0 comments

Historical Fiction Sad Speculative

Sam was a middle aged man with high amounts of energy. He’d spend many nights up late pouring over books, many of which for the fourth or even fifth time. Sam’s chief interest was with the human brain and to be more specific the dreams it can generate. There was not all that much research on the subject at this moment. There was a new and controversial theory called “precognition”. This theory made a loose connection between a person’s dreams and their waking reality. It was thought, by some, that if one could really understand their dreams, they may even gather insight into their future.


When Sam was a young man, he had this vivid, wretched dream about his brother. He saw his brother underwater. The tone of the dream wasn’t ominous at first and he was just watching his brother floating. Suddenly, in the dream Sam felt the passage of time and the image of his brother underwater was more and more unbearable to see. With each moment the dream remained this image, the more he felt his brother slipping away. Sam woke up in a panic, afraid that what he had seen was real and he’d been swimming with his brother and passed out himself. 


Sam didn’t sleep the rest of that night and when he felt it was an appropriate time in the morning to call, he phoned his brother whose wife answered the phone. Not wanting to alarm her, Sam asked to speak with his brother. She said he was out, which was good enough for Sam to dispel the wariness he’d felt over his dream. She asked if he had a message and he told her to say “I’m just thinking of you and give me a call if you want”. One week later Sam’s brother went on a fishing trip up north unbeknownst to Sam. Also unbeknownst to Sam, his brother had phoned him back, but Sam missed the call and there wasn't a voice message at that time. His brother died in a boating accident. When Sam heard the news, he was grief stricken and convinced that he’d seen a vision, which might have saved his brother’s life.


As mentioned, at this time there was not much research on the brain and few people put much stock into dreams. Dreams were fleeting and not consistent, not to mention often outlandish and bizarre. For many years Sam largely kept his vision to himself and dared not go into depth about his convictions on the matter. The years went by and Sam went from a young man to a man to approaching middle age. By this time some men across the pond had begun to take issues of the brain more seriously and even had grants to conduct rudimentary research on the matter.


Sam took a boat there, which conjured up much reminiscence. Luckily, there had been no signs of trouble before this journey. Sam arrived at the Metropolitan Center for Research of the Mind. He’d been granted access to the facility by the Chief Doctor himself. When he arrived, Sam was given a tour of the facilities which included many sleeping chambers with double mirrors and sound recording devices. Then, there were large theaters that the tour guide explained were used as classrooms and for conferences when the leading mental doctors around the world gathered to share research. The latest research here at the MCRM was being done on the predictive fertility of adult women based on dream interpretation. Several hundred women, both with children and currently pregnant, were being monitored once weekly to search for patterns in the way they slept. They also were subject to lengthy interviews with several questions meant to distract from the real purpose of a few questions meant to determine whether the women had dreamed of childbirth or children before their first pregnancy. The golden age was to establish a numerical relation between the frequency with their dreams and the number of children they had in their adult lives.


Sam listened very politely as his guide explained how their doctors had designed the fertility experiment in the first place and what some preliminary results looked like. Sam wasn’t interested in the predictability of women’s fertility. Sam asked if they had any participants who had dreams of childbirth as girls and chose not to have children. Unfortunately, part of the Center’s stipulations for this experiment was that all participants had to be pregnant. Sam didn’t only want to know if dreams were glimpses into the future. That he believed in. Sam wanted to know if decisions based on dreams could change the future. A woman who had had a vivid, wretched dream about childbirth and decided to remain single might be proof of someone whose actions had changed their future. Sam pressed the guide for some information on this subject, but he skirted the questions as if other research at the Metropolitan Center for Research of the Mind was confidential. He wasn’t getting anywhere with his questions and the guide was only a student and not a doctor involved in the research anyway, so he left.


Sam returned home with no answer and a mind more curious than ever. Exhausted from the journey, Sam went to bed without setting an alarm, expecting to need to sleep in to account for the travel. That night he dreamed of himself traveling in an airplane, then the dream image changed like a flash of lightning and he saw the wreckage of a plane on fire. When Same woke up, he figured it didn’t take the Metropolitan Center for Research of the Mind to put together that this dream meant he was going to die in a plane crash. 


For many years Sam refused to travel by plane. He figured that this dream was simple enough to avoid as he could just drive anywhere that he needed to be and maybe, worst case scenario, he would have to travel by boat. The plan worked flawlessly for many years and Sam went from a middle aged man to an old man. After a while Sam began to question whether or not his dream had predicted anything. He’d avoided going on any flights, but crashes were rare and he’d never heard of a plane going down en route to a location he’d gone to anyway. Towards the end of his life, Sam had picked a particularly far away location for his vacation and he thought seriously for a week about flying there to save time. His life had been long and maybe he’d been silly all this time anyway. Something about him wouldn’t let it happen. The first flight he took was liable to be his last and he had no guarantee either way of the outcome.


Sam decided to drive and set off to cross much of the country on his way to vacation. He was several hours into his drive and the landscape around him was large stretches of open land with few obstructions. On one long stretch of road, Sam noticed a pillow of smoke rising along the right side of the highway a couple odd miles ahead. As Sam got closer to the smoke, he slowed down and passed the mess nearly at a crawl. A small two-seater plane had gone down over the farm fields while it had been crop dusting. Several cars had stopped to offer what help they could. The twisted metal lined several hundred yards of farmland and the smoke billowed up into the sky stretching on for a mile downwind. Sam got out of his car and walked towards the people bordering the highway. He looked towards the wreckage and saw the figure of a young man sprawled on the ground in front of the plane. He was motionless, but looked alive. Without thinking Sam went towards the wreckage with the intent of dragging the young man to safety. His fate was to be damned. Sam had the chance to aid this young man and it wasn’t going to go by. The explosion from the overheated fuel tank came so suddenly and violently that neither Sam nor the young man felt anything. 


October 02, 2021 01:47

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

0 comments