Have you ever had one of those dreams that was so good that you got sad when you woke up? Dreaming of finally kissing that girl you’ve had a crush on for years, or getting the job you’ve always wanted or even just eating something very tasty, then to be suddenly brought back to reality, leaving you disappointed with your current situation?
Well, the exact same feeling overtook Ash Dromen after waking up from a dream he enjoyed so very much. But, you see, his dream wasn’t exactly what you’d expect to be, like the aforementioned kissing your crush, no, it was something rather peculiar to most of us. After doing his homework Ash decided to hit the sack, all those math problems tiring him to the point of falling asleep on his desk. As soon as his head touched the pillow, he was out like a light.
And the little boy dreamed. He had so many dreams, none remembered next morning but for one. In that one, the dreamer was in the middle of a very quaint town. Empty, populated by that one little dreamer, wandering about the streets and inspecting the tower-like buildings all around him. Ash was fascinated by them, in a way he couldn’t explain. Each of the constructions felt warm, inviting, ready to be explored. And that’s what the dreamer did, he looked through as many of them as he could.
While all of them had a very round-ish architecture, every single edifice looked unique, including their furniture and decorations. They brought so much strange joy to the little child, exposing their features to him until the alarm clock went off, snapping Ash Dromen back to reality. And he felt that beforementioned sensation of disappointment and regret. All day, his mind could only focus on that dream when spent time in the “Silent City” as he named the place. Dearly the little boy wished to visit his treasured city again, but the dream did not come.
No luck on the next few nights either. Ash lost hope that he’d ever see the city again, trying to accept the fact that it was just a dream, which would be eventually forgotten. But on one lucky night, he found himself again as the lone visitor of the silent city. The dreamer was overjoyed as he admired the fantastic constructions surrounding him. The city was huge, with thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of strangely shaped towers to be admired. A fantastic dream, even better and longer than the other which just faded away. Again, that damned alarm clock.
Still, Ash wasn’t as disappointed as he was last time. If it happened twice, it can definitely happen some more, right? And weekend was coming, so that alarm clock would trouble him no more, at least for two days. Going over the last dream, something stood out, the boy realised. Every building had a little golden plaque next to its door, displaying some strange characters, some kind of alphabet maybe. It only deepened Ash’s curiosity. All he wanted was to learn more about his silent city, to explore it. That’s all he could think of, other matters, such as school, being left aside.
The city was only his, so the child didn’t tell anyone of his dreams. Which was visited again, after two nights. And again, and again, in irregular patterns, eventually happening every night. Ash’s parents noticed their child’s obsession with sleeping, and got worried. They got him to the doctor and after being told that he is completely healthy physically, they even went to the psychologist, which didn’t yield any results either. The parents just didn’t know what to do. Their child was somewhat addicted to sleeping, and cared less and less about reality, about what happened when awake. School was no longer a priority for him, neither was spending time with his friends or even playing on the computer, worrying his parents to madness. Eventually, they realised that they are powerless. The child could not simply be denied sleep. They accepted it, despite breaking their hearts, thinking that their Ash would eventually turn into a vegetable.
Meanwhile, the dreams became more vivid, more real. So real that the little boy didn’t really know when he was awake and when he was dreaming. Eventually, he decided on a little theory of his, that he was of two worlds, constantly alternating between them. But the city is where Ash wanted to live, and not in the other world, so he spent most of his time when in this world thinking about how to lock himself into the other one, never having to leave. All sorts of crazy theories, which one could attribute to mad men, came through his head and there was always one popping up but was always quickly rejected, since it was a scary thought. And yet, as he meditated more and more on the situation, it wasn’t that bad of an idea. In fact, it was sure to work.
Why did he ever get scared of it? It was fantastic, after all that time, it was definitely the answer he was looking for. All he had to do was put his little idea in practice.
The next day, Patricia Dromen died of a heart attack, after seeing her son dead, hanged by the ceiling fan in his room. The father, August Dromen, called for an ambulance, hoping to save those two, but the medics couldn’t do anything. They were irreversibly dead.
On the rims of the Silent City, a hooded figure was inspecting a recently built construction. After analyzing it, the Architect put one golden plaque near the entrance. “The Silent City grows again,” he whispered to the surrounding silence and then vanishing into nothing, never to be seen again until a new tower would appear. The City was yet again doomed to emptiness. Should one ever translate those strange letters engraved into the last golden plaque into the Latin alphabet, they’d discover the words: “Ash Dromen”.