Sweet Dreams

Sweet Dreams

Once we were outside, the two Liberation Officers yanked me to my feet and slapped a pair of handcuffs over my wrists. I quickly realised that I wasn’t the only one being arrested. Miss Wickers, who lives at the end of our road, was being thrown into the back of a small, black car and Mister Boyle, who for many years had been considered the unofficial leader of our close-knit community, was being frogmarched out of his house. He struggled and, amazingly, managed to break away from his Liberation Officers. He charged down the street, still handcuffed, bathrobe flapping about his ankles like the wings of an overgrown bat.

He didn’t get far. His Monitor darted after him. Its camera flashed red, and Mister Boyle dropped to the pavement, screaming in agony. The last I saw of him, before I was shoved into the Liberation Officer’s car, was his fat body convulsing on the ground, black foam bubbling in the corner of his gaping mouth.

I had everything explained to me, about five or six hours later, at my towns Liberation Office. The Chief Liberation Officer, a thin man who called himself Commander Blackford, informed me that the Dreamcatcher had judged my dreams to be in breach of Section VIII. I was being charged with Psychic Possession of Extremist Material. I was horrified. I had no idea that my dreams were so problematic. Indeed, I couldn’t even recall having had any dreams, the night before I was arrested.

I was sentenced to ten years at one of the First Minister’s Junior Disciplinary Centres. This, to me, seemed very reasonable. If I hadn’t been a minor, I would most likely have been executed. My parents weren’t allowed to visit me, but I did receive thousands of phone calls from mum, throughout my time in the Centre. She told me that she was very disheartened by my decision to dream against the state. Dad had almost lost his job once the news had gotten out. She told me that dad was now experimenting with a brand-new drug developed by the government, which allowed him to function without having to sleep. Mum explained that, after my arrest, dad had come to regard his own mind with the deepest suspicion. The drug had vastly improved his productivity – he was now able to work twenty-two hours a day, with three one-hour breaks allotted for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The only downside to this new drug was that dad did now have an unfortunate proclivity to weep blood and vomit whenever he felt the urge to pass water. I told Mum that I thought these shortcomings sounded like a fair trade in order to guarantee total loyalty of mind to the First Minister.

I grew ever more devoted to the First Minister during my period of imprisonment at the Centre. My new bedroom was decorated with four posters of Fowler, one for each wall. I got into the habit of praying to these posters every night, before I went to sleep, in order to stave off rebellious and extremist dreams. The Officers that ran the Centre were so impressed by my dedication that they eventually decided to make this form of ritualistic prayer compulsory for all the other prisoners.

This earned me some scorn from the other prisoners, so much so that some of them took it upon themselves to beat me for being what they called a ‘lapdog’. The Officers, however, liked me so much that they made sure to torture those brutes as a form of retribution for the injustice I had suffered. They even offered to let me join in on the restorative beating. I politely declined this offer. I remembered the words of my dad when talking about the southerners. I felt that my fellow prisoners were to be pitied, not abused. Of course, if the Officers disagreed, then that was their choice. I made no attempts to stop them beating the other prisoners in my name.

As I said, the Officers that ran the Centre took a liking to me. I was regularly invited to have dinner with the Warden. She was a very short woman, with large, bulbous eyes and very thick, red lips. She always wore the same crisp, white uniform, which was adorned with several sparkling gold medals.

About The Author

Rhys Clark

I am an English and Theatre Studies student at the University of Warwick. I particularly enjoy dystopian literature and political satire. My influences as a writer are George Orwell, Christopher Hitchens, Kurt Vonnegut and Harold Pinter.

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