The Unforgivable Act Dream

My friend Joe had accidentally killed someone again. The first incident resulted in the death of a little girl, and he’d received only a caution. This time it was a teenager; part of a renowned gang of brothers, and although the law still weren’t after him, the gang were.

For days they drove around his house in their fancy-ass purple convertible. However, as a law-abiding gang they never attempted anything murderous, but they were enough to make Joe terrified to leave the house.

They often glimpsed me in the upstairs windows, but I wasn’t afraid of them. Au contraire, we actually got on really well. I was trying to persuade Joe to turn himself in and they were happy to let me try. Joe, however, was just shrugging off my words. He was grateful for the company, but not for my advice.

He paced about the house in an utter state. As I followed him around, I examined the decorations I’d put up for him over the years; with each visit I’d added to the duvet mural pinned up on his wall. This duvet was so enormous that it extended the width of the house. It began in the master bedroom, where I had intricately decorated and coloured in the quilted squares, and through into the spare room, where I’d balanced it over a wooden frame and made him a cute lil’ tent.

I started adding to the colourful wall above the stairs, where I had previously drawn an ABC of animals and objects. I began to write subtle messages throughout the grids in chalks and charcoals to make him feel guilty. Things like, “H for he was just a boy,” and, “T for think about his poor family.” When he saw what I was doing, his eyes filled with tears. He grabbed me by the wrist and led me to the front room.

“Look, see?” Joe gestured to a masquerade mask lodged firmly into the wall. Next to it he had scribbled ‘JON DAMM.’ He looked at me pleadingly, as if waiting for my confirmation that this display was suitable repentance. But it didn’t fix anything. In fact, it added to his problems; his landlord would go mental at the wall damage.

I shook my head at him and returned to the spare room, where the tent section of the duvet had fallen. I tried to fix it, but it just kept falling, until I accidentally yanked it too hard and the pinned part came off. This was not what I needed. Not after witnessing the accident firsthand and having to deal with my friend’s guilt. I walked into Joe’s bedroom and realised in that short space of time he’d reorganised his furniture. The room was incredibly tidy, but where he’d newly positioned the bed, I could no longer put my duvet art up. More frustration.

I looked around his room. Everything was pristine; the only mess was a small pile of trinkets on the bedside table, hiding a used train ticket to a place called Kenfrew. The date was quite recent. I knew it was a woman.

The house was quiet. It seemed he’d snuck out. I looked out the window to see if the gang were still there, and saw the ginger-haired family in the garden of the house opposite. Two young girls and their thirty-something dad were hiding behind a wall in their swimming gear. Their younger sister was running towards them with a water pistol, but they were all far better armed. She didn’t stand a chance. She was pummelled by three strong, separate jets of water, and they all fell about laughing. I felt alone.

I decided to try and find Joe. As I reached town I saw him enter a restaurant. I followed without really seeing what kind of place it was. From the cuisine and décor I assumed it to be Turkish; the cubes of soft, creamy dessert I saw on everyone’s tables looked insanely good. They were served on big silver platters and round, ornate dishes by fancy waiters, and placed on rich red or purple tablecloths. The restaurant was absolutely massive, and after a couple of minutes I found Joe on a long table in the middle. Not only him, but my parents too. And my High School best friend and his family. Even some of my work colleagues. Some of the gang members were there too, seemingly unaware of Joe’s presence.

“What the hell?” I aimed the exclamation at my parents in particular. “Where was my invite?” Nobody answered. This entire restaurant looked kitted out for an extravagant party, like every table knew each other. What had I missed?

There was a spare seat at the head of the table near my mum and I asked if I could fill it, but nobody answered. They all just looked away from me awkwardly. I perched on it anyway, and could tell everyone was annoyed at my presence. Why though? I was the sole person that tied this group of people together! It was like they had all outgrown me. I reached across the table and picked up a fancy looking cereal bar from amongst the desserts; I wasn’t brave enough to take those without permission. I ate the bar out of spite, but I couldn’t really taste it.

“Mum, why wasn’t I invited?” I whispered quietly. She pointedly continued to ignore me. Her friends came over to our table with their prosecco glasses and glamorous dresses and smiled warmly at me.

“Hiya Claire, you alright?”

I’d not seen them in years. In normal circumstances I’d have gotten up and hugged them, but in this one I just said, “Yeah thanks… Actually no, I’m not alright. You’ve all had a fancy dinner without me. You know how much I like fancy dinners.” Their smiles vanished and they started ignoring me too.

Someone in a suit that I didn’t recognise stood up to give a speech. Sinking into my chair a little more, I’d never felt so out of place amongst my friends and family. I wasn’t sure what upset me more; their blatant dislike for my company, or the fact that the fuckers had eaten a whole 3-course meal without me.

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Believe

Character prompt:
Subvert – the independent badass woman who does not believe in love.

She was hot. She was independent. And most of all, she was badass. She flicked her shining auburn hair as she loosed another arrow, straight and true into the heart of yet another henchman. Before the next arrow could be nocked, an arm wrapped around her neck. Soon the arrowhead was buried deep in his oesophagus, blood spurting across her face and adding to her murderous aesthetic. Cool rock music began to play in time with the fight scene.

After endless cartwheels, high kicks and the odd elegant stabbing, a neat circle of dead and unconscious henchman surrounded the leather-clad vixen. There wasn’t even a bead of sweat, nor a hair out of place. With a perfect pout of full red lips, she stared off into the distance for a moment; hands on hips, eyes glowing from the heat of unfair battle.

She had no need of their weapons, but she searched the pockets of the nearest bad guy for a grenade. Pulling the pin out sexily with her teeth, she threw the grenade at their van. There was nothing in it; they had no precious cargo and weren’t likely to use it again. But she needed the explosion to walk away from.

As she walked – in slow motion, of course – she passed a stage; the source of the cool rock music. Justin Hawkins, in his tight white spandex and flowing pink locks, winked at her. He delved into an awesome guitar riff. She stopped involuntarily. Her feet wouldn’t move. She gazed upon this fine specimen, and just listened to the rhythm of her heart. She was a strong, independent woman who didn’t need no man. And yet… As she contemplated The Darkness before her, she now believed in a thing called love.

 

The Grinning Guise

Amanda watched her mother die and smiled. The blood pooled wide around her head, creeping towards Amanda’s kneeling body, and she smiled even wider. Tears fell freely down her aching cheeks, but her maniacal expression was unwavering.

“Amanda?” It was Toby. She turned and grinned, eyes shining.

“She’s dead, Toby.”

“No!” he cried, the familiar corpse swimming into view. For a split second his face expressed something else. His sister’s eyes flashed a warning, and then he too was smiling. He wrapped an arm around her shoulders, both siblings lost in grief and looking positively joyous.

“What happened?” The words caught in Toby’s throat.

As if on cue, an army of seven men with latex gloved hands and pristine white uniforms entered the room. They formed a perfect, ghostly ring around the scene. One bent down and retrieved his ornate dagger from the still-warm chest, careful to keep his clothes clean and maintaining eye contact with Amanda throughout. The rest observed the new orphans, ensuring their own high smiles were reflected in their stricken faces. There was only one major difference; the smiles of the men were sincere.

The writing prompt:

Make our Federation great by smiling every day. After all, what Federation is greater than a happy Federation?

Adapt

Delta scanned the shelves of Walmart, looking through various attachments and enhancements for what she needed. There were mechanical arms and living wigs and the odd Brita water filter. After a few minutes of panic she finally reached the section she was looking for; genetic modification.

There was only one T3NT4 mod left. Delta snatched it up and hugged it close to her chest. She walked quickly to the back of the queue and stood, feet twitching. The girl in front of her turned and looked enviously with her cat eyes. The man behind her growled with his canine vocal chords.

Come on,” thought Delta. “Hurry!

“Next please,” the cashier drawled. With her first and second arms she took the T3NT4, and with her third and fourth arms worked the till.

“That everything?”

“Yeah.”

“You want to add insurance for 30 extra credits?”

“No, thank you.”

“Would you be interested in our special offer today? Segway Legs, only-”

“No.”

“That’ll be 200 credits then please, love.”

Delta tapped her wrist on the machine and her hard-earned money passed over.

“Thanks, have a good day,” said the cashier lifelessly.

Delta picked up her precious cargo and left the store. But she couldn’t wait until she got home. Ducking into a doorway, she ripped open the packaging and let out a small, “oh.” It was beautiful. Twelve whole inches of smooth, purple perfection. Her fingertips ran across each section of puckered flesh, and she shivered excitedly. Unattaching her current arm, she primed her new limb and connected it to the stump.

As it came to life, it began to flick and sway at the end. Delta was mesmerised by its movements. Her movements. So when the mugger tried to reach for her tentacle, he took her by surprise. In a new reflex action, she let out a spray of ink, accidentally blinding her assailant. She slapped him hard across the face, which sent him sprawling into nearby bins. As she advanced, Delta realised something that both terrified and exhilarated her; the tentacle wanted blood.

The soft flesh slid around his neck, sucking at his skin as it pulled tighter. Ink ran from his eyes and he let out a pitiful cry. His pain urged her on. Delta squeezed harder until he went limp across the pile of bin bags. She released him and observed the red circles branded around his neck, like a pretty necklace of bruises. The end of her new limb flicked happily. The tentacle was satisfied.

The Fantastic New Year Dream

Nothing like a nice nightmare to end the year, eh? Would appreciate it if this isn’t the narrative for my 2018, thanks very much!

***

On a night out, casually drinking in work, one of the guys asked me to take a few plates to the potwash. For some reason we had two of them; the one in the kitchen and another in a shed-like building out back. I decided to explore the second.

During this exploration I had an omnipotent cutscene play in my head. A paramedic sat in his ambulance, and something about him seemed off. He wasn’t doing anything, simply sitting there, waiting. Watching.

Outside of the restaurant was like a completely different city; chainlink fences, hard concrete, graffiti. I dumped the plates on the side and explored the crumbling brickwork of this alley.

As I reached its end, I heard a scuffling noise behind me. I turned to see a woman at the other end of the alley, slowly raising her arms to point a gun. With a second flash of omnipotence I knew she would fire it, and I even saw the bullet spinning straight for my head. I ducked beneath a stone pillar and stayed down. That bullet missed me, but a second shot pierced my chest. I couldn’t scream (if anyone can scream in dreams I’m amazed), but the pain was astonishing.

The woman stopped firing. A man appeared from my end of the alley and stood over me, looking thoughtful. He was dressed like a stereotyped chav; cap, puffed jacket, trackies and chains. “Please,” I begged him. “Please help me!”

He raised his own gun and shot me in the shoulder.

As he walked away, I reached into my pocket with my good arm and pulled out my phone. I began to type a status of help on Facebook, but I’d barely written “been shot” before the woman appeared.

“Stop that,” she said in a Spanish accent. I tried to get up, but she booted me in the back and I felt a rib snap. I wasn’t sure why they didn’t want to finish me off, why they wanted to cause me such pain, but she too left me there.

I got to my feet and staggered through the halls of University. There was a distinct lack of blood and not as much pain as you’d imagine. I just felt numb. Why had this happened?

I jabbed 999 into my phone and began babbling about being shot and needing an ambulance from the front of the University. They asked me which entrance and I broke down. There were so many damn entry points that I couldn’t figure out which would be nearest.

As we concluded the phone call, I once again envisioned the ambulance driver. It was clear this was the man I had been talking with, and as we finished speaking I saw him smile, hang up, and fold a piece of paper. The last thing I remember thinking was, “at least I didn’t give him my home address.”

Next thing I knew I was in the ambulance, only it was more like a minibus. My head was fuzzy and there was a stiffness in my neck, but I realised I was not alone. I looked up to see several others in similar drug-induced states to me, and at the front of the bus the paramedic grinned. From the driver’s seat he picked up a machine gun. Not again.

I undid my seatbelt and slowly slid below the seats. I heard the rapid cracks of firing, but there was no blinding light, no screams. I don’t even think any bullets fired. But sure enough, the first three rows of people all dropped dead. I peered over the top of the seat to see sparks flying from the necks of the recently deceased. Touching my own, I felt a small electrical box on a collar. I ripped it off.

I guessed the gun automatically triggered the boxes whenever they were aligned. And everyone else was too out of it to realise. What were we, test subjects? How had they chosen us? Why?

I waited until the paramedic had left his warm corpses before sneaking off the bus. In my messed up head, I didn’t think of walking myself to hospital. Right now I trusted no-one, so I hobbled all the way home.

But they must have followed me. Before long a For Sale sign appeared in my garden, and without any of mine or my parents’ consent, the house was sold. Eventually my parents disappeared. There was no note, no slight indication as to what happened to them, but after recent events I feared the worst.

I was told the new tenants had decided I could still live with them. I waited in the living room to meet my landlords. The front door burst open and the new owners walked in. It was the woman who had shot me. And her loving husband.

They gave me a small space in the kitchen and one of the cupboards for my belongings. They emptied the house of everything they didn’t want, and sat on my parents’ sofa watching my parents’ TV. I sat cross-legged on the kitchen floor, trying to think about nothing.

Obviously, me being alone for five minutes without fresh pain wasn’t an option.

“What you have?” She growled. “I want to see.” She reached for my cupboard door, and upon looking in smirked at my measly possessions. “This all you have, eh?” She poked me in the side and saw me wince. “Oh sorry,” she purred. “Do you have a broken rib?” I nodded through tears. She laughed and punched me.

As another flash of agony reared up my side, I thought, somehow, I’ll get my house back.

What a Catch

She looked at his once-handsome face. The chiselled jawline and strong nose were still there. If she focused hard enough, his eyes were the same green-blue as the day they met. The only problem now was that the rest of him was also green-blue.

She reached out a tentative hand and stroked his cheek. No longer did it feel soft, but rough and scaly. Where there had once been warmth, there was nothing but slimy cold. This wasn’t her Jeff. This, apparently, was Jub.

“I’m still me,” he whispered, raising a webbed hand to cover hers. “I still feel the same.” He started sobbing, great shuddering breaths gasping through his large lips. She didn’t know how to react. Then she realised he wasn’t actually crying; her hand was covering his gill.

“I’m sorry,” she said, backing away. “You’re just…uh…not my type…anymore.” And with that, she ran, Jub reaching a solitary fin after her.

She’d been suspicious from the first date. They’d enjoyed the fairground rides, and she’d laughed at his unusual sense of humour. Things were going swimmingly, until out of nowhere he fell to his knees and broke down at the coconut shy. He refused to speak of the incident, but now she remembered the little golden fish, suffocating in plastic bags.

He’d always downright refused to visit the Seaquarium too, appeared almost angry whenever she suggested it. It occurred to her now that maybe some of his family were captive there. If he even had a family.

Oh God, she thought, clutching her stomach. I hope I’m not pregnant.

The Shrunken Ship Dream

tescoooooooo

Dictionary Definition:

Holiday

NOUN
  • An extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in travelling.

Claire’s Dream Definition:

Holiday

NOUN
  • A period of time spent traumatised from nearly drowning with a boatful of passengers and all your belongings.

The holiday itself had been alright up until the near death experience. I’d been to this part of Greece before, but my companion had not. The hotel was lovely as always; the staff now knew me on a first-name basis, which probably suggests we should have gone somewhere new…

When it was time to go, we said our goodbyes and boarded the boat that would take us to the mainland to catch our flight. We were less than halfway across the ocean when I felt that something was wrong. There were two mini waterfalls to traverse in order to reach our destination, and I saw them in the distance with a fresh sense of foreboding. Well, I say waterfalls, they were more like water speed bumps. We were stood on deck at the front, and I watched as we went down the first one, but then the boat lurched forward and tackled the second vertically. It didn’t recover; we plunged into the cool water and didn’t come back up.

I looked at my friend and yelled “jump!” just in time and we abandoned ship. Treading water, I watched the boat sink further into the depths. I was hoping it would miraculously right itself and we’d just jumped overboard for nothing. It didn’t. I thought about how far we’d come and decided the mainland was still too far to swim. “Let’s head back,” I said, and we swam all the way back to the hotel.

The staff were confused to see us again. Soaked through and crying, I explained what happened and they gave us food and drink. I was exhausted, both physically and mentally. All of my possessions, gone. Like a typical millennial, I was most upset about losing my phone. I thought about all the holiday pictures, my point of contact with the rest of the world, my home. How would my mum contact me? She would want to know I was okay when she heard the news about the boat capsizing…

We wandered around the hotel for the rest of the day, a bit lost. People were still sunbathing and enjoying themselves as if nothing had happened.

A random memory popped into my head; an old man once warned me to be wary on this holiday. “Whatever you do, keep your phone with you,” he’d said. “At all times.” For some reason I had listened to this man – I mean, I usually had my phone with me anyway, but this time I’d kept it about my person rather than in my bag. To my amazement, I checked my back pocket, and there it was; completely fine, not the slightest bit of water damage…

I checked it and went straight to the news, typing in words like “Greece, boat, dead.” Nothing. Was this a cover up? Had it just not been reported yet? There had been at least thirty people on the boat, so surely this was important? I turned my phone off to conserve battery and we went to reception to speak about a room.

Later, someone offered to go check out the boat, to see if there was anything salvageable. Despite our recent trauma, we decided to go with them and show where the boat had capsized. We were on a much smaller boat this time – more a speedboat than a ferry – and when we got to the waterfalls we managed them fine.

“That’s how you’re supposed to do it,” I said knowingly to my friend.

“It was just about here.” Divers jumped off the boat and searched around. They were gone for quite a while and when they came up, one guy brought a Tesco carrier bag with him.

Inside the bag was a model of the ship, exact in every detail to the larger version, even down to singular items on board. The man handed me the miniature ship and said, “that’s everything. Anything you want me to save?” I looked at the ship, with dolls house versions of my clothes, my money and my passport – the keys to getting me home, and the words that tumbled out of my mouth were, “my laptop and PS4 please.”