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
What are you?” Pammy asked calmly
Dan was a little taken aback, this had happened so fast that he was already having trouble processing things and this strange question had only made it worse.
“What…what are you talking about?” he furrowed his brow slightly, there was a strange pressure in his chest, as if he wanted to release a deep breath he did not realise he was holding.
Pammy smoothed her skirt slightly and stared directly into his eyes, well, perhaps it might be more accurate to say she looked through him, at the wall behind. Those eyes were blank and he was starting to feel a little like a cornered animal.
“What are you?” came David’s voice. It almost made him jump. When had David moved behind him?
That pressure in his lungs was more intense; it was sort of like when you had something you really wanted to say but had to politely wait your turn. Daniel was starting to get really quite scared now and he shook his head violently to no one in particular.
“What are you?” asked Gassan and Jake almost in unison. It would seem he was surrounded.
Written by foxyscribe on 11 April 2017
“You guys are being weird, plain and simple.” Dan could feel his skin crawl with forming goosebumps. These three were his friends for longer than forever. Even their worst pranks didn't give off the energy they were giving off right now. “Like children of the corn weird, it's down right creepy!” Dan rubbed his arms, he wasn't cold but it was funny how the creeps could make you feel cold.
“You have to pick.” Pammy, cute, charming cheerleader Pammy; said with a face colder than Dan's creepy feeling.
“You have to.” Gassen, the usual calm charmer kept up with the eerier unearthly voice.
“Have too,” Jake repeated the sentiment. Dan went from being creeped out, to feeling his stomach twist in the birth of fear.
“You must or this won't end!” David stood up, staring cold unreadable eyes right into his school star swimmer. Meaning he had more muscle in his pinky finger then Dan had in his whole body.
“Now David, this isn't like you buddy.” Dan backed into the door, the handle buried itself into the small of his back. David didn't hear him, maybe even couldn't! “David!” Dan yelled as David came at him with strong, unwavering steps.
“Say it.” David pinned Dan's shoulders to the door. He felt exposed and naked under his domineering gaze.
“Choose.” Pammy came in behind David. Dan tried pushing at David's arms, they wouldn't budge.
“Choose Dan.” Jake repeated in an inhuman chant, taking up a position on the left of David.
“Yes, choose.” Gassen came in on the right. Dan hit David's arm, not caring if he hurt his arms. He wouldn't let go, no matter how hard Dan striked at his arms or elbow joint.
“Choose,” they said together. Chanting it, pounding it into his ears. Dan couldn't take it anymore. His ears were ringing. His heart felt like it could explode at any moment. The crawling sensitization on his skin was only getting worse. Frankly, he was going to throw up any moment.
“Fine!” Dan shouted, making the chant stop almost the moment the word left his lips. The room was swirling and his friends were becoming nothing more than a swirl of colour. He felt more than saw David releasing his shoulder, giving him room to move. If Dan was going to do something – it was now.
Written by Psto1464 on 12 March 2022
He took his chance and ran. Bringing his hands behind his back and twisted the door handle. Dan was outside the room faster than he thought he was capable of. His sneakers squeaked out noises of suffering as he belted his way down the hall. A rug had him slip, but with his adrenaline pumping he felt nothing and got up in an instant.
It was mere moments before he felt the sweet freedom of grassed lawn beneath his feet. Puffing he didn't stop until he reached the pavement. It was late, the sun had set, and lucky for him no one was on the road. Looking behind him, he saw that not a single one of his friends had chased him out either.
“If this was a joke, they would have came out.” Dan panted, he was no jock and the ordeal had left him winded and shaking. “Hurp,” Dan covered his mouth trying to stop the random flow from stomach to mouth. It didn't work and he found himself puking between his feet, splashing his shoes with the aftermath. A few hurls later, Dan tumbled to the ground. Feeling better now that he threw up but worse, now that some time had passed without his friends coming to check up on him.
“Are they okay?” Dan wiped his tongue on his arm. The inside of his mouth was a nasty mess. Should he go back inside? They could all be having a good laugh right now. Thinking it was funny that they managed to mess him up so bad. Dan looked down at the pavement, flicking a pebble off the road. “They could also need some help.” He just spent some time puking his guts out. Maybe it was some weird bug, and they all were sick, and it affected him less?
“What to do?” Dan weighed his option. There was really only one choice right then, at least for him.
Written by Psto1464 on 13 March 2022
“I just got to get home.” Dan shook his head, his friends, this weird situation. It could all be a bad joke or the worst crisis he ever faced. He just couldn't face it right now, and he didn't have to. All he had to do was toss it all to the side and go home. “It's not like anyone can make me face this crap.” All alone on the side of the road. Dan had no one to disagree with him, so he picked up his feet and walked.
Dan had walked this path more than a thousand times. Of course it was either during the day or in the middle of his four friends. Needless to say out loud the atmosphere was completely different. The night quieter, the stars farther away than normal. Dan looked around, and felt creeped out. It didn't help at all that for all the steps he had taken, he was getting nowhere.
“What the hell is going on?” Dan started to walk faster, trying to make headway, where he was making none. Turning his head he could see the same house, Pammy's neighbours house go by him, assuring he was making some headway. Dan let out a sigh of relief, but that relief didn't last when that house came back. He knew because it was the only house with gnomes covering the front yard.
“No!” Dan denied it. It was impossible. He left the pretence of walking, or fast walking and flat out ran. His lungs burned with the effort of running. Dan ran faster than he ever had before. No matter the effort he put in, he kept seeing the same gnomes. Over, and over. His head whirled with the strain, before his legs gave up. Dropping him right back in front of Pammy's house.
“Do I have no choice?” Dan asked himself. He was caught in some weird sci-fi loop. His friends inside were either pranking him or caught up in this night's strangeness. The earlier, which he had naturally chosen, was becoming more and more further from the truth. “There was no way this could be a prank.” Dan's stomach tied itself up once more. He didn't want to, he really didn't want to. He longed for the warm comfort of his bed at home.
Closing his eyes Dan let the image of his warm bed, in his safe room at home, up. He was going back to that house, which left him with only one choice.
Written by Psto1464 on 14 March 2022