The dreams had startled those few that had them. It was strange, a queer, queasy feeling, having something in that headspace long reserved for the bliss of dark. A sort of off-ness that you wouldn’t really trouble anyone with. That changed when the second dream came.
“I was holding my child. I knew that it was my child. I was holding him so close. But I looked down on the bed and there was another child. When I looked at it I realise that was my child. Not the one I was holding, this other child on the bed was mine. So I looked at what I was holding in my hands and it was a baby, but not mine. A horrible face, something wrong with it. I dropped it and as I realised what I had done, dropping this poor child, that’s when I woke up.”
It was a dream so disturbing, so sharp and bright, that people did mention it. It stayed with them. They talked about it. They told the same story over and over.
The terraces and greenways buzzed with dream-talk. It had even made its way into a tiny capsule on an asteroid, with just four crew members. Sil, short haired and toughened by a life spent more in space than on-sphere, came out of her pod crying. The mission commander shot his pilot, Lars, a terrified look.
“Jaxon, I think you and me better scout.” Lars said, thumping the commander on the back as he walked past.
“I’m so sorry Ren, I just…” Sil was latching on the commander in an awkward hug. Ren held her for a moment then made a fuss about brewing up some kelp.
The bay door slid shut behind Lars and Jaxon. The last thing they heard was “A hot drink, that’s what you need.”
“Pfft. That’s why you should be able to pick your own team, eh?”
Jaxon just nodded, his mind still on that infant’s face. It was so old. And when he dropped it, so tiny and light. Lars gave him a tap with the comm-line.
“Hey Newb, lay the cable from there. Frig, did everyone wake up half-loaded today?”
Image from The Rebel Escape