Little More than Shadows

By Stewart C Baker
626 words · 3-minute reading time

On the worst days, just the knowledge that you're dreaming is enough to set you shivering in the cot, neck stiff from the cables.

Eventually one of your wardens will come, so you wait. They are little more than shadows, these days: features you can't quite bring into focus; skin tone somewhere between ivory and midnight. You can't remember any of the names you gave them when you first arrived.

Every day is more or less the same. Your wardens detach the cables from the base of your skull, then lift you from the cot and pull a scratchy cotton smock onto your body. That at least you can feel—touch hasn't fled you yet; cold and heat and discomfort are familiar friends.

If you're strong enough, you ask to watch your dreams, but days like that are few and far between.

Most days they walk you down a concrete-grey hallway to a room with no doors, and sit you in a chair across a table from a blinding, impenetrable light. The questions and your answers are always the same.

How did you...

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About the Author

Stewart C Baker is an academic librarian, speculative fiction writer, and occasional haikuist. His fiction has appeared in Writers of the Future, Nature, Galaxy’s Edge, and Flash Fiction Online, among other places. Stewart was born in England, has lived in South Carolina, Japan, and California (in that order), and currently resides in Oregon with his family­­—although if anyone asks, he’ll usually say he’s from the Internet. You can find him at or on Twitter and Facebook as @stewartcbaker

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