It was a dream that held us close in our falling. Shandra’s silent scream lost in the churning as we fell over and over, around and around, clutching each other close as we fell through the nothingness. We had dreamt together a few times before. The Dream Masters had – they said – chosen us for this one dream because we dreamt so well together.
The Dream Master’s did not say, but we could tell they were worried. All the other attempts of dreaming of an escape for the people had failed. Shandra and I were the only ones left.
It seems like a long time and many dreams ago, when we were young, and learning how to dream they did warn us about such dreams. The Dream Guardians always told us that the dreams of falling were the dangerous ones, especially those where you fall forever.
It felt as though Shandra and I had been falling forever. She was screaming as we fell. I could see my name – Henga – in the shape of her mouth, but I could hear no sound. Not even the sound of the nothing we were falling though rushing past us as we fell and fell and fell.
All I could think of was our falling and to hold on to Shandra and not let go. I had an urge to let go. Some voice from somewhere in the dream – the only thing I could hear – was telling me, urging me, insisting that I let her go. She would fall and I would be saved. I could tell that the same voice was calling out to Shandra too. Her grip tight on my arms and her legs wrapped around mine would loosen and I could feel her half-wanting to let go of me. But then she would soundlessly scream out my name and her grip grew stronger again.
We could not let each other go, or the dream would fall apart around us. Maybe we – or one of us, at least – would stop falling. But both of us know what happens to the dreams when one of the dreamers falls. We had both lost many friends that way. Those voices that haunt the dream landscapes and those half-seen figures that drift like ghosts through the dream landscapes are all that remains of them. All looking for a way home they can never find.
The Dream Masters insisted that we must find a way thought the dream landscapes. We must find a new home for the people before the invaders came and it was too late. They told us the stories of the Dreamers before us who had found new worlds through the dreams, worlds far from the invaders. The people had escaped before into the dream worlds.
It was up to us to save everyone. They showed us the faces of the people’s children, frightened, scared, and image of the invaders, fighting their way through the dream defences we had built around the people’s homeland. But they were coming and the invaders would destroy our long sleep forever, unless we – Shandra and I – could dream a way out.
I saw a glimpse in the nothingness, the shape of a new world growing from a tiny speck in the nothingness. I pulled Shandra around, daring to let go of her for a moment to point. She stopped screaming and nodded.
Together we swam through the nothingness towards that new home we’d found, hoping it was a place the people could once again call home and once again the people would sleep and dream in peace.