This was the worst dream Sumit had ever had. Before this, it had never occurred to him the implications of something his parents took so lightly.
Sumit dreamt that he was in school. He immediately looked around to find his girlfriend Tina, but he couldn't find her anywhere. Something was really really off. He was in an extremely trashed version of his classroom. There were no tables, no chairs except the one in the center. It was creepy. He decided to go out of the classroom to look around the school because he knew if this was a horror movie, this was how he would die. And if this was a dream, this was how he could wake up.
As soon as he walked out, the ground disappeared from beneath his feet, and he fell. Usually, when this happens, you wake up — like Sumit expected to — right? Not in this epiphanic nightmare.
He fell for an eternity and hit the ground feet first. When he got up, he was reminded of a Greek mythology book he had read recently. Maybe this was what Tartarus looked like. He had never felt this dreaded before.
All around him, he saw chaos. He found himself in the middle of a political rally, except people around him were screaming: "VOTE FOR ANARCHY". Towards the far right, he saw two clans; one clad in orange and the other in green; trying to kill each other. People were fighting on the backs and shoulders of chained-up laborers who were dressed in white and blue. It was like they had substituted people for horses. There was so much commotion. So much chaos. He saw people getting beaten, trampled, and killed, in some cases, all at once. He saw a volcano made out of garbage spewing posters and pamphlets with political propaganda along with the usual lava. Somehow, it was only the people who caught on fire. All except him. It was as if he was there just to see.
Then he looked toward the left, and he wished he hadn't.
He had never seen a pile of dead bodies this huge, even in the most gruesome of all horror films. Half of it was on fire. At the bottom of the non-burning half, he saw his girlfriend.
"Tina, no!" he screamed as he ran toward the lifeless frame of his love. Her hands and feet were bound with zip ties. She had a piece of duct tape over her mouth that read "FEMINIST SCUM". There were still tears in her wide-open eyes, and there was a bullet hole in her head.
He woke up screaming, covered in sweat, tears welled in his eyes.
The next day, he made sure everyone eligible in his family was registered to vote.
It was not a choice to him anymore.
It was the realization of the importance of every vote that actually woke him up.