Authors: L. E. Fred
y L. E. Fred
Published by Astraea Press
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and events are fictitious in every regard. Any similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names, or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. Except for review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or part, electronically or mechanically, constitutes a copyright violation.
Copyright Â© 2014 L. E. FRED
Cover Art Designed b
y Book Beautiful
For my middle schoolers
who bugged me for a good story.
I know that most adventure/fantasy/whatever
stories start with something magical, but my story starts with something ordinary
, dreams. I'm talking about the “I'm taking a test and don't realize I'm in my underwear” kind of dreams. We have them every night, whether we remember them or not. Sometimes they leave us waking up with excitement or inspiration. Sometimes they cause us to wake with a shriek and to look around our rooms
ometimes they leave us waking up confused or ashamed. These experiences are probably commonplace for most people, but I doubt any of you could ever say your dreams caused you to stay asleep for a long period of time.
What if your dreams made you disappear
Sometimes I feel like denying the morning exis
ts and staying asleep forever. Waking up in my dark, frigid room isn't exactly my idea of a great way to start the day. I rolled ove
r on my side to check my clock.
; time to get up for summer camp.
As I tumbled out of bed and pulled on my socks, I recounted the dream I had last night. Normally, I'm not one for remembering my dreams, but this time I don't think I could've forgotten it even if I wanted to. It was so
. It started with me sitting in a spaceship. I could tell I was in space, not because of the stars outside my window
, but because of the dar
kness around the stars. I couldn't recall any other time I had seen such a deep emptiness except for the time we watched a video in physical science on space.
There were other people on the spaceship with me
, sitting in different aisles
; it was sort of like a galactic school bus. I remember having a conversation with an elderly man sitting next to me. He repeated at least seven times that he must've been dreaming. Finally, I realized that I, too, was dreaming. I voiced my thoughts to the man, and he said that even though it felt like a dream, he doubted we were both sharing the same experience
How could you be
conscious in a dream, anyway?
And since when did more than one person drea
m the exact same thing?
This seemed to be the topic of conversation on the ship; everyone sounded confused and most felt like they were transported from their bed to this alien place. The idea of abductions was slowly becoming a possibility, and the atmosphere in the spac
eship became extremely tense.
Although the other people on the ship were partaking in nervous chatter, I remained silent. I knew that I was merely dreaming, and that this was
not an alien abduction. There was no other explanation for why I remained calm. Also, I had always pictured an alien invasion being a lot cooler than something eerily similar to my morning bus ride. After twenty minutes of dream time, the ship landed on a dock. We had reached our destination
The doors of the ship slid open, and almost automatically, the people started filing out. I thought this was a rather stupid move on their part; if this
was an alien invasion, why would they willingly walk out to meet their captors? I
do remember feeling a sort of sensation pulling me outside along with the other people, but I was able to fight it off. I figured it was the change in atmospheric pressure or something
I know better, now.
As I was walking down the aisle
, I saw something glittering underneath one of the seats. Maybe one of the passengers dropped a watch. I bent down to figure out what the source of the light was, and I foundâ¦ nothing
The light continued to shine from underneath the chrome seat, but there was nothing
causing the incandescent light. It was strong, and for the first time on my voyage, I felt heat. I think that was when I was sure I was dreaming; everything other than this light was simply not real. I knew the light represented the only fragment of reality in the bus (other than me,) so I did the only thing I could; I reached out and grabbed the burning ball of light.
As soon as I touched the light, I woke up. I untangled myself from the sheets and stumbled to my mirror. Staring back at me was the reflection of a fifteen
haired and hazel
eyed boy. I'll admit I was a bit paler than usual. The dream of the space ship was causing goose bumps to emerge all over my arms and on the back of my neck. Even though I knew it was an illusion the entire time, I didn't like how the other people in the dream thought that it
was real. As I was sorting through the confusion in my brain, my mom came into the room.
“It's time for work, Devon,” s
he said with a no-nonsense look on her face. Mom dropped me off to camp on her way to work, and she was
never late. “You've got five minutes to get ready. Just grab a granola bar on your way out.” She closed the door with a snap.
I shook myself from the silly dream. It was just a dream after all. There were more pressing matters at hand, like getting to camp before the Senior Counselor did. The jerk would fire a Counselor-in
Training like me for showing up two minutes late. I dressed with haste and ran down the stairs. As I climbed into the back seat of my mom's van, I couldn't stop dwelling on my spaceship bus ride. It spooked me so much, it even made me forget my granola bar.
Summer camp was terrible. I hated being stuck in the musty, old community center as a camper, and I hated it even more as a C.I.T
. At least when my mom was
paying for me to go there
, I could play games and talk to the other kids. As a camp employee
, I was forced to do all of the nasty jobs the real counselors didn't feel like doing. I didn't even get paid for it! Thinking about how I might have a license and a car next summer usually got me through the day. If I stuck with summer camp, I could also get paid next summer. I doubted even a paycheck would temp
t me into working there again.
Anyway, I was sort of glad I had something on my mind while I completed the lovely jobs of cleaning up the
olds' accidents, sweeping after lunch, and unclogging a boys' toilet after Bobby had gotten sick from his roast sandwich. The spaceship from my dream kept intruding into my thoughts, but try as I might, I just couldn't make any sense of it.
Why would I dream something like that, and why were other people in my dream? For some reason, I had a hunch the people on the spaceship with me were actual people. Well, they weren't
really people; they were parts of real people. I guess they were sort of like souls, if I had to think up a word for it. For some reason, I felt myself feeling sorry for these souls. They had no idea what was going on, a
nd yet they got out of the bus.
had only stopped to check under the seats
“Devon, stop blank
ing out and get into the car!”
” tones of my mom yanked me out of the spaceship and back down to e
arth. A few of the younger campers snickered at me as I walked to my mom's van. Well, that was no surprise.
Ever since I was a camper myself, other kids made fun of me. I didn't mind; I didn't want to listen to anything they had to say, anyway. My spaceship dream was more interesting.
The ride home was, as usual, quiet. Mom was yakking away on the phone to one of her friends about how terrible her day at work was, and I would normally be playing one of my newest handheld games, but not today. Instead, I couldn't help but continue to question why the souls got off of the bus. I didn't remember the land outside of the bus as vividly as the inside, but I remembered thinking it didn't look too nice. Plus, how did they know there was oxygen for them to breathe? I mean,
I knew it was a dream, but the other souls like the old man thought that it was actually happening. I was sort of curious about where they went, though. I wish
ed someone I knew was on the bus. I could've asked them i
f they had the dream, as well.
“I have to run back to the office for some more paperwork,” Mom informed me as she pulled into the driveway. “Kyle knows you're coming home, and I left him money to
order a pizza. I shouldn't be later than eight
I merely nodded as I got out of the van. I waved back at my mom as she pulled out of the driveway. It didn't really upset me that she never talked to me on the way home from work, but it would be nice for her to at least ask me how my day went.
The door was already unlocked, which meant Kyle was home. Really, I wasn't surprised. I was convinced Kyle was nocturnal; he slept all day in his room and would only emerge after six for food and to go out with his friends. Mom was convinced he was busy applying to college
s all day, but I wasn't fooled.
Kyle was pushing
; he should've found a school or at least a
job by now. If you haven't guessed from his description, my big brother was a lousy babysitter. I really didn't need a babysitter anymore, but Mom didn't trust me enough to order or make food for myself when she had to work late. It didn't really matter to me. Kyle would amble down sometime this evening and find the pizza money. He'd order the food for us, take half of the pizza for himself, and go back up to his room. Three hours later, he'd come down in a grungy pair of jeans and an unwashed shirt to go meet his equally grungy friends. Kyle never got a job to pay for a car, so he relied on his friends picking him up. I was greeted each evening by loud metal music blaring from a beat
up SUV that looked like it was highly flammable
Anyway, I figured I had at least two hours before my brother rose from hibernation
, which gave me some personal time. I felt pretty exhausted from the admirable task of being a C.I.T., so I grabbed my private bag of chips (which I hid from Kyle inside of the aquarium we never use,) turned on the TV, and sat my butt down on our super comfortable couch.
Now, this was what a good afternoon meant to me. I could sink into that couch and feel my mind melt away as I watched cartoons. All of the frustration of work would dissolve as I sat there until nothing remained. My brain would enter a state of nirvana, and I would feel
so perfectly numb and at peace.
My dream still haunted me, even as I hummed the intro to my favorite show. I started getting a little concerned. What if that wasn't a dream at all? What if I somehow saw into the future? Would the light be there to save me again, or would I be probed by aliens with the rest of the people on the bus?
I calmed myself down by realizing how stupid that would be. I did not see into the future, and there would be no alien invasions any time soon. With a little more effort than needed, I convinced myself enough to enjoy
the rest of my cartoon ritual.
, Kyle surprised me with his presence. I was pretty shocked when I heard his pounding footsteps descending the staircase.
“To what do I owe this honor?” I asked him as his untidy figure appeared in the living room. Kyle and I looked almost exactly alike, except my brother was a good six inches taller and had a telltale gut to show off his sedentary lifestyle. Still, we both resembled our mom in the face, which wasn't a bad thing.
“Give me the remote,” Kyle ordered with his hand outstretched.
“What's up?” I could tell Kyle looked pretty concerned.
“I just read this wicked article on the Internet, and there's a show about it right now!” Kyle snatched the remote off of my lap and began scrolling down the guide. I really wasn't ticked off. If I wanted to finish my show, I could just go up to my room. I was somewhat curious about what Kyle wanted to watch. Plus, I was watching a rerun.
“What's it about?” I asked as Kyle shuffled through the channels. His eyes glinted, which usually meant something stupid, gruesome, or gruesomely stupid
“It's about zomb
ies and how they really exist.”
Of course it was about something like that. Kyle had a pretty irrational obsession with vampires, zombies, and grotesque things that didn't really exist. Oh, but I was the weird one for being afraid of dinosaurs trampling over our house. At least dinosaurs existedâ¦ at one point in time.
Anyway, apparently Kyle had reached his televised destination, because he stopped searching and sat down next to me.
“This is about the living dead
” Kyle gave me the definition of zombies as he grabbed for some of my prized chips. I didn't care; he could have them. The image on the TV made me forget everything else
Sure enough, the reporter on the screen was talking about a man who had been in a deep sleep for an entire day, and it was proven to not technically be a coma. The man had fallen asleep last night and never woke up. His wife was convinced he was dead until she felt a very faint pulse. A doctor appeared on the screen saying that the body seemed to be functioning at the lowest possible level, but most of the brain was working properly. They said the man was almost like a living shell, except for his eyes. The camera zoomed in on the old man so viewers could see his eyes moving rapidly. But these things didn't matter; the actual man on the screen is what made me stop thinking about everything. The man, whom Kyle thought was a zombie and whom the doctor said was a living shell, was the same old man who sat next to me on the bus.