Chosen?

"We shouldn't have done that." I repeated for the third time, starting suddenly.

Mia has strange dreams, dreams that only nine other people in the whole world are having. Are they some sort of illness of are they something more sinister? What do they mean? Where have they come from? And what do these dreams hold for Mia and the others? The beach, the vehicles and the shared dreams are full of mystery and uncertainty. A step into the unknown.

Read on to join Mia and to find out whether she is chosen ... or condemned!

Please leave your comments so that I can improve this story. Thanks :-)

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1. Part 1: We are Dreamers

"We shouldn't have done that."
I stood staring at the path I had just taken. The sand running along the length of the beach was soft against my feet, the soles sinking deep into the sandy dunes. Behind me the sea lapped against the sand, the foam bubbling and frothing as it retreated with each wave, as if it were trying to grasp hold of the smooth sand. Small green leafy bushes stood in front of me, blowing gently in the breeze, and then more violently as the wind picked up, cutting through the air with a sharp hiss. The plants screened me from the train track which passed along the edge of the secluded beach. The rails were orange with rust and did not sparkle in the sunlight, making them seem dull. The sharp sheer cliff face behind the track snarled down on the beach and it felt imposing, as if I should not be there. As if I were an intruder.
"We shouldn't have done that." I repeated.
I ducked down, flattening myself out onto the sand as I heard a low rumbling which gradually increased in tempo until it was a loud screeching within my skull and a train flew past, disappearing into the darkness of a cavernous tunnel, hollowed out within the depths of the cliff. It had been used by smugglers to transport illegal goods centuries ago but it was now a minor train route. Where it actually went I would never find out. I had jumped out of the back carriage window of the previous train just before the vehicle had entered the tunnel and now I was here, stranded on a beach, somewhere in the South West of England. I don’t know why I jumped off, something hadn’t felt right. There had been a sense of foreboding and, as my senses were generally right, I had made my move to rescue myself as soon as the moment had appeared. But this beach didn’t shout out ‘safety’ at me either. The information I knew about the beach also surprised me, it didn’t feel as if it resided in my brain normally.
"We shouldn't have done that." I spoke out loud, repeating the phrase for a third time.
I started suddenly.
Who was 'we'? I realised that I had said 'we' each time I questioned my actions when there was only myself there. There was no sound of another being and the beach looked as if it had been deserted for, well, ever since it had been created by the pure perfection it boasted. Although, there must have been activity at some point in history to build the train track, construct a hollow in the cliff face and to use this as a smuggling port, but still. The fact remained that this place had been abandoned for some time. Somehow, there was someone or something controlling my actions and everything I did. But who could this person be? And where were they? I looked out to sea and pondered on this thought for a while. When I saw the sun beginning to sink lower into the sky, casting a pink hue across the clouds, I decided I had better start walking and work out how to get out of this place. I didn’t want to be stuck here in the dark with no company. I turned to the horizon where the sun was setting and began to walk. One foot then the other, over and over again.
~*~
Over and over again, one foot after the other. The words echoed in my ears as the rest of the dream resonated around my skull. What had it meant? As I got out of bed I noticed a sandy trail on my bedroom floor and a leaf from one of the plants lining the railway track stuck to the bottom of my shoe. How unusual. How very peculiar. And why was my shoe in my bedroom? It was a strict rule in our house that shoes never went upstairs, especially into our bedrooms. Surely this couldn’t have been something that I had done consciously.
I made my way to the bathroom and decided I should have a shower. I wanted to wash away the uncleanliness I felt as a result of the dream and its queer reality. I didn't understand it but I knew who would. Hopefully, she would be able to enlighten me. And I needed a meaning to this dream; it couldn’t just be a figment of my imagination. There must be a meaning to it.
~*~
My elder sister, Carla, was six years older than me and had just finished university. She had been studying a course on psychology and philosophy which had enlightened her as to how the brain may function and the factors which controlled our conscious and subconscious actions. I knew a lot about this too, as a result of Carla lecturing us when she came home to revise. In a term of work experience she had worked in a hospital with a team of professional psychologists and managed to strike up a friendship with the head research psychologist who also carried out some therapy. Madison White had visited us here in Whittington a couple of times and we had got on extremely well, so well in fact that Mum had requested Madison White as the therapist for my other elder sister, Sophia, who was struggling with breaking up with her boyfriend of five years. Dominic had been a cool guy, all you could ask for in a boyfriend but something happened, I don't know what because Sophia won’t talk about it to me or Carla yet, and they broke up. Now Sophia cries every day and every night and she eats loads to try and deal with it. It’s mainly junk food, although she does go through healthy phases too when she only eats fruit, vegetables and special wholegrain mixes. Madison is a huge help and Mum often comments that she saved our family from collapsing and breaking down. I’m not actually sure how true that is but Madison will still be able to help me, I hope.
I think I should write to Madison. She might find my dream, if I can call it that, interesting and maybe she'll know something about the whole dream merging into reality stuff. I can’t be the first person to experience this weird phenomenon. It must have happened at least once in the billion year history of the earth. As I pondered over this, time moved forwards so I had to race downstairs and quickly grab a slice of toast as Mum, and now Carla, always forced us to eat before leaving for school; they said that it was necessary for our brains to be ready to learn. Mum was sitting at the table with the paper in front of her, sipping coffee whilst Carla heated baked beans to make baked beans on toast before she went to work. I said a quick hello to them, picked up my bag which I had sorted out the night before, thankfully, and dashed out to school, making a mental note to write an email, it would be quicker and simpler than a letter, when I got back.
~*~
School was boring. It was a normal day and nothing exciting happened. I had a double lesson of science first; we’d been told we would be having an end of topic test so I was dreading the lesson but, fortunately, our teacher had forgotten and had planned to do an experiment with us instead. We made squeaky pops with flames and hydrogen which was fun and then Mr Carter decided to show us how to make a Jacuzzi. He placed a Bunsen burner in a tray full of water which made it bubble and froth but the part we all found most amusing was that he did this beneath the fire alarm. He told us not to worry but that wasn’t the problem, it was just such a weird place to do that type of experiment. If the flames had leapt too high the alarm would have sounded and then Mr Carter would have been sacked for improper conduct, or at least given a warning and then he probably wouldn’t be such a fun, unpredictable crazy scientist.
After that I had Maths, French and History. The teachers voices’ droned on and on and none of them grabbed my attention despite the fact that I love history and have considered being an archaeologist when I get older. Somehow, the viaducts near the back-to-backs in Birmingham were not appealing to me when I could think about a sandy beach and a train track instead. But this was the last lesson on this topic; next week we were moving on to crime and punishment in Victorian Britain. Exciting!
I hung out with Sami and Tori at break and lunch; I was tempted to tell them about my dream and the strange happenings surrounding it but, as I didn’t understand what it was all about, I didn’t think I could do the story justice and so I didn’t mention it. I let them guide our conversation towards our favourite bands instead and the hope of going to see one of them in concert. Tori said her dad was considering taking her and her brother to see The Vaccines in the summer as a reward for their hard work this year and for coping well with their mum’s illness. She had been diagnosed with a benign tumour in her kidney last December; each week she had to go to hospital for chemotherapy treatment and it had disrupted their ordinary lifestyle but both Tori and Finn had adapted quickly to make the most of the horrific situation.
 Finn was Tori’s older brother; a tall, skinny sixteen year old with silky brown hair that always seemed to be falling into his eyes. He loved the same music as Tori; The Vaccines were his favourite band and her second favourite. (The Killers were Tori’s favourite!) Sami and I were really excited by this and, for a short time, I forgot about the dream and all my troubles. I had a bit of a crush on Finn so spending a day with him and then going to a concert by one of my all-time favourite bands, nothing could be better than that! The only down side to the trip would be that we had to be called by our full Christian names. Tori’s dad felt we had been given our names for a reason and did not want to compromise by using nicknames. This would make us Victoria, Samantha, Amelia and Finley for the day instead of Tori, Sami, Mia and Finn which would definitely have sounded much cooler and more sophisticated.
As soon as I got home I turned on my laptop and opened up my email account. Mum shouted up to me straight away asking why I had turned the internet on when I was supposed to complete all my homework before going online. It was true that I needed to finish my English essay for tomorrow and translate some sentences for French but they could be done quickly after I had sent the email. This was much more important. I told a slight lie to Mum, telling her my only work was to research life in Victorian Britain. I mean, I couldn’t have admitted my real reason for being online because it would make no sense. Mum would probably assume I’d gone mad and needed some sort of medication. Ever since Soph’s mental breakdown over Dominic, Mum has assumed we are all on the verge of having one too. She seemed to buy into my lie, though, so I was safe. For the moment, at least. If things continued then I may have to tell her about the dream and its effect on me and my room. How long could patches of sand and loose leaves go unnoticed when Mum often cleaned my room without warning? I’d just have to wait and see.
~*~
TO: madison.white@psychologiststoday.co.uk
FROM: amelia-mia-mitchell@gmail.com
Tuesday 28th April


 Dear Mandy,
 I don't know quite what to make of this but maybe you'll have a better idea than I do, considering you have a degree in psychology and have known my sister Carla for twelve years now. (She's much crazier than this is, I think.) Anyway, I went to bed as usual last night and I fell asleep about half an hour after going to bed. Now, I had a dream where I was standing on a deserted beach. The sea was lapping behind me, there was an imposing cliff face in front of me and I had just jumped off a train. I know that sounds like I need to be locked in a mental asylum but please, just keep reading. I kept saying "We shouldn't have done that." Eventually I started questioning who 'we' was. I woke up as I was beginning to walk away to try and escape. The strange thing is, when I woke up there was sand on my floor and a leaf just like the ones on the beach under my shoe. Please can you explain any of this to me? It seems important but I can't say why. And I feel fine, apart from being slightly concerned about the dream, of course.
Love
Mia (Amelia Mitchell)
~*~
It was only ten minutes later that I got a reply. I hadn’t expected one quite that soon as I knew that Tuesday was Mandy’s clinic day when she wouldn’t be finished till at least six o clock. The only reason I knew this was because of Sophia going to see her regularly at one point; she doesn’t go quite so much now as she is beginning to get over Dominic and Mandy works in a different area of England now too. As I was still online when the reply arrived I clicked on it immediately. I was curious to find out what Mandy would say about my dream.
~*~
TO: amelia-mia-mitchell@gmail.com
FROM: madison.white@psychologiststoday.co.uk
Tuesday 28th April

Dear Mia,
I have been doing some research about what you said and it appears that it is a problem being reported globally. There are people in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Australia, China, Indonesia and Canada who have posted similar symptoms/experiences onto Facebook and Twitter and there has been an article on Psychologists Today asking whether we have heard of such a condition as is currently sweeping the world. At the moment no one understands what is going on but I will try and find out. As soon as I have any updates I will let you know. Thank you for alerting me to this matter. It sounds very interesting yet I can understand that you may feel scared or confused. And no, I don’t think that you need to be locked up in a mental asylum, don’t worry!
How is Soph these days? I haven’t seen her for a while.

Mandy
~*~
That night I drank a huge mug of hot chocolate covered with whipped cream, marshmallows and a crushed flake piece to calm my nerves about going to sleep. I wasn’t exactly fearful but I did feel slightly apprehensive about whether or not I would return to the beach and what would happen there if I did. I half wanted to go back because I was interested but this still worried me a bit. Before climbing into bed I checked my carpet for signs of sand, water or anything natural. There was nothing on my floor except my fluffy purple slipper socks and my school bag which was neatly packed for the next day and very clean. I snuggled down beneath the covers and pulled my favourite teddy bear from my chair to help me relax and fall asleep quickly. He was such a soft bear that stroking him always relaxed me.

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