I felt my eyes slowly flutter open....
Staring at the dark ceiling above me from bed, I felt a wave of sleep deprived dizzyness wash over me. Ugh! It was that damn noise again. The one that sounded like it was coming from the other side of the wall. Or maybe it was from upstars. I could never quite get a lock on where it originated. I just knew that it never failed to wake me up out of a deep sleep. Every time. It was this slow, rhythmic, knocking. A thump, like someone tossing large rocks at the wall. It would start in the middle of the night once every week. Always on the same day too. Late Tuesday night, early Wednesday morning, around 3 AM. I really didn't need this tonight.
I turned over in my bed, trying to block out the noise by pulling the covers up over my head. But it only seemed to get louder. You'd think that anything making such a racket would cause the wall to vibrate, but it didn't. I always stuck my hand out to test it. Nothing. So I pulled my pillow over my head and just tried to go back to sleep, holding it tight over my ears. The sound began to slow down in frequency, but it kept going. It was like a ball or something...hitting the wall, and then rolling back across the floor to be picked up and thrown again. Right over my headboard.
Finally, after another few minutes of being too frustrated to drift off again, I sat up and swung my legs around to put on some socks. It was beyond the second half of October, and the weather was already turning cold on us. The house seemed to reach near freezing temperatures in between the moments where the heat would shut off, and then come back on again. I tied a robe around my waist, feeling a chill as I walked out of my bedroom and into the hallway. I could still hear that haunting thump, repetitively played out against the plaster, and I let my eyes adjust to the darkness as I tried to figure out where it was coming from.
I could feel the cold air sliding past my ankles, as the heat finally kicked on again, and the furnace fired up in the basement, preparing to make the house comfortable again. My nose and lips were a bit cold, but rubbing them with the sleeve of my robe was enough to warm them up again. I could vaguely hear my parents snoring in their bedroom down the hall, obviously not affected by the noise. I guess it was closer to my room though, so it makes sense. Besides, the way my dad snores, a herd of wild pigs could charge through the living room and neither one of them would notice.
I walked slowly forward down the hall, hearing the sound of the decelerating measured thump get stronger. And then...just as I was close enough to figure out where it was, it seemed like the sound moved altogether. All of the sudden, it was coming from behind me. I looked back towards my room for a second, where I saw a baseball glove sitting on the hard wood floor right outside my bedroom door. I squinted my eyes a bit, and it looked like it was 'stained' with something, but I couldn't quite make out what it was. I took a step closer, and heard the sound of a rolling baseball creeping up behind me. So I turned my head, and stepped sideways against the wall as I watched it slowly roll by. The baseball was smeared with blood, and left a long red trail of wetness behind it as it traveled lazily towards the glove on the floor.
I watched in silence.
What the hell is going on?
The ball finally reached its destination, and the second it touched the glove, the mitt opened up and captured it. I stared at this phenomena for a second, not knowing what to do, or if it was even ok to move. And suddenly, in a flash, the glove was swiftly 'yanked' into my bedroom by some kind of invisible force! It was literally sucked into it in the blink of an eye, and the door slammed shut! Then, the thumping began again. Slow, steady, continuous. So I began to inch my way closer to my room again.
As I got to the door, I could clearly hear some old time music playing from inside. Some slow jazz ballad. But not on cd...it sounded like it was playing on an old school record player or something. I could clearly hear the crisp snaps and pops of aged vinyl, as the haunting female voice sang softly over the tune.
"Somewhere, someday....we'll be close together, wait and see. Oh, by the way....this time the dream's on me."
The pounding was slowing down again, each bounce of the ball getting softer and softer as it barely touched the wall with each toss. And as I leaned to put my ear up to the door...I heard a sniffle or two. Like...like someone was quietly crying to themselves inside. I stood up straight again, and just stood there for a moment, frozen in a dilemma between curiosity and a touch of fear over what was going on. The music was right on the other side of that door, and I swallowed hard as I nervously made the decision to open up and look inside. At that moment, the song came to an end...
"This time the dream's...on meeeeee....."
The record stopped, and I heard the needle move inward, the gentle scratch of it hitting the middle of the vinyl, snapping softly in the background. But the thumping continued. 'Thump'...I moved closer. 'Thump'...I took a deep breath. 'Thump'...I reached my hand out. 'Thump'...I grabbed the handle of the door...and gave it a twist....
The next thing I knew, my eyes shot open, I jumped up, and found myself waking up in bed again. The sun was shining outside, gliding in peacefully through my bedroom window. Was I dreaming again? Shit...another false awakening. Those can be SO annoying! I rubbed my eyes, and immediately rolled over to my bedside table, where I had a pen and a small notebook ready and waiting for me. Just as I had taught myself, I instantly began to scribble down what I could remember...
'It happened again. Another false awakening with identical results. This makes six weeks in a row now. Every Wednesday night, Thursday morning. I heard the same thumping sound on the wall, noticed the same music, felt the same chill in the air. I can't really explain it. And the dream always ends in the same place. The second I turn the knob to open the door, the music stops, the dream ends, and I'm tossed back into waking consciousness. For some reason, it feels a lot stronger now than it did the first few times. I'll have to take more notes and see what happens.'
I closed the notebook and slid my pen into the wire binder on the side of it, putting it back into my side drawer. I laid back on my pillow, and thought about it for a few minutes. The imagery was always so vivid. I wonder what it means. If anything. Or why it keeps recurring every single week. The dream would almost be somewhat creepy if I could just make any sense out of it. But for now, I'll just chalk it up to having that slice of pizza before bedtime.
I got up and got myself ready for school, my sandy brown hair maintaining its 'fashionable mess', my blue eyes catching all the sunlight they could. I won't lie, I liked the way I looked. I wasn't conceited about it, but hey, why walk around telling yourself you're ugly when you're not? Waste of time. Besides, being 16 and having the good fortune to avoid the full fury of the acne monster is a blessing. Thank God for my mom's genes in the smooth skin department. Both of my parents had a long drive to work every morning, from the distant suburbs to the downtown area. So they were gone by the time I had to get up for school. It was kinda cool though. I got to eat whatever I wanted to eat for breakfast, I got to blast the music loud while I was in the shower, and if I decided to go into school a little bit later than usual, there was nobody hounding me to rush. It was paradise as far as I was concerned.
"YO!!! Dickwad! Open up!" For some odd reason, my friend Baxter always preferred shouting obscenities outside my kitchen window over ringing the doorbell. Still, it was music to my ears, because it meant I had a ride.
I opened the back door to let him in, with my other best friends, April and Jeff, right behind him. "Hurry up, it's cold enough in here as it is." I told them, as April gave me a kiss on the cheek.
"Awww, poor baby. You act like you've never been through October in Chicago before. Get used to it."
"Not in this house. We've only been here four months, and having this big spacious house in the summer time was sweet...but it's almost impossible to warm it all up now that it's getting cold."
Baxter helped himself to some orange juice out of the fridge. The whole squad could easily take over reign of the house in seconds when they stopped by.
"Soooo....?" Jeff asked. Knowing what I was up to with the dreaming techniques I had been trying to figure out for the last two months. I was blessed to have friends who were ok with the fact that boys turned out to be my preference, but Jeff and I were probably more alike in nature than any of us. And I'm not just saying that because he happens to be gay too.
"Sooooo, what?" I teased him.
"Oh come on, Donnie!" Jeff grinned, and it caused April to back him up.
"Please, Donnie, just tell him already. It's all he's been talking about for two days now." She said.
I smiled in Jeff's direction, and said, "It worked. Twice!"
"No bullshit! I wrote it down, I thought about it all day long, looked at the pictures, and when I went to sleep....it just happened." I giggled. "I got to have very, VERY, hot sex with Mr. Jesse McCartney....twice! Once in my own bed, and once in the shower."
"You are so full of shit, I don't believe you." Jeff grinned. Ever since I started finding ways to influence what I dreamed about here and there, he's been trying to do the same. Unfortunately, he hasn't had much luck yet. He tried to dream about dating this cutie we saw in the park one night....and somehow ended up dreaming about making out with his grandmother in the bathtub. The poor boy was scared to close his eyes for a week. Ever since then, the very idea of lucid dreaming has become a tainted topic of conversation. He really needs to see a therapist about something that weird. Honestly. "Are you really being serious?"
"Dead serious. And it was HOT, believe me! Dude, you've got to get a handle on how to do this. It feels like it's getting easier these days." I said. "I still haven't found a way to really 'control' anything yet once I'm there though. There was a few times I felt like I became aware that it was a dream...but then it wakes me up right away before I'm able to do anything about it. I don't get it."
"Well, I for one, am happy for you, Donnie." April told me.
"Happy? I'm not happy. I think you both need some serious help." Baxter said, leaning against the counter. "Especially you, Jeff. You're just plain perverted, man."
"I told you it was an ACCIDENT! And I thought we agreed not to bring that dream up again." He said.
"I'm just reminding you how damaging a dream about groping your own granny can be."
"Yeah, I REALLY don't think I need you to remind me of that."
"Enough! Geez, you guys are making my head hurt." April told them.
"Come on Baxter, you know you wanna try it out." I said.
"Try what out? Waking up with sticky sheets and a fond memory of something that didn't even happen? I'd rather get laid in real life, thank you."
"Yeah, good luck with that." I snickered, remembering that for all of Baxter's golden boy good looks and killer body, the girls often warned each other about him before he even got a chance to ask them out. His strong confidence and excessive 'honesty', as he called it, with them could make him come off as somewhat of a.....um....jerk. But a lovable one, as far as we were concerned.
"Besides, you're wasting your time. Jesse McCartney's not gay." Baxter added.
"You don't know that. He might be."
"He's got a girlfriend, doesn't he?" April asked.
"Nope. No girlfriend that I know of." I said.
"Well, I bet he's got plenty of 'auditions'." Baxter finished his juice and left his glass in the sink.
"Can't you just say, 'well done', and leave it alone?" I asked him.
"What for? Because you boned an imaginary boy in your sleep?"
"Baxter..." April warned.
"Fine! Alright! Donnie, I'm extremely happy to hear that you indulged in your unhealthy obsession with an undecidedly gay pop star. Geez!" Baxter surrendered.
"Thank you. Now grab your shit, we'll be late." We all got up and walked out to Baxter's car. Still almost new, Baxter took care of that car like it was a newborn baby. So much in fact, that when Jeff accidently bumped his bag against the side of it, he nearly flipped out.
"Dude! Can you watch your bag???"
"What, it was a mistake. I didn't mean to..."
"Your bag's got, like, buckles and shit on it! If you scratch my paint, I am making this your last ride!"
April and I both shrugged our shoulders, knowing that there was no defense when it came to Baxter's automobile. Besides, we weren't gonna lose out on our only real mode of transportation by arguing with the only driver in our group. Jeff rolled his eyes, "Sighhh...it's not like I ran a key across it. Geez..." He whispered under his breath. And we all climbed in, with me and April in the backseat. Baxter took off slowly, and we were on our way.
"Oh...what about last night?" April asked me. "Did that weird dream with the baseball happen again?"
Just having her mention it seemed to bring it back into full color for me. Instantly. It was like...this strange sensation, that made it all seem so real. "Yeah. Same as always. I don't know why it keeps happening. But it's every week, like clockwork. Ever since I've been trying to do this dream stuff, it's been coming back to me over and over again."
"The exact same way?"
"Exactly. Except...I think it gets stronger. Like, this time I heard some sniffling behind the door. Like...like someone was crying. You know?"
Baxter got a sarcastic lopsided grin on his face. "Maybe it was Jesse McCartney, wondering how long you were gonna keep anally raping him in your sick fantasies." April gave his seat a little kick to warn him again. "Hehehe, hey, was it good? Was it hot to fuck someone while they were crying?"
"Bax!!!" April yelled, not able to hold back her smile.
"Was Jeff's grandmother there?" At that comment, Jeff promptly slugged him in the arm. "OUCH!!! Shit!! I'm driving here! Hellooooo?"
"Did you get to open the door this time?" April asked me.
"No. Everytime I reach for the door handle, the dream just...ends. And I wake up again. It's weird."
"Well, just don't push yourself too hard. That book said you've gotta 'free dream' every now and then too. Take a break or something. Ok?"
"I know. I will. Besides, I could use the sleep."
"Yes, you could." She said, tracing a finger over the small, but growing, bags under my eyes. Seeing an opportunity, she took out her digital camera and snapped a quick pic of me.
"I certainly hope you're not planning to put THAT one in the yearbook." I told her.
And she smiled, "Nope. That one's just for me." April had been with us since we were about 12 years old. A bunch of seventh graders all hanging out at the same park every day after school. She was a girl, but she could climb a tree, throw a football, and kept the high score on Mario Kart for eight months straight. So we gave her a free pass to be around the guys anytime she wanted. She kinda made a rough transition into girlhood though, and growing out of that tomboyish phase of her life was more depressing than liberating for her. Especially once her parents split up, and her father moved away. She took that pretty hard. When she was fourteen, she tried cutting her wrists after school one day. She never talks about it, and we never bring it up. But we've all become ten times more protective of her ever since. Especially me. Anytime she's feeling even a little bit down, she knows that she's supposed to call me and talk it out. Everything remains private and off the record between us, she had my word. And she always kept her end of the deal. Between those conversations and her fascination with taking pictures, she's found more strength than she thought she had before. But we're still here for her if she ever needs the safety net, and she knows it. In the past four years, she's gone from that girl that we kinda let hang with us, to the twin sister we would drop any guy off a roof for. Out of all of us....she remains the designated 'mature' one.
April got a buzz, and reached into her handbag to grab her cell phone. "I just gotta text message from Chucky, he says to meet up with him by the chem lab after second period." She typed something back to him, and waited a moment for his reply. "He's gotten another dream excercise he wants you to check out, Donnie. Since you're the one having all the luck with this." She said. "He also says that wasting serious scientific experimentation on Jesse McCartney sex dreams is an abuse of your talents."
"Can you take a picture of my nutsack and send it to him as a response?" I asked.
Baxter quickly looked back from the driver's sat. "You can DO that?"
And April swatted me on the arm. "Please, Donnie...don't encourage him. Baxter is screwed up enough." She said. "He just wants us to meet him, that's all. You know how he is when he gets mildly excited. Did you guys ask him to come out to Cory's Halloween party with us next weekend?"
The car fell silent, and Jeff was the first to speak, "He's not gonna go. Chucky doesn't like that stuff."
"Nice, you guys. You could have at least invited him. He might just wanna hang out with the rest of us one of these days." She said.
"Chucky would get invited himself if he actually did anything besids go to school and lock himself in the basement when he gets home." Jeff told her, but she didn't really buy that as an excuse.
"I'm just saying that we should help him break out of his shell a little bit. It wouldn't hurt to make an effort." We could have argued the point, but it would have been in vain. Besides, it was always easier to let Chucky say no on his own so April would leave it alone.
By the time we had gotten to school, we were all about ten minutes late for our first class. But continued to stroll towards the building calmly anyway. Jeff closed the door and Baxter gave him a dirty look. "WHAT????" Jeff asked him.
"You wanna slam my door a little harder there, Goliath?"
"Dude...get a girlfriend." Jeff told him, and we all walked to the front doors.
We went our separate ways as soon as we got inside, me feeling the anguish as I walked towards Mr. Lipton's class. He was my English teacher, and a hard ass to boot. One of those wannabe professional writer's who never made it, despite the fact that he thinks he's better than everyone else. It's like he decided to teach high school just to make us all feel miserable about his failed attempt at reaching legendary author status. Shattering one dream at a time like some comic book super villain, trying to get revenge on an unsuspecting public of hopeful children. As I opened the classroom door, his eyes met mine, and he stopped addressing the class to make me enter and walk to my desk in silence. Great, he was in a slightly nastier mood than usual. This is going to be a long period.
Mr. Lipton made sure that I came to see him after class, giving me the lecture on tardiness and taking the opportunity to tear down the last paper I handed in for credit. He was also nice enough to spend a few minutes talking about how my grades were slipping in his class the last month or so. Most of it, I had already heard before. So I did what I could to tune out a majority of what he said and filter out the annoying little insults of his speech. I caught a few words here and there though. Words like 'detention', and 'straighten up', and 'tutor', and 'won't graduate'. Like I said, nothing I haven't heard before. Normally, I respect my teachers a lot. But with Mr. Lipton...after all the shit he's given me for little to no reason at all...there was really no incentive to work hard anymore. He hated me, I was sure of it. For me to succeed in his class would only make him more bitter, and he'd push against me even harder than he did before. I'm better off just serving my 'sentance' in his class until the end of the year, getting a somewhat decent grade, and then starting fresh with a new teacher next year.
I went to my next period class and spaced out through most of it. Trying my best to figure out that dream from last night. I could almost still hear that thumping sound on the wall, as if it was happening all over again. That rock hard ball, slamming up against the plaster, again and again...gradually slowing down with each bump. Over the past few weeks, the image of that damn ball and the catcher's mitt being sucked into my room has been haunting me. Covered in blood. And the music....the music...I could hear it clear as day. And I could feel the cold wrapping itself around me. It was all so real. I couldn't shake it. And anytime that my mind would wander, even just a little bit, the images were right there waiting for me. Chasing me. It was almost like they wanted me to notice them. To remember them. I just couldn't stop thinking about it.
When the bell rang, and it was time to meet up with Chucky and the others, I tried to rush through the halls as quickly as possible. He was the on who started us on this whole 'dreamweaving' kick, and even though I doubted the whole idea at first, I have to admit, he was on to something special this time. I was the only one who really stuck with it. I don't think the others really believed in it enough to work at it with any kind of regularity. But Chucky studied it like he was gonna be a part of his S.A.T. score. I think he enjoyed having a subject like me to work with.
I was almost to the second floor chem lab when I saw....him. Nobody that I knew particularly, but someone I saw in the halls on an almost daily basis. Most of the time these chance encounters were completly random, but as they became more frequent, it felt like it was more than just a coincidence.
His name was Austin. I knew that much. And only because I had heard a friend of his call his name out from the other end of the hall once. I kept it in my mental rolodex for future use. Mostly masturbatory fantasies, where I got to whisper it outloud at the moment of orgasm. Austin was what most people would refer to as unnaturally gorgeous. The kind of curly blond haired, blue eyed, boys that they pick to play the role of the high school 'crush' in every teen movie and tv show known to man. He was on the track team, and he wasn't really bulky or overly muscular, but his slim and trim frame was well defined. Almost sculpted. And his lips always had ths potential 'smile' ready to be born. The kind of boy that just looked friendly and innocent from a distance. You almost felt bad for noticing how extremely hot he was. As we passed each other in the hall, with him not noticing me as always, I found myself looking down at his crotch area. I don't know what I actually expected to 'see' there, but I looked anyway. Just for the HINT of a bulge. Anything. Just to know what way it was dangling, or maybe see the head of it when his pants wrinkled up with every step, or just an idea of the shape of it. Anything would make my constant glancing worthwhile. But I never got to see anything real, so my imagination was forced to pretend that I saw a bulge and it would give me a shiver anyway. Damn...one of these days, I have GOT to get that boy naked in front of me.
I walked into the chem lab, and April, Jeff, and Baxter were already circled arond a desk with Chucky waiting for me to show up. Now Chucky was a year and a half younger than we were, but he had skipped a grade due to his apparent 'boredom' with the academic schedule directed towards kids his age. He had short brown hair and light brown eyes, covered by a pair of acceptably 'hip', glasses. A bit of a neurotic about a lot of things, Chucky somehow was able to walk that fine line between being a cool kid and being a geek. Mostly because of his dry sense of humor, and his almost nonexistant ability to smile. But he made straight A's without blinking an eye, and managed to still have time for his friends....when he felt like it, that is. Just looking at him as I walked in that room, I could already tell that he was regarding me as being 'late on arrival'.
"So, you've got something for me?" I asked, setting my bag down.
Chucky opened up his notebook for me. "I do if you'll consider using it for something a bit more productive than a nocturnal emission for a change." He said.
"Give me a break. I'm sixteen, and a virgin. If you ask me, you could use a couple of nocturnal emissions yourself."
"I have plenty, not that it's any of your business." Chucky never looked up from his book, and found the notes he was looking for. "Ok, have you been doing your reality checks throughout the day?"
"Of course." I said. And it was true. They say if you want to wake up inside of a dream, you have to make constant checks throughout the day to make sure everything is as it should be. Basically, if you look up at the sky and it happens to be purple instead of blue...chances are, you're in a dream.
"And you've been recording everything you remember in a notebook as SOON as you wake up, right?" Another ritual that I had been training myself to do for months now.
"Yes, Chucky." I said, rolling my eyes. "Keep the pen and the notebook right next to the bed, and jot down notes as I remember what took place. I know the drill" I peered over at Chucky's notebook, but he drew it back from me and covered it with his hands. "Oh...I've been waking up a lot in the middle of the night." I told him. "Is that ok?"
"Perfectly normal. In fact, by programming yourself to wake up periodically through the night, you'll have a greater frequency of dream recall. So keep doing that."
"It's not like I do it on purpose." I said. Baxter reached for one of Chucky's pens, and began to click it rapidly. One of those habits he entertained when he wasn't getting any attention.
"Tell him about last night." April reminded me.
"Last night? What happened last night?" Chucky asked. Then, annoyed with Baxter's clicking, he snatched the pen away from him. "Can you NOT do that right now?" He said, putting the pen back in his bag. "Ok...last night. What happened?"
"Same as always actually."
"Ahhh, the dream with the ball and the record player, right? Doesn't this make six weeks in a row?"
"Yeah. It happens every week. I can't understand why." I told him.
"Hmmm....maybe your subconscious is trying to tell you something. Something that needs to be expressed. Have you been doing any 'free dreaming' lately?"
"All the time. I haven't really been lucid enough to control anything yet. I've influenced the content of my dreams a few times, but that's all I can do."
Chucky looked back over some of his older notes, and asked, "Was there anything different about this dream last night? Because looking at your notes here, something else shows itself every week."
I was confused. "What do you mean?"
"Well...the first week you were extrmely vague about the dream. You remembered a loud noise, and a baseball, and some music." He turned the page. "But a few weeks later, you could pick out the lyrics to the song, and you noticed that the sound of the pounding was slowing down. The week after that, you noticed blood on the ball, and on the catcher's mitt. And so on, and so on. It seems that your recall is getting stronger, and constantly picking out new details. What did you notice this week?"
I thought for a second, and I said, "Oh...I heard sniffling this time? Like...crying, you know? I don't think I ever heard that part before."
"Hmmm...fascinating." Chucky wrote the details down in his notebook and then closed it up. "If it happens again next week, remember to pick out everything that you possibly can. Ok? It's important to the research."
"Research? I'm just doing this for fun, Chucky, don't make me a lab rat." I told him.
"Fun? This is not for fun. You have the chance to make a breakthrough here. These notes could prove very helpful to...." At that moment, Baxter started tapping away on the desk with some other pen. We don't even know where he GOT it from. Chucky looked at him for a moment, then snatched it away and threw it across the room without sayng a word.
"Oh, very mature, Chucky." Baxter moaned.
"...Could prove very helpful to dream research someday." Chucky continued.
"I don't see what the big deal is. It's not even real." Baxter said, retrieving his pen from the other side of the room.
"That's exactly what the big deal is. It's not real." Chucky told him, making sure that he put all of his pens back in his backpack and zipped it up before he was forced to toss them 'all' across the room. "A lot of personal truths remain hidden inside of our subconcious mind. Locked away where we mentally close them off from ourselves. But dreams? Dreams are our own personal view of the world. While all of the information we take in during the day is limited and governed by a solid reality...the same isn't true when it comes to dreams. When we sleep, our reality reflects who we really are. Our own personal flaws, assumptions, fears, and motivations, warp the picture to represent what we really believe the world to be like. We could learn SO much about ourselves by studying these images. No matter how crazy, obscene, magical, or horrific, they might be. It could be the key to discovering all of the secrets we hide behind our so-called 'rational' thoughts."
Although Chucky was excited, Baxter didn't really share his enthusiasm. "Gee, sounds great. Stupendous, even." He said sarcastically. "I never thought I'd say this, but can I go to class now?"
"I'll try harder to get something to work tonight, Chucky. Ok?" I promised.
"Do that. And here..." He handed me a few copied sheets of paper. "I looked this up at the library. You said that you were constantly waking up once you became aware that you were dreaming. Well, it appears that spinning around in circles helps to keep you locked in the dream. It's like...a focus thing. Your brain concentrates more on the movement than returning you to reality. Give it a try."
"Spinning around? Like in bed?"
"In the DREAM, Donnie. In the DREAM. Geez!"
"Ok, alright...no need to get snippy. I got it." I told him.
"Good. Read those pages over, and concentrate, ok? I wanna know what happened tomorrow so I can complete my weekly analysis." Chucky turned to Jeff, and with a slightly timid look, he asked him, "So....how about you, Jeff? Any...um...progress....with stuff?"
"No. Not yet." He answered.
"Ok. Well...cool." Then Chucky added, "No more.....uhh...I mean...no more dreams about....you know?"
Jeff sighed outloud and grabbed his backpack. "I don't even know WHY I told you guys about that! It was...an...ACCIDENT!!! Ok? I haven't even SEEN my grandmother in over six months!"
"Ok...alright. That's....that's good. Just....just wondering." Chucky opened up his notebook again to take a few more notes while he was still thinking about them. "Alright, I'll see you guys at lunch. And don't forget to do your reality checks, Donnie. It's important."
April nudged me in the side, and I took the hint. "Um...hey Chucky?"
"Yeah?" He answered, with his head still in his notebook.
"There's this...um...Cory's throwing this Halloween party next weekend. A costume party. We were all gonna get together, hop in the car, and check it out. So..." I stopped talking to see if he'd answer me. But he never looked up, and April nudged me again to finish. "Well, I mean, do you wanna come with us? It'll be a lot of fun. We're gonna go pick out costumes tomorrow after school, why don't you come with us and find something cool to wear?"
Chucky still kept his head in his notebook, writing with his pen. And said, "Is this a social function, Donnie?" I sighed when he said it, knowing the routine.
"It's gonna be a good time, Chucky..."
"Is this...a social function?" He repeated.
"And what is my rule about social functions?"
I remembered his motto almost word for word. "You wouldn't be caught dead there, and even then your soul would rather be someplace else."
"That's right." He said, finally closing his notebook and putting it back in his bag.
"So I take it that's a no?"
"That's a no." Chucky looked over at April, knowing that she must have had something to do with this. "I'd say 'maybe next time', but that would be a lie." He was pretty definite about it, and there was nothing else to be said. Well, you can't say we didn't try.
We separated once again as the chem lab students came in to start class, and left Chucky to his assignments. The rest of the school day went along pretty normally. I had no idea that this would be the night that would change everything.