How many people do you think live in your world? About seven billion? No – that number is specious. That's how many people are alive in your world. That's not the question I asked. There are, in reality, only a fraction as many people living in your world at any given time. That may seem ridiculous to you, but you haven't really thought about it. What do people do when they're living? They walk around, they talk to their friends, they watch television. You understand the pattern: when people are living, they do things. So, when are people not doing things? You may say when they're dead, but a fraction of the people alive in your world aren't dead – that makes no sense. You see, they're sleeping.

About five years ago, scientists on my world developed the Harmonic Oscillation Model of Conciousness, which most of us know as Oscillation Theory. Many people in my world don't accept it, and it's sometimes seen as heresy. After all, Oscillation Theory is complex and counterintuitive. I'm not sure it satiates me, actually, but if you're reading this, it's surely true. The basic premise of Oscillation Theory is that the consciousness of a sentient being "oscillates" between two universes, spending some of its time in one, and some of its time in the other. Oscillation Theory doesn't say why conciousnesses do this, but many of its proponents believe that conciousnesses are, in some way, "allergic" to the matter in each universe. Some also believe that one universe manifests itself in the other as what we call dark matter, but that's only speculative. Anyway, because of this "allergicness," conciounsnesses have to jump from one universe to the other after some amount of time in a universe. We call this going to sleep. It's like hot tubs, if you have those in your world. You get into them, then you get too warm so you have to get out, then you get too cold so you have to get back in, then you get too warm so you have to get out, and so forth. Of course, you can try to stay in the hot tub (stay awake in one universe) for a longer time than normal, but you eventually have to get out (go to sleep in that universe). I realize you can stay out of a hot tub for however long you want, so the hot tub metaphor isn't perfect, but I think you get the idea.

"But," you ask, "How can both universes be equally real? In this one, things make sense, but in the other one, there's no logic! In dreams I can fly, I can time travel, I have enormous strength! In the real world everything is palpable and makes sense. There's no way dreams make just as much sense as the real world." There's a huge problem in your logic. Of course it's true that dreams don't make sense – but dreams aren't actually what happens in the other world, they're what people remember about what happens in the other world. The other world does make perfect sense – although, there are probably some differences from the world you're used to – it's people's memories that are faulty. That's why Oscillation Theory is so hard to accept. People confuse scientists saying that the "dream world" is real with scientists saying that dreams are realistic, which, of course, isn't true, and isn't what scientists say.

The really strange thing about this, contingent on its truth, of course, is that the terminology depends on perspective only. You'll notice I've been careful not to call one universe the "dream universe" and the other the "real universe" because each plays each role, the factor being what universe you're reading this from. For example, I think of your world as the dream world and mine as the real world. However, and remember this is unnatural to me, you think of my world as the dream world and yours as the real world. It's important that you realize that what you think of as the dream world is just as real as the world you're reading this in, because that world, our world, is in danger.

I don't have much time left to explain what sort of danger this is, as I have to finish writing this before I fall asleep. I'm sorry to leave you with this cliffhanger; I know you want to read more. But you don't have time for reading more; you have to actually help save us. Here's our plan:

In our world, scientists are formulating a drug that will allow for near-perfect memory between universes. We call it the Lost Dreams Antidote. It should get rid of most of the memory loss from one world a person experiences upon waking up in the other. I'm the test subject for a version of this drug. I am sitting in a laboratory right now, writing this letter. Once I finish, I'm going to sleep, and I'll wake up in the other world. Hopefully, if the drug works and any of this is actually true, I'll remember the contents of this letter and transcribe it from my memory onto paper. I barely remember what my life is like in that other world, as I don't often remember my dreams and, as I said earlier, dreams are a bad representation of reality, but I do remember that I take English 11 Honors with Ms. Carper. I know that we write stories every weekend. I'll try to write this as one of them as an experiment, and if I remember enough of it to do that, when I go to sleep and return to the world I'm in currently I'll report that the Lost Dreams Antidote was a success. Scientists will distribute it to the population, and because people's memories will be retained, in your world they will see the reality and urgency of our situation. They will see that they need to spend as much time as possible in our world, and they will try as hard as they can to go to sleep in your world. We need people working overtime to save us, and that will be much easier if more people are actively living in our world. You may think that the problems in your world are more worthy of spending time fighting, but trust me, they're nothing compared to what we're dealing with here. So please, if you're reading this, go to sleep. If the Lost Dreams Antidote works and can be distributed, you'll soon understand why you need to do this, but if something goes wrong, this letter is all we have to save us.

Go to sleep, and wake up.