The Dream Revolution
Published in University of Chicago's Blacklight Magazine
Sarah scanned the faces, one by one. They were all there: Anna, Ihsan, Nia, Karine, and Isaac, gathered in a circle around the picnic table in the center of the yard. The wind swept the hot summer air back and forth, just like any other day. But today, no one brought coffee from the kitchen in the back of the house. It was past the time for discussions. Now was the time for final checks and last objections. Nia poured six shots of the homemade vodka that she saved for life-changing moments with a toast.
“When I unplugged from the telepathic network, I thought I could escape the government’s control forever,” Sarah began. “I ran to another universe. I dreamed outside of the network for the first time. In the dream, I had everything I always wanted. I had a family, a comfortable place to live, a community, work, food, and the freedom to do what I wanted. But in the other universe, it was just another life. Some things were better, of course, but the cliffs and the dry summers and the rough feeling of our language in my mouth called me home. I could never have my utopia there while my home lay conquered and ravished. Home called me back to my brothers and sisters, subjugated because of their ancestry, their occupation, and their identity so that a few rich men could feed on our suffering. I needed to use the hope that I saw to build my own future in the land of my ancestors.
I am immensely grateful to all of you for being the foundation of this revolution, for sharing my belief in a world that seems impossible to everyone else. For the work you have done to craft this dream, to imagine this world, to paint it in vivid colors, and to project it across the city. Remember: we are prepared to defend ourselves, but we will not attack anyone. We are building a community, inviting everyone who wants to join our dream. We are ready to lead this movement to rebuild our society. To our revolution!”
They clinked their glasses and drank solemnly, feeling the excitement, the fear, and the gravity of what they were doing. Sarah looked over to Karine. She had her computer all set up, with the program on the screen, and her finger on the mouse.
“Everything running smoothly?”
“Let’s go over the plan one last time,” said Sarah. “When we press this button, Karine will project the dream we’ve created across the telepathic network and into the minds of everybody sleeping. Once the five minutes of the dream are up, you will all need to get into the network and establish a connection with everyone who is thinking about the dream. If they are open to our idea, we will invite them to join us and we will be ready to meet them here at sunset. Everybody ready?”
Sarah counted five nods.
Alik looked around the yard and at the house’s open door. It didn’t look like his house, but somehow he knew that it was. He knew that there was a little kitchen in the back of the house with a bar to make whatever kind of coffee he wanted, and a bean bag where he could sit and read for hours. He was waiting for Daniel to bring the coffee.
His eyes met Daniel’s as he walked out the door, holding two tiny hot cups of thick, dark coffee. He slipped into Daniel’s thin, strong arms as they sat down on the stone bench with their coffee out in front of them on the table.
“I need to get going to work soon,” said Daniel, “But I wanted us to have coffee first.”
Alik nodded. He knew instinctively that he had to go to work too. He had a job, like everyone else. He would go into the office and work on his legal research drafting plans for the program to welcome newcomers to the community. He would take a break to have another cup of coffee with his coworkers and tell them excitedly about his engagement.
The image changed and he was walking home from work. He watched the sun turn the sky orange as he made his way through the alleys. He stopped at the green door.
Alik rubbed his eyes and rolled over. The fog in his brain cleared almost immediately and he remembered the dream. Damn it! He tried to close his eyes and will the dream back but it was no use. He replayed the scenes in his mind, trying to write everything fast enough in his journal.
Suddenly, he felt a tiny jolt. He was receiving a message from someone through the telepathic network.
Do you remember your dream? He heard a breathless voice in his head.
Who are you?
We made the dream. It is our dream of the future we are building. Come join us.
Alik said nothing.
Do you remember the house you saw? That is our house. Come see us tonight, when the sun goes down.
How do I get there? He asked.
I’m sending the directions. Follow the alleys.
Sarah drummed her fingers on the picnic table nervously. She ran over the precautions she had set up. We will screen every visitor who comes by. If they are safe, we will welcome them. If they are government personnel, we will masquerade as a coffee shop. If they fight us, we are prepared. We will be safe. We will be ready. She watched the sun sinking lower and lower in the sky. Any minute now, the first ones would arrive. Any minute now she would face the next test and see whether her insane dream could survive.
She heard a knock. She stood up, staring at the green door that hid her fate.
“Let's go,” she whispered.