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Uncontrolled Time Travel

Dreamed on 2007/7/13 by Jo

BEFORE

I woke up at 3 AM feeling awful. Old problems rearing their heads again. I was going a little crazy in a way that is only possible when you're stuck in a village in Wales with no real job, ambitions or permanent address. Somehow I managed to fall back to sleep, worrying about my future living with my increasingly crazy mind/health.

THE DREAM

Something that I don't fully understand is making me travel backwards and forwards in time.

My first destination is the far future. I find myself in Nottingham, my home town, in a future where there is limitless leisure time and peace throughout the world. Decade by decade the birth rate decreases. Less and less is being created, too. It is as if the human race has reached its twilight and lost the will to live. My guide in the future walks me through fields and talks to me hopefully about threats to global security. I get the impression that on some subconscious level he wants a nuclear war.

Suddenly, I am in my late twenties. I am in the car of a weird bloke who I used to call a friend. He's driving through my home town. The speed we're going scares me. I've been in hospital for a long time, recovering from a serious drug addiction and my mind is shot. I'm curled up in the foetal position in the front seat of the car while the driver talks at me. He tries to drive his car off the road onto what looks like old roller coaster rails but he misses the rails. He could follow them from below through an empty field, but he refuses.

We head for the old church (a massive, imposing version of my school) where I want to take communion. But we don't make it. We get stuck at a different church. But the driver has a surprise in store for me: he takes me to meet a man and woman who I consider to be my best friends. Once upon a time we walked across Britain to make our home in Wales. Today, they promise to walk with me back to that village so that I can start a new life with their support. But we get stuck at a cafe and nobody can be bothered to go on.

The time skips back and I am in the church playing with my old friends. I enjoy seeing them and try my best to keep them around and as friends. But the day comes to an end and they go off. I knew we'd soon lose touch forever.

As I walked home I saw a major world leader who let me come around to his house and talk to him about politics and philosophy on occasion. I try to warn him about the future of humanity, I tell him that Britain needs to fight more wars, we need more death. Only violence opens a space for creation. He acts like we aren't friends, and warns me "Our continuing contact is based on my teaching you how the world works, not the reverse." He shuts his door and won't listen to me.

I go to the church. Time is skipping faster now. I collect relics from the ever-changing outer wall. Medieval bricks, war memorials, wreaths, whatever is left there. I am nineteen and it's time to leave home. Eventually I have all I need to head out. I pack my bags and go.

After walking some way I run into two hitch-hikers. We sit in a doorway, telling our life-goals. Soon we realise we all want the same kind of life. A plan formulates; we will walk to Wales and set up a new life there together.

Talking to them is hard for me; I remember them both as my best friends, practically my family. But I have to act like we're complete strangers because for them this is the first time we've ever met.

We begin walking, and for a moment I skip to the future. Now they are rich, and I have been stuck on the streets of the city for years after failing to escape addiction. We discuss their new business plans and they lend me a little bit of money for food.

But time skips back again; we're still on our great adventure, although I am confused for the first time: it could be much earlier. We are walking through a small city. I need to use the toilet. A man at its door claims he runs the place.

Then time slips ahead just a few minutes--and he's torturing me horribly! Soon time skips back a few minutes again. Forewarned, I refuse to go in, and call the police. He grabs me and tries to drill into my brain. It occurs to me that whether I am a child or a hitch-hiker, this is the exact moment that things started going wrong for me, and that somehow this trauma has been forgotten. Erased?

Suddenly, it is a few years after I moved away from Wales. I am helping the amateur dramatics society throw away all its old props. As we work I ask the new leader, a lady who looks bad-tempered but is merely boring, about a play the group put on a few years back. I remembered it as our most stunning accomplishment. The national news had taken an interest in it and it had generated debate throughout the nation.

But the woman describes it as controversial and embarrassing, especially when the media started to get involved. It had almost brought down the organisation, in her opinion.

I find old treasures among the props, such as a clockwork man who dispenses fortunes on little slips of paper. He's dusty, having sat for years in a storage room in the future. I am meant to acquire these things for the society, but I'm on the wrong end of history to do that, so instead I preserve them and try to get the woman to let us keep them so that they can gather dust until a future generation decides to use them.

As I work on this, I find I skip to the future once again, further than ever. The world is warmer. Humanity is extinct, but it looks like it died without a fight, as though it was killed by sheer apathy.

But this time, I wasn't the only person to travel through time. The whole drama society came with me! I set about preserving humanity.Under my leadership we build a small village.

Years pass. I grow older, into the skinny delicate thirty-something I had been at the start of the dream. My friends change too. One grows old and fat and greedy. At last he leads two-thirds of the population away to start a rival town.

Those that are left struggle to maintain the village; it's constant work just to keep ourselves alive. But I can't help wondering about those who left. One day, I leave the village to find my friend. One by one the other inhabitants of the village follow me.

My friend is looking out at our settlement from his own village, set on higher ground than ours. He notices that our village seems to be deserted. This alarms him because he assumes we are dead. Then he sees me coming over the hill, followed by a mass of people I hadn't noticed.

We shake hands and pretend for a moment to be the leaders of the USA and USSR, meeting as two superpowers representing different but equal expressions of the human spirit... before people really knew how poor the USSR was. He offers me his great gold ring and says we will be friends forever.

My followers and I look out over our home village; we've never seen it from the heights before. My friend's village has flourished; his followers are richer, stronger and healthier than us. But for the first time we can see that our community is beautiful. From where we stand, our poor little village looks like Paradise.

NOTES



LISTS AND LINKS: time travel - outsiders - loneliness - an even wilder case of time-slip: Virginia's Train - teachers and mentors - status and pecking order - pride and arrogance - violence - pain in dreams - heads and brains (and trauma to them) - dream surgery - addiction - apocalypses, or, to be less anthropocentric, population booms and busts - community - competition and rivalry - social class, riches and poverty - Paradise - more dreams by Jo

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