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
“Okay…” he obeyed and sat at the empty place in the circle. “What now? Will you tell me what´s going on? You said that you had the same dreams-”
“Those weren´t just dreams,” Gassan interrupted him. “You know that, don´t you?”
“You must admit that normal dreams aren´t like that,” Jake tried to persuade him. “It was more like visions. Like something that really happened.”
“Nonsense!” Daniel jumped up and glared at his friends. “You´re just trying to prank me or something. Just because I had a few weird dreams…” but even as he was saying it, Daniel knew that his friends were right. The midnight visitors weren´t just some dream, there was more behind it and he couldn´t wait to find out what it was. There just had to be some rational explanation.
“You said Dare,” Pammy said resolutely. “So we´ll play Dare.”
Daniel looked around his friends, meeting the same expressionless stare no matter where he turned. It was troubling him, but he didn´t see another solution than play along.
“We dare you to go to the abandoned military complex outside of the town,” David decided. “You must go there at the midnight and spend there one hour.”
“Because we need to know who They are,” Pammy said. “You had the same dream, Dan. Don´t tell me that you don´t want to know what it meant.”
“Well, I do,” Daniel said hesitantly. “But we can go to the military complex during day, can´t we?”
“But They won´t be there during the day,” Gassan said very quietly. “They come there only at night.”
Written by lulu-illussions on 14 October 2016
“Fine then. Let´s do it.” Daniel wasn´t sure if it was a good idea, but he felt that something needed to be done. Maybe at the complex, he would find out the reason of his dreams and also the reason why his best friends acted so strangely. Pammy was right. He needed to know what was going on. Not knowing was haunting his mind for too long already.
The others got up and silently walked to the door. Daniel followed without any enthusiasm. He didn´t know what they would find out at the military complex, but some unconscious part of his mind was warning him that something sinister was going to happen.
“I´ll be driving,” Jake said when they lined up in front of the house. Pammy´s parents van was waiting there and Daniel and others got in. Dan checked his watches – half past ten. Still enough time to go to the military complex and leave it before the midnight. But something was telling him that his friends wouldn´t just leave it. Some eerie force was dragging them all towards the complex.
When the van moved, Daniel quickly glanced up at the dark clouds forming in the sky. Even the weather was grim. Whenever he returned to this night in his memories, he always felt that the storm was a warning he stupidly overlooked.
Written by lulu-illussions on 21 October 2016
Jake drove slowly. No one talked in the van, not even Daniel who kept looking from one silent friend to another. He couldn´t handle such anxious silence, but after a few vain attempts to start a conversation, he had to give up.
The obnoxious silence continued until they reached the military complex. Few decades ago, it was highly secured facility, but the army abandoned it long time ago. All equipment was transferred away and only empty buildings remained. Hooligans broke some of the windows, but everything else looked like it did in the times when the facility was still occupied by the military scientists. No one was really sure what those scientists studied there, but it happened long time ago and no one cared about it anymore. No one, except of Daniel´s friends, who all seemed suddenly obsessed by finding out the secrets of this abandoned place.
When they got out of the van, Daniel looked around. The complex was surrounded by the wire fence, but it was cut apart on some places and sometimes, homeless people or the hooligans used to break in, despite that there was nothing left to steal.
Written by lulu-illussions on 28 October 2016
Pammy and David headed straight to the fence, as if they already were there before and knew exactly where to go. The others followed them, until they reached a small gap in the fence. The gap wasn´t very big, so Daniel overlooked it at the first sight, but it was large enough for an adult to crawl thought it. Maybe Daniel should have wondered how Pammy and David knew about the gap, but they probably wouldn´t have answered him anyway. So he followed them into the complex, nervously looking around.
“We´re here,” he whispered unconsciously, despite there was no one there who could hear him. “What now?”
“You´re joking?” Gassan asked in disbelief. “We must find out the truth about the visions. You realized that they weren´t just normal dreams, right?”
“What do you mean?”
But Gassan only shook his head and walked into the complex of the abandoned military buildings. Daniel hesitated, but then he did the same, like some invisible force was luring him closer to those buildings. He knew that they were empty, the army took everything away when they left, but there was still something indescribable that was attracting him.
Written by lulu-illussions on 01 November 2016
Daniel followed Gassan, carefully watching where he was stepping. So far, they didn´t see anything interesting, just some abandoned buildings. Pammy took the lead and it seemed like she was heading to some exact place, instead of just wandering around.
“Where do you want to go?” Daniel asked her, but Pammy didn´t respond. She just kept walking in steady, determined pace. It made Daniel feel like she knew something he didn´t know, like she had some sense of the destination.
“Were you here before?”
“We all were,” David retorted instead of Pammy. His tall, muscular figure was hovering over Pammy from one side, while Gassan walked at her other side.
“What do you mean?” Daniel wondered.
“Don´t you recognize this place?” David answered with a question and Daniel curiously looked around. He was never in the complex and he didn´t understand how David meant it.
Written by lulu-illussions on 16 November 2016
“Doesn´t it feel familiar?” David continued, as if reading Daniel´s mind. “The windows. Notice the windows.”
Daniel slowed down to pay more attention to the windows of the buildings which they were passing by. Some of the windows looked casual, but some of the ones on the higher floors were covered by the reflexive paint which made it impossible to see what was inside. With a corner of his eye, Daniel caught a glimpse of something green. He quickly turned around, but there wasn´t anything which could have caused it. Shaking his head, he pushed the anxiety aside and fastened his steps to catch up with his friends. But the feeling of something eerie hovering just behind his vision field made shivers run down his spine.
“Here,” Pammy said suddenly.
“Wha-!” Daniel almost walked into her, because she stopped abruptly. He looked over Pammy´s shoulder to the building which she was staring at, and the breath caught up in his throat.
The windows were all covered by the reflexive paint, but one of the lower windows was partially broken and through the hole in the glass, Daniel could see faint green light. It was the same like in his dreams, green glow coming seemingly out of nowhere.
Written by lulu-illussions on 02 December 2016
Daniel turned on his heel to look behind. He almost expected to see the three men from his dream, but they were alone. Heavily exhaling, he turned back to the building.
“What is there?” he asked, but some part of him already suspected the answer.
“Truth,” Pammy and David said in unison.
“And the Dare is to go there,” Gassan and Jake added.
“Nonsense,” Daniel said, shaking his head. “We can´t just break in there. It´s probably still private or something.”
All four of his friends turned to him and stared at him with unblinking eyes. Daniel looked from one blank face to another and his heart beats speeded up.
“We need to know why all of us were having the very same dream,” Pammy said.
Swallowing, Daniel looked at the broken window and then glanced at his watches. Twenty minutes past eleven. If they stay here, they would be soon risking meeting the mysterious people from the dream. But those people were just from dream, Daniel told to himself. They weren´t real.
They couldn´t be real.
“Okay,” he said. “Let´s go. Maybe we´ll find something.”
Maybe nothing will happen.
“Great,” Pammy smiled widely and this time, her smile looked almost natural. “Let´s go.” She turned and swiftly walked to the building´s entrance.
Written by lulu-illussions on 19 December 2016
Daniel expected the door to be locked, but it opened as soon as Pammy pushed the handle. They all went inside and Gassan and Jake pulled the flashlights out of their jackets to enlighten the way. The building seemed empty, only the walls and nothing else. When the military was leaving it, they made sure to take everything with them. It was almost disappointing to see that there was nothing interesting left, but Daniel tried to be happy that the building was as abandoned as it seemed to be.
“We should go upstairs,” David suggested and headed towards the stairs. He was used to people following him thanks to his popularity and charisma, so he didn´t even looked if his friends were still behind him.
“I think that the broken window was at the second floor,” Jake said behind Daniel´s back. It startled Dan, because Jake was unusually quiet today. Daniel looked over his shoulder back at Jake and for the first time noticed the dark circles under his friend´s eyes. It looked like Jake didn´t sleep much during the last few days.
“You mean the window with the green light?” Daniel asked him and Jake only shrugged.
“I remember that light from my dreams,” Gassan said. “It has to do something with the Truth.”
“Could you please stop being so mysterious?” Daniel said angrily. “You´re all making me worried. It´s not funny anymore.”
“Was it funny before?” Pammy asked with raised eyebrows. “I thought that you understood that the dreams weren´t normal dreams.”
“Second floor,” David announced and stopped in the thin corridor. There were multiple door on the both sides and the corridors turning behind the corners. All doors were closed and looked the same, except of the one door on left from under which was coming weak green gleam.
“No more questions until we see for ourselves what´s there,” Pammy decided.
Written by lulu-illussions on 01 January 2017
Daniel took a deep breath and headed towards the door. It looked utterly ordinarily, but the green light was shining though all gaps around it. The light was weak and barely noticeable, but it was apparent that there had to be something on the other side of the door. Daniel slowly touched the doorknob. It was cold under his palm. He nervously licked his lips and glanced to his friends. They were all standing few steps behind him, waiting for him to open the door. Daniel turned back to the door and squeezed the doorknob in his hand.
He wanted to leave and forget the stupid dream, but he suddenly realized that he couldn´t move. His body was frozen in place and his heart was hammering against his ribs. Whatever was on the other side of the door, he needed to know. He needed to see it.
Sighing, Daniel surrendered to the calling of the mysterious room and he pushed the door open.
It opened easily, despite not being used for years. Daniel stepped into the spacious room. One of the walls was covered by the semi-transparent mirror, which was the only piece of the equipment which remained. The green light was emerging from the ceiling lights. Daniel looked up, but he only saw normal LED lights.
“It´s empty,” he called over his shoulder and continued exploring the room. There were darker areas on the floor, probably on the places where some things used to stand. The mirror reflected some of the green light and Daniel curiously walked to it. It looked normal enough and he nervously smirked at his own worried face.
Written by lulu-illussions on 17 January 2017
An empty room
Then he noticed that the room behind him was still as empty as when he entered it. Daniel turned around, looking behind himself. He expected his friends to follow him, but so far, he was all alone.
“You can come in, it´s safe,” he called again and waited for some sort of the response which didn´t come. “Come on, guys!”
Suddenly, Daniel felt the little hair on his neck stand up. It was as if someone was watching him. Daniel quickly turned around, but there was no one except of him and his reflection in the mirror.
“Guys, come here,” he yelled over his shoulder, watching his reflection taking haste steps backwards. He turned again and reached towards the door, but it shut closed.
Daniel grabbed the doorknob and tried to open the door, but it wouldn´t move. He bumped his fists on the surface and yelled: “Open! It´s not funny, you hear me?!” Swallowing, he turned to the mirror again. He couldn´t supress the anxious feeling of being watched.
Slowly, Daniel walked to the mirror and touched the surface with his fingertips. The idea of someone, maybe the men from his dreams, standing on the other side and watching him scared him out of his mind. He tapped his hand on the mirror.
“Is anyone there? Hello?”
Written by lulu-illussions on 29 January 2017
Eight minutes before midnight.