Finds the Other Wakers
The boy had a dream.
The boy had left the girl outside the large box with the other people who had emerged from the large box, and he had lain down in his sleeping pod to get some sleep before he and the girl set out to explore the new planet.
The boy had fallen asleep, and he had a dream.
The boy had a dream before he woke up as a man and found the woman missing.
The boy had a dream, and it was a very short dream, but it was an important dream.
The boy dreamed that the sky had turned purple and the land and plants and trees had turned orange. All the people who had emerged from the large box had turned green, and the girl had turned red. The boy had turned blue and all the spiders had turned yellow. The black and green and brown and maroon spiders had all turned yellow.
Nobody except the boy saw the changing colors. He mentioned the changing colors to the girl, and she asked him what he was talking about. The boy asked the old man who had emerged first from the large box what color the sky was. The old man had replied the boy could see for himself the sky was blue.
The boy decided not to ask anyone else about the different colors.
Then the boy found himself in the meadow with the twenty graves and the one empty grave. From one of the full graves a young man emerged.
The young man emerged from his grave and approached the boy.
The boy was not afraid.
The young man approached the boy and told the boy his name.
The boy told the young man his name.
Their names were different.
The young man asked the boy what color the sky was.
The boy said he knew the sky was supposed to be blue, and someone had just confirmed it was blue, but the sky he saw was purple.
The young man said and what color was the land.
The boy said orange. He said he was blue and the spiders were yellow.
The young man asked what color he was.
The boy said the young man wasn’t any color at all for he couldn’t see him.
The young man said and yet the boy knew the young man was there.
The boy said he knew the young man was there as surely as if the young man was made up of all the colors at once.
The young man said but that was exactly what he was made of and that was exactly why the boy could not see him while still knowing he was there.
The boy said if he could not see the young man, then how could he know that the young man was there.
The young man said the boy didn’t need everything explained to him, did he.
The boy said no.
The young man said let’s take a walk.
The boy followed the young man into the lush, orange trees at the edge of the meadow. They walked away from the large box that lay in another meadow.
The young man said he had been the fifth person to wake up from the large box, and he had dutifully done as the fourth waker had said, and he had lived alone for many years until the button in his sleeping pod activated and he pushed it and the sixth sleeping pod opened. He said the sixth waker had emerged from the sixth sleeping pod when the young man had finished digging the fifth grave. He said he had passed on the instructions to the sixth waker, and he had lain down and died.
The boy asked what death was like.
The young man ignored the boy and he kept walking through the orange forest across the orange ground under the purple sky.
The boy followed the young man.
The boy followed the young man until they arrived at a black beach at the edge of a sea of white water.
Many people floated on the white water. The boy counted nineteen bodies floating on the white water.
The young man told the boy to follow him, and the boy followed the young man across the black sand to the white water.
When the young man stepped into the white water, the boy could see him.
The boy told the young man he could see him.
The young man smiled and he splashed into the white water.
When the young man found the water deep enough, he floated just as the others were floating.
The young man told the boy to come it.
The boy said they were all the wakers, weren’t they.
In unison, the twenty bodies floating in the white water said yes.
The young man said the boy was one of them.
The boy said but he wasn’t dead. He said the large box had opened and the people had all emerged from the large box before the boy had dug his own grave and died.
The young man said that was right. He said the process was complete, and the wakers’ purpose had been fulfilled and now was the time to celebrate.
The boy stepped into the white water and the sky turned blue and the water turned a deeper shade of blue. The land turned brown and the trees and plants green. The beach was the tan color of sand he had always known.
The boy stepped out of the white water, and the colors returned to the strange colors of his dream.
The boy put his foot in and out of the water several time to watch the sudden change of colors.
The young man and the other wakers laughed. They were drifting farther away from the beach.
The young man called again for the boy to join them.
The boy said he didn’t want to go with them. He said he wanted to explore the new planet with the girl. He said he wanted to map the planet and identify all the important resources before he died.
The young man said they couldn’t let that happen.
The boy asked why.
The young man said the boy was too old and too young to be with the girl.
The boy said what. The boy said what, and he felt himself being drawn into the water. He tried to pull back, but he could not resist the force pulling him into the water.
The young man said the boy was old enough to begin having certain feelings for the girl if he was alone with her for too long. But he was too young to handle those feelings well. So to protect him, the other wakers would keep him with them for seven years.
The boy said he didn’t understand. He was up to his waist in the water, and he fought against the pull, but he could not overcome the force carrying him away from the beach.
The boy saw the old woman in white. She floated beside the young man and the boy knew she was the first waker. She smiled at the young man, then she turned to the boy and held out her hand, inviting him to join the other wakers.
The boy woke up with the girl tugging at his arm saying it was time to go explore the planet.
The boy looked at the girl and felt a little funny. He didn’t feel too old or too young. He felt just right, although when he looked at the girl, he felt a little funny.
The boy told the girl they would leave immediately.
To read more stories in the series, see the Becomes One Hundred Stories page.