“To sleep, perchance to dream…” Ever felt like you could sleep for a hundred years? What about 200? This week’s #WOW555 contest prompt was “For this week, write a story in which sleep plays a specific role.” Enjoy!
Bjorg began to wake. He took a long time. The first signs that the experiment had succeeded were the small breaths that he began to take. Imperceptible at first, soon his chest began to rise and fall with regularity. The Carbon Dioxide monitors alerted the Oxygen unit to begin pumping and before long, the canister was filled with a natural mixture. The creators, if they had woken first, would have celebrated the success of their invention.
But they weren’t awake and now Bjorg’s eyes began to flutter open. He still couldn’t move, but his eyes began to open in the dark chamber. The retinal scanner caught the eyes opening and slowly lit the chamber. While never bright, it allowed Bjorg to see straight ahead in the chamber.
As the oxygen flowed and the lights came up, Bjorg’s consciousness returned. When he couldn’t move his hands or his feet, he began to panic. He willed his body to move, but it wouldn’t respond. He struggled, trying to move his arms and then he heard his first sounds. The sound began as soft, soothing music. Then, a beautiful female voice called to him. “Bjorg. Call my name. Call my name and you will be released.” The soft music and the familiar voice calmed Bjorg; he tried to call out the name of his love. His throat, dry from 200 years of sleep, made no noise.
A soft mist squirted into his face. He reached with his tongue grasping for the moisture. It rolled down his mouth, moistening the path until his throat began to feel the delicious wetness. He lapped hungrily. He began to feel the bonds but his panic lessened as his memory came back. He remembered his love, and why he was there. He kept trying to call her name without success. His throat loosened and he was able to squeak. There was no intelligible sound, but his throat was beginning to work. At last, he finally made an intelligible squeak that the monitor recognized: “Torid.”
The straps holding down his arms and legs began to loosen – a little at a time. He began to look forward to leaving his cocoon, knowing that Torid and the others would be waiting to create this new world; well, re-create the old world. He was the protector. He would be the captain of the army to ward of human and non-human dangers, should any remain. He slowly rubbed his arms to restore circulation and body heat. As the straps fell away he sat up, being careful not to bang his head, and rubbed his legs. He called out his own name, “Bjorg,” and waited for his chamber to open. He stood carefully, grabbing the rails along the side. He put on the cloak that was waiting and he stepped out ready to meet the others.
Their chambers were still intact. Only he had awakened. He was puzzled until he heard the faint warning sounds farther back in the incubation hall. Bjorg strained to make sense of the sound. When he did, he understood. They were under attack. The others would soon wake up. The computer had woken him to protect them. “Well, at least there’s a lot of back pay coming,” he said as he shouldered his axe and went out to protect his people.