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
Daniel looked around his friends. The eerie feeling was hanging in the air and he started getting nervous. His friends were acting strangely and he didn´t know how to react to the sudden change. He slowly walked forward and stood at the edge of the circle made by his sitting friends. All of them blankly stared at him, waiting on his answer.
“Do we have to play it now?” Daniel asked worriedly. “You are all acting weird.”
“Chose, Dan,” Pammy repeated in monotonous voice.
“Truth, or Dare?” they all said in unison and a shiver ran down Daniel´s back.
Whatever was happening, it had to have something to do with his strange dreams and the midnight visitors and all his friends being away during the weekend. But how much can a person change during one weekend? Daniel looked at the unblinking eyes fixed at him. Apparently, a lot.
“Truth,” he said slowly. He didn´t know what was wrong, but he didn´t want to risk a Dare with all his friends acting so unsettling.
“Wrong choice,” David said.
Daniel made a step backwards, suddenly scared by the void in his friends´ eyes.
“Dare?” he said quickly, trying to buy himself some time to think up what to do. The word worked like a spell, all his friends relaxed and some of the tension seemed to disappear from the room.
“Sit down, Daniel,” Pammy told him and she almost sounded like her usual cheerful self. She even smiled at him, but Daniel could see her smile being a tad too wide to be real.
Written by lulu-illussions on 07 October 2016
Daniel's friends had become incredible busy with their new high-school lives. He was excited to have the five of them altogether for their traditional weekend hangout. Daniel was determined to make it a good one. Of course. All this drive was hidden under a mostly calm and dopey face of his. He didn't want to act like a preschooler, now, did he? Pam's dare had stolen all his pep, what made it crueler was her being a cheerleader, wasn't she suppose to inspire the opposite in him. Daniel awkwardly laughed while avoided his friends eyes.
Pam's dare was an easy one, go visit the abandon military base at the end of town. No big deal, normally, but with the shadow of the past few nights recurring nightmare hanging over him. He just couldn't work up the nerve to agree to it right away.
“Well are you chickening out or going?” Pam asked impatiently tapping her perfect red nails on the carpeted floor of her bedroom.
“It's just so far.” Daniel rubbed his head and groaned. It was the sweat drenching nights he woke up screaming. Or the burning terror he felt in his gut, as his mind wandered to the thoughts of that base. “Sounds like chicken talk to me,” David teased Daniel while tossing popcorn into his hair.
“How would I even prove I was there?” Daniel desperately grasped at some excuse, swiping the popcorn out of his hair with both his hands.
“Someone should go with him, prove he's gone inside.” Pam was quick to come up with a plan. “Should you go, and cheer him on?” Jake said raising his eyebrows dramatically for people to catch his bad joke.
“Should we all go?” Gassen suggested with a raise of his hand. “Personally I've always been curious about the place.”
“A night of courage. I like it!” David said getting on board quickly. “Maybe they have some old military uniforms left over? I could use them for one of my fursona's!” Jake jumped up and was already gathering his backpack.
“Why not?” Pam shrugged, getting off the floor. “Let's get our bikes chicken boy!” Pan shot at him as she left the room.
“Ye-yeah!” Daniel struggled out. His thoughts turned in, flashing back to bright lights, pain and the blood soaked horror of awakening and not being himself.
“Daniel. We could stay behind. You and me, we'll watch some movies.” Gassen placed a hand on his shoulder. His eyes filled with concern. Gassen was a good friend, taking a deep breath Daniel shook off his nightmares and Gassen's hand.
“No.” He let out a shaky breath, feeling calmer he continued with a stronger voice. “No, you want to go, and we'll all be together. What can go wrong?”
Written by Psto1464 on 17 March 2019