Also, be on the look out to new chapters to my other two sci-fi stories,
Despite the merciless torture of its brightness on my tired eyes...it was a liberating sight to see. Because it meant that I beat him.
I crossed the line. I denied his control. Rejected his influence. Caleb Jordan has gotten his last free ride on my train of thought. Chucky was right. When I actually take an active part in manipulating the details of the dream around him, he's powerless to stop me. He can't intrude anymore. Hell, he's not a 'HE' at all. It's just some stupid fabrication of my imagination that just got out of control because I didn't free dream like I was supposed to. I can beat this.
It was just an experiment. And I can stop it whenever I want to.
I got out of bed and took a nice long shower, just letting the warm water run through my hair for a while. Feeling my muscles relax as I took a few deep breaths and attempted to reconnect with the life I had before any of this madness started. When I stepped out to dry off, I wiped the mist off of the mirror and took a good look. I think it was the first time I had really taken a long hard look at my own reflection...and seeing the darkened circles under my eyes, I could clearly see why my friends were beginning to worry. My hair looked a bit thinner than usual. My eyes still a bit bloodshot. It was a moment that made me anxious to get back to normal as soon as possible. I guess I did push things a bit further than I should have.
I made a quick breakfast...hashbrowns, eggs, and some microwave pancakes. My mom left a note to tell me she'd be home late, and to have a good day at school. I ate in silence and was half way finished with a tall glass of cold milk when I heard the pleasantly vulgar call of the wild suburban 'Baxter' coming in through the window.
"Wake up, cock puppet! We're comin' in!" He shouted. And I smiled as I jumped up to get the door. It felt so good to see him that morning. That obnoxious smirk of his was never more welcome in my kitchen than it was at that particular moment. Jeff and April came in right behind him, and we were a family again. Just that simple. The road back to being ordinary looked like it was going to be a short trip.
Jeff looked at me sideways and said, "Well YOU seem to be in a good mood today. What's up?"
"I am?" I didn't even realize that I was grinning until he pointed it out I shrugged my shoulders and said, "I dunno. Hehehe, maybe it's just because I got a good night's sleep for a change."
"No big celebrity ass pound this time?" Baxter asked while grabbing a popsicle out of the freezer.
"Nah. I think I'm going to give the dream weaving thing a rest for now." I told them, and that seemed to make April's whole FACE light up. But she tried to hide her smile despite its unavoidable brightness.
"I'm glad, Donnie. Seriously." She said, and gave me a hug from the side, placing a comforting kiss on my cheek.
"It's about fucking time!" Bax added. "You were turning into a total nutcase on us, dude."
"You don't know the half of it." I said, as I looked over to see Baxter put the long red popsicle into his mouth and give it a long, wet, suck. The coolness of it against the heated cushion of Bax's kissable lips created small wisps of mist that nearly stopped me dead in mid sentence. I have REALLY got to stop noticing little things like that.
"So, April...today might be the big day, right?" I asked. Jeff gave me a signal to shut up, but I received it too late. "Oh...bad topic?"
April grumbled to herself for a bit, but was able to compose herself enough to speak. "There's this...'rumor' going around that the committee is waiting for Chelsea Morton to turn her pictures in before they make any decisions. Little miss popular supposedly has pics of all the prettypeople at their so-called 'best'. Which pretty much means that my moody little pics of average, normal, everyday teenagers won't be god enough. They'd rather look at pics of prissy primadonnas and super jock assholes instead." April's shoulders fell as she looked down at the table and sarcastically laughed it off. "All of that hard work...down the tubes. And all because some prom queen with bigger tits decided to jump into the running for the sake of getting attention."
"Jesus, April..." I said. "You're acting like you already lost."
"Face it, Donnie...I did. In case you haven't noticed, I'm not one of the pretty people."
Jeff was quick to jump in, "April, get off of that! You're beautiful. You KNOW you're beautiful. Right Bax?"
"Make-up would help..." Bax started, but Jeff backslapped him in the gut before he got it all out of his mouth. "...WHAT??? April knows she's hot. April...you're hot. Ok?"
"Gee, thanks." She said, attempting to lift her mood a bit, but without much luck.
"I tried." Baxter said with a shrug of his shoulders. "Now...about this girl, Chelsea....exactly how big are her tits..." Another slap in the gut, and Jeff set Bax straight once again.
I took April's hand. "It's just a rumor, right? For all you know, it's just a bunch of bullshit. Your pictures are MORE than just some high school popularity fluff and predictable photos of the class elite. Your stuff has emotion...and depth. They'll see that when they put the pics side by side." I tried to give April some encouragement, but as always, she was quick to brush off the mask of the 'sad clown' and changed the subject to us getting out of there and going to school. And as always, I didn't push it further than she wanted it to go. But I was hoping that she'd talk to me about it more in depth later on. She has a habit of letting these things bug her more than they should.
I locked up the house and we went out to Baxter's car. Jeff accidentally 'touched' Bax's car door with his backpack as he opened it for me and April to climb into the backseat, and Bax gave him the usual 'respect the ride' speech before getting in himself. April climbed in first...and I was getting ready to go in afterwards...but something stopped me.
I looked down at the concrete driveway beneath my feet as I heard the sound of something rolling towards me. The driveway slanted downwards slightly from the house to the street, and as I looked back at my front door...I noticed a baseball slowly rolling in my direction. It was a wobbly pattern, but definitely headed in my direction. I felt myself take a deep breath and hold it as the blood drenched object continued its journey, and finally came to a stop as it rolled right up against my shoe. I stared at it for a moment or two, my mind frozen. It's not real. It's not supposed to be real.
"Hellooooo?" April said, shaking me out of my daze.
I looked up and saw the three of them standing there staring at me. Bax from the driver's side of the car, Jeff holding the door open, and April waiting for me to get in. "I...I just...did you just see...?" But when I looked down again...the ball was gone. The tiny trail of blood was gone. And I was left looking like some kind of crazy person.
"Anytime today, spazoid." Bax said, and sat down in the car.
I looked back at April, and she asked me what was wrong. "Nothing. I'm just...I'm still half asleep, that's all." I worked up a smile, and wiped my mind clean of the memory. No doubt a side effect of dreaming so much. I'm totally going insane these days. We all got in and took off for, what I now know, was going to be a very long day.
We split up once we got to school, and I was hoping to actually 'enjoy' my first day of being fully awake again. But things began to tumble downhill once I got to Mr. Lipton's first period English class.
Not that Mr. Lipton was ever in a good mood, really...but today was one of those days that I had to simply avoid making any eye contact whatsoever, just to keep him from picking on me more than usual. I could never understand why he hated me so much. Why he hated EVERYTHING so much! I mean, Jesus...does he know how HARD it is for me to pour my time and energy into his little writing assignments? Just so he can sit back all angry and shit, and complain about what's wrong with it. It's so easy to criticize when you've got nothing to lose by tearing down someone else's spirit every day. Someone should make HIM bare his soul on paper, and then have it ripped apart right in front of him so he knows how it feels to be so miserable over it.
He made sure to stand over me with a shake of his head as he handed me another 'C+' paper.Arrrgh!!! What the fuck do I have to do to IMPRESS this man??? He's fucking up my whole GPA with this bullshit! My English grade for this semester alone is going to make this my worst high school year to date if he keeps this up! I looked at the 'notes' he left for me, and they were the exact OPPOSITE of the ones he left last time! Last time he said my writing lacks detail...THIS time he's like, 'too much detail, cut it down.' Last time he said I had too many run on sentences...THIS time he said to expand on the visuals! He complains about EVERYTHING!!! I can't hand it even the SIMPLEST of assignments without him complaining and whining about SOMETHING!!! Mr. Lipton sat back down at his desk, and I looked him right in the face as I took my paper and crumpled it up into a tight wad, ready for the fucking TRASH! If he wants to fail me so bad, then why doesn't he just DO it and stop playing this stupid game with me? I'm not gonna waste my time writing papers that he's just gonna berate me and find fault with every fucking word I put on the page! God...I *HATE* him!
On top of everything else, he gives us a surprise test on a book that we read over a MONTH ago! Can he even DO that? And all the answers had to be essay answers too. I swear...one of these days I'm gonna go to that man's house and burn it to the fucking ground just for kicks.
I sat at my desk, reading through the test questions, and reached into my backpack for some notebook paper to write my answers on, as well as an extra pen. Mr. Lipton was walking around the room...as though you could really cheat on an 'essay question', dumbass. But my anger was mellowed as something caught my attention. I pulled a folder out of my bag, and the second that I opened it up...I saw Caleb's face. The pictures and all of the research that I had done on him...it was in my English folder.
I don't remember putting it there.
In fact, I distinctly remember keeping all of this stuff in another folder entirely. A red folder. One that I was sure that I left at home this morning.
The pictures haunted me for a moment, and the second the eyes in that photo met mine...I began to feel that alien 'pull' on my senses again. Drawing me back in. Trying to force me into a state of drowsiness that was difficult to resist. And that's when Mr. Lipton passed by my desk.
He reached down and took the top picture and looked at it closely. Immediately a sense of utter humiliation set in, and he basically tossed it back down to my desk, closing my folder for me. Then he leaned over, and in a 'not so quiet' voice in front of the rest of the class, he said, "You know, Donald...maybe the reason your grades are so low in my class, is because you're too busy with your head in the clouds to concentrate. Next time, why don't you leave the pretty little pictures at home. Or at least hang them up in your locker where they belong." What the fuck was THAT supposed to mean??? Was that a shot at me for being gay? Is THAT what he's doing now? That's it! Just ONE more comment...just ONE more...and I'm getting him FIRED! I don't care if I have to tell the principal he 'touched' me...I want him GONE!
I angrily shoved the folder back into my backpack, and contemplated just walking out of his class, if for no other reason than to make a statement that I was sick of his bullshit. But as that subtle pull on my consciousness got stronger...I found myself having to yank it back into a waking state of mind. I'm NOT even fucking tired! This is all just my imagination Caleb doesn't exist. I'm done with that garbage, and I'm not going to let it run me to the nearest looney bin! I fought the urge to shut my eyes, and angrily defied his silent 'call'. And within moments...the sensation faded. Easily fixed. Getting rid of him was just a matter of me taking control, that's all. Taking complete control.
Despite Mr. Lipton's fucked up attitude, the rest of the morning went pretty well. In fact, I even stopped by the second floor chem lab to tell Chucky that his ideas about taking charge had worked out beautifully, and to let him know that I was definitely going to lay off of the dreaming for a while. Hell, to be honest, I look forward to having just plain old regular dreams again. Something surprising, and weird, and sometimes 'sexy'. Hehehe! The thing about the subconscious is...it's not really made to be messed with, you know? Nobody knows how dreams work, or what they even ARE, really. And maybe it's not something we were really meant to know. Some things are better off remaining a mystery, I suppose.
I was walking down the hall when Jeff jogged over to talk to me for a second. "Dude...tell me something! What do you think about the Crow?" He asked me.
"What? Like...the movie?"
"No. As a costume! I could totally get some make up and just wear a tight black t-shirt or something. Right?"
"Jeff, the party is the day after tomorrow. You still don't know what you wanna be?" I asked.
"I will once you tell me what you think of my Crow idea."
"It's a bit outdated. You'd be better off going as Neo from the Matrix or something."
Jeff thought it over a bit, and said, "Well...I could just...I could..." Then he sighed in frustration. "...You suck, Donnie."
"Dude, I thought you were going as a soldier or something to compliment April?"
"I know, but I looked at myself yesterday in the mirror, and it just seemed so...'plain', you know? I mean it's Halloween for crying out loud. I wanna do more than just...change my clothes, you know?"
I let my wheels spin for a second, and then I told him, "You know what you should do? You should totally go as a zombie soldier. Make up and blood and stuff...might be cool." His eyes opened wide and he grinned from ear to ear.
"Aw dude, that's GENIUS! And cheap! Which is a plus!" He said. "Don't tell April I'm doing myself up that way though, she'll have a cow."
I couldn't help but laugh at the thought of this potentially 'dangerous' situation. "Hehehe, you're going to show up with ghastly make up and morbid blood soaked clothes to a party...and NOT inform your date ahead of time? She'll kick your ass from now to Christmas if you get blood on her princess dress."
"Ahhh, she'll understand." He said, and I gave him a sideways look. "Ok, so she WON'T understand. But that's exactly why I'm not going to tell her until it's too late. See? Perfect plan."
"If you say so..." I started, and then...I saw Austin standing just outside of the main stairwell, and was instantly frozen into a state of total infatuation. Jeff was busy talking to me about...um....'something'...something completely unrelated to the beauty standing not more than 30 feet away from me, and I slowed down my pace to make sure that I didn't pass him up too fast. I'll be damned if I didn't take the time to get a good look at him.
"...I'm just thinking that my gym teacher is pretty much a psychopath for the way he acts when he thinks nobody is watching. He's got some serious issues, that man." Jeff said as he suddenly realized that I wasn't paying him any attention at all. He looked up and saw the object of my affection squatting down to tie his shoe, and gave me a nudge in the side.
"What? I'm...I'm listening." I said, still lost in a dreamy haze.
"Listening to what? I didn't say anything." He grinned, and gave me another poke...practically pushing me in Austin's direction. I pushed back for a second, but Jeff started pushing even harder, and it was causing enough commotion to get Austin to look up and give me one of the most heartbreaking smiles ever created.
"Hey, Donnie." He said, his rosy lips giving my name such a sweet vibration as the words left his mouth. GAWD....he's gorgeous!
"Hi..uh...hey!" I said, still feeling Jeff's finger in the small of my back, still secretly pushing me forward. I quickly swatted his hand off of me and dug my sneakers into the hallway tile before I got close enough to this hottie to get majorly burned. "So...coming out of the library, huh?" What the fuck kind of STUPID question is that??? I look like a jackass! It's his fault for being so uncontrollably sexy!
"Hehehe...ummm...yeah. Looks that way." He said with a slight blush. Is he being awkward? Is he being shy? I won't be able to STAND it if he's being shy around me! I'll dive down on my knees and rip the pants right off of him with my TEETH if he so much as bats his lashes at me from under that canopy of soft blond curls. "So are we still on for the party this weekend? I'm definitely looking forward to it." He said, and then kinda leaned to the side to see Jeff, who was timidly hiding behind me the entire time and staring in silence with a goofy grin on his face. "Hiya, Jeff."
"Omigod..." Jeff blurted out with a slightly boyish whine. His eyes widened when he realized what he just said. And then, after a brief, but awkward, pause...he turned a deep shade of red, covered the front of his pants with a history book and mumbled, "I've gotta go to class...." Then he totally ABANDONED me there! Wasn't talking to Austin HIS idea??? COWARD!!!
"Jeff..." But he was already too far gone for me to reel him back in now. I snapped my head back to see Austin with the strangest look on his face
"Is he alright?" He asked.
"Far from it. But who cares, right?" I grinned, hoping that my nervous joke would keep that little display from looking TOO weird. After all...I don't want him to know that I'm practically 'drooling' over him just yet.
He shook his head and said, "So did you come up with something cool to wear to the party?" He started walking to his next class, and I naturally just...started walking at his side. Of course, MY class was in the other direction...but my shaky legs wouldn't let me pass up the opportunity to spend time with him. Even if it was only a few minutes.
"Yeah." I said, and almost forgot to follow that up with something. "Oh..I mean...I'm going as the wolfman. Like...the classic Lon Chaney one, you know? I've got a mask, and my friend, April is gonna help me with the outfit and claws and stuff, so..." I kept trailing off in my conversation, my focus snatched away by the beauty of his bright sky blue eyes. There was something about the way Austin looked at you that made you fall in love over and over again. It was a jittery sensation that you could feel in your stomach whenever those heavenly eyes landed their sensual gaze upon you. And his voice...wow. Austin talks to you, and it feels like he's been in love with you his whole life. There's something about it that just gives you the impression that you're the only person in the room. It's a mind-blowing experience.
"Very classic. I like it." He said, as I tried to look away from him long enough to keep from running into something. "I found a couple more things to add to my costume. Awesome idea about the vampire thing, by the way. So thanks."
"Uh huh..." I said softly. A gentle blush came to my cheeks, but I was more worried about the tingling sensation heading south to my stiffening rod. I did all I could to keep myself from springing a woody right in front of him...but it wasn't easy.
"So...I've been kinda meaning to ask you, Donnie...I mean, are you going with anybody? To the party, I mean?"
"My uh...my friends and I are going..."
"No...I mean, like...going with anybody." He said. "Like...I didn't know if this thing was for bringing 'dates' and whatnot? So, I was just wondering..." I think the next few seconds of conversation was a complete and total blur for me. I couldn't repeat what else he said to me if I tried. Because, as I listened to his voice, and marveled at the combination of his blond curls and sexy blue eyes and kissable rose colored lips...I was suddenly overpowered by the frightening idea that he might actually be...asking me out to the party! Like...not just us going together as a group as we had planned. But actually asking me to be his...his DATE! It rattled me to the very core. My mouth went dry. My knees wobbled. My breath seemed to leave me all at once and my heart stopped beating. And when he called my name, "Donnie?" I remained stuck in a daze for another second or two before I was able to respond.
"Oh...I'm sorry, what?"
"I was asking if we were supposed to bring a date to the party."
"Right." I said...praying that the next words out of my mouth would be the right ones. "Umm...no. Cory didn't say anything about...bringing a date" Then I managed to take a quick breath and add, "But...you CAN bring a date if you really wanted to. I mean...if you were thinking about...asking somebody...I'm sure they'd love to go....with you." I began to tremble so hard inside that it was becoming difficult to walk straight.
Austin smiled bashfully, and said, "Well, I mean...I don't really know anybody in this place yet. I've met a few cool people, but you're the only person I've really had any kind of connection with so far." Omigod....he said we have a 'connection'! Ahhhhhh! I am DYING inside right now!!!
"Really?" I whined by mistake. It just came out that way. Am I being a total sissy right now, or what?
"Yeah." He said quietly. "I'm glad though. You and your friends seem really cool. I guess I got lucky, huh?"
My hands began to shake a bit, and my breath was short, but I almost did it. I was JUST about to ask him if maybe he and I could kinda....go together. It would be a bold move, and a MAJOR leap of faith on my part. But if there was even the SLIGHTEST chance that Austin might like boys, and might like ME, and might want to ask me out on a date but was too scared to make the first move...it would be worth the risk. I can't just throw away a gift like this. What if he likes me? I mean, what if he's trying to give me a hint, and I just let it pass me by? I'll be kicking myself for the rest of my LIFE if I don't at least try!
So I gathered up some courage, puffed up my chest a little, and prepared to speak. Jesus, he's hot! "Well, Austin...I mean if you wanna go with somebody..."
Just as I was about to make my big move, the fucking bell rang, and Austin said, "Ah shit, I'm late. I've gotta run, dude. I'm sorry. My Chemistry teacher is a beast when it comes to tardiness. I'll see ya soon though, right?"
SAY SOMETHING!!! Don't let him run off NOW!!! Not *NOW*!!! "Umm...ok. Yeah...later." NO!!! Don't say GOODBYE, you idiot! Call him back! I struggled, and I fidgeted, and I squirmed. Watching Austin hurry into a light jog to get to his next class. And when I just couldn't take anymore, I shouted out, "Austin!"
He stopped and turned around, still walking backwards, but giving me his attention. "Yeah? What's up?"
My mouth opened, and my lips quivered a bit, as I tried to think of some kind of flirtatious and honest approach to asking him out. One that I could deliver to him in the 10 second window that I was being given. But I couldn't find the words. I TRIED...but I just couldn't do it. Not under that kind of pressure. So, my shoulders fell slightly, and I said, "Nothing Forget it. I'll...I'll tell you later."
"Alright. Cool. See ya then!" And he turned back around to continue his journey away from me.
"Sighhhh....shit." I whispered to myself as I watched Austin's intense beauty disappear around the next corner. The rest of the hallway began to quickly empty out, and I had a long walk back to my own class. I'd be late, but who cared at that point, right?
I started walking back the way I came, in no particular hurry to reach my destination...and that's when I heard a slight hissing sound coming from the side of me. For a second, I could have sworn that it was coming from one of the lockers. Then...the sound of fingernails scratching the metal from the inside. Confused, I stepped a bit closer, and tried to look inside through the tiny slits at the top. I couldn't see much of anything, so I pressed my ear up against the locker door.
"Donnnnnnniiieeeeeee......" Said a low whispered voice. "DONNIE!!!" It shouted, and banged at the door hard from the inside, hurting my ear and knocking me back on the floor! I sat up and watched in horror as the locker began to bend and dent from the loud, hard, knocking, inside. As though some powerful monster were attempting to get out of it. I crawled back up against the lockers on the other side of the hall, and gasped as the knocking began to erupt from the ones behind me as well. In fact, the entire hall turned into a symphony of terrifyingly loud noises. I scrambled to get to my feet...and ran down the hall until the noise came to a sudden stop. Leaving only the sound of my ragged breathing to keep me company.
The halls were silent.
I held my breath...but my heart was still pounding hard enough to make my shirt vibrate.
My eyes roamed all over the area around me, and that's when I heard the voice again. "Donnie...why won't you talk to me anymore?" The whispers echoed off of the walls, and once I recognized it, I knew that Caleb was trying to force his way back in.
I shut my eyes tight. And I told myself, "This isn't real. This is a dream. It's a harmless figment of my imagination." I heard a loud rumbling, and opened my eyes again as I saw a pair of phantom hands pushing and stretching their way towards me from behind the wall. The paint cracked as the wall stretched inward like an old bed sheet, but Caleb still couldn't come in. "It's only a dream. Don't crack up, now, Donnie. It's over. He can only come in if you want him to."
"Donnnnnnniiieeeeeee......" It said with an eerie playfulness. "...C'mon, Donnie...I just wanna talk. Can we at least talk?"
I'm not going to make things worse by acknowledging his supposed 'presence'. I'm just gonna keep walking to class. And that's all there is to it. I hoisted my backpack up on my shoulder, and navigated the empty hallway, hoping to get back to class so this little daydream can come to an end.
But with every step forward...the walls moved. They warped in shape, almost 'liquid' ripples covering them from top to bottom. "Donnie? Donnie?" The whispers were coming from all sides now, and I picked up the pace. The ceiling and the floor began to change shape...and thick streams of blood poured from the slits of every locker lining the hallway simultaneously. I noticed a rancid odor filling my nostrils, and despite my attempts to pull myself out of the dream...the realism of it all only succeeded in giving Caleb more control. "Donnie? Donnnnnnniiieeeeeee....."
"STOP IT!!! LEAVE ME ALONE!!!" I screamed, walking even faster than before.
"You told me you loved me. Don't you remember? Why don't you want me anymore?" The voice asked, and I jumped as I saw Caleb's bloody reflection in a nearby window. He was standing right behind me, one arm around my waist, and the other draped across my chest...holding me close as he turned to kiss me lovingly on the cheek. I INSTANTLY spun around to see if he was there, but couldn't see anything at all. I looked back at the reflection, and was repulsed as a long black forked tongue 'oozed' out of his lips, and lustfully licked my cheek. Even though I could only see him in the reflection, I could feel the ice cold wetness of his lewd invasion, and it nearly made me sick.
I hurried away from the window, and put my back in a corner. "Why are you doing this? What are you?"
"I love you, Donnie. I just want you to love me back. That's all. Why are you being like this?"
"You're not...real. You're not...you're not..."
"STOP saying that!!!" He snapped, causing a thunderous vibration to sure through the walls. "I HATE it when you talk like that!!! What the fuck do I have to do to PROVE to you that I love you? When are you going to stop pushing me away and just TALK to me???"
"Caleb...you're...you're not supposed to be here. Don't you understand...this isn't...'reality'. Somehow you ended up in the wrong place..." I said, my voice trembling as my mind began to submit to the helplessness of the situation. "Please, Caleb....let me out. Please?"
"Out out out! You ALWAYS want out! What about what *I* want, huh???" He said, and I began to see Caleb materialize right in front of my eyes. A bit blurry at first, but the more I believed in him, the clearer his image became. He moved towards me, and I pressed myself as tight up against that corner as my body would allow. "Oh, stop it! What's the matter with you? You weren't acting like this before." He reached out to touch my face with his hand, and I shut my eyes and turned my head as his frigid fingers came into contact with my cheek. My reaction...made Caleb VERY angry. "WHAT THE *FUCK* ARE YOU SO SCARED OF!!!" He shouted, and the storm outside began to bubble and boil with a turbulence that rattled the windows. The lights flickered on and off, and I heard the sound of a rolling baseball as it came around a nearby corner and stopped for a moment I looked over at it, and Caleb turned to do the same. His reaction to it was one of despair. Covered in blood as always, the ball sat in the middle of the hall, as though it were watching our every move. The image of it was the only thing strong enough to calm Caleb down. "Donnie...I'm sorry, ok? I know that I get mad sometimes. I don't mean to make bad things happen. But I can't help myself." He leaned forward to kiss me on the cheek, and I remained paralyzed. Trapped in that corner with no means of escape. "I just...I dream about you all the time. I see what you're doing. More and more, I get little pieces of you life, and...I want to be a part of it, Donnie. I want us to be together."
"This is my dream. Do you hear me?" I said, attempting to make a stand. Albeit a very weak one. "It's MY dream. And you don't belong here. I want you gone."
He paused for a moment, and told me, "I'm not going anywhere." There was such a sinister tone to the way he said it. Such a sense of pure wickedness. I looked into his eyes, which had now returned to their splendidly forest green color, and tried to mentally 'wish' him out of existence. But despite my efforts, nothing would work. "I'm not leaving, Donnie. You can't make me go away. I'm not going to let you just turn your back on me! I'm not going to let you break my heart like the others! You're GOING to love me like I deserve to be loved, and you're going to stay here with me whether you like it or not!" His hands rested, palms down, on my chest...and he tried to contain his emotions as they slowly slid upward. "Now...I know that it's hard for you to believe me. But it's true, Donnie. I really do care for you. Your kiss is all I can think about. I mean, can you blame me for not wanting to 'share' you with anybody else?" His hands slid further upward, until I felt his cold touch reach my throat...and gave it a light squeeze. "Just...give me a chance to prove it to you, Donnie. I'll show you. I'll show you how much I love you. And then you can put all this silliness aside and let things go back to the way they were. All I need is a chance. A chance to demonstrate how much you mean to me. Consider it a gift...for the boy of my 'dreams'." He said, and I felt him squeeze my throat even tighter...his eyes returning to an unimaginable void of blackness. "Just make sure that you're not looking to...replace me with someone else. That would hurt me, Donnie. And I don't like it when you hurt me." I began to cough and struggle as my windpipe was closed shut...and I felt the warm trickle of blood on my neck from a gaping wound on his wrist. I fought with him as best as I could once my air supply became desperately low...but his hands were so strong. So very strong. "Don't make me do it. Don't make me hurt you, Donnie. You'd be surprised what I've discovered since I've been here...in this place" Caleb's voice changed to a demonic roar, and the last words he said to me were, "We'll be together. Just you and me.....forever."
Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder, and I screamed out loud, slamming my back against a nearby wall. What I saw was a school teacher clutching her chest from the shock of my reaction, and looking at me like I was some kind of psycho. "What do you think you're doing out here?" She asked, trying to catch her breath.
I looked around me...trying to get a bearing on my surroundings. Trying to reconnect to a solid reality. I was standing in the exact same place that I was when I watched Austin run around that corner to go to class. I checked my watch...and seven minutes had past. Had I been standing still all that time? Or was I...elsewhere? The teacher repeated her question, and I could hardly bring myself to answer her. "I'm...I'm going to class." I said.
She gave me a curious look, and then said, "Well get to it then. You're late. No wandering the halls. Move it."
My throat was sore. Burning from being squeezed so tightly. I could still feel the chill of Caleb's icy grip on me. And as I started walking, measuring step after step to make sure it connected to solid ground...it made me wonder...
Just how much of this dream is make-believe?
And how much of it isn't?