Daniel took a moment to glance about the room. The scent of fresh food baking in the kitchen to the right, the couch propped up against the wall and a television near the window. Everyone was seated on the floor, Gassain with his legs crossed and Pammy making sure her frilly dress covered all of her legs. Jake Sprawled out lazily and David looking over his shoulder with a nervous twitch.
“I guess I’ll pick truth. How long have you four been playing?” Daniel asked as he dropped into a seat next to everyone. Pammy scooting to one side so it formed a more complete circle, everyone facing into the center.
“About an hour by now.” Answered Jake.
“I think … yeah you missed the brownies.” David sounded disappointed.
“Still wish you’d pick Dare you know, the truth is boring.” Gassain complained.
“But it’s the only thing that’s important right now. Daniel?” she intones with that deliberate, unearthly monotone. “What have you been dreaming of?”
“Nothing the past two nights.” Daniel answered truthfully, thinking back to the calm weakened. “I go to sleep. Blackness. Then wake up. Pretty boring.”
“The last two. What about before that?” Pammy is quick to press.
“He’s being evasive. That must mean he’s with them.” Jake sits up, staring at Daniel with concern.
“Oh and what, you think he’s replaced?” David accused.
“Guys, guys, chill.” Gassain interrupted. “We’re here to play a game alright, you can talk about your mindwashing theories when it’s your turn.”
“What on earth did you guys put in the brownies? Starting to think I should be glad I didn’t eat one.” Daniel snickered to the three bickering teenagers.
“But would you please answer the question?” Pammy once more. “It’s important.”
“Okay fine.” Daniel sighed. “I dreamed I was tied down a slab, or something. Three guys, a computer, someone taking notes. I never get to see what they’re doing. In the dream I can’t even turn my head.”
“No briefcase?” David leans forward with a stare.
“Well, uh. Actually one of the guys did have a case on him. He opens it up. But I never see what’s inside.” Daniel replies.
“And then the other guy has a gun. So we’ve got Noteguy, Computerguy, and Boxguy.” Jake pipes up. “Clearly they are all supervillians.”
“In Hazmat suits?” Gassain balks.
“It’s just their costume, duh.” Jake rolls his eyes, acting as if this were obvious.
“In my dream they looked more like government types.” David crosses his arms. He looks down, taking a keen interest in his feet.
“They, uh. The three guys did have suits on in my dream too.” Daniel pipes up. “As soon as they lift off the covers I’m awake.”
“How long have the dreams been happening?” Pammy.
“I don’t know. A while? Its stopped recently so I’d like to think it’s over now.” Daniel answered.
“Hah! Not a chance.” Jake retorts. “Your dream took place in your own bed, and you still think it’s a dream? Mine too. Identical.”
“We are not being invaded by brain steeling government employees.” Gassain groans, leaning back against the couch.
“Not just employees! Tax collectors.” Jake counters.
“And they need the biological protection for …” Pammy asks, looking to each of three. “What? Exactly?”
“Maybe Gassain’s room is just so dirty they don’t want to take chances.” Jake grins.
“And maybe they know what you wear in yours, and just don’t want to touch anything period.” Gassain snapped back. Jake wasn’t entirely amused.
“Guys.” David pipes up in a stutter voice. “This isn’t coincidence guys. We won’t all have the same dream at the same time because nothing unusual happened.”
“Maybe it’s a prank.” Daniel offers to the group, looking at Gassain specifically as the man casually lounged about.
“By who? In my dream it was clearly three adults.” Pammy offers.
“All three of them men I can tell you that, way too broad in the shoulder.” Jake nods.
“Well then what do we do about it?” David questions. He looked scared. More scared than anyone else in the room.
“Set up cameras?” Daniel suggested with the usual earnestness.
“I could try this, yes.” Pammy nods, now looking down to think it over.
“Guess I could rig something up. Don’t have the memory to record the entire night though.” Jake mentions.
“What if the men just take the camera away? Or turn it off?” David questions with alarm. “Its not like I can afford some hidden spy camera right now and the ones I do have are really big and easy to spot.”
“Better than me.” Gassain shrugs. “I don’t have any camera at all, let along some way to hide it. You guys are just being paranoid here.”
“How can you say it’s just a dream?” Pammy looks serious. “With all of us, even you.”
“Don’t know.” Gassain holds up his hands defensively. “But they stopped, didn’t they? So long as we don’t have the dream again we don’t really have anything to worry about.”
“I guess so.” David admits reluctantly.
“Computerguy has probably already moved on to his next victim. I’ll bet other kids around school are having the same dream we are.” Jake muses, looking out the window as if with expectation.
“We are not calling him Computerguy.” Gassain pouts.
“How about ComGuy then. Shorter to say?” David offers.
“If the dreams have stopped then we only need to worry about them if they don’t come back. But have they actually stopped?” Pammy inquires, sitting up strait and looking all four of the boys directly in the eye. “How long ago did the dreams seem to stop?”
“About eight days for me.” Jake raises his arm.
“I’ll guess about six days, I noticed I could sleep easier last Sunday.” David offers reluctantly, his arms still folded across his chest. He looked like he was cold.
“Four days.” Gassain shrugs, leaning his head back into the couch and looking over his fingernails. The ceiling light cast the shadow of a hand across his face. “Didn’t count how long they went on for but I’m pretty sure they aren’t coming back.”
“Two days.” Daniel finally answers. “It stopped on Friday. Last day of school.”
“You mean the day D.i.C. came in hang over?” Gassain perks back up.
“As if you have any right to talk little fascinated by finger shadows.” Jake sticks his tongue out.
“Well, I think I answered all the truths I needed here guys.” Daniel steps in, propping one knee up and wrapping his arms around it. “How about we get back to the game?”
“I agreed.” Pammy nods. “Its your turn Daniel, go ahead and pick.”
And thus the five teenagers played their game on into the night. Drinking when they felt like it, having a ready dinner once it was finished. Revealing truths and convincing each other to pull off embarrassing pranks. Pammy ended up shoving two straws in her nose while Jake took pictures. Jake was forced to act like a bunny, leaning against the table with a carrot in one hand like a cigarette. Cell phone cameras immortalizing the image for all to see. David was dared with putting ice down his shirt. Gassain rather effortlessly breezed through a dare to climb the branch on the tree outside.
And Daniel was dared to speak only in Riddles for a full hour, which seemed much more difficult to pull off than he’d expected.
They went home, they slept, and when they woke up in the mourning something was completely different.
Written by Arbon on 25 May 2016
The end (for now)