33. Charlie Manning - FoundationsMature

Charlie Manning

The darkness of the room soothed me, the gentle glowing of the map the only source of light in the enclosed space. I was sitting hunched over my oak desk, the cold leather of my grand chair the only thing disturbing me.

Through my head ran the same dashes of memory over and over again.

The beginnings of this world.

*   *   *   *   *

It was a stupid mistake. I should have checked the traffic. You know how you get - over-confident and too sure of your initial instincts. It was sudden and unexpected. One moment I was upright, walking normally across the road, the next: blackness.

When I woke up I found out I'd been hit by a car and out for a week. I'd been in a coma that everyone thought I was lucky to be in. Nobody was expecting me to wake up. They said that the crash was so bad and the damage to my head was so extensive that I should have died upon impact. You have no idea how astonished the nurses were when I clambered out of bed alone, walked into the hallway and asked very loudly what the heck was going on. (Actually, I may have used a stronger word than heck.) I'm pretty sure I made one of the specialist doctors feint upon him seeing my current (almost perfectly mentally healthy) state. While my arm was broken in three places and I had a fracture in one of my knee bones, my physical injuries suggested nothing more than a minor road traffic incident. Everyone expected me to be brain damaged for the rest of my life. I'm not. Instead, I run this place.

Dreamland.

It happened when I least expected it. It all started the first time I went to sleep after I had my 'accident'.

*   *   *   *   *

There was a door. It was huge, heavy and menacing. The solid, fine oak was intimidating and it looked down upon me as though I was a rat in an alley. I don't know what compelled me to, but I felt forced to open this door. The force was taken over by my own curiosity and I willingly tried to open the door. Brute force seemed to be all I had. Unsurprisingly, it didn't work. Now, I was even more determined to get through this problem. I knew nothing about what I might be doing, or the consequences, but I was going to do it.

I looked around me - there was only darkness beyond the light that seemed to radiate from the door ahead. Falling to my knees, I groped around in the near darkness. I don't know what I was doing - I certainly wasn't expecting my wandering hands to find anything of use. Especially not a key.

Indeed, like Alice in Wonderland, the key fit the door and I could at last go through it.

On the other side was a town. It was obviously well maintained, but it was empty. Not even ghosts haunted the streets I now controlled. I had broken the barrier and unlocked more of my mind. I had unlocked the ability to create and run this place with extra brain capacity I had received upon having an accident with a vehicle.

As I took a cautious, wandering step forward, my foot rustled against something. Bending down, I picked up the strange, glowing paper. It wasn't an eerie glow, more a comfy expel of light.

The paper was a map. Little did I know what this map could do. Each time a new person was added to the world, each time someone else broke the barrier in their minds and joined this world in their sleep, I would know about it. The map would know. Everything that happened in this place, the map would show.

I was the first here in Dreamland. I run this place.

But only six know of my existence here.

*   *   *   *   *

There is a dull thud on the door in my room. Rolling up the map and tucking it in a pouch upon my person, I wait for the next words I need to feel comfortable with letting anyone enter.

"The council request permission to enter. Company of six." The reassuring words lead me to answer.

"Enter." The door opens and my six trustees walk in. "You were not seen?" I ask.

"No. We were as careful as always." Comes the answer from the first trustee and member of the council. None of them have ever put a foot wrong and I appreciated everything they did to help. After all, each of them specialised in their own parts of running Dreamland.

Now for the usual drivel and updates that I needed to give them before I could just relax.

I'd love to be away from the thoughts and memories, even if just for one day.

Even if it was spent with one person.

The End

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