The sleeping sickness started at a college dorm. Cara was the first victim, followed by other girls. The victims of this sickness just slept.
Those who lived on the same floor as the victims were quarantined and were asked not to leave, but the virus still kept on spreading in a small town called Santa Lora.
The government isn’t sure how to deal with this rare sickness. As it spread, Cordon Sanitaire (restriction to leave to avoid the spread of sickness) has been declared for the entire town. Even the nurses got sick. The authorities could no longer attend to everyone’s needs.
There were instances of victims waking up. The first to wake up was Tristan, who got very confused and ended up jumping through the window. Nobody woke up after him for weeks.
The next man to wake up was Thomas, the father of Sarah & Libby. He dreamt that there was a fire in the library. He was very confused, and he just went home. He was very stressed since he believes that he keeps seeing a glimpse of the future. He once kept on lighting matches and claimed that he could see the flames before he strikes it.
True enough, there was fire in the library the next day and that fire woke majority of the victims.
Here’s a list of the main victims:
- Rebecca – the nurses took extra care of her because they discovered that she’s pregnant. She slept for almost a year – which meant she slept through the pregnancy and also during childbirth. She was the longest victim to sleep and in her dreams, she lived a different life, an entire life. When she woke up she looked for her son, but to her surprise it was revealed that she has a daughter. She claimed that her dreams were very real. In her dreams, she was already an old woman and it surprised her to discover that she was just 19 years old. Even after surviving sickness, she’s still visiting a therapist for her mental health since her dream really affected her.
- Caleb – the father of Rebecca’s child. He slept while they were being quarantined. When he woke up, he left town along with his parents.
- Thomas – the father of Libby & Sarah who feared a long time ago that something like this would happen. He already prepared food in their basement just in case, but he still got sick. He dreamt that there was a fire in the library which he soon discovered as the future because the next day, there was indeed fire in the library.
- Libby – 11 years old victim who slept and was took to the library (transformed as an extension to the hospital) by two college students, Matthew and Mei. She woke up during the fire and was brought home by her father, Thomas.
- Anna & Ben – they are new to Santa Lora. They just moved for a new beginning with their newborn baby, Grace. Since Anna could not produce breastmilk, she uses the milk from the hospital which the hospital later informed that could be infected by the sleeping sickness. They tried to leave town but couldn’t because Grace is on the list. Anna got the sickness first, and then Ben. The two of them were woken up by the fire. Anna didn’t dream anything, while Ben dreamt of scenarios with Anna which felt like a glimpse of the future. He was afraid because Grace wasn’t there – the dream could mean something, but when he told Anna about that dream, she revealed that those actually happened in the past. He’s not sure if he believes her since he’s still confused by his dreams. As for their daughter, Grace, she was saved from the fire but didn’t wake up. She continued sleeping after the fire, but eventually woke up.
- Nathaniel – a biology professor who was also discovered by Matthew and Mei. When he woke up, he looked for Henry. Henry is in a comatose state but Nathaniel’s last memory was spending time with him. It turns out that he just dreamt about it.
- Mei – she’s the roommate of the first victim. She helped victims with Matthew. She caught the sickness, but Matthew didn’t. When she fell asleep, her mind was still functioning. She died during the fire in the library due to smoke inhalation.
After the victims woke up, their lives continued although their dreams still haunted them. Some also left town just to make sure.
The End of The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker.