The Rough Dreams
Morlynn loved her job. She loved being a Rougher, taking the raw Dream-Stuff her Harvester friends gathered, and shaping it into a general form, a school or work building, the sensation of flight or of drowning. She loved watching the Refiners take her sketched-in form, and turn it into a fully-realized dream, full of color and sound and heightened emotions. Most of all, she loved the thought that she was part of the process of making people's lives and minds more interesting, of showing to each of them some hidden part of themselves.
But sometimes, before she could pass a dream on, it would escape, lumbering off through the Curtain, to the waking world. They were often the hardest to work even before they went rogue, twisting and turning and straining under her hands, and each time it happened, her curiosity grew as to where they went, and why they tried so hard to get there. One day, Morlynn made the snap decision to follow one, to finally learn the answers to her questions.
The Curtain was strange, almost sticky, and she had to force her way through, where the dream had slipped through lightly. The waking world on the other side was bright, the colors sharper than anything Morlynn had ever seen, and it was loud, and smelly... Morlynn was regretting her choice, but she'd taken the biggest step, and now she felt she had to follow through. As she adjusted to the assault on her senses, she figured out that she was in a park, in the midst of a crowd, many of whom were waving signs or chanting something angry.
The people around her didn't seem to be able to see or feel her, which was eerie, but it did make everything a little easier. The dream, too, seemed invisible to them, but they still turned toward it, seeking for it. To Morlynn it glowed so bright its light shone through the people, and she found it simple to trail it through the crowd, that restless, churning mass of humanity, to a young woman standing near the edge of a stage.
The dream gathered itself and leapt into the young woman, the glow spreading out to fill her skin, to shine out of her eyes. She jumped up onto the stage and grabbed a microphone. She began to speak, passionately, gesturing and pacing, and with each word, a puff of glowing Dream-Stuff popped out of her mouth and drifted into the audience, who had turned toward her at her first word. The puffs landed on one person or another's face or hair, their shoulder or hand, then sank in and spread out under their skin.
Morlynn was transfixed. All around her, the waking people were starting to glow. Each glow was faint, but there were more and more of them with every passing moment, and the crowd looked to her eyes like moonlight on water. The people were now moving restlessly, turning to each other to share ideas and glow, waving their signs more energetically, throwing their fists up to agree with some point or other the woman on the stage was making. Her speech finished with a feeling like a silent thunderclap, and the crowd scattered, leaving in every direction with intense purpose.
Morlynn wanted badly to follow them, or the woman, but she felt herself being dragged back. A painful moment later, she was standing in The Boss's office, his luminous eyes fixed on her, though, she was glad to see, not with ire. He rose, came around the desk, and led her over to a sofa, where they sat. She looked down at her hands, then up at him, nervously.
He smiled gently, giving her a sense of calm. “And so you see, my dear. For their ordinary lives, people need sleeping dreams, to let their minds explore. But sometimes, every so often, they need waking dreams too, to let their hearts expand.“ Morlynn smiled back. She really, truly, absolutely, loved her job.