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
"Dare," Dan said shakily.
"Very well," Pammy responded, "your dare is to go to Area 50. You are familiar with Area 50, I trust?"
Jake jumped in: "It is a military complex on the outskirts of our town. It has been abandoned for a long time, though, so it will pose no immediate threat to you."
"It is nothing to be afraid of," said Gassan, "consider it to be something of a rite of passage."
"If you are truly afraid," said Pammy, "then we will accompany you."
Daniel stared at his friends incredulously. They had never acted this strangely before, and they had certainly never gone for childish dares before.
David appeared to sense his hesitation, and added, "perhaps Area 50 is somehow related to...Them."
Dan knew what that was about, and David was right. There seemed to be some connection between his nightly visitors and the military base. He couldn't quite place it, but the link was there. "Actually," added David, "all this talk of Area 50 has sparked my curiosity." He didn't sound the least bit like his curiosity has been even remotely sparked."
"I, too, am interested," agreed Pammy disinterestedly.
"As are we," said Gassan and Jake in eerie unison.
"Perhaps," Pammy went on, "we should go to Area 50 ourselves, whether or not Daniel is interested." The four of them stood to leave. Pam stopped for a moment, and asked, "Are you joining us, Daniel?"
Written by Zodiac on 02 June 2008
Daniel looked at his friends nervously. "Al...alright," Daniel said reluctantly, "I will go..."
"Nice to have you coming David," Pammy exclaimed. All David could do is let out a sheepish smile. "We will meet at Area 50 at 9 P.M. tonight, everyone can run by their houses and grab anything we may need. Flash lights, snacks, etc."
"I am just going to relax at my house until it is time" David said
"We'll I will see everyone then," Gassan said. Everyone soon dispersed and left to their respective houses.
Later at 9 Daniel met his friends at the base.
"Everybody ready to go in?" Pammy inquired.
"Yeah!" Gassan shouted.
"Let's do it!" As did Jake.
"Sure am" David said
"Unfortunately..." Daniel murmured.
David looked around and saw the front entrance directly ahead.
Far down to his left a hole in the fence could be seen.
And to his right a large tunnel could be seen. Though it was pitch black, so somebody better have a flash light.
Written by Shuusuke on 03 June 2008
Last week had been the last time ‘they’ had visited Daniel, and ever since then, strange things began to happen. Daniel had been seeing things, and exploring through this kind of place was not helping him handling things any better.
They had decided to split up, in order to cover the grounds better. Pammy went with David, of course, and Gassan was left with Jake. That ultimately left Daniel for himself, and the guy couldn’t be anymore worried.
He wasn’t even into any of this, but why did he have to be the only one who had to go by himself?
Written by Stella Purple on 10 March 2017
Daniel watched his friends disappear from his sight, Gassan and Jake waltzing all too assuredly through the front gates of the complex while Pammy and David entered the ominous tunnel. As the last bright beams of Pam’s flashlight were consumed by the darkness the knot of unease in Daniel’s stomach tightened. He glanced down at the only remaining path open to him, the hole in the fence.
“Awesome...” he muttered. He took a deep breath then slid down the small hill to the base of the metal barrier. He placed his hand lightly on the jagged edges of the hole and quickly ducked through. He felt a sudden, sharp pain on his palm and instinctively jerked his arm back to his side, raking one of the deteriorating prongs of the fence across his skin. The mighty shout that had been gearing up in his throat was stifled into a grunted curse as he cradled his clenched hand.
Blood and pain trickled down freely from the cut until Daniel finally made himself take a look. He felt sick. Honestly he almost just wanted to go home, retreat from this whole mess and forget it ever happened, but on the same note he wanted to know what was going on with this place, those dreams, his friends. He also wasn’t too keen on being the one to spoil the fun of the “Mystery Team” up there, so he pressed the injured palm to the edge of his shirt with hopes to stem the bleeding and continued on.
He tried to keep himself distracted by focusing on his surroundings. A few hulking machines lay broken and scattered on the ground, slowly being soaked in by the cruel grip of nature. It was summer yet the night felt oddly cool as he passed by the mechanical behemoths. It left him more unsettled than before. He decided to focus on twiddling the fingers of his right, unharmed, hand instead.
The teenager started at a loud clang beneath his feet. The sound continued ringing and echoing as a small pebble bounced innocently into the gaping mouth of a deserted military bunker.
Written by Flutterbest on 04 December 2017
Daniel stepped hesitantly into the entrance of the bunker. There was a series of red lights lining the wall but an odd gloom pervaded the narrow hallway. He placed his right hand on the wall to guide him as he slowly descended the stairs. The metal was rough under his fingertips and he could tell it had been left in this state of disrepair for a long time. Since that was the case, Daniel couldn’t help wondering why the lights were still operating.
When he arrived at the bottom of the steps he could already see a junction coming up. He traveled a few more steps, letting his hand hover over the wall so he could take a closer look at the new passageway that branched off to the left. It appeared nearly identical to the corridor in front of him except for an eerie glow that hung like a fog at the end of it.
Daniel moved back until he felt the cold wall against his palm again. He was strangely comforted by the solid, steady panel. He kept a careful eye on the uncanny gleam as he shuffled forward and away from it. He stopped abruptly when a sudden chorus of sputtering whirs erupted and several bright lights flashed in front of him. For a brief moment a red screen flashed in front of him before disappearing. Startled, Daniel stumbled back from the unexpected contraptions. He desperately flung his hand out behind him to catch himself, grasping the air as he fell. He took a sharp intake of breath as the cut that had just begun trying to heal itself twisted underneath his weight.
Written by Flutterbest on 13 December 2017
Daniel whirled around and launched himself to his feet. He scrambled to regain his balance as he barreled up the stairs. He repeatedly reached out to the wall and even the ceiling as he climbed higher, almost as if to assure himself he was still somewhere real, somewhere man-made, somewhere human. He’d had enough of creepy lights and weird things happening to him.
Finally he burst out of the bunker and stumbled weakly to the ground. He didn’t bother with getting up right away even though the pain in his hand was screaming in protest from the pressure. He needed a moment to catch his breath. He shut his eyes tightly, his head was pounding. The sickly sweet smell wafting through the air wasn’t helping his headache either. He sluggishly lifted his eyelids and waited for his eyes to adjust to the deep nighttime.
He was hovering over a patch of strange plants. They reminded Daniel of cattails, with fluffy looking cylinders waving in the subtle wind around him, but thick leaves crawled rampantly through the plot unlike any cattails he’d ever seen or heard of. The leaves were oozing a sticky gel all over themselves.
“And all over my hand...” he sighed. He tried to brush some of the gunk off his hand and slowly shifted to a sitting position. He stared down at his left hand; the sap-like secretion covered the palm of it like gauze. This gunk wasn’t going anywhere apparently. He sighed again and stood up. He made it one step before pausing again.
Had he just heard footsteps? The undeniable crunch of dirt repeated itself. Daniel’s heart was racing. He had no idea if those footsteps belonged to his friends or someone, or even something, else and at this point he wasn’t sure he cared. All he knew for sure is that they were coming closer.
Written by Flutterbest on 18 December 2017
Daniel didn’t know what was coming but he didn’t want to stick around to find out. His eyes dashed over the scene, looking for some place to hide. The stairs of the bunker loomed menacingly only a couple feet away but there was no way he was going back in there. If he did return to the hellish shelter he’d probably just get lost or run into something else he didn’t want to see. Besides if it wasn’t his friends, he had a feeling whatever was walking towards him would know their way around the underground facility much better than he did.
There were also the morose machines littering the place but he knew they’d only offer temporary solace if he hid behind them. What other options did he have? He ran for it.
Within seconds he was already sweating heavily and his lungs were burning. He knew he wasn’t the most athletic guy but the sweeping fatigue that hit him so quickly was startling. The pounding in his ears prevented him from hearing anything else. The edges of his vision were even beginning to blur. He didn’t see the hatch until he rammed his foot into it.
It may have been sheer sense of pride that stopped Daniel from toppling over yet another time that day. Instead he stood, rubbing his toes through his sorely beaten shoe, with an expression of frustration and mild indignation. The grimace slowly faded as a flicker of hope ignited inside of him. He grabbed the handle of the half buried door and pulled. The rusty hinges groaned in protest and resisted the measly strength Daniel had left with all their might but finally subsided and let the door swing open. Without giving himself time for second thoughts, Daniel jumped in.
He landed awkwardly amid a sea of colorful wires. The sprawling maze continued as far as he could see both in front of and behind him, insulated by futuristic looking white walls. By some miracle he’d managed to avoid tugging on any of the cords when he fell.
His chest felt tight even though he had significantly recovered from his mad dash. He assumed it was just anxiety, nervousness...but he was safe. He stood up shakily, carefully maneuvering around the wires. He reached for the door’s handle and solemnly shut off the entrance. He was safe...for now.
Written by Flutterbest on 23 December 2017