Dream This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 16, 2010
My name is Joshua Greene.

My number is 89IWK56.

I’m 17 years old, but I’ve spent most of my life here.

I didn’t do anything wrong. They even tell me it’s not my fault. “It happens to one in every five people” They say it like it’s a good thing. Well, that makes me feel so much better, you know? Being a statistic.

I guess I shouldn’t be complaining. It’s isn’t that bad. I get a continental breakfast. And lunch, and dinner, too. A cheap meal consisting of Jell-O, water, an instant potatoes. For eight years it’s been this way. And lately I’ve taken to vomiting it all up.

And there’s so much time. You can play all their games, read all their books, and eat all of their gross food, and you still hours and hours left.

Hour spent looking at the ceiling, making shapes with the shadows. Hours spent watching the television. No not watching, staring at the fake people living hteir fake lives with their fake personalities.

I can’t go outside. My bed is my ball and chain. I never get up, except when I have to pee. The room is my cage, and I’m screaming and crying to get out.

And one more thing. No human contact. Fabulous, eh? No parents, no friends, no school. Just the people in the books, in the tube, and in my head.

I don’t see why I can’t just hang myself right now. But I’m staying here for my friends, my family, hoping that in a few years, I can break free from this hell.

And my only salvation is sleep. Sleeping passes the time. And I feel great when I wake up. Until I remember where I am.

But, by far, the best parts are the dreams.

I go to another place. It’s a little bit of everything. In one direction, and ocean. In another, a desert. There’s snow up high, and a pond right in the middle of it.

And I’m in the best shape anybody could be in. I can run a mile without breaking a sweat. I swim hours without feeling tired.

I eat delicious food. Turkey and stuffing, real potatoes and gravy, warm rolls…a real Thanksgiving. And that feeling of taking a bite out of an apple. The breaking of the skin…letting your teeth sink into the soft flesh…God. It’s better than anything, even sex. Or so I imagine.

Things look better, too. All the colors…they’re so bright…and amazing. And I see things I don’t normally see. I see things so beautiful it makes me cry.

And there’s a girl. She has blonde curly hair and big, blue beautiful eyes. She doesn’t talk, but she understands. And she listens to everything that I say. She lets me kiss her…hug her. And I love her.

But then I wake up.

Staying here kills me. It literally kills me. I’m so sick, I’m dying. I swear I’ll never come back from this.

The tubes are killing me. These tubes coming out of my body are supposed to be the thing that’s keeping me alive, but they’re killing me.

This is the real dream. A bad, sick, terrible dream. Maybe when I wake up it’ll be worse than what it is now. But I doubt it. Nothing can be worse than having cancer your whole life.

Join the Discussion

This article has 10 comments. Post your own now!

DanceAway This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 19, 2010 at 3:56 pm
This is your best piece! Its so good! One of the best I've read on TeenInk.com! good job. 
lol101 said...
May 18, 2010 at 8:15 pm
one of the best things I've read. SOOOO well written. The whole time I thought they were in jail. In the end I was surprised. A great writting skill to keep your reader at the edge of their seat. I like your style too, simple and to the point. You deffinitly should keep writing. :) also, if you get the chance, could you maybe look up some of my work too?
Item-89 said...
May 18, 2010 at 4:18 pm
Is she in a hospital? Thats what I got from the "tubes". But keeping the reader in the dark is what made it so good. If its suppose to be a hospital that makes a good twist ending if not, its a good ending that just keeps the reader in the dark.
--LoveHappens-- said...
Apr. 28, 2010 at 5:32 pm
wow that was fantastic. I can feel the emotion of the boy and how angry he his. The suspense is incredible that you have no idea where he is and then you find out he has cancer. Incredible!!! Great job take a look at my work and leave a rating and comment. Thanks so much and great job
SwordGirl said...
Apr. 27, 2010 at 4:30 pm
Wow! This is fantastic! The description is so vivid, I feel like I'm actually watching the narrarator. I've never been in any situation like this, but I can really sympathize with him. You should definitely keep writing!
Jynxx replied...
Apr. 27, 2010 at 5:52 pm
I agree with SwordGirl! this story was awesome! definitely keep it up. =]
MayaElyashiv This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 27, 2010 at 10:42 am

This is such an interesting read! I love how you don't know for sure what the character has until the end, and how the clues go every which way--at least for me they did. 


Please keep writing! I would love to read more of your work!

SandyC said...
Apr. 26, 2010 at 9:04 pm
wow..very powerful..to be honest i was clueless as to what the person had until the end..but thats one of the things that kept me reading..and the last line almost made me cry..wonderful job....hey if yu dont mind, culd u read nd give me feedback on  my story(William's Dream part 1) i wuld luv 2get yur opinion on it:)
Chickadee replied...
Apr. 27, 2010 at 10:24 am
i don't have cancer but I cried because that is exactly how i feel right now about my life. I feel so alone and compressed in a life so unreal. Dreaming is even hard because all I have are nightmares. I wake up screaming and talking to myself. I think I'm going crazy...
SUPERMANDwightHoward replied...
May 22, 2010 at 12:27 am
I thought it was an infectious diesease the way you talked about no  human contact, Why can't the person see anyone. However I loved the way the emotions built up, it felt like there was whispering in my head describing the entire story. i lloved it, I wish I could get my readers to feel like that. Applause :)
Site Feedback