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February 7, 2008
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“Mama, mama…”

Little Bill Willoughby shook his mother agitatedly.

“What is it, Bill?” Tracy Willoughby mumbled as she was turned out of her slumber.

“I’m – I’m scared, Mama,” said Bill Willoughby, trembling.

“You shouldn’t be,” said Tracy as she got up from bed, straightening her nightclothes. “Didn’t that pillow we bought for you last weekend work?”

“I could fall asleep, Mama. But the pillow kept giving me nightmares!”

“Wilbur?” it was Tracy’s turn to wake up another member of the family. “Wilbur?”

“What is it, dear?” Mr. Willoughby stirred from his sleep. “Is Bill unable to sleep again? Doesn’t his pillow work?”

“Did you buy the Children’s Edition?”

“I am as sure as salad I bought the Children’s Edition, Trace. Do you think I’ll buy a pillow with a Nightmare channel for Bill? He’s only eight!”

“But I kept having nightmares!” Bill wailed, hurling his Sandman DreamPillow at his dad. “Try it!” he insisted.

Wilbur gingerly snuggled into Bill’s DreamPillow, mother and son staring intently at him.

He jumped up suddenly two minutes later, sweating. “If that wasn’t a nightmare, I don’t know what is!” he roared, startling Tracy and Bill. “I’m calling Sandman Beddings and Upholsteries tomorrow!”

“There was a report two weeks ago on the newsfeed, Wilbur,” Tracy recalled. “A family sued Sandman for causing their son’s death in bed. For inducing nightmares in their child.”

“And just maybe I’ll sue Sandman if they won’t give me a refund tomorrow,” Tracy’s husband replied angrily. “I’ve been hearing lately that the quality of Sandman’s programs have been going down. I certainly didn’t enjoy Flying in Metropolis very much.”

“We could always buy pillows from that other company, Fairy Electronic Pillows. I heard they’re incorporating a dreamplayer into them, so we can play our own dreamdiscs, instead of having to dream the free-to-air Sandman programs. The new models will probably come out next month."

“We’ll buy our pillows from Fairy next month then,” Wilbur decided after giving a large yawn. “Let’s go back to sleep, shall we?”

“Where am I sleeping, Daddy?” Bill blurted frantically.

Wilbur threw the offending dream-inducer to the corner of his room. “Son,” he stroked Bill’s hair, “ You can sleep with us tonight.”

“I can?” the young boy’s face brightened.

Minutes later, the Willoughby family was in bed, thoroughly asleep, as their DreamPillows hummed softly in the silence, transmitting Joy of Wonderland to their hindbrains.
A competition entry for *SRSmith's competition.

This story is supposed to be flash fiction, ideally 500 words long, with a maximum of 600 words. For this competition, the theme is science fiction.

401 words.
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:iconsalshep:
I would so buy one, if they had a "Hugh Jackman and You, On A Desert Island" package. It really is difficult to get a major plot arc across in such a teensy space; I think you've done a good job of it here. :)
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:iconarkhein:
Arkhein Feb 24, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
That was pretty cute. I like the concept of the pillows. Well, I like the concept. I don't think I'd buy one. :)

Well done!

-Ark
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:iconuberspect:
Would you want one for free? :)
Reply
:iconarkhein:
Arkhein Feb 24, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Hmm, yanno, I'd try it out. However, I have an too many exciting, fun, and introspective dreams on my own to want dream someone else's dreams for any length of time.

-Ark
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:iconhraesvelgr:
Hraesvelgr Feb 23, 2008  Professional Writer
Pretty nice concept piece you've got, there.

I'm not sure if I'd want to control my dreams in that kind of sense. If, though, there was a device to record dreams and replay them again on another night, that I'd go for. I've had some pretty doggone good dreams in the past.
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:iconuberspect:
Such a device is still a dream, sadly. :lol:
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:iconbananaprincess:
Interesting concept, especially with the different services offered and corporate competition. Reminds me of what's going on with different cable/satellite companies.

"Little Bill Willoughby shook her mother agitatedly"
Do you mean "his"?

Some questions I came up with while reading: If the problems with the pillows is well known, then why doesn't that immediately occur to the parents when their son complains about his? Also, why are they waiting a month to get new pillows? I also wondered why people were having pillows that made dreams for them, since humans dream naturally.
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:iconuberspect:
Regarding the typo: I'll fix that, thanks! :)

The problems with the pillows are more of manufacturing defects that are only starting to occur, more like a decrease in quality control than an inherent danger of the pillows. I included the 'death of the child' case as a sort of controversy over the pillows that hasn't been confirmed. Maybe I made it seem too much like the pillows were destroying children's minds everywhere...heh, I'll see what I can do about that.

About 'next month'...if those pillows were defective, and I were a parent, I guess I'll change brand the moment defects start to occur, so maybe I didn't give much forethought to that statement. I was treating the pillows more like the next-gen DVD player, but for something that you lie on to sleep, I think you have a point there.

About the entire premise: It's true people have dreams already. But who hasn't wished they could control the content of their dreams? Right now, lucid dreaming is a phenomenon that isn't very widespread. A brainwave inducer that could give you the dreams you want, happy dreams, scary dreams, funny dreams, even wet dreams, may be something with market potential. And what better way than to put them in pillows?

Thanks a lot for reading. :)
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:icondunwich7:
I enjoyed reading this, I love that dream-pillow idea :thumbsup:

And the "I am sure as salad" line is brilliant :)

:clap:
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