This post has the following content warnings:
Apr 08, 2020 11:12 AM
River Tam has a dream
Permalink

They say it's a program for gifted children. They say she'll advance. That she'll be amazing. That she'll serve the Alliance well. That her full potential will be unlocked.

Those are, possibly, not lies.

But River knows what's in their brains. Picks picks picks secrets, like little poisonous berries peeking out from dark serrated leaves dripping with blood - 

They inject her with something.

(They've injected her with a lot of somethings.)

Her mind expands again.

She screams -

And when her brain starts processing coherent imagery again, they give her a keyboard and a screen and tell her to write her loving family a lovely little letter.

She knows they're screening her communications.

She smiles and she's a normal excited girl who doesn't remember the torture, like they don't want her to -

She winds in a code.

No one's rescued her yet, but -

River Tam writes about vacations that never happened, games they never played, stories they never told.

And then, quietly, this time without even murdering anyone (she'll save that for later) she goes back to the chair.

And then, afterwards, she sleeps, limbs bound to each other and the bed so she can't kill her minders like she's done so many times before. So she can't sneak out, and tell them oh I'm not here as she steals needles and scalpels and slits their throats -

They always catch her.

River Tam smiles as she's bound.

And then she sleeps.

Total: 292
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

She finds herself back in her library at home, everything is just as she remembers it. An unfamiliar woman in jeans and a light purple blouse is sitting cross-legged on the floor next to one of the shelves perusing the titles on the shelf.

Permalink

Weird.

She reaches out to the woman, trying to read her mind. (Everyone's brains are cut open, exposed to her, in her dreams lately.)

Permalink

The woman thinks of herself as Addy, short for adventure, she had another name once but she doesn't use it anymore. She is genuinely curious about the books on the shelf but she's also waiting for River to speak to her. She's hoping that River will be a friend, and also that Addy can help. Addy knows about where River is.

Permalink

"Addy," she says out loud.

Permalink

"Hello River." She smiles softly, "You've been having a pretty awful time lately. I hope that I can help, if nothing else you won't be having any more nightmares."

Permalink

"Where are we?"

Permalink

"I call this place the dreamscape. It's something in between a dream and a physical place. Your mind will come here whenever you fall asleep now."

Permalink

"Can I leave through it?"

Permalink

Addy sighs softly. "Yes and no... You can enter the dreamscape physically, but you're the tether that ties the dreamscape to your world. If you come in, you may never be able to find your world again."

Permalink

"Oh."

"I still want to see my family again."

Permalink

"I hope we can make that happen." Addy smiles a bit. "Being a tether means you can bring some things back with you to the waking world. Given time and practice I think you'll be able to escape."

Permalink

"Good."

"Are there weapons here?"

Permalink

"I'm not sure that's the best approach but, yes." Addy holds out her hand and a knife fades into view, it looks more ornamental than practical. The handle has intricate engravings of flowers with an appropriately colored gem forming the center of each flower. "With practice you can manifest just about anything here."

Permalink

"I'm good at weapons."

Permalink

Addy frowns, "It's a little sad that someone your age has had cause to acquire those skills." She closes one eye briefly then the other. "Do you want to start working on escaping right away? Time is a bit strange here, it's ok to take time to relax."

Permalink

She thinks.

She needs to escape, needs needs needs it, knows she's going insane and in an unhelpful way -

But -

Some normalcy might help, too. Might ease back some of her sanity. Some of her ability to plan, because right now all that's in her head is other people's heads and her screaming murderous thoughts, a billion ways she could rip them open -

She looks around.

She's in a library.

"I want to read," she says, sounding distant to her own ears.

Permalink

"Then we'll read for a while, you have some books here I haven't read before." Addy finds and selects a science textbook.

Permalink

She goes and finds a psychology book.

The books aren't like books in dreams. They're real, the same books she had in her family's library -

She pauses in reading the psychology book. It's not very good, and she read it as a kid. She flips to the back, where the references are.

Can she make some of these books, the ones she's never read?

Permalink

When Addy made the knife she visualized it very clearly both inside and out, and then filled up the image with a particular sort of mental energy. Addy was deliberately filled it slowly so as not to startle her.

It doesn't seem like the same technique would work for a book she doesn't know the words to.

Permalink

"How do I make books I only know the title and author of?" River asks.

Permalink

Addy looks up from her book. "That's actually pretty hard, the magic of the dreamscape is overwhelming visual. If you've seen the book you can pull the details through your tether." In her mind Addy is focusing on a gossamer strand of something anchored inside herself that's connected to something a bit like a faded balloon floating off in a direction that isn't any of the physical ones. Addy builds the image of a book in her head then connects the book to that strand and makes a vacuum inside the book, something a bit like the energy that made the knife real flows into the book from the balloon and Addy is holding a book. River also has a gossamer strand like that but hers is taught and she can't immediately sense what it's connected to. "Don't try to follow your tether," Addy warns, "if you do, you'll probably wake up."

Permalink

"Right."

She hasn't seen most of the listed books. She frowns at the pages. "Can I make a library I've visited, even if I don't know all the books in it?"

Permalink

Addy smiles, "Yes, you made this room subconsciously, making places after the first one takes a bit of practice though, and it's really much easier to do it from outside a created space." Addy starts to concentrate. Reaching out mentally to touch River then stops herself. "Is it alright if I move us out of this room?"

Permalink

"Sure."

Permalink

Addy goes back to concentrating and pulls herself and River in one of those non-physical directions. The library disappears and in its wake there's a softly lit expanse of white. There's a floor beneath them which is tinted slightly differently but there are no shadows and there's just empty whiteness in all other directions. "This is how I present the spaces between spaces. It's a lot easier to change non-places like this." With a small bit of visualization and a correspondingly small amount of the increasingly familiar mental energy Addy changes the floor to a periwinkle color. "Why don't you try?"

Total: 292
Posts Per Page: