It was the same dream, the same dream every night for, for how long I couldn’t remember, the same burning, searing flesh, streaming blood, rivers of it, every night without fail. I awoke with a start, disoriented, my mouth dry. I looked over at the clock. At ten-to-six, with no reason to try for more sleep, my feet found the floor and I sat while my head cleared. All that blood.
I trudged into my kitchen to find something to eat, reading the labels of state-provided supplements; oatmeal, scrambled eggs, prune Danish. I decided to splurge and have the apple pie. Hardly mattered. They all tasted pretty much the same and nowhere near what the labels called the stuff, though hardly anyone alive knew the difference. Those few of us that did remember never spoke of these things, even to each other.
I sat nibbling on the biscuit, wrestling with the images from the dream, the bloody charred flesh, so real I hear the hot metal, so immediate I smell it. I shook off the sensation, washed down the last of the pie supplement with what passed for coffee, and dressed for work. Once there, one thought propelled through drudgery, the same thought, day after day, the thought of sleep, of sleep and the dream, the dream of red, succulent, rare, juicy meat.