Adleman's Device - Chapter 1 by Jonathan Hask

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SUMMARY: Initial concept for a sci-fi piece. First chapter submitted for critique of writing style, voice, clarity of development. Will post more chapters as they come together.

Eric woke suddenly, breathing heavily and covered in a thin layer of cold perspiration. He'd had the dream again, and each time he dreamed this dream, he came closer to touching something... he couldn't say what it was, other than to say that it was another means of grasping the things he wanted, the things he needed, in his waking life. In the dream he was rushing toward this unnamed thing so fast as to blur the land, the sky, the clouds... he must have traveled around the Earth many times in that travel, and yet he did not quite reach the objective of that journey. But he got closer. Each time he had the dream he got a step closer to reaching the unnamed power, a step closer to gaining... what?

Eric scrubbed at his eyes with a hand, clearing the sleep from them. He glanced at the clock, confirming that he had woken up early again. Could be worse I suppose. I could be oversleeping. Then I'd be weirded out AND late.

After throwing the covers back, Eric turned off his alarm clock and headed for the shower. Having awoken this early, he'd not have to compete with his parents or his sister for time in the bathroom, and he'd be guaranteed hot water, unlike many other mornings. As he stood in the narrow shower stall sluicing away the physical remnants of the dream Eric tried to run through the dream again in his mind, but too much time had passed since his waking for the memory to be more than fleeting, so he quickly gave up and turned his attention to his showering.

After cleaning up, shaving, and dressing, Eric went to the kitchen to find something that would pass as breakfast. To his benefit, his mother was already up and had set a plate on the kitchen table. Eggs, bacon, wheat toast were all steaming cooperatively on the plate, and a large plastic cup the kind that restaurants give away as souvenirs sat filled with orange juice next to the plate. Eric sat down eagerly, diving into the meal enthusiastically. He noticed absently that the name of the restaurant had worn completely off of the cup as he munched on a piece of bacon. As he neared the halfway point of his meal and began to slow down and taste his food, he noticed his mother shooting him odd looks occasionally as she prepared breakfast for the rest of the family.

"Something wrong, mom?" Eric asked, hoping this wasn't about school. If it was, he may as well have left his alarm clock alone and gone back to sleep. She wouldn't let him go anywhere until she had said her piece, and that historically was not a small conversation.

"Are you feeling okay, Eric?" his mom said, tentativeness and concern mixing in her voice. "You sounded like you were having a heck of a nightmare in there."

Eric didn't enjoy lying to his mother, but if he told her that he was having recurring dreams and that they were causing him to lose sleep increasingly, he'd not get away from her until she had brought him to six different doctors. He could guess fairly easily by the fact that she had confronted him about this that it was not the first time his mother had heard him thrash and moan in his sleep.

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