Mari dashed down the crooked street. Walls littered with graffiti. She couldn’t shake the feeling that she was being followed. She shook away the irrational thought. She was running late for school, again. Last night she had found an article about a corrupt leader in the Alliance and then couldn’t sleep. She wondered if they knew a member was going behind their backs? The dreary Berlin sky had a rustic glow, highlighted with silver streaks on the horizon. A tapestry of magnificent dark electricity, it was beautiful, but the coloration was created in part by pollution and chemical warfare.
Dread sunk in as she saw something move behind her, and she wondered if it were a shadow person. She quickened her pace and decided to take a different path today. There had been many times when a quiet voice inside had tried to guide her, but she usually had ignored it for the louder, more logical voice. Today the intuitive voice won.
She darted down the street and hurried through another mangled road. Bounding around the crumbled rocks and rusted pipes, her life felt like a voyage into a world of shattered innocence. Many sections in Berlin had always been rugged, but today’s atmosphere was bleak, and most of the comforts of the old world had vanished into a murky existence of rotting landscape and architecture. Soils and crops were depleted, vegetation barren and malnourished, and the sound of gunshots permeated the air far too often.
The cloudy storm expanded and darkened everyday, but the youth knew no other world; this wasted land was simply the norm. Maybe that was why they appreciated life more. Maybe that was why more people focused on the things that truly mattered. A chilly breeze flurried trash as she ran by a street lined with restored DDR apartments. She loved deserted streets and the old architecture from East Berlin. As Mari arrived at the end, out of the corner of her eye she saw a grey haired woman sitting on a park bench. Talking with strangers wasn’t a good idea in this day and age, but there was something different about her. The old woman was smiling, wore bright peculiar clothes, and had a glow about her. Mari smiled back at her as she strolled by, not something she usually did with people she didn’t know.
“Hello, young lass. Where might you be rushing off to?”
Mari twisted her neck to look at the eccentric woman as she strolled by. “School, but I have to go or else I’ll be late.”
“It would be a pity to miss such an exquisite experience, wouldn’t it?” the woman said with a twinkle in her eyes.
Mari smirked as she walked away. “Nice to meet you.” She’s too nosy, she complained silently.
“What’s the rush? Don’t you want to know why the peculiar old man with the funny hat appears in your dreams?”
Startled that the woman knew about the man in her dreams, Mari’s muscles tensed. “Lucky guess… I’m not the only one who’s had a dream about a strange looking old man.”
“Ay, but how long are you going to ignore your dream world?”
Angered by the comment, Mari responded curtly. “I don’t ignore it. I lucid dream all the time and know all about the scrambled clock thing.”
“Oh? Then I presume you have sorted out what you are meant to do with your life?”
She is annoying me. “I’m working on it.”
The old woman giggled. “Life is over in a flash, if you don’t follow your intuition, you will look back on it with regret.”
The air chilled Mari’s bones. She needed to leave as she feared being snatched up by a desperate exiled drifter. Great, this woman is a spiritual nut job, she thought as she started to walk around her.
“What are you afraid of, my dear? You didn’t answer my question about your dream world.”
“I already told you I don’t ignore my dream world, and I’m not afraid of anything.” Mari’s voiced started to rise.
“But you are not understanding your dreams properly. If you were, youwould already know what you are meant to do in this life. Right now you look at sleep as a playground for your lucid dream experiences. The dream world is much more than merely a place that reflects metaphors and symbolism. No, dear, it’s a realm we can use much like we experience the waking world.”
“Now I get it, you’re a crazy person that took too many drugs. Bye.”
She smiled. “If you want to transcend what you believe is possible, you are going to have to shift your focus about what it is that is truly happening when you sleep.”
Mari stared into the woman’s eyes, wondering if she were a homeless gypsy trying to scam her.
“Tell you what—I’d be happy to help you, my dear. Would you like to come to my home for a reading this Friday?”
Mari had just met the woman, she didn’t trust her, but how had she known about the old man in her dreams and how important the dream world was to her?
A cluster of people passed by on rusty bicycles as hovercraft traffic hummed on the airtrack above. The gentle wind whistled through the tunnel below. Mari shook her head. Why do these people still hurry off to jobs they hate?
Maybe she could help me, but what if she’s a crazy psychopath? “Can I think about it?”
“Sure, my child. I can hold a spot for you on Friday until midweek. Let me know by then if you can make it.”
“Should I mind call you?”
“Yes, leave me a message. It was nice to meet you, Mari.”
“Thanks,” Mari replied sheepishly.
How did she know my name? She didn’t plan on meeting the woman on Friday. She ran as fast as she could toward school.