Dream of the Lost
The young boy lays his head down to rest. As he drifts into his sleeping consciousness, a small smile plays across his lips, as if to acknowledge the glories his young mind may have waiting for him.
Upon entering his dream world, the young boy stands before two persons. The first, a mirror image of himself, greets him with a wave and a smile, familiar territory for the pleasant young boy. The second looks similar to the young boy's father, though there is something far more familiar about him, something the boy can not place. There is no wave, nor a smile, that comes from the second persona. Initially the man stares at the boy, emotionless and seemingly dead, for a long moment. The man then turns and beckons the boy to follow him along the path.
Before following the man, the young boy turns to himself and asks if it is safe. The mirror image shrugs, but follows the uncertainty with a thumbs up, as if to say, "What other choice do you have?"
Not a few steps along the path, the young boy sees a chair and a desk materialize in front of him. Curious boy that he is, he sits down at the desk. Scribbled across the face of the desk in hasty cursive are five words:
The Beginning of the End
The boy looks up, confused by the cryptic message, to ask the older man what it could mean. He no longer sees the same man, but a teacher from his school, and she is crying. The young boy tries to get up to console his teacher, but finds that he can not move. He is glued in this position, staring at his teacher as she weeps.
He tries to ask her what is wrong, but he can not speak. Fear begins to rise in the young boy and he struggles to break free from the desk, to no avail. The more he struggles to break free from his new prison, the harder the teacher weeps. She is visibly shaking now. The boy is scared now. He rails harder and harder against the confines of the desk and he finds that every time he attempts to escape, his teachers hand begins to move toward him, fist closed and shaking.
Curious about this new development, the boy struggles even harder against his restraints, until his teacher's hand is inches away from his face. As she opens her secret to him, he finds a small pill laying within.
"Take it and you will be free."
Longing to be anywhere but in this desk, the young boy snatches the pill and swallows it quickly, eyes clenched by the pain of something so large being forced upon him. With the pill finally down, the boy opens his eyes to find his teacher gone and the man again beckoning him to follow the path.
As the boy follows the man, he begins to notice the landscape around him has become somehow darker. Not of the night, but of the dusk. In this darkness, the path has become more clear. As the boy is about to stumble upon a realization, he notices the man has stopped in front of him, he is gesturing to a door on his left. The boy enters.
Upon entering the room, the boy finds his parents seated on a couch, both of them staring at paperwork and a laptop computer. It reminds the boy of their "work nights." In the corner sits a television, displaying bright colors moving quickly across the screen. Confused, the boy approaches his parents to ask them what is happening, and what he should do. As he inches toward them, neither looks up from their work. He reaches out to tap his mother's shoulder, and upon making contact is immediately thrown in front of the television.
Confused and terrified, the boy lunges towards his parents and is again thrown in front of the television. This time though, the television seems to have become larger, the pictures brighter, they move faster. The boy is trembling. He turns again to his parents and finds the distance between he and them greater still. Mustering all his strength, he once again lunges for them, and is again thrown in front of the television.
The television now encompasses the boy's vision. The pictures glare. They move in a blur. There is now sound, and it is deafening. The boy ducks his head and covers his ears, screaming for it to stop...and stop it does. When he looks up, four words play upon the screen:
I Will Teach You
The boy struggles to identify what that may mean, and is interrupted again by the man beckoning him to follow the path.
Again the boy, now weary of the dream, begins to notice the dusk closing in around him. When he turns to ask the man why that is, he finds him pointing to a chair at a small desk. There are many files and a computer at this desk, as well as a plaque with his name on it. He smiles at this, as his name has always brought him great pride. He sits at the desk.
Upon sitting, a scale flashes on the screen. Over the right plate, the word "work" sits, over the left, "life." They do not move. Thinking this a game, the boy reaches for the mouse and, in doing so, watches the scale tip towards the work plate. Immediately he recoils, and the scale balances again. Confused and quickly becoming afraid, the boy turns to ask the man what he should do, but finds himself enclosed in a cube. When he turns back to the computer he sees three words and a prompt:
Work Is Life. Hit enter to begin...
Wanting desperately to escape the claustrophobic cube, the boy hits enter and the scale comes back. Piled high on both plates now are pills labelled both work and life. He begins to understand.
The boy grabs a file, opens it, and begins to type the information written on the paper into the computer. With each keystroke the pills from life move to work. The boy does this for what feels to him like an eternity, until work has every pill. When the last pill falls, four words scroll across the screen:
Hit Enter to Repeat...
The boy drops his head and again begins to cry. He weeps in hopelessness until the man again taps him on the shoulder and beckons him continue along the path.
All is darkness now, all but the path laid before him. His will drained, the boy perks up when he sees his mirror image just ahead, the regret of not remaining with him melting away. He runs to meet him, but stops short when he realizes something is wrong. This boy is hollow. This boy is dead. This boy is lost.
The boy turns to the man to ask what has happened and the man smiles and waves. The gesture is empty and the boy grows cold under the realization of his mistake.
At breakfast the next morning, the boy attempts to tell his mother and father of his dream.
"I'm sorry honey, but you will have to tell us all about it after work. Take your medicine and get ready for school."