Midnight. They always came at midnight. The chimes from the old grandfather clock in the den jolted Daniel out of his restless dreams. It wasn't the chimes that woke him so much as the knowledge that They were coming. It was the same horrifying ritual, every single night.
The room was illuminated by an eerie pale green glow. Three figures in haz-mat suits stood around his bed. One of them held a large briefcase, another held a gun, and the third--the apparent leader, from the way he acted--was making entries into a large handheld computer. Daniel tried to escape, to run, to even move, but some unseen force held him in place, as immobile as the bed itself. The leader looked up from his computer and signaled to the one holding the briefcase, who set the case down and began to open it. Daniel strained to see its contents, but couldn't from his position. If only he could move...
The leader reached forward, grabbed the bedcovers and--
The shrill blast of Daniel's alarm clock filled the room. He'd had that dream again, the same one he'd been having every night for nearly a month. Except that it didn't feel like a normal dream. It felt more like a memory, but one that had been partially forgotten. Anyway, Dan had more important things to worry about, so he pushed whatever it was aside for the moment. Today was the last day of school, finally. All he had to do was survive his last few final exams, and he'd be home free. He wasn't about to let a creepy dream get him down.
Dr. DiCaoz glanced over his biology classroom. "Is anybody still working on the final?" he asked tiredly. He paused for a moment, then said, "If everybody is finished, you may talk quietly amongst yourselves for the remainder of the period." As the class erupted in chatter, he went back to nursing his hangover.
Daniel loved his biology class. It wasn't just that he was good at it, or that it was the last class of the day. By some bit of luck or fate, he happened to be in the same class as his four closest friends, Gassan, David, Pammy, and Jake. Gassan, David, and Pammy had become absurdly popular since coming to high school. Gassan was Lebanese and therefore "exotic," David was a star swimmer, and Pammy was a cheerleader. In retrospect, popularity was an inevitability. To the other popular kids, Jake an avid follower of the Furry subculture (he called it a craze, but nobody else did) and Daniel, the introspective writer, were social liabilities. Still, Gassan, David, and Pam never let their newfound "friends" keep them away from Jake and Dan. Privately, Daniel was grateful that he had managed to befriend the four people who appeared to be immune to high school drama.
"So, what'd you guys think?" Pammy whispered.
"I'm pretty sure Dr. Di is a nutcase," Gassan answered quickly. He was met with a chorus of approval from his companions.
"Anyway," Pam continued, "are we having our annual Thank-God-The-Schoolyear's-Over party tonight?"
"I can't go," Jake said, "I've got a convention."
"I can't go either," said David, "My dad's taking me camping. He's on a back-to-nature kick."
"I'm visiting my grandma," Gassan said. Pammy rolled her eyes.
"Alright," she sighed, "when do you guys get back?"
"Sunday, but it'll be late."
"So," Pammy continued, "is Monday night alright with everyone?"
The days passed quickly. By the time Monday arrived, he had gone an entire weekend without his mysterious dreams. He was mostly relieved, but part of him wished the visitors would come back so he could find out what they were up to.
The streets were charged with an eerie calm. A summer storm was coming. As Daniel reached Pam's door, he couldn't help but feel a strange foreboding. Something was decidedly wrong. He rang the bell.
"Come in," called Pammy. Dan opened the door and found friend sitting on the floor in a tidy circle. They were all staring at him, an unsettling hunger in their eyes. "We are playing Truth or Dare," Pammy intoned mechanically. "Please, join us. Truth or Dare?"
"Please choose Dare," Gassan said, in the same unearthly voice.
"The Truth is never any fun," agreed David, still in the same tone. Throughout the exchange, none of the four took their eyes off of Daniel.
"Is everything alright?" he asked. "You all seem...different."
Pammy answered in the same monotone as before: "We are collectively unnerved at a series of recurring dreams we have been having. Perhaps you too are experiencing these visions?"
"Yeah," Dan said, "but I'm not acting that weird about it."
"Perhaps," Pammy said, "All will be made more clear if you answer this simple question: Truth...or Dare?"
Written by Zodiac on 31 May 2008
It was a cloudy day at Stonehill college; there were rumours of rain and thunderstorms, but at the moment, nothing was happening, for the sky seemed to be waiting for something to happen. Perhaps it was the will of the heavens that the sky would be crying on that day...
It didn't seem to bother a student, which was lying against a wall, pondering the events that happened recently; perhaps his friends could help him understand, but for now, what could he do? Without them, he was powerless, a simple figure in the massive crowds.
His name was Daniel. He was a normal guy; one could assume he was a bit of a geek or a dork, but to tell the truth, he was just a regular student, one that blended in the masses without making any difference at all. It wasn't a trait that he was proud of, but it saved him several times, giving him a better appreciation of it. This could shape his destiny, one day.
Of a pale complexion, he was an average height, standing out of the crowd sometime with his jet black hair. A quiet fellow, he learned to respect the equilibrium of the environment that educated him, a force that surpassed him. There was no point in facing such odds for no purpose, for he wouldn't win anything out of it.
He learned with time that there was no point in disrupting the natural balance in college; if one would try to destroy it, it would be engulfed by the forces supporting it. But this wasn't an element he cared much about; he had friends and this was enough for him to forget about that sort of thing.
There was Gassan, the foreign exchange student from Lebanon; although he wasn't the most pleasant person all the time, he was still a pleasant friend. But sometime he was to follow and understand; Gassan blamed the cultural differences between, but Daniel had the impression that there was something else behind it. Perhaps a trip to Lebanon could help him understand his situation, but it wasn't an element he cared about, for there more important elements to care about.
To his surprise, he was also the friend of David, the popular kid. Him, the one that sought the peace and the tranquility that being unknown could provide, was on friendly terms with one that ran for the lights, that lived for the crowds. Perhaps it was the fact that they were antithesis that attracted each other, or perhaps it was something else, but for the moment, nobody could deny their relation.
With David came Pammy, the cool girl of the school; although they weren't hanging out together usually, popularity and coolness were elements that walked hand in hand, making their fate intertwined. He cared little about her passions, but she was still excellent company; that was all he needed, unless there was a reason for him to change his mind...
And there was Jake, the weirdo. He called himself a furry, but David had the impression that was simply a cover up for something else. But since he kept it to himself and was nice the rest of the time, he couldn't let him down; he was a great confidant, one that he could trust.
As different as they were, they formed a solid team, one that could face any difficulty and overcome it; all he needed to do was to find them and tell about what happened, to see if they would be able to help. That would be a gamble, though; they were friends, but that didn't mean that they wouldn't spread any rumors around or give him terrible advice.
But since nobody would believe him, he placed his trust in those that were close to him; perhaps they had a reasonable explanation concerning the events that took place last night, although there was a chance that they knew nothing about it.
He expected them to be hanging away from the college, near an arcade or a deli; to see them waiting in the back of the buildings, looking at the horizon without saying anything made him wonder if something happened. At least, they were quite easy to find; it was a blessing mixed with a potential curse, for he had the impression that there was an element troubling them, for they never had the tendency to stay in place, doing nothing else than look at nature, letting silence overwhelm them. Perhaps there were indeed something going on and he should retreat before it would be late...
But what kind of friend would he be, leaving them when they could need his help? What sort of despicable behavior could he be able to justify? He could pretend that this never happened, lie to himself and never aboard the subject again, but he had the impression that this would come back to haunt him later.
Written by zanian on 17 June 2014