The room I woke up in was not my bedroom. There was little light, and the walls were made of rusted metal. A small space with two beds. Aside from the beds, each side had a computer. There was a window on the wall across from the door. Much like the walls, the rest of the room was made of metal. I got up from the bed. The grimy floor chilled my bare feet. From the bed, I could see a city outside the window. As I got closer, the world outside appeared just as corroded as this room. Trash and scrap pieces littered the road down below. The outside of the building suggested an apartment complex. How did I get here? I must still be dreaming. Outside, it was night. Why did I wake up so late? There's probably no reason at all. Logic only goes so far in a dream. I want to wake up. A knock came at the door. Before I could say anything, they came in. Two strangers stood in front of the door frame. A girl about my age and a boy who looked slightly older They were both dressed in strange clothing. The girl, whose face was pale as the moon, kept her hair up in a tight ponytail, so slick it looked like someone dipped it in glue. Her clothes were skin tight, light pink lined with white. She wore shiny boots that went up to the edge of her mini skirt. Spandex pants covered her underneath it, and gloves kept her hands unexposed. The boy's attire was similar, minus the skirt and with shorter boots. His clothes were dark blue lined with white. His hair was kept short and had a similar fake slickness about it. Next to him with his dark brown skin, the pale girl looked ghostly. The only pink left on her was on the clothing she wore. Her complexion was as vibrant as a sheet of printer paper. I looked down at myself. I was wearing denim shorts and a tan tank top with a thin, brown cardigan. My hair was a mess, half clinging to my face, and my feet were covered in dirt. There was no shine to anything on me. "Allison, are you ready? We have to get to the meeting down at the dock." The girl smiled at me. "Dante and I have been calling you for hours." The boy laughed. He nudged the girl on the arm. "Ashlyn here thought (____) had got you." I blinked. What? "Could you repeat that?" "(____). Are you still asleep?" The words wouldn't register. All I heard was the sound of static. "Come on, Allison. What's with you today?" Ashlyn asked. "I don't know." I suppose I should play along with this for now and see where it leads me. At least this one is different from the last few. I followed the two of them down three flights of stairs. Each step creaked and shook. The whole building looked as if it could collapse at any time. Outside, we immediately went down an alleyway. There was barely any light at all in this place. I followed mostly off the warmth of their bodies near me. Eventually, we ended up in another metal room. This one had no windows and the light gave off a green glow. Several other young people were there in similar clothes of varying colors all lined with white. The boy in the center of the room, who wore black, seemed to be the leader. He spoke to the crowd of teenagers about what I could not hear. I ignored their rebellious plans. There was no meaning to it. None of this is real. Someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to find Tamara. She wasn't dressed like the others. She wore a long white coat with a sky pattern on the inside. The rest of her clothes were vague to me, like a blurred painting wiped clean of all it colors and reduced to outlines. A little cloud barrette kept back the left side of her bangs. I was certain the coat and the barrette were things I had seen her wear in reality, but doubt didn't completely fade from my mind. Tamara spoke. "What are you doing in this place? Is this where you went after you left the car?" The car? She's referring to that dream? Is this a continuation of that one? "I suppose so. I don't really know where we are now." "I don't think you should stay here. Let's go." Tamara pulled at my sleeve. "This place is dying." As she spoke, the scenery flipped back and forth between that green lit metallic cube and my driveway. Tamara's light blue car with the white trim sat parked behind her at the edge of it. I could hear someone yelling behind me in between the shifting views. Something felt different about Tamara, but I couldn't place what. Ashlyn grabbed my other sleeve and said, "Pay attention. This is the most important part." Beyond her, I could see my home interspliced with the platform the boy in black stood on in the center of the room. Two blurred figures loomed beside him in the flickering static. When I looked back to Tamara, she was gone. The world was stable and dark green again. The two figures who appeared in the view that was my home remained behind the boy in black. No one else seemed to notice their presence. I hid behind Ashlyn and Dante, hoping since my dream gave them names they would help me. Dante stared back at me. With an emotionless tone, he said, "You missed it." The blurred figures merged into one and slipped into the boy in black. His face crumbled away on the sides, decaying meat and peeks of bone meeting with the green light. His eyes faded away and blood pooled from his ears. Without eyes to follow, I still knew he was focused on me. Like the strange old couple, he ran at me in a bizarre, unnatural way. His arms dangled at his sides like they were broken at the joints, only kept together by the skin containing them. I ran back, but couldn't find the door. The boy in black ran into Ashlyn and Dante, sucking the color out of them both until they were empty forms too. Their remains seeped into the boy's body. The rest of his face peeled away until only blood and skull were left. I hit against the wall, calling for help. "Tamara! Please, come back!" Nothing. "Darian, help me!" The boy was almost behind me. "Aaron! I need you!" And then I fell into total darkness. Scared, I closed my eyes. When I closed my eyes, I saw the field of flowers again. I remained there when I opened my eyes. Aaron wasn't there this time. Only the wind and the moon greeted me. I knew what would happen if I went down the hill. The cycle would start again. I turned around. If going forward wouldn't work, maybe another direction. All I found was the same view. No matter what direction I looked it, everything was exactly the same. The only way not to repeat the pattern was stand still. Perhaps I should have let the monster get me. Maybe the terror of that would have finally woken me up from this nightmare. I closed my eyes again. As before, the world around me was unchanging. So, I stayed in place. Sitting down, I thought about that place I had left. Those two people, Dante and Ashlyn...would I see them again? Were they people I knew in the real world? Something about them seemed fake and familiar. Characters from a TV show? "You watch a lot of television?" A man asked. I found myself inside another green lit room. Dr. Wei sat across from me. He gave me a kind smile. "Yeah, I guess." "You said before you used to read a lot when you were younger. Still an avid reader?" "Not really." The room around me was as unfamiliar as that apartment complex. Still, I felt as though I should know this place. "Oh, I see. What about writing? Do you still write stories?" Dr. Wei relaxed in his chair. "No...I stopped doing that a while ago." There was no reason to answer his questions, but I couldn't stop myself from speaking. "Why did you stop?" "I don't know. I just don't feel like it anymore. Besides, I haven't had time since (----) keeps calling me all the time and wanting me to go places." "(----)? You've never mentioned (----) before. Where do you go with (----)?" "Dumb places, like the mall. (----) keeps trying to buy me new clothes because (----) says mine are too dingy. And (----) always calls me every morning and night. Are you going to school? Did you do your homework? Did (____) hurt..." My mind felt fuzzy. The back of my head pounded. I clutched it in agony as a piercing static noise rang in my ears. "Stop it!" Darkness again, and then the city. I was on that street I ran from that strange couple at. The apartment complex was behind me. "Where did you go, Allison?" Ashlyn appeared behind me. She looked normal again. Or rather, she at least looked like how she did when I first met her. Dante stood near her. "We looked everywhere for you." It's not real. I didn't respond back. I sighed and walked away back to that room I woke up in. I lay down in the tiny bed and closed my eyes. When I opened them again, I was in my real bed. An odd quietness filled the room, and everything had a strange tilt to it all. The pain at the back of my head returned as the room shifted through shades of gray. Please, let me wake up.
Date | TOC