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
The bus was only just before him, thankfully. Nobody else was at the stop, it wouldn’t have waited for him for a moment longer had he not made it. He scrambled onto the bus, before slumping into a seat.
Daniel let out a sigh of relief, the doors of the bus shutting and the vehicle slowly beginning to move again.
Soon, he arrived at school. The campus was actually rather pretty, especially on days like this. It was a shame that everyone there had to be there at 7:30, prime time for absolute misery. Almost everyone had bags under their eyes, some that looked like they could reach down and touch the ground like weird purple blobs.
Slowly but surely the students trickled off the bus, Daniel among them. He was oddly awake today, even with the early time and his lateness to the bus stop, he had slept quite well. Apart from the end of it, that is.
The school stood in front of him, the sun casting long yellow rays that highlighted the red bricks and white pillars that made up its exterior. As Daniel went up the concrete steps, his mind drifted back to his dream.
It was a little odd. Dreams always were. Recurring ones especially. The reality of it this time was… Disturbing. It had never been in such vivid detail, it was like it was just a shred away from reality, even though it seemed like it was foggy in a way, like dreams always were.
He began walking through the halls. Early in the morning they weren’t as busy just yet. Only clusters of people forming against the lockers, or on the benches at the side. There was the occasional poster that was plastered onto the wall, each of which had become little more than a pattern on the wall and had overstayed their own dates.
An out of place bright green poster caught Daniel’s eye. He stepped closer to take a brief look at it.
HILL HOGAN HASHH! TONIGHT AT WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT O CLOCK COME AND GET SOMEEEEEEEE
Daniel’s expression scrunched up. Not a single word of that made any sense. Whatever. He had better things to do than.. Whatever that was. If they put a poster up in the school they would probably get busted anyways…
He quickly made his way down the hall and into his class. His day began with a delightful dose of Chemistry. In spite of it’s difficulty Daniel did like the class. Though his classmates, with bags under their eyes that reached the floor, didn’t seem to share his enjoyment.
In a few short minutes the bell rang, and tardy students piled into the classroom. The lesson began. The teacher then started to write on the board. Daniel stared eagerly, waiting to see what the full lesson was about.
A vision invaded his head. He saw a concrete wall form around him, before a strange, green glow filled it. A figure was in front of him, wearing a blank white cloak with gloves and a slit to see through.
The figure took a step closer. Daniel gulped.
It was like he was being… Called to.
Written by OakenFerret on 12 September 2022