I woke to the natural lullaby of an English countryside embracing dusk – the sounds of crickets and a gentle breeze outside. It immediately persuaded me to turn over in my bed and return to sleep.
Almost as instant as when I shut my eyes, the dreams came at me like a tidal wave crashing down on an unsuspecting sunbather. They appeared to be my memories – images of being in a loving home with parents and siblings as an infant – Christmas time with Nat King Cole playing in the background.
Then, the cinematic perspective shifted and I could see myself – a teenage version of me, with lots of other kids whose faces were unfamiliar. I was in a huge red brick building – a school – with a traditional appearance and teachers walking around like wardens.
The next scene – I was older still and behind bars. I could feel the injustice. Taste the fury that comes with being tagged with the worst label possible despite not falling into such a category. I had been convicted of something…wrongfully. All for a split second action of defending myself. My world had been turned upside down and I had suffered for it.
Waking to the light of dawn shining through the window onto my bed I looked across to see the silhouette of a woman standing over me. My eyes cleared and I could see it was the lady from The Institute; the one who had been in the queue in front of me.
“You,” I mumbled.
She was smiling. I smiled back.