaxed her body into the chair as her consciousness moved outward and she became increasingly aware of the sensation of floating above her body. She could look down and see her pale, lanky legs left limp; Dr. Lachot’s hands busy with dials and wires. The moving image, at first sharp, became murky as it faded under a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes, swirling and pulsing to the beat of Monica’s internal rhythm.
And then it came, the dream.
Meanwhile in the Donor Ward, Dean was standing over his first patient, briefly reading the chart for the middle aged, balding man stretched out and yawning, helpless, below him.