Dreamcatcher 1

They called him Dreamcatcher and I tell you I am not sure what they built him out of but I know that he was fucking dangerous. he would sneak into your room, sit on the thin ledge of your headboard, and he would suck the oneiric energy straight out of your sleeping head, and man, some of the shit that he could do with that stolen energy was scary as fuck.

The last time we came across him all the mere mortals that were walking around with us gengineered mercenaries had their minds taken apart by the kind of infoviral self-replicators that used to rip data to shreds in computers. There was nothing for the psyche-wards to work with; nothing human left in them. And he smiled like he’d just been laid. Licking his lips like some kinky freak.

We were trained combatants. He was jungle warfare to our nice clean rules of engagement; he was guerrilla tactics. If we were Julius Caesar he was Vlad The Impaler. And he did it all with flickbook images taken from the brains of kids in the nursery. He could set Disney characters dancing through your skull in a way that would have you climbing the walls for weeks.

How did I survive him? I was designed for exactly that purpose. I was built to leech off of any kind of energy that was out there so any shit that he threw at me just made me stronger. I won’t say he didn’t fuck me up somewhat though. When you have been up against him you get a variant of the thousand yard stare that is unique to having dealt with him.

Ask someone who survived the Dreamcatcher what it was like and you see them the redialling the number he did on them. Sometimes survival is a relative term — I have seen a grown man shit himself at the thought of the Pandora’s Box that was once opened up in his mind by this individual. Who needs big production values when you can tap into someone’s reality engine and generate whatever sick and twisted fantasy you want to? Whatever sensory stimulus drives the person you are attacking suggests itself by how their memories are organised and you, being a creature that innately understands dreams and memories and things of that nature, can play them like they were notes in a symphony.

I have been following for I don’t know how long. I have followed him through his serial killer phase; his counter-revolutionary phase; his hero of the people phase — through every single delusion that he sold himself and the poor unfortunates he has in his thrall. I have stomped after him with my leaden feet and it is as if I were some child chasing after a god. And who is to say that isn’t what he has become? He has his own mythology — his fact is stranger than most fictions, and he has miracles to back up any promise he makes. So perhaps his madness makes more sense than all our sanities put together. God, that is a scary thought. What if I have been charged with killing the one true god that has ever existed?

Am I David against Goliath? Jack the giant killer? Or am I Judas? Am I Lucifer? I hae to think in this way — to make myself some bound binary opposite. I believe I dwell in the grey areas always; introduce the machinations of grey matter and all the certainty evaporates. Perhaps I am just tired. I haven’t slept in so long. they put me on that machine and push me through a rapid cycle of REM sleep so I don’t die on my feet, but I am beginning to wonder if the lack of real honest to goodness sleep is starting to catch up with me. Perhaps I am sleep walking through this.

Do I need to stop? Sit down; lay my head on a pillow and rest? How can I trust that he won’t take my head in his hands, twist my world around his finger and throw me into a hell of believing all he tells me? But maybe if I throw a big enough dream at him and he catches it then it will infect him and I will win by reprogramming him. Can I make myself into some compressed supermeme, some viral cultural building block that will move like a retrovirus through his fabric, re-programming him into what he should be?

Perhaps that is the way. Perhaps. One can dream, can’t they? Can they? Damn, my eyelids are heavy all of a sudden.

Wake 1

‘We’re here to repossess your reality.’

‘Sorry?’

‘You haven’t been keeping up your payments so all this shit is down the tubes, mate — that’s what.’

‘But I don’t get it.’

‘Bingo. That’s right; you don’t get it.’

‘This is an intravenously administered existence and we’re pulling the plug.’

‘But my wife, my children …’

‘Your beautiful house … yeah, we get the picture. You ever heard that Talking Heads song? That’s you, that is. Time to wake up, sonny.’

His eyelids cracked, he felt like he hadn’t moved around in an age.

‘You haven’t moved around in an age — if that’s what you’re thinking. Taking Vicarious is akin to being in a coma. As part of the disconnection program we have to offer you a debriefing session — my advice is that you take it. Otherwise you are going to be plagued by the sense of losing something that was never yours in the first place.’

He was bent double in pain, in mourning, wondering what the hell had happened to his shiny future. He looked around him. His reality was a pristine hospital bed surrounded by the detritus of an abandoned life. He had wondered what that warm feeling in his belly was as he woke? A slowly spreading darkening shadow of piss on the front of his keks gave him an answer he didn’t want.

They hadn’t bothered maintaining anything except him for the money he had been shelling out to have another life. He had hoped that the money would last much longer — that he might be able to ride out this reality until he actually passed over. Death: that last big adventure. But he wasn’t terminally ill just a useless fuck up who had pissed away the last of his money on a fucking high.

He threw back the covers and got out of bed. Jesus Christ, he was too old to be waking from sleep having pissed himself. How long had it been since they had left? How long had he been sitting here with the knowledge that he had just spent however long immersed in a virtual reality? He didn’t know what the date was. He wasn’t sure if the calendar had been flipped. The time on the video was blinking which suggested that there had been a power outage at some point. He was lost but not lost enough. He felt something in his pocket, pulled it out, looked at the piss blurred telephone number of the place he was supposed to call to get reoriented.

This was his life — a piss-stained wake up call into nothingness. He had no job to go to, no doting wife, and no child. He also knew he didn’t have the balls to off himself — he’d thought about that before and had opted for a lie instead. No one wanted the truth. He had to go out and get a newspaper — find out what he had missed; try and catch up with a world that had left him behind a long time ago. But first: a shower and a change of clothes.