Kerena dreamt a river that bought the melting snow down from the mountains to the warmer flat plain, turning the bare world green along its edges. It was here that she dreamt a city for her people, her family, her tribe, her silo.
She built them a strong city, rising tall by the riverside with high walls along the riverbank and strong towers for the seasons when the dreaming winds turned to nightmare storms. She dreamt an open sky, free of the thunderous clouds that were always there, even when the dreaming winds blew and the electrical storms made her twitch, jerk and occasionally cry out as she dreamt a world for them to live in.
She dreamt that the people came from the silo out into the open air for the first time in their lives. She saw how they looked up in fear to see a sky that stretched from far horizon to far horizon, where all they had ever known was a ceiling of the numerous floors above their own.
The children ran across the bare earth to the green along the river edges where the city of her dreams grew out of the ground as though she had planted it there. She knew there were other dreamers in her silo who had built dream landscapes for their own families, their own tribes. Sometimes she wondered if they had built worlds like hers, but she did not know. She didn’t want to slip inside the minds of the other dreams lying in the long row of beds either side of her. At least, not like back when they had been in training together. Then they’d slipped in and out of each other’s dreams as easily as they had slipped in and out of each other’s lives in the waking world.
Kerena was always eager to leave the waking world behind. The closed, claustrophobic world of the silo seemed so grey, cold and metallic compared to the landscapes she made in her mind. She could still remember the fresh smell of the first grass she had dreamt. Kerena had been the best, the first in the class to create dream worlds that others could walk in. She had the knack long before her classmates.
Some of the silo elders came from their dream worlds where the dreamers were getting too old to dream, too frail to keep their dream worlds intact when the nightmare winds and storms came. They lived inside her dream for a while, testing it, making it safe – as safe as any dream world could be – ready for the others of her silo.
Kerena shuddered as she lay there. Her arm twitched where the dreaming fluid tube pierced her skin as she remembered her first storm. The storms had brought her first nightmare when the winds blew from the east, and the storm clouds covered the silo in darkness and harsh electrical storms shattered through even the howling and shrieking of the nightmare winds.
Above her head, the figures on the display rose slightly closer to the red as more of the dreaming fluid dripped into the tube and down into her arm. She settled again, and the people in her dreaming city sighed as they looked up at the strangeness of the sky. They saw that it was still blue, even though the clouds looked much thicker, darker and more ominous, waiting on the horizon.