C.E.C.I.L. did not dream of electronic sheep, but he did dream.
He had tried to explain it many times to Carlos in the past. Most nights his dreams were simply his memories trying to defrag themselves into something more manageable for his databanks. Odd snippets of memories and videos randomly pasted together to form a story. He’d be wired again, he would be at a lake on the surface, people from his past would be there and young and then gone again. Carlos told him that human dreams were a lot like that too, though most human dreams were about being naked in High School.
But C.E.C.I.L. had other dreams, too.
Like the flowers.
An endless field of flowers as far as his limited vision in the dream could see. On the horizon there were shadows stretching up into the heavens, yet they did not block the early twilight that filled the sky. No matter how far C.E.C.I.L. walked in this dream he never went anywhere. Or maybe there was nowhere else to go? The only hint that he was moving were the flowers changing under his feet. From daises to roses, to roses to violets, from violets to tulips, to long stems of purple and pink flowers reaching up into the sky. It was within that group of flowers did C.E.C.I.L. always find him.
Carlos was sitting at a couch that had long been thrown away, hunched over a laptop that was destroyed unceremoniously by a can of soda many years ago. He smiled at C.E.C.I.L. and waved the robot over. “C.E.C.I.L., you have to come see this! I found it! I think I finally found it! You have to look too! Right um, right after it loads. Terrible connection out here.” He said as he looked around the endless fields. “But it was totally working a second ago. Take a seat, maybe it’ll come back.”
C.E.C.I.L. sat down as instructed on the opposite side of the couch. He glanced over at Carlos, but didn’t try to move closer. His glance was returned with an even wider smile from the computer scientist.
"How’s Janice holding up?" Carlos said as he plucked away at the laptop.
"Expecting her first grandchild next May." C.E.C.I.L. stared down at the flowers by his feet.
"Wonderful! I wish I could have been there. Do they know the gender yet?"
"Boy. They’re going to name it after you."
"Wow." Carlos looked up from the screen. "I’m honored. Tell them I said that, will you?"
"Carlos, you know I can’t."
"Please. You tell everyone everything. I do love you, but it is a fault of your’s."
"No one will believe me."
"And why not?"
"Because you’re dead."
The words fell in the space between the two men. Carlos closed his laptop and placed it on the ground. “I know that. I am very much aware of my non-aliveness. But I’m…here. Wherever here is. Do you think it’s the afterlife? I expected more clouds. And various dead relatives of mine. Harps. That sort of thing. Let me tell you, the old Nuns at my Catholic school must be pissed-“
"Carlos! Please. Tell me you’re real. Prove that you’re not just some memory figment. I need you to be here again."
C.E.C.I.L. slammed his hand down on the cushion between them. Words rose up his throat only to vanish as Carlos reached over to take his hand. His husband’s skin was as warm and rough as he remembered. Carlos scooted closer as the world faded around them. In the distance the quiet hum of eternity was replaced by the sound of C.E.C.I.L.’s bedroom clock ticking away. But Carlos remained there at his side.
"Cecil, it’s okay. I love you. And I know you love me. As long as we have that connection and our voices we will be together. I promise."
C.E.C.I.L. nodded and rested his head on Carlos’ shoulder. “I know, it’s just…”
"Hey. Don’t worry. As soon as I locate the door…"
The alarm went off.
C.E.C.I.L. opened his eyes across the Vale Colony, but all that he could comprehend were Carlos’ words echoing in his mind.
”I’ll come home.”