A Stream of Flowing Water
Once again, morning seemed to arrive all too quickly.
If this is a dream, I can’t seem to wake up. Hmmm. That’s strange. I seem to remember dreaming last night about somewhere with a stream of flowing water. Is it possible to have a dream inside of a dream?
My moment of reverie was interrupted.
“Morning, Arn. I notice neither of us said ‘Good morning’. Just morning.”
“That’s the way it is on Hoth,” Arn said. “Nothing we can do about it.”
“I had a dream last night I sort of remember. I was somewhere that had a stream of flowing water. There were green bushes and trees growing alongside the stream.”
Arn sat up, looked at me in a quizzical sort of way, then smiled slightly as he stood up, brushing the dust from his clothes.
“Time to get our gloves and brushes from Prune Face. Let’s don’t talk any more about your dream until we’re far enough away from everyone that we can’t be heard. What you saw in your dream hasn’t existed on Hoth since before everyone on the planet was born. We’re not supposed to know about such things.”
The Thought Police
The siren sounded three times. I stood up.
“You have thought police on Hoth?” I asked, also brushing the dust off my clothes.
“You might say that. But no more talk until we’re way out in the field. The area we’re working today is far enough away from everyone that we should be able to talk there for a few minutes until the day gets too hot to talk.”
We hung back further than usual from the shack until everyone else had picked up their equipment. No one said anything, but several glared at us. I wasn’t sure if the glares meant anger or fear or both.
Prune Face handed us our gloves and brushes.
“Don’t bother turning these in tonight. Keep ‘em until they wear out. I don’t want to risk gettin’ ‘em mixed up with the others. When they wear out, show them to me and then go bury them in the ground. I’ll give you more.”
Arn put on his gloves and we walked over to the water barrel. Several workers stood nearby, watching to make sure I didn’t touch the barrel or spigot.
They look like they’re all at least eighty years old. I wonder how old they really are. I can’t even tell if they’re men or women. Is that the way I’m going to look if I stay here?
“See, I’m wearing my gloves. I’m the only one who will touch anything,” Arn said as he produced his cup and proceeded to fill it. Then he filled mine and handed it to me.
We drank as much as we could hold, then turned and headed to the field. As we turned I saw Prune Face step back from the opening in the shack. She had been watching us.
I looked over my left shoulder. The workers who had been watching us turned and headed the other direction to the area of the field where they worked. I could hear them talking among themselves, but could not make out what they were saying.
Arn and I walked several hundred yards from the shack before saying anything.
“Did we pass muster?” I asked, speaking as quietly as possible.
“I think so,” Arn answered. “Let’s not talk any more until we’re further away.
We walked silently until we reached the area where we had stopped working the previous day. Arn found his red stick that marked the spot. We began our daily work, leaning over and brushing dust off the leaves of the plants. Arn brushed plants on the row next to mine.
“I’d suggest we both keep our gloves on when we pick up our soup and get water from the barrel,” he said. “Another thing. Doesn’t your long hair rolled up under your hat make you hot? Mine does.”
“Yeah, it does, but you told me to keep it under my hat so no one would see it. Is it o.k. to let it hang down now that everyone’s staying away from us.”
“Only after dark when no one except me can see it, Tammy.”
“Then what are you suggesting?”
“I have a pair of scissors hidden away. I’m thinking we could give each other a trim tonight just before dark and maybe we’d be a little cooler while we work. I usually cut my own hair and do a lousy job. I’m sure you could do better.”
“Scissors, huh? You’re full of surprises. First makeup and now scissors. Where do you keep this stuff?”
“I have a small stash of odds and ends I’ve found in the ruins. It’s hidden in a cavity under the tree.”
“The ruins, Arn? What ruins?”
“The ruins that lie not far from here, in the opposite direction from the field. On the other side of the tree there’s a rise in the ground, then it drops off to a flat plain. That’s where the ruins of the city are. Not much is left. Just rubble. That’s why you can’t see anything from here.”
“There was a city?” I asked.
“Yes, there was. I’ll tell you about it later. But now I wanted to talk to you about your dream. It’s getting hot real fast, so we need to stop talking real soon or our mouths will dry out.”
Gramps Told You?
“What did you want to know about my dream? I pretty much told you what I remember.”
“I need to tell you to never say anything about what you dreamed within hearing distance of anyone else. The things you dreamed about only existed on Hoth before everyone here was born. I think some of the goons may know about streams lined with green trees and bushes, but the workers don’t know about such things. The goons don’t want them to know about them.”
“Does that sort of thing still exist anywhere on Hoth?” I asked.
“How do you know all this, Arn?”
“Gramps told me.”
“Gramps saw it?”
“I don’t think so, but he knew about it.”
“How’d he know, Arn?”
Are You From Another World?
“How did you know, Tammy? Did you come here from the past, or did you come here from another world?”
“I don’t know. I really don’t know. But we’ve made some real progress here. You said the goons might know, but you’re not still accusing me of being one of them.”
“That’s because I know you’re not one of them, Tammy.”
“How did you decide that? Just a couple of days ago you thought I was. Now you’re willing to tell me anything.”
“Gramps told me.”
“I thought you said Gramps disappeared! How could he tell you?”
“He did disappear. Crap! The goon’s headed this way. We’ll have to talk tonight.”