I showed him the glass counter and some of the accessories, and Austin seemed to love checking stuff out with me. The fact that his bright blue eyes kept sweeping up to meet my own was the only thing that kept me from visibly swooning in front of him. I had never been so captivated and so spellbound by a boy this quickly before. He just...he seemed so complete to me. Maybe his looks were just blinding me from anything and everything that I could possibly find wrong with him...but it was just soooooo hard to look past it.

"Here. These fangs look expensive, but it's really the adhesive that costs all the money. You can buy the teeth separate, and get a cheaper adhesive at the counter. They look pretty real when you put them in. Much better than the plastic ones. So...." I trailed off, desperately hoping that he'd like my idea.

"Cool. So what do you do? You just put one on each tooth. Like here and here?" He said, his fingers lightly touching the outer corners of his lips. Sighhh...I wanna touch his lips too. Just think....he gets to touch them all day long. Any time he feels like it.

"Yeah...." I was stuck for words for a second, then shook myself back into reality. "And you can get some trick candy over there, that dyes your whole mouth the color of the gumball. So...if you get red...it kinda looks like blood...and....you know...."

"Cool idea. Thanks!" He said.

"Anytime." I was lost in my infatuated haze. And then decided to 'straighten' that comment up a little. Just in case. "I mean, it's no problem. I've been Mr. Budget Halloween for three or four years now."

"Yeah, well you know your shit. Thanks, Donnie. Say...maybe I'll see you at the party?"

"Sure. I'll be there."

"K. Later." He walked off, and I balled my fists up at my sides, trying hard not to dance right there in the middle of the store. As soon as I turned around, all three of my friends were standing there against the wall, a safe distance away, shaking their heads at me for being so blatantly obvious about my instantaeous crush.

With a mellow blush, I walked over to them and was hoping that they didn't tease me too badly. But as soon as I got there, April took my picture to remember the moment. Then she turned to the others and said, "Well gentlemen, seeing as I've just been dumped by my date for the party, it looks like I'm going with one of you instead." She smiled. "What do you say? Jeff? Bax?"

Baxter told her, "Only if you put out at the end of the night."

"Jeff it is, then." April moved to take Jeff by the arm and lead him back towards the racks. "Now...what costume would appropiately compliment a princess?" Looks like Jeff was stuck. And....it also looks like I'm gonna get to talk to Austin again. SOON! I'm gonna have to! Shit! I need something to say! Argh! I need something to WEAR!!!

Later on that night, getting ready for bed and turning off the light, I felt myself getting excited all over again. I didn't even know if I'd be able to fall asleep at that point. After talking to Austin in the shop, and the experience I had with the dream work last night, I couldn't get my heart to calm down. Thank goodness for natural fatigue, or I never would have gotten my eyes closed for longer than a blink.

When I began dreaming that night, it wasn't all that hard to wake myself up to it. In fact, it was easier than ever. With just a few simple thoughts, I found myself walking barefoot on my own front lawn. For some reason, however, instead of having houses on the other side of the street from me, there was a dock, and a giant lake that stretched out as far as I could see. Way out into the fog. That was certainly....different. I began walking around, seeing what I could see. The clouds were all rainbow colored from the looks of it, and the concrete looked warped and mishapen. Rising and falling like small sand dunes. It was the same block that I had been on before, but everything was all different. Topsy turvy. I remember once that Chucky thought the 'scenery' would change depending on what kind of day I had, and how my mind interpreted it. But I didn't expect the difference to be quite this drastic.

"Well, well, well, Mr. James. Tardy as usual." I turned around and saw my teacher, Mr. Lipton sitting at his desk, in the middle of the street. "So happy you decided to be present today." I heard his voice slow down into a deep guttural growl, then reverse as he said the sentence backwards. And then..."So happy you decided to be present today." Then it reversed again. And then...."So happy you decided to be present today."

"Stop it." I said, and he just kept repeating himself. "SHUT UP!!!" I shouted, and it stopped. Looking closely at his dream form, I noticed that his tie was much too long, hanging all the way down to his knees. His fingernails looked like claws, and his teeth were sharp. I could feel the frustration already burning inside of me.

"You have to be more than present to pass my class, Mr. James." He said, standing up from his desk and walking around it. "There are no free rides here. No free rides here. None. No free rides..."

To hell with this. I thought about the ground beneath his feet, and he immediately began to sink into it like it was quicksand. At first, he just crossed his arms and gave me a scowl. "Not 'creative' enough for ya?" I asked, and smiled as I caused the quicksand to heat up, and boil. At this point, he suddenly started to scream and flail his arms around like crazy. Then, instead of quicksand, I turned the street into lava, and he shouted even louder. Hahaha! I think I like this game! "Does it hurt? Do you need help, Mr. Lipton?" I walked over to the edge of the pit, and kicked a big splash of lava into his face...melting his flesh off and watching him shout and twitch from the pain of it. Hehehe, Chucky was right...I'm a total psycho sometimes.

"Hehehehe..." I heard a giggle coming from over my right shoulder. A light and boyish giggle. One that wasn't my own. And I turned around to see who it was.

Before me was a boy a my age. Maybe a year or two younger, but his eyes were so big and pure that he might have just had a baby face. They were shining bright green, and he had blond hair curtaining the sides of his face. He was extremely cute in the most exotic way. It was an almost unnatural beauty that went beyond your average teen heart throb good looks. He was wearing a backwards cap, jeans, and a white t-shirt. And a baseball glove. The baseball glove. "Hello?" I said to him.

The boy stopped laughing instantly, and seemed almost frightened of my acknowledgement. I looked at him for a second as he wrinkled up his forehead and checked me out. He waved his hand in front of my face a few times, and I followed his movements with my eyes. "Hello?" He said softly.

"Hi." I answered, and he moved a step or two back from me.

"You can see me?" He asked.


"You can hear me?" He sounded surprised.

"Of course I can." He stayed silent for a second, while his mind tried to process this. And sudenly, with a sad face as though I was trying to trick him, he faded away. Like a cloud of dissipating smoke. "Wait! Where did you go? Don't leave." The boy appeared again behind me. Still puzzled as to how I even knew he was there and watching. He looked at me sideways for a moment. It was the kind of look a hungry squirrel would give a stranger in the park when offered food. "What's your name?" I asked.

"Caleb." He was really thin with a light voice, his slim shoulders and tight waist gave him a slightly erotic shape. And he had these sweet lips that thickened ever so slightly in the middle. He was maybe 2 or 3 inches taller than me, but looked like he weighed a bit less. And he had a slightly feminine way about him, that in such subtle doses gave his every movement a sensual quality to it. "What's yours?" He asked, still cauiously keeping his distance from me.

"Donnie." I told him. He was quiet for a moment, and every now and then, his dream body seemed to go out of focus and become fuzzy. Nothing else in the dream was affected, just him. I didn't know what else to say, so I asked him..."Do you wanna help me torture my teacher some more?"

It was then that I saw him smile, and Caleb giggled a little bit at the idea. "I think he's dead already."

"I can bring him back. Or I could make a second one. We'll have a contest." I smiled, and he loosened up a lot more.

For what literally felt like days and days...Caleb and I just walked back and forth up and down that twisted street, and talked about one thing or another. We'd go as far as we could in one direction, get to the edge of the fog where we couldn't see any further ahead of us, and then walk back. I kept looking over at Caleb's smile, and wondered how I could even come up wth someone like this. What part of my mind was making this happen? It had to have been my conversation with Austin that started it. It had to be, at least in some strangely indirect way. But as I listened to him speak and talk and joke around...it felt so foreign to me. Like...how was my brain keeping this boy so vivid and original from everything that I had ever dreamed of before? How?

We talked for what seemed like forever, until, at one point, I found myself worrying about how long it had been. I stopped for a moment and looked at the dream world around me. The trees seemed to be drooping a bit, the ground was slightly rippling up beneath my feet, and the clouds were never in the same place twice when I looked up at them. "What's the matter?" Caleb asked me.

"How long have we been here?" I asked. "I mean....shouldn't I have woken up by now? I've been here for an awfully long time."

Caleb just smiled warmly at me. "Hehehe, silly. Time isn't measured the same way in this place." He said.

I was confused. "So...how is it measured?"

He shrugged his slim shoulders, "I dunno. However you want it to be measured, I guess. It all depends on you." He told me. "One minute can be a minute, or one minute can be an hour. It all depends on how you remember it tomorrow. It could be a whole year if you feel like you wanna spend that much time with me." He grinned bashfully, and it was so cute that it made me grin too. "Prolly not though, huh?"

"Nah, I like being in here with you." I said, and his eyes seemed to glow with joy at the mention of it.

"I like being in here with you too." He blushed slightly, and believe it or not, I felt myself growing rather attached to this imaginary boy. I just wish he was here with me in real life so I could spend more time with him. I'd have a hardcore crush on him for sure.

"So what happens if I wanna wake up?" I asked.

"Then, you just....wake up..." The second he said it, my eyes opened, and I was laying in bed again. It was already morning, and I was surprised that I had actually made it through an entire night without waking up once. It was the most consistent and relaxing night of sleep that I could remember having over the past few weeks. In fact, I was almost sluggish when I tried to sit up straight.

I put my feet on the floor, and looked around the room in silence. My mind was stuck on what had happened in the dream, and I was just....amazed. Caleb was right. I looked at the clock, and I had only been asleep for eight hours. But...in the dream it felt like it was much much longer. As a matter of fact, it seriously felt like Caleb and I had been friends for 'months' now. Even though I never experienced a single nightfall or sunset the whole time we were talking, even though I didn't notice a single day pass us by...my mind seemed to create this entire history between us that stretched back a hell of a lot longer than eight hours. And what was even more weird was the fact that I had already become emotionally attached to this incredible person who wasn't even real. Someone I'd probably never even see again. I had to shake myself out of a daydream, and stand up to get my senses back. That was extremely weird. April was right, I need to free dream a bit more before I end up losing it.

I didn't really make an effort to talk to my friends about it that morning in the car. I joked around a bit and laughed as usual, but for some odd reason, Caleb seemed a bit too personal to talk to them about. Like...he was meant just for me, you know? I don't know, maybe it makes me sound crazy to be so involved with a dream character. If someone else told me something like that, I'd probably laugh at them too. So I pretty much kept my mouth shut about the whole thing. But I want to talk to Chucky about it and see what he says. Chucky never laughs when it comes to one of his 'projects', so hopefully he'll spare me the humiliation of telling me that I need some serious therapy and give me a clue as to what happened.

It was a long two periods that I went through as soon as we got to school. My mind kept being sucked back into memories of the vivid recall I had gotten from talking to Caleb for so long. Caleb....geez, I had even given him a name. I scanned my brain all morning long, trying to see if there was ever somebody in my life that resembled the boy from the dream. Somebody who was actually 'real' at some point in my life, and just happened to waltz his way into my subconscious last night. I thought that maybe it was because of Austin that I was thinking of him. But then...why didn't I just dream about Austin himself? Or at least give this strange boy the same name? It's probably got something to do with that damn baseball dream or something. Arrrgh! I hope Chucky's got some answers for me today. This is driving me nuts.

I was on my way to the chem lab, when I looked up and saw Austin heading my way, on his usual trek to his next class. I instantly felt myself freeze up, but worked up a smile and whispered hello anyway. "Heya Donnie." He grinned, and kept walking. Damn he looked so good today. I had to bite my bottom lip, the sexual frustration of him being so near and yet so far overwhelming me, and nearly ran into a locker trying to look back and take a peek at his firm little buns. Mmmm....if only I could have just TEN minutes to do what I wanted to him. Just ten minutes. I'd make him wanna stay for good.

Thankfully, when I walked in the room, I had gotten to Chucky first, before the others showed up. I needed to talk to somebody about this whole thing, and he was the only one who would take it seriously, I'm sure. I tried to explain to him in detail what had happened, making sure to face the door so I could see whenever someone came in. I whispered to Chucky everything that I could remember while he nibbled on a small bag of carrot sticks. It was like the whole dream just poured out of me to the point where even Chucky was amazed at how long and detailed my recall was. Then he asked me, "So who was he?"

"I don't know." I told him.

"You have to know. He had to come from somewhere. Maybe he goes to school with us?"

"Nope. I thought about that. But I've never seen him in the hallways."

"Maybe somebody you remember from the Boy Scouts or something a few years ago?"

"Nope. None of them either. Chucky, I'm telling you, I would have remembered this boy. He was beyond beautiful. He was cool, and funny, and cute...but he doesn't match up with anybody I've ever known before."

Chucky put down his carrots and opened up his notebook to take down a few notes. "Interesting development." I walked around the desk to see what he was writing, but he pulled his notebook back from me.

"Hey Chucky...do you think that...maybe I could have just...'made him up' or something?" I asked.

"I don't think so. Dreams are usually a reflection of what you already know, what you've already seen. All they can do is sort out what your brain has absorbed and show it to you. So this boy, Caleb, must have crossed your path somewhere at some time in your life."

"I don't know...I've had weird dreams before, but this was really different. It was like he was somebody else entirely. I can't see myself being able to create that kind of random personality just off of the top of my head. I'm telling you, this boy wasn't a part of me until last night."

"Well how many dreams did you have about him?" Chucky asked.

"Just one. And it lasted forever."

"One? That doesn't sound right. Maybe you had a couple of dreams about him and just stringed them together or something."

"No, it was just one. And it never stopped. It felt like I was there for weeks. Maybe even longer."

"Donnie, the average person only dreams for a total of about two hours a night. You have a different one about every 90 minutes or so." He said. "The book says they start off being about ten minutes long, and get slightly longer as the night goes on. The longest lasting about 45 minutes. So you must have had a bunch of little dreams or something and..."

"I'm telling you EXACTLY how it happened, Chucky. It was all one dream. And I didn't wake up once the entire night."

"Probably because you were exhausted, Donnie."

Arrgh! He was trying to rationalize everything out according to that damn book and those research notes of his. "I know what I saw. And I feel like it was so real. I honestly feel 'attached' to this boy in the dream. He's like nobody I've ever met before."

"What's this? You're getting a crush on your imaginary boyfriends now?" I heard Baxter's grin from behind me, and turned to see him, April, and Jeff, standing behind me.

"Ah shit..." I moaned.

"You know, that is really sick, dude. That's gotta be like...mental masturbation or something." Baxter laughed.

"It's not like that. It's just...it felt like somebody else was in the dream with me. Somebody else entirely."

"Maybe it was the dream police, coming to find you for the molestation of Jesse McCartney and many other crimes against heterosexual boys worldwide." Bax giggled.

Chucky closed his notebook and said, "Look, just take a break from the project work plan for a day or two and relax. Enjoy the weekend, let your subconscious untangle itself a little bit, and you can start looking into it a bit more on Monday. I don't know what else to tell you."

"Sighhh...yeah, I guess. Maybe you're right. It just...it was so real, dude. I wish you guys could understand how powerful it was." I told them, and Jeff gave me a concerned look as I grabbed my backpack and got ready to go to my next class.

"I'll walk with you." Jeff said, and the others split up to go to their classes as well. Jeff asked me, "So what happened? With the dream, I mean."

"I met this boy, he was really cute, he said his name was Caleb. We talked and hung out for weeks. We really just...got to know each other."

"You've been dreaming about him for weeks?"

"No. That's just it, I never dreamed about him before last night."

"But you just said..."

"I know, that's what makes it so weird. He told me something like...time isn't measured the same way in a dream as it is in real life. It's...um...it's all in how I remember it, I think he said." Jeff mulled the concept over for a bit, and I told him, "Am I crazy, or what?"

"No. I don't think you're crazy. You're a few sandwiches short of a picnic, but I'd hardly put you in the category of full blown crazy. Not yet, anyway." He smirked.

"You'd be surprised at how much I find that comment comforting." I smiled.

"So, that aside..." Jeff asked, "...What's up with you and this 'Austin' guy? Is he taking you to the party, or what?"

"Taking me to the party? What are you talking about? No!" I cringed. "I'm not asking him to take me to Cory's party."

"Why not??? You guys talked, it was a cool vibe, I thought you had a good thing going with him yesterday."

"Jeff...dude, I don't even know if he's 'like that'. And besides, he was just being polite."

"Did you tell him your name?" Jeff asked me.


"Did you tell him your name yesterday?"

"Of course I told him my name."

"Well...did he remember it today?"

I thought about it for a second. "Yeah, I think so. He said hello to me when I passed him in the hall."

"Bingo! So you're already past the 'unfamiliar face' stage and have moved right into recent memory. So now...you ask him if he wants to...?" Jeff silently coaxed me to give him the answer he was looking for.

"...Let me give him a blowjob?" I giggled.

"NO, stupid! You ask him if he wants to come to the party. With us?" He said. I gave him a suspicious look. "With all of us. You know? April and Bax too. That way, you're technically going to the party together...but you're not really on a 'date' yet. You see what I mean?"

"What happens if he's straight and he figures the whole thing out once he catches me staring at his crotch for ten minutes straight?"

"By then he'll be so overwhelmed with your charms and your wit, he'll wanna fuck you anyway. See? It's flawless."

I patted Jeff lightly on the head. "You are definitely a poster boy for wishful thinking, Jeff."

"I like to think of myself as a connoisseur of possibilities."

"Is that French for 'bullshit'?"

"It might be. But it doesn't mean you don't want it to happen." We laughed on our way to class, Jeff easily soothing my need to worry so much as he always did. And I attempted to make it through the rest of the school day without letting it get to me too much. It was just a dream. What the heck is wrong with me? Like I said...I'll probably never even see him again. Too bad though...Caleb was amazing.

That night, even my parents could tell that something was on my mind. For me to not be overjoyed for the simple fact that it was a Friday night and there was no school tomorrow, was a rare occurrence indeed. But even though I tried to keep my mind off of meeting Caleb, it wouldn't go away. In fact, it lingered in the air around me. As though I could breathe in his scent just by letting his smile cross my mind. The funny thing is, after all that time I spent talking to him in the dream world, I couldn't really remember a single thing that we talked about. It was nonstop chit chat for days and days, and my mind couldn't pick out or define a single word spoken between us. I was just...sure that it happened. We had to have been talking about something right? When I climbed into bed, I was haunted by the memory of his laughter. The glow of his bright green eyes. The untouched softness of his skin. And when I was in my room, the sensation got stronger. I almost expected to see him materialize in front of me any second, the way he did in the dream. But, like I said earlier, I was just being silly. I'm supposed to be recording and studying my dreams...not falling in love with them.