Red Dreams by Al McDermid

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.

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9 responses to “Red Dreams by Al McDermid

  1. Very vivid. I love how you turned this from something disturbing in the beginning to something he craved at the end. Nicely written!

  2. Al McDermid

    Thank you, though I hope that he’s reduced to eating pseudo-food remains a bit disturbing.

  3. Slight dystopian feel to this, which I like because it gives the story an unease. Loved how you brought it back to red, bloody meat being something good. Great twist to the theme. peace…

    • Al McDermid

      It’s curious where things come from. Once I started writing, I kept thinking ‘1984’, but the initial impulse is a mystery.

      • I can see 1984, yes.

        The beauty of these small pieces is that there’s less invested here than, say, a novel or a longer short. It’s freeing to just… write. Not to say I don’t edit the hell out of mine before posting (my OCD), but the freedom to let the theme transport the words is divine. Peace…

        • Al McDermid

          They are freeing in that way, plus having the theme is also liberating, as in ‘here. write this’, allowing for a focused bit of creativity.

  4. just saw “daybreakers” (australian vampire movie) so your story fit right in. i loved your attention to detail and how you pile up attributes to good effect. this made me hungry, too.

    • Al McDermid

      Might have a hard time find that one here, but I’ll look for it.

      I’d like to write a longer (1000 words) piece based on this but I wonder if the pay-off gag is worth it.

  5. Pingback: Wk #11 – Red Meat « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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