The safe house

This is the beginning of a story I have been working on. Tell me what you think of it.

From the age of five I have kept a digital diary. Few of us have a problem with talking about ourselves. Early on we were taught the standard way to describe our feelings, our thoughts, and our dreams. We begin by saying how we feel physically and then how we feel mentally. We begin with an introduction; how many days have passed since our last entry. We move on to giving a general overview, then depicting anything unusual. We document our dreams every morning before breakfast. So, to get to know each other, let me give you an example.

Aisling Norman, 19 years of age, number B98. I feel fine, but I bruised my knee on the central dining table, it hardly hurts. Mentally I am also alright. Though I am growing impatient as to when I will be released from this facility.
Since my last entry it has been two days. My thoughts have not been out of the ordinary, for further information contact Doctor Stellar, number V12.

The truth is, we have learnt to lie to our diary – we lie to ourselves. In these last five months I have discovered how they found me, how they realized I was having abnormal dreams. What better way to find out than through a digital diary.
I’ve been here for four months now. Five months ago they first contacted me. It was a standard evaluation. We do this every year.
After the evaluation, which I failed, I was sent to therapy. We agreed that it was best for me to stick to the rules of dreaming. I tried, but my diary told them that I was once again failing to do it the proper way.
One entry I recall from four and a half months ago goes like this:

Aisling Norman, 19 years of age, number B98.
Last night I had a highly vivid dream. I was in my safe house when the sky turned grey; so dark I could barely see. That’s when I spotted a light from a window. I ran to it, knocked on the door of the house it belonged to. I was welcomed by a family of bears. They gave me shelter from the storm and the best hot chocolate I had ever tasted. It was flavoured with apples. I slept until 7 a.m.
I tried to recreate it this morning, but it did not taste the same.

This morning they gave me a pill that is meant to compel me to tell the truth, so that I cannot lie to my therapist. We see each other every day. I am seated on her white chair in my grey clothes. She welcomes me.

“Good morning, B98.”

“Good morning.”

Her name is Doctor Clara Fuller, but she insists that I call her A229.
Like every time, I close my eyes. I can hear her breathe steadily, I can hear her type my number.

“How did you sleep?”

“The beds in this facility are very uncomfortable. According to the circumstances, I slept well.”

She types.

“Any dreams?”

“Yes. Two.”

“Tell me about them.”

“The first one went according to procedure. I was in my safe house; the wooden pavilion by the lake, and I saw water treaders going up and down on the surface, casting rings under the sinking sun.”

She types as I speak. She does this all day, every day. “And the second dream?”

“That was different.” I reply and I get nervous. This dream condemns me to more time in the institution for rehabilitation. “The pavilion had no roof and I could see the night sky. I climbed up as far as I could and jumped. I landed in the water, dived in, which took me to another planet. Here I met a man, middle-aged, whose name I can’t recall. He looked a bit like my father.”
With a sigh I open my eyes. The doctor is still typing. “Can I see my father before he dies?”
She looks up at me. “The sooner you are resocialized, the sooner you will see your parents.”

“He has only two years left.”

She is silent.

My father is fifty-three. His fifty-fifth birthday will be the day he dies. It’s the same with everyone. It will be the same with my mother; it will be the same with me. It’s a natural process that never changes. After the age of fifty-five, we biologically seize to exist any longer. That is when we lose our name and our number. The only thing that will remain are the people who can remember us until they too turn fifty- five.


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