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
A normal Morning
Daniel had been having that dream again. He was trapped. Trapped in a concrete bunker of a room, with men in hazmat suits all around him… There was another man. With a suit. And a briefcase. What was in it…
He woke up. A bead of sweat dribbled down his forehead, his heart beating in his chest. He never got to find out what happened in those dreams.
Daniel pulled the sheets off of himself, bringing his legs to the side of his bed. There was an outline of sweat on the bed. He sat, breathing for a moment. The dream was never so vivid. This time, it was like there was another layer. He had never noticed the walls were concrete before.. And he had never woken up like that. He put his hand on his chest, as if to stop it’s pounding heart.
He shook his head, and swiftly stood up. He went over to the dresser across from his bed, tugged it open, and grabbed a pair of shorts from the messy drawers. He shoved it shut, making a loud slam that made him wince. He had a habit of not being careful when he got distressed like that. Maybe breakfast would calm him down a bit..
He quickly made his way down the stairs, and into the kitchen. It was comforting in a way. The fuzzy, warm sunrise light pouring in from the window, the gently parted curtains, the fridge with magnet after magnet plastered onto it, the spotty granite countertops… Food. It was his comfort in life.
He pulled the fridge open and selected from a variety of yogurt, going with a peach flavored cup. He then snatched a granola bar from the pantry, crushing it up before spreading it onto the yogurt. He then grapped a few small peach slices from the bowl on the table next to the sink and plopped them on top of the cup.
He dipped a spoon into his breakfast, taking a bite as he ran back upstairs. As he ate, he sorted through a mass of papers on top of his desk. He snatched up a particular piece, and then shoved it into the thin bag at the base of the wooden leg of the table. He quickly zipped it up and then set it down gently. He looked at the time.
OH SHIT! He scrambled around for a second, before shoveling the yogurt into his mouth and tossing the backpack around his shoulders. He raced downstairs. The bus wouldn’t wait for him, and it came in only a minute! He ran down to the door, and stopped.
He forgot his watch. Shit! He ran back and snatched it off of the table, before practically falling down the stairs and stumbling out of the door, before sprinting as fast as he could down the walk and towards the green stop that now felt like his own little heaven.
Written by OakenFerret on 11 September 2022