Chapter One – Part One
Everyone dreams of leaving the protection of the Dome at least once. They literally dream of leaving the Dome. However, there is an unspoken rule that you are to never, ever, share your dream. Gideon Lennox had dreamt many times of the “other side” as some referred to it. Of course, they never spoke of the dreams, instead, it was just wishful thinking of finally getting out.
Because of this rule Gideon refused to mention the dreams to anyone. The only time Gideon had even heard a whisper of an “other side” dream, was a kid from his old neighborhood, he described a barren landscape where even plants couldn’t grow. He told the neighborhood kids that as he walked in his dream through the desert he found skeletons piled high. Gideon remembered shuddering at the thought of piles of the dead. That the next day, his parents told him the kid was dead.
Every one of Gideon’s dreams of the outside of the Dome were very different from the kid’s. Every night, Gideon dreams of forests teeming with trees which tower overhead as they reach for the sky. He finds himself alone in serene meadows with rolling hills and colorful, delicate wildflowers which sway gently in the warm breeze. Gideon wanders through abandoned cities that have been reclaimed by the wilderness around them as trees and foliage line the roadways and contribute to the city’s skyline. No matter where Gideon finds himself, he feels a calmness, he feels at peace, and he wonders why he would ever want to return to the ordered chaos of the Dome. After those thoughts pass through his head, the dream ends with unnatural shrieks and occasionally a flash of movement as some creature races in front of him. The misshapen creatures were always terrifying enough to wake him up to a cold sweat.
“Mister Lennox,” Gideon hears his professor’s voice, snapping him back to attention.
“Yes, sir?” Gideon asks, looking up.
“I asked you what caused the Inundation?”
Gideon pauses for a moment as he recalls the previous day’s lesson, rehearsing the key points in his head, The Inundation was, in a nutshell, the overrunning of civilization as humanity once knew it. Because of it, millions died, and those who survived could only do so under domes like ours, protected from the dangers of the outside world. We never were taught what these dangers are, maybe radiation from the nuclear bombs that decimated much of the world, no one knows for sure, it seems.
“Gid?” Maveric Marcel, Gideon’s best friend, prods, interruption his thought process.
“Well, back in 2170 animal testing had finally come back to bite mankind in the butt. The animals mutated and spread across the planet in a matter of months. No one could hold them off, those who managed to survive the blight built our domes.”
“Very good,” Professor Grayson applauds Gideon’s textbook answer. Closing his book, Grayson continues addressing the class, “Now, give me an exit note on why you think the “blight,” as mister Lennox calls it, spread so quickly.”
Gideon looks down to his paper, a thousand reasons running through his head, before his brain stops entirely. In front of him is a picture of what he had been seeing in his dreams for years. He had drawn it as his brain wandered in class. Up until that moment, he hadn’t put all of the brief images together to create one beast. Now that he saw it all together everything began to click, This must be one of the mutants that helped destroy everything! Gideon thinks excitedly. Its mangy fur, rat-like face and tail, and ape-ish arms send shivers down my spine. Behind the grotesque creature stand the remains of a large structure, and nearly a hundred years’ worth of plant life.
Gideon shuffles through his backpack, looking for another sheet of paper, since over half of this one was now devoted to a creature that appears to want his soul. Finding no extra paper, Gideon gives up and begins writing around the edges of his picture. Surely Professor Grayson wouldn’t mind, I’ve turned in a million assignments with doodles and drawings decorating every corner. In fact, he has told me on several occasions he likes them, Gideon thinks. As he writes, Gideon makes sure to include how the transport systems across the planet made for easy transmission of the mutated animals planetwide. Satisfied with that summation, he continued on to how birds also helped spread the virus that then led to the mutations of the animals everywhere.
Gideon finishes his short essay as the bell rings, making his way to the door, he hands over my paper. Just five more days until I was done with school and could begin my life, Gideon thinks as he steps out of the classroom into the hallway which is alive with the usual end of the year buzz.
What are you waiting for? Check out Part Two!