what if all of your memories were just a dream...
Wake Up
Dreams are incredible things.
Some dreams can last up to about seven seconds, whilst others go for about fifteen minutes. While dreaming, we can’t have a proper sense of time, and how much time has passed. Dreams that we believe to be hours long could be taking only a couple of minutes. We could dream a lifetime in seven seconds flat.
While we are asleep and dreaming, we can’t tell what’s real and what’s not. Our brain doesn’t function in the same way, and so we are confused as to what is meant to happen, what could fit into reality and what is complete and utter nonsense. Everything seems real - weird or not.
When we awaken, we tell ourselves we were silly to think that what we experienced actually happened. But we shouldn’t, because in a way, it all happened. Who is there to tell us that what is a figment of our imagination could not be a part of the reality we live in every day?
So what is the difference between the worlds we roam as we are sleeping and the world we wake up in?
What if we are awake in both worlds? What if we are all living two lives, side by side?
What if this, the world you are living, breathing and reading this in, is the dream, and the world you enter as you sleep, is the reality?
I remember the day it had happened like it was only yesterday.
It was as ordinary as a Day in the Life of Me could get. I woke up to the sound of my alarm, pressed the sleep button, woke up ten minutes later, pressed the sleep button, woke up ten minutes later - well, you get the point.
I have decided that this cycle is so prevalent in teenage girls’ lives that it should have a scientific name or something. So I’ve decided to call it The Cycle of Awakening. The Cycle of Awakening ended, that morning, when Mum came in and screamed the same thing she does every morning:
“Adeline White-Smith! If you do not get out of that bed by the time I come in there, I will get you out of there myself!”
“Okay,” I groaned, and hauled myself out of my bed. A typical Tuesday.
It was the middle of winter, and I could feel the cold clawing at my neck and bare arms. I wrapped my scarf tighter around my neck, and walked briskly through the front gates of my school.
Today was not just any usual day. Today was the day before the Year Ten Disco. It’s a very informal celebration of our ongoing development of our maturity and responsibility, blah blah blah, and all of that jazz. To our grade, it’s a chance to hang out, dance, and have some fun. It’s also a test for our popularity.
It’s simply tradition - for some strange reason - for everyone to find “dates” for the dance on the day before the actual event. Ugh. That’s the only word I have for the whole practice. There’s only one person I had my eye on at that time, and there was no way in the entirety of the ways of this universe he was going to ask me to the dance.
Samuel Evans was by far the most popular boy in the grade. He hung out with all those snobs who did nothing but gossip and talk about how amazing they were. But he wasn’t like that. I was fortunate enough to have experienced, just once, the feeling of receiving one of those rare, striking smiles of his. I’m in the same math class as he is, and am seated right behind him. Weirdly enough, I look forward to these treasured periods of algebra and fractions and decimals - I can spend the entire class staring at the back of his beautiful blonde head. And sometimes - if I’m lucky enough - he’ll glance backwards, and I’ll be able to get a glimpse of those dazzling, green eyes -
“Ow!” Someone ran into me, forcing me backwards. I was in the locker corridor.
“Watch your step,” they hissed.
“Only if you watch your mouth,” I said under my breath. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you should never use comebacks against people who shove you in the locker corridor. Why? No idea. I’ve never been daring enough to try.
“Addy!” Someone called from across the corridor. “Addy, wait up!”
I turned around, only to be greeted my a mob of messy red hair and a friendly smile.
“Hey, Cara,” I smiled back.
“Why do you look so sad?” She put on a pouty face. “Do you know what day it is?”
“Of course I do,” I walked towards my locker, and completed the combination. “That doesn’t mean I have to be excited about it.”
“Excuse me?” Cara folded her arms and raised an eyebrow. Typical Cara pose. “Yes - you do.”
“Why? It’s not like I want anyone to ask me,” I said.
“What? What about that Samuel guy, huh? You’ve had your eyes on him since grade seven, hon!”
“There is no way,” I shoved my bag into the tight space my locker provided. “In a gazillion trillion years that he is going to ask me.”
“How do you know that?” she asked.
“The way this school works, Cara, is that the dorks get asked by the dorks, the fashionista brats get asked by the fashionista brats, and the popular adorable people get asked by the popular adorable people. Got it?” I sighed. “I think you know where I fit in.”
“Stop being such a pessimist, Addy,” Cara said, rolling her eyes. “That’s not how the world works.”
“I didn’t say that was how the world works. I said that was how this school works.”
“Whatever. Same thing. Anyway - the world works like this: the dorks ask whoever they want, the fashionista brats ask whoever they want, and the popular adorable people ask whoever they want. Got it?”
“Well,” it was my turn to fold my arms. “At the end of the day, let’s see whose theory is correct, okay?”
Every second of the day, I found myself wondering exactly what would happen if I asked Samuel myself whether he wanted to go with me. I played out hundreds of scenarios in my mind. Me passing a note to him in math class, putting a note in his locker, asking one of his friends, guiding him with a secretive letter to a silent corner so I could ask him in person, hiring one of those planes who write things in the sky - all of them ended up with me being humiliated and laughed at by the entire grade. Sometimes I even saw him asking me: “Wait - who’re you again?”
No. There was no way I was going to ask him myself.
The day went by in a blur, and I soon found myself in math class, once again staring at the back of his head. I sighed. I wondered whether I would ever have the privilege of seeing his smile again.
I started drawing on my maths book. All of the pages in my book were covered in doodles of some sort.
“Adeline?” A voice said. A male voice. Hang on a second...
I looked up, and sure enough, there he was. Samuel. Turned around in his chair, and looking straight at me. Me. And there was that smile. There were those green eyes, gazing in my direction. I gaped at him.
“I was wondering whether you’d like to be partners with me,” he shrugged. “For the activity.”
No way. This couldn’t be happening. I mean sure - partners? Activity? It was a strange way to ask someone to the dance, but it was something.
“I - I, um...sure,” I stammered. “Yeah.”
Samuel laughed. “You have no idea what we’re doing, do you?”
“Huh?” What was he saying?
“Mr Hoffman just gave us an exam notification,” he said. Samuel held up an orange piece of paper with ‘Maths Assessment’ written on the top. “He said the best way to learn all the stuff we need to know for the exam is to work in partners and ask each other questions to learn the answers.”
I continued to stare at him. So he wasn’t asking me to the dance. That was a shame, although he had never said so many words to me at once before. And of everyone in the class, he was asking me to be his partner. So he did know who I was!
“Okay,” I tried to act cool. “I guess I wasn’t listening.”
“No,” Samuel looked down at my textbook. “You’ve been...preoccupied.” He grinned.
“Yeah,” I laughed. “I guess you could say that.”
“So - do you want to start some of the questions?”
“Sure.” I was still dumbfounded.
Samuel held up another piece of paper. “Mr Hoffman gave us these questions to ask each other, so how about we do three each? Here, I’ll ask you some first.”
And so we started the oh-so-romantic practice of reciting mathematical equations. I didn’t know how Samuel knew me at all - we’ve never really spoken too much, and we were only in one class together.
After a few more questions, we kind of went off-topic.
“Are you coming to the disco tomorrow?” He asked me.
“Yeah,” I shrugged. “I guess so.”
“Who’re you going with?”
“Nobody,” I felt my cheeks redden. “Well - at least, nobody yet. How about you?”
“I haven’t got ‘round to asking anyone yet,” he said.
There was a silence. Luckily, we were saved by the bell, signalling it was the beginning of lunch.
“Well,” Samuel said. “I’ll see you around. Adeline, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” I smiled. “But really nobody calls me that. Addy, mostly.”
“See you around, Addy.” And he walked away.
I was at my locker, at the end of lunch break, when Samuel came up to me again.
“Addy?” he asked. I spun around to face him.
“Sam - Samuel?” I was surprised to see him there.
“Hi,” he waved, and grinned. “I was wondering whether...you know...”
He was looking at the ground. Was he...nervous? No, surely not. It was almost as if he was going to ask me something. Something important.
“Yes?” I answered.
“Well...you see...” he stammered.
“What is it?” I asked eagerly. He was going to ask me to the dance - I was sure of it.
“Would you like to come with me to -“ Suddenly, he stopped mid-sentence. He looked at me, and gripped my shoulders. He started shaking me.
“Samuel, what’s going on?” I asked, trying to pry his hands off me.
“Hello? Wake up!” He practically shouted. “Wake up!”
Suddenly, the world spun, and Samuel disappeared in a whirlpool of blur.
I opened my eyes. There was a boy, leaning over me. And he was holding a bucket.
Splash! He tipped the bucket, and icy, cold water hit my face and soaked my clothes.
“Hey!” I yelled, drying the water off my face.
“Sorry,” he said, putting the bucket down and kneeling down beside me. “I didn’t realise you were already awake.”
“What on Earth are you talking about?” I looked around, and gasped. I was lying down, on my back. I seemed to be in...some kind of woods. And it was snowing. That was weird. The boy who had poured the cold water all over me was staring at me, as if I was some kind of alien. He had dark, brown hair that covered some of his eyes, which were an icy blue.
“What did you just say?” He asked, standing up and continuing to gaze at me. “Just then - what did you say?”
“I asked what you were talking about,” I, too, stood, and brushed the snow off my clothes.
“No, you said something different,” he scratched his head. “You said: What on something are you talking about?”
“I said Earth, Einstein,” I told him angrily. “What on Earth.”
“Einstein?” He looked confused. “What’s that?”
I laughed at him. “Einstein? Albert Einstein? The German scientist? C’mon, you have to know who he is!”
“Never heard of him.”
“You’ve probably just been living under a rock for the past century or two, that’s all.” I rolled my eyes.
“What’s a scientist? What’s Earth? I think you must’ve hit your head a little too hard, missy.”
“Earth? You’ve never heard of planet Earth?” I looked at him. “What’s going on? Where am I, then, if I’m not on Earth?” I poured some sarcasm into my words.
“You’re in Sparrow,” the boy explained.
“Sparrow? Never heard of it.”
“It’s up near the Mountains,” the boy said. “The East Mountains? You’ve never heard of them, have you?”
“You’re making my head hurt,” I glared at him. “Whatever sick joke this is, stop it now. ‘Cause it’s not funny, mister!”
“This isn’t a joke,” the boy said, almost with a touch of sadness into his voice. “You’re the one who’s playing dumb.”
“Look,” I said, annoyed. “Just tell me where I am and who you are. How did I get here? What is going on?” I tried to remember back where I was before I appeared here. “A minute ago...I was in school. With Cara. And Samuel.” I gasped. “Samuel! He was about to ask me to the dance!”
“Listen to me - this is all I know,” the boy made a gesture somewhat similar to surrender. “I was out hunting, here in the woods. I saw a pretty girl lying unconscious in the snow. I thought she - you - were dead. I went over, and realised you were still alive. It was as if you were sleeping. So I tried to wake you up.”
“What?” I breathed. This made no sense at all.
“I shook you, and then poured cold water on your face. Turns out you were already awake. You were kind of annoyed.”
“Wait,” I said. “So you’re saying...Samuel...he was shaking me, telling me to wake up. That was you?”
“You were dreaming,” he shrugged. “Probably about that Earth place and Einstein and whatever. That was all your imagination.”
“No. That can’t be true. You’re just some messed up kid, you are. This is Earth. No, even better - I’m just dreaming. And then I’m gonna wake up, and Samuel is going to ask me to the dance. I probably passed out or something.” I pinched my arm. “Wake up, Addy, wake up!”
“Someone must’ve wiped your memory,” the boy observed. “You must’ve fallen unconscious, or something.”
“What?” I gaped at him. “Wiped my memory? That’s not even possible! You’d have to have magical psychic powers or whatever.”
This time, it was the boy’s turn to laugh.
“Yeah, like that’d be unusual,” he said, grinning. “Your memory’s been wiped. Here is this world, a lot of people have ‘psychic powers’. If that’s what you want to call them.”
“You’re mad,” I concluded. “This is not some magical land, and my memory has not been wiped!”
“Don’t freak out,” the boy said suddenly.
“About wha-?” He leapt forward, and put his hands on the side of my head, his index fingers on my temples.
And suddenly, everything went white.
I felt electricity, coursing through my veins, burning through my body. I found it hard to breathe. I couldn’t see anything. And suddenly, there I was, back in the school hallway, but everything was hazy and blurry. Like an image in smoke. And the boy was there, looking around, and at me.
“What is this?” I demanded.
“It’s your memory,” he explained. “We’re inside your mind.”
“That’s not possible,” I breathed.
“It is when you have magical psychic powers,” he grinned.
“And a lot of people have those kind of abilities, here in Sparrow?” I asked doubtfully.
“Sparrow is a small village, close to the base of the Eastern Mountain Range. The mountains are kind of a border for the province Nevina, which is where Sparrow is located, along with about a dozen other villages, towns, and one large city - the capital. Nevina is a part of eight provinces that all make up the state Rondelle. And Rondelle is one of the ten states that make up our country - Diallena.” The boy smiled again.
“And how many countries are there?”
“About twenty-three, I think. And across all of those countries, there are people called the Edane - the Gifted. People with ‘magical’ abilities. I’m one of them.”
“So...I’m in a whole other world? None of the things I...this,” I gestured to the memory around me. “Is all part of my imagination? Even my family, my friends -“
“Well, that’s where it gets tricky,” the boy said. Suddenly, I felt the memory fading, and we were back in the woods. “You see, technically, there are rules about dreaming.”
“They’re not exactly rules. But rather things you should know. You can’t actually dream someone up. It’s impossible to dream about someone who you haven’t seen before sometime in your life.”
“So you’re saying that all my friends and family I dreamt of...they’re real? They exist?”
“Kind of. Yes. Well, they probably aren’t actually your family and friends, but those people you dreamt of - you’ve seen them, in your past. Here, in Diallena.” The boy told me.
“Okay. Let’s do another summary,” I said for perhaps the thousandth time that day.
The boy groaned, but then said: “Okay. Off you go.”
“So, I used to have a life here, in this world.”
“Diallena. Presumably somewhere around this area, as that’s where I found you.”
“And for some...important and strange reason, someone chose to wipe my entire memory of this world. And so I fell unconscious.”
“Usually when someone drains you of all your memories, energy is too hard to sustain for you. Sometimes it can be fatal.” The boy said.
“And so I fell asleep. And just like any other normal person, I had a dream. Because I had no memories for my imagination to build onto, I created a whole new world - a world called Earth, and all the countries and cities within it. I created a life for myself. I created a past and a present for me to live in. And I thought it was real, because my mind didn’t know any better.”
“And for some reason,” the boy began. “Your mind was able to sustain the images of people you had met before.”
“And so I dreamt up people.” I said. “And while I was unconscious, you were out hunting for food for your family. And you came across me, and tried to wake me up.”
“Exactly. Well done,” the boy smiled. “Now all you have to do is let all of that sink in. Trust me - it’ll take a while.”
I started at the ground. At the snow. Everything I had just discovered - it all came rushing in on me, like a tidal wave. And then I realised that tidal waves probably didn’t exist in this world.
“My whole life was just a dream.” I said to myself. “This is reality - this is where my real life begins.”

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