Only In Dreams | Skillshare Projects

Melissa Robitille

Author, Editor, Graphic Designer



Only In Dreams

My name is Trin Wallace. I'm twelve years old and my mother has sold me to a research facility. Yeah, yeah, you think that can't happen, but I know what I know, and you know what you think you know and never the twain shall meet. That's another reason why mother likely sold me - besides her addiction and debts, that is - I'm scary smart. Don't give me that look. It's not a fucking asylum, it's a research facility.

They locked me in this padded room and injected me with what looked like the variety pack of drugs, hooked me to an EEG and an EKG, put me in a straight jacket, chained me to this little cot, and now they're observing me. They don't think I can hear them discussing me behind the two-way mirror, but I can. They seem to be waiting for me to go to sleep. Why, I don't know, but I'm a little afraid of what will happen when I do.

"Subject appears tired, but is resisting sleep." A man's voice. A little different than the voice of the man who was working last shift. He sounds a little impatient.

"Duh," I mutter, "Turn my life upside down, inject me with a rainbow cocktail, stick electrodes on me, put me in a straight jacket, chain me up in a fucking padded room and sure... I'm just going to drift right off to dreamland. Get real, dipshit."

"Subject appears to be talking to herself. Perhaps a pre-somnolent state?" A woman's voice, this time. It was two men last shift. Nice to know that 'creepy fucker' isn't a job category that discriminates against women.

I mutter, "Subject's eyes are rolling at how stupid you fucking are, you numb bitch." I'm guessing they can't actually hear me because that didn't get a reaction at all. I briefly wonder just how long I can stay awake. If they want me to sleep, I'm pretty sure that's about the last thing I want to do. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that the record was something like eleven days, but there was something about microsleep in that article as well and that worried me.

That led me to thinking about another article on how parents don't need permission to 'institutionalize' their children. I wondered if that's how this whole deal was slipping under the radar. My mother straight-up sold me, but if the paperwork looked like she'd put me away who would even stop to check if her bank accounts were suddenly chock-a-block full? I don't know how much she got for me, but it gave me a small sense of satisfaction that she would snort the whole works right up her nose in no time flat and be back to bordering on homeless or worse.

They were talking again. "If she doesn't sleep during this shift, I'm going to recommend next shift increase the dose of sedative," the woman said.

Oh. A sedative. I suppose that explained why I wasn't more motivated to try to get out of the straight jacket. Not that it would do me much good, considering that I would still be shackled to the cot and in a locked room, but even I would expect myself to have been more upset by the whole matter.

"Increasing the dose of the drug would be a good idea too," the man said. The drug? Oh boy. That didn't sound at all promising.

"That isn't approved and you know it. If we change the experiment we'll have to go back in for approval all over again. Do you want to go through another six months of that?" The woman sounded sour about the entire idea. I decided that I liked her better than Mister More Drug there. Not much better, but at least she didn't seem to be going about the matter all higgledy-piggledy.

"The subject is 90 pounds. The last subjects weighed maybe three-quarters of a pound. I think it's already safe to say 500 times as much isn't to scale," the man said.

"Exactly. We're already stretching it to give her a bit more than four times the effective dose. Don't rock the boat, the results will be there."

I did some mental gymnastics. Their previous subjects were probably rats, if they were three-quarters of a pound. So, whatever dose a rat got to get whatever the results were supposed to be, I should get 120 times that. Five hundred times that? I shook my head. I don't know who cleared this experiment, but they must have been getting a hell of a kick-back from someone in Big Pharma, and that's only if the experiment was even that legitimate. Whatever they were giving me, they must think they were going to make big money from it to fuck the study around this much, though. I wondered just how much they’d had to pay whoever they paid off in the FDA to get their study approved.


An orderly slammed the door open with a thud against the padded wall. My heart thudded in my chest so hard I had to catch my breath before trying to speak to him.

“Would you take this thing off of me, please?” I asked as politely as I could manage considering how angry I was at my predicament.

The orderly ignored me, slapping a tray down next to my cot before retreating to the medical equipment on the other side of the room. While he was drawing up a syringe I was absolutely positive I didn’t want, I looked at the tray. There was a bowl of oatmeal, but nothing to eat it with. The straight jacket would preclude me from picking up the bowl and slurping the oatmeal out of the bowl, which would be primitive enough behavior, so it was looking like I would be expected to get down on the floor and eat it like an actual animal or the orderly was planning on spoon-feeding me. Neither option sounded like a great idea, particularly given the attitude he was displaying.

He came over to me and gave me a sideways shove, knocking me over to lie on the cot. He pushed the leg of my hospital pajama pants up to mid-calf and stuck the needle into one of the veins on the top of my foot.

In a low voice he said, “Eat before you pass out, Rat.” He busied himself breaking off the needle into the sharps container on the far wall of the room, then left without another word.

Despite his nasty attitude and rough treatment it was still all the information I had so far in this place, so I rolled onto my stomach and from there scooted my knees off of the cot. I got into a kneeling position and then wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself to get the quickly congealing oatmeal into my stomach. I leaned over and tried to keep myself from falling face-first into the glop, but I could tell that this was not going to work terribly well. I tried picking the bowl up by grabbing the edge with my teeth, in hopes that this would be slightly less revolting. Unfortunately, I only managed about three small mouthfuls of the bland mess before the bowl completely flipped up in my face and the oatmeal oozed all over my face and down the front of me.

I was starting to become groggy, but I decided that next time I would just give up on the dignity thing entirely and eat like a dog.

“Subject refused release from the straight jacket and has poured oatmeal all over herself,” a man’s voice said.

I glared my outrage at the two-way mirror only briefly before I felt quite dizzy and fell forward, landing with most of my upper body on the plastic tray. I blinked repeatedly, struggling to remember which muscles would make my body right itself, then blackness closed in on me.


Only In Dreams

Twelve-year-old Trin Wallace has been sold to a research facility to fuel her mother's addictions. Once there she is the subject of poorly regulated human experimentation with a drug that produces mild telekinetic powers in rats while they sleep. The researchers are hoping Trin will display similar results - but they're giving her four times as much as they should. 

As the black water of Trin's nightmares creeps closer and begins to take her over and she gains powers the researchers never dreamed of, will she become a monster to take her revenge?


New Adult market - particularly those who prefer paranormal and horror themes. May appeal to fans of the Hunger Games series due to 'scrappy heroine' becoming a force to be reckoned with. 




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