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Fear

Finding the other

“So, it turns out we have always been able to get there. I haven’t worked out how, yet – that’s for others – but I know it’s real, and I can prove it.” Jake was talking to his friend in the bar, the evening after his discovery. We won’t meet his friend again, so I shall leave him nameless. You can call him “Fred” if that would make you happier, but I am not certain that that was his name.

Jake went to sleep that evening, as excited as anyone had ever been to go to sleep. He laid there waiting to sleep, like a child the night before Christmas. He may even have been more excited than that. Maybe as excited as the night before the flight to Disney World. Of course, all he wanted to do was get to sleep, but all he could do was lay there awake, excited about the possibilities.

Eventually, and without being aware of it, Jake finally discovered that he was asleep, and that he was dreaming. Months and months of training had made him aware of lucid dreaming, and he had long been able to identify that he was dreaming, and control what he did there.

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Toni

The clack of nearby keyboards washed over Toni. She sat there, briefly hypnotized by the sound. A voice – the words indistinct – said something into a phone in a nearby cubicle. The sound of the voice was muffled by the material on the cube’s wall.

Toni scrolled through a Facebook feed which had not changed since she scrolled through it five seconds previously. She clicked on the next tab, and confirmed that the news headlines had also not changed. She clicked on the new tab button, and type “wiki” before the browser offered her the most-likely option, which she clicked on. She clicked the random article link, and was taken to an article about the Second Crusade.

Absent-mindedly she clicked on a link in the middle of the first paragraph, and did the same on the next six articles that appeared. Through Bavaria and Germany, she arrived at articles about the European Union. She wondered whether much time had passed, and looked at Facebook again. Nothing had changed on her feed.

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Amanath and Hodor

There was once a man of incredible wealth and power. His name was Amanath. He was known throughout the village that he lived near. He could often be heard telling people about faraway lands where he was also known, and where the people also feared his power. No one in the village had ever seen these faraway lands, but they knew the powerful man mentioned them often and felt that they could not challenge him.

In the same village was a man who was a sycophant and was especially weak. His name was Hodor. He would walk around the village reminding people about the wealth and power of Amanath. The other people would grow tired of hearing Hodor’s words, but knew that attacking him might make Amanath angry.

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Followed

Toby clambered and staggered through the final trees from the forest and back into civilization. The darkness of the dense undergrowth gave way to the banal, gray reality of suburban life. 

As soon as he stepped, at last, onto the sidewalk, what had happened mere moments before did not feel real. Despite this, he ran. He ran and ran until his legs started to feel like jelly. He then ran some more and kept on running until he reached the road his home was on. As he reached that road, however, he started to think. His first thought was that he was definitely running for no reason. But immediately afterward, his second thought was that he could not run home without giving away where he lived. If he did that, he would never feel safe. 

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