The Regal Rat Dream

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Taking God Save our Gracious Queen to a whole new level.

That was the premise of the game. Not many people would have jumped at that. The games company should have fired their marketing team (and hired me instead!) But the chance to be an undercover detective with the prospect of high employability rates and the royal family’s eternal gratitude? You’re on to a winner!

This game required skilled detective work and strong willpower. In teams of three we were expected to uncover and terminate any plots against the queen’s life. I was picked last for my team, being the only female of the party. I was left with Johnny Depp and a man named Lewis.

We began in a basement, where an apparent clue had been left as to the identity of the latest plotter. I however, never saw any of the clues. The guys dealt with that. In fact, I never really did anything other than tag along. Any time I suggested an approach they looked irritable I’d spoken at all, so for the most part I just watched them.

When they found this clue, they discussed where to go next – without me, of course, and began the steep ascent out of the basement. It was a high gradient slope that led to the outside world instead of the ground floor of a house. At the top was a Metro-esque sign on curly black iron, enveloped slightly by the bushes and trees on either side.

Johnny managed one foot on the slope before a sound like thunder rolled above us. A singular rat ran towards us, large grey body covered in mangy wet clumps. Following him were his brothers, hundreds of them, all running straight for us.

Johnny and Lewis raced up the slope, with me following closely behind. I had to leap over several crowds of rats for fear of them dragging me down with them. One misstep, one stampeding rat stood on and it was game over. The thought of being stuck down there covered in those feral creatures was enough to get me out.

By the time I’d made it to safety Johnny had already gone. I walked behind Lewis for a while as he spoke to Johnny over his walkie talkie.

“Can I have one of those?” I asked.

He barely glanced at me. “No.”

“Why not?”

“Because you have nothing useful to say.”

I fell back behind him. He meandered along the roads for a bit, then struck off in a more purposeful direction.

“Where are we going?” I asked

am going back to the palace. You should go somewhere else.”

Despite his somewhat uncalled-for doucheyness I too returned to the palace. There was bound to be clues there from where the schemers had planned their schemes. The guys took to the restaurant whilst I went up to the royal chambers. I didn’t bother telling them where I was going, they wouldn’t care anyway.

The Queen’s bodyguard awaited me outside the royal apartments. He had a suit, shades and an earpiece like your average stereotyped secret service man. He held his palm out to stop me, then listened to the person in his ear before saying,

“The Queen says she fancies you. You have her royal pardon to search wherever you deem necessary in your quest.”

Awesome. Wasn’t sure how I felt about that, but hey, it worked in my favour.

I was about to proceed past the guard when I heard two annoyingly familiar voices. It was Lewis and Johnny, but they were nowhere near me.

“Yeah, but you wear it in your ear like this. No-one will suspect a thing.”

I doubled back and followed the sound of the idiots all the way back to the banquet hall, where they were surrounded by diners all staring at them. They’d found an upgrade to their walkie talkies in the form of a state of the art earpiece. I couldn’t believe they’d spent our whole team budget on something so unnecessary!

Somehow, they’d inverted the audio into a microphone. This resulted in their voices booming across what I could only imagine was half of London. I walked up to their table, trying to avoid the irritable stares and titters of the crowd around us.

“You idiots, we can all hear you.”

Johnny looked at me with disgust, screwdriver in hand and wires all over him. “We know. We’re trying to fix it. You wouldn’t understand.”

I ignored him. “Where’s mine anyway?”

Lewis vacantly tossed me his old humongous walkie talkie. “Go look in the basement, would you?”

My heart pounded. I knew what await in the cellar. It involved lots of fighting, and I could barely punch. “Can’t one of you guys go?”

They tittered like I’d told a hilarious joke. “If we went down there, who’d do all the important stuff?”

“Yeah, the queen would die if we left it to you. Then you’d be up for treason with the culprit when we catch him!”

I sighed. There was no way of getting round these stubborn bastards. But I knew the secret lay in that room. If I didn’t go we’d be here forever and other teams would get ahead. “Fine… but if you’re insisting I go, give me one of the earpieces. Carrying this big thing around will hinder me down there.”

They looked at me as if I’d asked them to suck their grandmother’s toes. I realised it was futile even trying, so I left them to their tinkering and sought out the basement.

Evidently it went horrible wrong because I found myself back at the start of the level in the cellar. I could sense the impending rat stampede. You’d think after the first time I’d be well prepared, but for some reason it took me a lot longer to get out. Several times I nearly toppled over but somehow I stayed alive and on my feet.

At the top I paused out of reach of danger to catch my breath. As I did, I saw eight of the largest rats carrying a dying rat towards the cellar. He was clearly of important rank; he had a pimp cane and cane rows and looked inexplicably regal. I think it was the Rat Prince, come to the end of his reign. This was a ceremony for the people to say goodbye to their beloved leader. So moving! I believed I saw his royal ratness moaning and holding his little paw to his head.

Woe is me!”

Something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. There was no breeze tonight, but the trees still moved. Squinting against the darkness, I realised they weren’t leaves at all, but even more rats. Each of them held onto their comrades’ paws, making star shapes with their bodies like synchronised swimmers against the night sky.

After watching this religious rite of passage, it dawned on me that I hadn’t seen my teammates in a deliciously long while. I searched the nearby alleys and eventually found Lewis yelling at his earpiece.

“Where’s Johnny?” I asked. Lewis threw me a quick glance, then shrugged. “Trying to find him. This stupid thing ain’t working.”

Then without warning he he ran off again, down random alleys and off into the town. I tried to keep up but lost him.

Damn I wanted a new team. One with actual intelligence and less sexism. I sighed and set off for the palace again.

The Stew Maker Dream

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In times of war, we look to our leaders for guidance and courage. But who do the leaders look to?

In this particular war I was looked upon as a leader. In real life, I might have been called General, or President, maybe even Queen. But in this, I was known as a Stew Maker. 

Stew was a sacred food in this war, and few of us knew how to make it. But there were ancient and sacred rules the Gods decreed upon my duty:

1: Thou shalt not give thy stew to any other mortal unless in dire need.
2: Thou shalt not divulge the sacred recipe to any living mortal.
3: Thou shalt never be without thy bowl of stew.
4: Thou shalt not fight for fear of spilling thy heavenly supplement.

Follow in these commandments and thou shalt have our holiest protection.

These rules saw me standing on the sidelines of battlefields, watching my men die around me whilst raising the tender, slow cooked beef to my mouth. It was torture. I watched men die of starvation in the trenches, the last thing they remember being the succulent scent of home-cooked stew. Every day I walked through the poverty and famine of my people, forever eating and never gaining weight.

Sometimes, when nobody else was looking, I would throw pieces of meat to the hungry, or use it to keep my family alive. Of course the Gods would know this, but I couldn’t help myself. I felt powerless without their protection, but if I kept it a secret, people would still believe I was untouchable, and that would prevent me getting instantly lynched.

I wasn’t the only Stew Maker in our district; there were a few of us, including my little brother. We were seen as guardians, as good omens. As long as the Stew Makers followed their duties, the majority would be safe from harm.

The only people more revered than us were the priests. Every time they sang, thousands and thousands of people would make the ascent up to the ruinous castle, myself included.  No matter which side of the war you were on, everyone followed the rituals. The hill was situated in the very centre of the country, easily accessible from each of the four districts.

Each night we would all gather at the top of the hill in quiet contemplation, listening to the humming melody of the priests.

My African-American warrior friend sat with me on a rock as I gazed into the night’s sky. She wasn’t a Stew Maker, but she was well-known and cherished among our people for her feats in battle. Today, however, several idiots from our enemies’ ranks decided to mess with her.

They picked and pressed and bullied her until she stood up on a high rock and hissed, “dammit, don’t you know who I am?” I saw her fists clench and I prepared for the wrath of the priests when a fight ensued and the holy song was disrupted. But the men just shrugged and laughed at her. She sat down, ego instantly deflated.

When the dawn began to break and the first stain of colour spread across the horizon, the song dissipated and we all went home. My parents sat on the sofa in our humble house. Our allies surrounded us; they felt safer being near us at all times. My parent’s stew making days were long over, but they were still sworn to keep the recipe secret. However, the Gods were not kind, and did not permit previous Stew Makers to continue eating once their time had run out.

My mother’s face was gaunt and thin. After a life of constant delicious meals, the latter years of her life had not been kind. I stood on the balcony and occasionally chucked them a piece of beef when no-one was looking.

A couple of hours later I set off for work, stew bowl still in hand. All this war and tension around me and I still had to work. Typical life.

It was a foggy morning and I could barely see anything. Still, I knew I was early. Through the bleak whiteness I saw the men from last night on the other side of the street, jeering at me but not daring to come near. I was wary of them. But soon I began to daydream as I walked, completely unfocused and yet walking automatically towards my goal. My mind became as fogged as the air.

When I finally came to my senses, the first thing I realised was that my hand felt considerably lighter. I looked down with dread to see that my stew had disappeared. How was that possible?

The air was clear now, and I figured someone had placed a sleeping draught or hallucinatory into it in order to steal my stew. I began searching for the men, but had no such luck. Turning into the nearest alley, I fell to my knees in grief.

My little brother, only six years old, was chained to the wall and slumped in death towards the floor. His angelic blonde floppy hair shrouded his face, his knees bent at awkward angles. Beside him in the dirt was my stew bowl, recently washed up and still warm. The stew was no more.

The Wonders of the Universe Dream

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My life is just one big game. No, literally. Or at least it was in this dream. I was on a team with the cast of Community, exploring a submerged and ruinous world in our little jet-ski-motorboat hybrid. The game glitched an awful lot (we were in Beta) so whenever there were waves or little pockets of land, we drove over them in a straight line.

We were supposed to be discovering the mysteries of the universe. Somehow they were the key to beating the game. In the final level we found four statues facing a wall with an intricate circular pattern. Abed studied the markings and decided it looked very much like a closed gateway. The exit!

Having played many games between us, we decided the key must lie with the creepy statues. Each had an intricate carving on their blank stone faces and unlike everything else in that city weren’t so much as chipped or scratched. They were each placed on unusual square tiles; the kind that blatantly need something heavy on to make the switch work. But they were already on them, and we couldn’t so much as budge the crumbling stone figures. Jeff  tried with all his might, but the only thing he managed was a broken nail and a blow to his ego.

In the end we decided the key must still be out there. We left Britta to watch the statues in case anything happened and the rest of us split up. I went with Abed on the jet ski. Sometimes the glitches would go from its straight line facepalmery to dipping us underwater and, of course, we got wet despite not properly going in.

After one of these soakings we stopped amidst a glorious turquoise sea to dry off. We could see many broken islands on the horizon. It was a wonder the purple sky didn’t affect the vibrant blue pigment of the sea. Was that one of the mysteries? Probably just science I didn’t understand.

“I think we should explore the nearest island and then work in a clockwise rotation from there so we don’t miss anything,” Abed said logically.

“Yeah? I just want to explore a bit. I might go for a swim, catch you up in a bit?”

Abed gave me a look. “You know what always happens when teams split up in movies.”

“I know. But this is a game. Dude, I’ll be fine. If I don’t find you in the next hour just go on without me.”

He sighed, then waited for me dive overboard before starting up the engine.

“Good luck!”

“You too,” I smiled reassuringly.

The water was beautifully warm and clear, and surprisingly shallow. I almost forgot we had a mission to complete, I was so relaxed just floating along. Something on the sea bed pricked my hand and brought me back to the moment. I looked underwater and saw nothing. There was no blood, no sign of anything. There wasn’t even so much as an urchin, just smooth sand. Something pricked my leg.

“First wonder of the universe,” I whispered excitedly. There was a grinding sound from somewhere in the distance. I swam to a nearby rock and prepared for a cutscene.

Sure enough, I watched in my head as one of the statues turned all by itself to face East.

One down, three to go, I thought. Abed would be mad he’d missed this. And about the fact I’d been right to go off on my own. Hah.

Someone coughed. Looking over the edge of the rock I saw an old man, knee deep in water and wearing nothing but a white loin cloth. He had a long stick in one hand and was covering his mouth with the other. During his coughing fits he was prodding at something out of his reach on another rock. As I approached I realised, impossibly, that he was prodding at an iPhone.

We conversed briefly, but I couldn’t get much sense out of him.Whatever language he spoke it wasn’t English. Not anymore, anyway. After a while he seemed to decide I wasn’t a threat, and shared with me the second wonder of the universe; the iPhone. I reached up and took it uncertainly. But when I turned it over, my breath caught. Somehow, in the camera lens, was a full-sized thimble. I grinned and thanked the old man. I had to show this to Abed!

I swam quickly to the nearest island, which Abed was thankfully still on.

“Abed look! One of the wonders! I think we have to find four of them to turn the statues!”

“I know,” Abed said. “I saw the cutscenes. I found something too.”

He led me to a crumbling old wall with centuries old Egyptian engravings. There were sketchings of robe-clad men on a long boat and lots of cats. Like, loads of cats. But in the centre of everything were four monumental figures commanding all. Abed gestured to take a closer look. Just above the four Gods someone had scratched something. The player before us had scrawled:

A/
ED

Abed looked at it thoughtfully. I could almost see the possibilities running through his head. “Do you know what it means?” I asked after several minutes of complete silence.

“Not entirely,” he replied. “But I have a vague idea. What was it you wanted to show me?”

I took the iPhone out of my pocket and handed it to him. He took it, looking horrified.

“We have to get to Britta.”

 

The models had already begun moving by the time we made it back. They marched slowly towards the gateway, which was already open and casting a striped shadow across the figures. The wind gushing forth from the other side made it all the more difficult to get there in time. We yelled at Britta to stop the statues from entering the portal. The wind carried away our words, but not our intention. Britta grabbed the arm of the nearest one just before he made it through. She pulled with all her might. Then suddenly everything stopped moving and Britta fell to the floor with the statue.

Silence.

We sat for a moment and caught our breath.That was a close one. Now we just had to figure out how to get the Gods through properly…

 

The Gifting God Dream

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I was walking around in an inflatable penis costume at our work party leaving do. For some reason the suit had boobs and chest hair, but I’d done my makeup all pretty so I pulled it off. People had commented on my costume saying how unique and funny it was. Oh yeah. I was popular.

A colleague called me to the bar and shouted over the music, “Look who’s back!” I turned to see a group of guys in green T-shirts that looked vaguely familiar. In the middle of them was a guy with long, black, Loki-esque hair.

It was Tom Hiddleston. His green T-Shirt was tightly fitted across his muscular torso, and he was smiling with those piercing green demigod eyes.

I walked over to the group and said hello to each one in turn. When I got to Tom I made a kind of, “ahh!” noise and hugged him. “Long time no see!” He’d visited us a while back, and he seemed genuinely happy to see me again. He pulled me out of the embrace and stood me at a distance to admire my outfit.

Oh God. I was still in the penis suit.

He burst out laughing whilst my face grew red against the garish pink.

“I’ve never seen a costume with boobs and so much chest hair! Where did you even find that?”

“Internet,” I mumbled.

Before we could talk more the green shirts had to go for a meeting. I watched them through the blinds for a while before taking the penis suit off… with some issues. Rubber can really chafe! But it didn’t matter. I had the promise that I would see Mr. H again.

The next day our new halls of residence was finally built and ready to move into. Our flat was lovely, save for a couple of major downsides; we were on the ground floor (which everyone knows is a prime target for murderers and thieves) and the only way to get to the kitchen was through our room. I wasn’t happy. What if I was sleeping and someone fancied a late night snack? What if I was getting dressed and a flatmate needed his morning Weetabix? This wouldn’t do.

To take my mind off things I went for a walk in the field next to our flat, but I was so upset I forgot my shoes. In the middle of the field I found an old man, simply stood there, staring into the sky at nothing in particular. Maybe he was an alien waiting for his ride home. I was about to go over and ask if he was okay, but that was when I noticed the tent.

The closer I got to it, the more I began to realise this was something religious. There were artefacts hanging over the doorway and a hazy incense enveloped me. I had a bad feeling, but nonetheless entered. Central to the room was a large shrine with numerous candles and a portrait of a many armed God behind it. A large stuffed tiger lay proudly on top of the altar, surveying his linen walled palace.

I felt like I was trespassing and should pay homage to this God in recompense. I was glad I had no shoes on. That was disrespectful wasn’t it? I didn’t really have anything on me to give as an offering, so I took my contacts out and put them on the tiger. I was struggling to get them to stick to his beady eyes when I sensed a creature enter the tent behind me.

I turned slowly to see a monkey-like monster hunched over me with a many-eyed face and furry mandibles. It was dribbling. I felt an almost supernatural power emanating from him, but he made no move to harm me.

Tentatively I stroked his head, avoiding his spidery black eyes. He was extremely soft, like a faux fur cushion. As I studied him he began sniffing and dribbling all over my hand. In a strange sort of way he was quite cute.

I’d been so engrossed in this anomaly that I hadn’t noticed the woman stood behind him. She was deadstaring a spot above my head, and she looked angry. She was like no earthly woman I had seen before; her hair was like tubing, tied up tightly on her scalp. Her eyes were fully black and distant in gaunt, pale skin. The flesh on her left hand was hideously disfigured, with small globs between her thumb and forefinger, not dissimilar to the creature’s eyes.

She saw me looking and flexed her hand, and I sensed the monster tense under my fingertips. The flesh on her thumb moved as if by itself. I realised now it was shaped like a mouth. She clenched her fist and I felt the furry mandibles of the creature swallow my hand. It started sucking. With much force I pulled away from it, but it pulled it back, sucking my whole hand in. I felt my bones crushing together, yet I was helpless and utterly stuck. I guess the Gods hadn’t been appeased with my offering.

“Please,” I begged the woman. She continued staring at the wall. “Please!” there was desperation in my voice. She said nothing, but I saw her palm release the tension, and instantly I was free.

I ran from the tent.

The Binned Bodies Dream

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I got a job in Tesco (already you’re thinking, wow Claire, I’m gripped! Tell me more!) It was a giant store with two floors filled with absolutely everything, with a work force of over a hundred. It was such a big and awe-inspiring Tesco that even on my days off I’d turn up and just chat to the team, sitting on the railings behind the tills and munching on cola bottles. That was the life.

For several days I followed this routine, sitting in my spot and people-watching. One particular day I noticed a few shifty looking guys with full matching tracksuits and caps, scouting around the supermarket. For some reason the security staff didn’t seem to notice them. Lots of people in the area had gone missing lately – maybe they were in some way related?

After several days of these men coming in, looking around and buying nothing, I followed them outside (not an easy job when in uniform). One of them had a vicious looking pitbull on a metal chain, foaming at the mouth and barking at anyone close to it. I watched as they followed a woman through the trees across the park; heard the snapping of bones as the dog’s teeth went through her arm; her pitiful, hopeless scream…

Nobody so much as blinked.

The next day I went back to work on autopilot, still in shock. The men and the pitbull were nowhere to be seen, despite me watching vigilantly all day. There was a full bin bag where the dog was usually chained up and I dared not look inside.

At about 5pm the manager’s voice echoed over the intercom:

“This is an emergency announcement. Can all customers and all staff please vacate the premises immediately. A mass fumigation is underway.”

The entire building and surrounding streets evacuated, heading for the train station ten minutes away. I was one of the last to leave with two colleagues; Mark, who I had confided everything in earlier that day, and Dan, who laughed and joked, blissfully unaware of the danger unfolding around him.

A mist descended over everything. We could barely make out the road in front of us and the crowds we were following had long since vanished.

“Proper zombie weather, this,” Dan said. We remained silent. This was no fumigation. At least not of any pests. And this mist wasn’t natural.

The further along we walked, the more lost we became. There was nothing to see but the mist and several full bin bags littering the pavement. These rapidly increased in quantity until there were more bin bags than floor space. Hundreds of them lining the walls and up against trees. Around lampposts shining dimly in the foggy winter sky, they were piled in vile pyramids.

“Jesus, where did all these come from?” Dan kicked the nearest bag.

“Don’t!” I hissed. He looked at me as if I’d gone mad. “There are bodies in them.” I felt sick. He laughed, waiting for me to reveal a big prank. When I didn’t he looked at Mark, whose pale and trembling face held no comfort. Dan swallowed.

“If they really are bodies,” he said slowly, “Who’s killing them?”

“A group of men.” I started walking again, encouraging them onwards. “Although I’ve only seen three, and there must be more of them to kill this many so quickly. But I’ll know them if I see them.”

As if on cue, a silhouette in the mist appeared from the treeline. I could just about make out the shape of a chained animal.

“Run,” I whispered, but they’d already seen us, undoubtedly had been hunting us the entire time. “RUN!” I yelled. Mark and I made good time, but Dan wasn’t as prepared as we were. The dog caught him easily and ripped him to pieces.

There was no time to stop, no time to cry or throw up or even think. We had to keep going with no direction or idea of any safe place. Everywhere we ran we heard the snapping of jaws and gleeful laughter. It felt like we were getting nowhere.

But the further we ran, the clearer the air became. Soon we could make out roads again and a glimmer of hope reached my heart. We’d come to a motorway where cars were running as normal, as if a massacre wasn’t happening only streets away. There we met a woman who we didn’t bother explaining to, we just told her to run, and to her credit she did.

Until her shoe fell off and the idiot went back to get it.

I turned just before the dog’s jaws clamped down over her head. It stood there, chewing, blood dribbling down its flews and insanity in its eyes.

We ran.

 

 

 

 

 

The Ludicrous Letting Dream

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Moving house is never fun. There’s the packing, the sorting, the endless application forms and fees. But when you’re all sorted and the ordeal is over it’s usually worth it.

…Unless you move into an old cottage on the top of a block of flats with no roof on it.

I don’t know what I’d been thinking when I’d arranged to take it. Maybe I hadn’t arranged it – I didn’t remember doing so. There was something unique and cool about having a whitewashed cottage with original beams five floors up on a modern building. And a little odd.

I was handed a two pronged key, much like a cattle prod, and the final paperwork. Then the estate agent left me to it, probably ecstatic some moron had finally taken the troublesome cottage off of his hands. I walked up the several flights of stairs and arrived at my new abode.

Inside was a little derelict to say the least. Beams hung broken from the ceiling, there were holes in the floorboards and a thick layer of dust lay over everything. But hey, it had character! And bonus, the windows were all in tact. The whole house may fall down around me, or even on me, but at least I had windows.

I began tidying and unpacking my things optimistically, and it was long into the evening before I finished. As I stopped moving around, I noticed it was getting much colder. There was a considerable draught, and as I looked in the direction of its source the afternoon’s optimism thoroughly dissipated.

There was a ruddy great hole in the roof.

And ‘hole’ is an understatement. There was more sky than roof in the main bedroom. And bedroom is hardly the word. There was a raised bit of floor I’d chucked my bedding over to make a sort of bunk bed. I lay down on it and looked up at the stars whilst I reevaluated my life choices.

There was a knock on the door – the front door of the cottage that led to a large drop into nothingness. I looked through the door pane to see my friend, Beryl. She was peering through, so I waved and let her in.

“Hiya!” she said in her usual chirpy manner. She held her handbag tight on her shoulder as she walked around my new home. The longer she looked, the more forced her smile became. It disappeared completely when she clapped eyes on the roof.

“Oh Claire,” she said, “what are you even doing here?”

“It’s not that bad,” I said, smiling. Karma chose that point to make the sky rumble and pour torrential rain onto my freshly made bed. I watched helplessly and shrugged as my life fell further apart. Beryl just stared awkwardly at it.

“Aaaand over there you can see the bedroom and shower. I’m saving space,” I said, trying to lighten the mood and stop myself from just breaking down and sobbing.

Beryl didn’t laugh. We were interrupted by the side door opening. One of the guys from the neighbouring flats walked in. I hadn’t realised they had such easy access to my cottage. The man glanced briefly at the watering splashing all of my possessions, then demanded my rent payment. I blinked blankly back at him, then asked who the hell he was.

Of course this tosspot had to be the landlord’s son. Beryl chose this convenient moment to make her farewells and disappear, and I’ve never seen her more happy to leave. The guy shoved an invoice in my hands which showed an amount far larger than the agreed rent.

“What’s this for?” I asked, gesturing to the extra figures.

“We’re having a camping party, he said. “Someone’s got to pay for it.”

Sure enough, through the open door I could see several tents and a camp fire set up in the corridor of the flats. Tenants in sleeping bags lay on the floor, watching us eagerly.

“Am I even invited?” I asked.

He chuckled in response. Took that as a no.

I handed him over the money in a slight how-did-my-life-get-to-this trance and he smirked and left me to it. They began playing loud music and laughing at my misfortune.

Well, I told myself. Could be worse…

The Mindgames Dream

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I had two highly trained and well-equipped psychopaths determined to kill me. Why I do not know. But I knew them by face, and I was terrified.
Mum and dad went away for a weekend and left me to house sit. This was when they made their move. They’d been watching the house, waiting for the opportune moment when they could get me alone and have their fun.
There weren’t many hiding places in the house. I was upstairs in my pyjamas when they walked casually and loudly through the front door. They were playing with me. I dived under my bed – not fully covered in any way. It was a terrible place to hide. But for some reason or another they never came into my room. I heard them come up the stairs – the man, the woman and one of their accomplices. The man and woman went to my parent’s room, the other to the spare room.
As they got into bed I heard the man say, “she’s not going anywhere yet. I’ll get up in four and a half hours, I’m exhausted.” He’d said it loud enough for me to hear; another game to see if I’d make a break for it. That was how they’d get their fun, luring me out on my own accord. I waited a while, then started to get dressed. I accidentally turned a light on and cursed, standing still and listening for a few minutes before deeming it safe to carry on.
Eventually I took up the courage and tiptoed silently through the house.
…Their plan must have gone south, seeing as I heard snoring. I managed to get out of the house and ran to safety at a friend’s. They didn’t find me.

When the weekend was over I went home again. As I reached the front door, mum came out carrying two big bags of rubbish. As I approached she scowled at me. “You have some explaining to do, young lady,” she said, gesturing at the bags. “Full of needles and drugs. And disappearing? You were supposed to be looking after the house, not trashing it and leaving.”
I led her back in the house and shut the door. “It wasn’t me, mum.”
I explained the situation to her, and for someone who’s just discovered there are people trying to kill her daughter, she didn’t seem overly worried.
“Ah, we’ll get you into uni, you’ll be fine there.”

Of course I wouldn’t be. They knew exactly where I was, to the point that on my very first day in halls, they took advantage. Mum parked the car and she parked it terribly, with the rear end practically obstructing traffic. I looked at it and thought, “we’re getting in shit for that.”
We sat in my new room, having unpacked most of my belongings. Mum was reassuring me that everything was fine, that I’d have a great time here and wouldn’t have to worry about anyone hunting me down. There was a knock on the door.
“Who is it?” I called tentatively.
“It’s the police, I need to speak to both of you.” My immediate thought was of the badly parked car. I almost believed it… but the both of you. How did they know there was two of us? Mum opened the door before I could stop her, and followed the lady out of the room. “Mum no…”
My heart stopped with panic. I ran not two seconds behind them, but mum was already in the adjacent flat, and holding the door open wide for me to see was the psychopath woman, grinning. Her face reminded me of Elaine the Pain from Tracy Beaker. I yelled in panic at my mum, “NO MUM! THAT’S HER!” Mum looked at her in horror, but before we could act, the door had been shut and locked.

I wandered around campus, wondering what to do. They’ve got my mum. I saw the male pyscho masquerading as a lecturer. He saw me and smiled. Maybe I could try and talk to him? The lady did seem crazier.
I went to the student bar and saw my friend writing on a slab of rock in the shape of a love heart. “What are you doing?” I asked, peering over her shoulder.
“I’m breaking up with my boyfriend,” she said, not looking up. I read the message she’d tip’exed onto it:

Dwayne,
I’m sorry, but we have to end this. You’ve been my rock…

I had to stop reading there. It was too ironic that she’d written that on a piece of stone. I started laughing hysterically. It was at this point that her boyfriend turned up, saw the message and me laughing, and burst into tears. Oops…

Pyscho man drew up a chair next to me. We began talking, and he seemed like an okay kind of guy. We didn’t mention that my mother was currently the hostage of his wife. Maybe if I befriended him he would help me…