I Must Be Dreaming...
* * *
A trippy story that journeys into the deep subconscious, makes your skin squirm like you've got an earwig trying to burrow through to your heart, and, with any luck, leaves you with a strange aftertaste - one that you sort of like...
Dedicated to my friends. You know who you are.
Thanks for letting me be weird.
There was a sudden shift of gravity in the atmosphere of my lounge room, and I felt myself floating up into the air effortlessly. My dangling feet didn't even brush against the familiar beige rug that lay on the floor, and all of my logic had flown out of the closed window like a deranged pelican caught in a cloud of broken glass.
"Hey, wait a sec," I began suspiciously, narrowing my eyes, "this isn't supposed to happen!" I exclaimed frantically at my sister, who was sitting on the couch.
I did a double take though, as it now seemed to be Larry from my school who was sitting there. He looked up at me casually with his unnaturally bright green eyes, as if he was allowed to sit on my sofa or something. There was no way that annoying kid would be let inside the house!
And that's when I realised I was dreaming. It seemed to be a lucid dream too, and that meant I could do anything that I wanted.
Anything at all.
"Larry, you're a loser!" I exclaimed at my uninvited, irritating classmate. "LARRY THE LOSER!"
"And you're flying," began Larry in an awkward voice, "and that makes you a chimp-monk-hedge-horse!"
That was incredibly rude. I didn't seem to remember it as being an insult in real life, but somehow I knew it was very offensive - and punishable by death to say in front of anybody who was under the age of six. I gasped angrily, getting ready for revenge...
"Time for school!" shouted the disembodied voice of my mum, from some other room.
"But today's Saturday!" I exclaimed furiously. "I mean, what the hell?! The teachers can't do this to us! We should be free!" I tried to shout, but it came out as a squeaky whisper, and I slowly glided back down, and onto the floor.
Larry shrugged blankly at me, and I was suddenly teleported to the inside of my school.
"CURSE THIS!" I shouted angrily, getting ready to dream up a sword and slash everything on site.
Then, I realised that there was knee-deep water on the floor, soaking into the carpets and everything! It sloshed around my lower legs, crashing with uncontrollable miniature waves which looked as if they could have been taken from the ocean itself. The chilling water splashed up onto my face in large droplets, sending the strong odour of chlorine into my sensitive nostrils. Wasting no more time, I splashed through it and all the way to the receptionist's desk.
"Rhonda!" I exclaimed hoarsely, throwing my hands in the air. "What the heck's happened in here?"
Rhonda just shrugged blankly, and then pointed towards my classroom like it was just a regular Tuesday morning or something. I frowned at her and splashed my way towards the doomed destination.
In the hall, I came across my principal from year one. I hadn't seen her in years! "Why the heck is there all this damn water here?" I asked loudly, kicking the rippling chlorinated liquid at her.
"Oh," the principal boomed quickly, glancing down at the water like everything was normal, "the government has made it into a pool school; it's scientifically proven to help-help children's productivity!"
That was crazy. No way was this actually happening! Not on my phone...because I use my phone for a watch? No? I guess my dream has a strange sense of humour.
"B-but," I began.
The principal shushed me, shaking her finger in my face violently. "Uh-uh, class now! Quick sticks!"
And just like that, she began shoving me towards my classroom.
I walked into the open-plan room with my flimsy arms folded, still in a diabolically bad mood. However, I suddenly remembered that I was dreaming, and decided to do what I had always wanted to do at school. I span around once, and did jazz hands!
"IT'S ME!" I shouted at the top of my lungs, in the most comical voice I could physically manage.
My classmates all stared at me, and my home group teacher, Mrs Claude, gave me the evil eye like she was so famous for. "VIOLET!" she yelled menacingly, splashing through the water on the warpath towards me.
I hastily took a step back.
"You are in very big trouble, young lady!" she exclaimed, taking me roughly by my arm.
I suddenly realised I could wake up at any moment, and didn't know what I should do!
"Listen!" I began, "I could wake up any time, and I really want a more fulfilling dream."
I was pretty sure I had said this in a very reasonable tone of voice. Mrs Claude pulled an angrier expression, yet also let go of my arm and stomped towards her messy desk, stuffing a giant block of milk chocolate in her mouth. And I mean a huge block, like nothing you've ever seen before. This is like block of chocolate your favourite auntie would give you if your dog died. Yeah, that. Now imagine it twice as humongous, and being shoved into a rather large sunburned lady's mouth in one go. Yep, that's what I want you to see.
"It is almost time for PE," declared a very stern disembodied voice. Not one that I recognised either.
I ignored it though, and walked over to my friend Chase, still outraged about being here on the weekend, though it was a dream. "This is pretty crazy, right?" I fumed, two small clouds of infuriated steam escaping my nostrils.
She just shrugged.
"SCHOOL ON SATURDAY?!" I yelled, randomly shoving one hand in my ear - even though it was scientifically impossible, physically impossible, and impossibly gross.
"So?" she replied, like this situation wasn't unjust in any way.
In that moment, I decided that dream Chase was definitely not a "dream" to be around, and certainly not my friend. Not tonight anyway. Or today? Who knows with a dream...
Suddenly, I found myself standing outside on the old basketball court. But instead of being "spick and span" like the PE teacher proudly claimed it was, the tarmac was carpeted in overgrown tendrils of ivy which shouldn't have been there, and the basketball hoops were rusted beyond repair. I should have heeded that warning that PE was starting. In case you didn't know, I hate PE with every fibre of my being. Especially at school on a Saturday.
Where the PE shed should have been sat my paranoid uncle Wayne's old house. A rickety tin shack with peeling green paint, and a hazardous rotten veranda. His vintage red convertible was in the driveway too, complete with eggs were frying away on the bonnet - just like he said they could on a hot day.
All around the court stood the awkward young adolescents who were in my class. They wore ugly woollen uniforms, unlike they had ever been forced to before. It was like the uniform the kids had to wear in my favourite novel from my childhood - set at a dingy orphanage in case you wanted to know.
To check if I was also wearing the dismal orphanage uniform, I looked down at my own clothes - and sure enough I was clad in the very same ugly red and grey uniform as the rest of my class. This fueled the anger in me even more.
The class was divided into two teams either side of the court. We stared each other down competitively. The kids on my side were my friends, or people that I got along with okay; and the kids on the other side were all the rivals I'd ever had, all the bullies, all the people I'd ever hated over the years - as well as some random strangers.
Explicit hip-hop music (that might have been normally used for a dance battle) played in the background. Just then, a nasal voice rang out and echoed all over the court. "Diddly-dee! See if you can dodge these balls with me!"
I glanced around to see an ugly little sage-coloured gremlin with a greeny-brown beanie on its head, standing right in the middle of the court. He, or it, wore an actual tattered hessian sack for clothes, and I could catch the faint whiff of something like onions. But worse.
I pulled a face.
I was disgusted.
Whoever, or whatever this warty little gremlin was, I could have gone my whole life without smelling it. My whole damn life.
The hip-hop music then grew louder, and kept on repeating; like it was broken. The tune sounded like a cat dying, only swearing one word as it did so. "Hissshit-hissssshit."
The gremlin stared at me with its disgusting rotten blood-red eyes and grinned. Its teeth were rotten too. So rotten they were brown. It needed to go to the dentist. Big time.
The gremlin pointed a repulsive mouldy green finger directly at my nose. Its nails were overgrown, cracked, and yellowed. Just looking at them made the smell of maggot-y cheese travel up my nostrils and choke me.
"YOU!" shouted the gremlin threateningly. "DODGE BALL!" Its voice was coarse and raspy, like it was disgusted by everything it could see; like it was disgusted by everything it said. And more than anything else, it was like it needed to clear its throat. Like it had needed to clear its throat since the mid 80s.
My eyes widened in shock. "What, me?" I asked in dismay. "Me, dodge ball?"
The gremlin did an oozy armpit fart in response, locking its eyes with mine the whole entire time; as if it wanted to make sure I was watching. I scoffed in disgust, and before I had time to respond, a basketball was thrown from nowhere - at my face.
It reeked of onions.
I shrieked as the ball bounced off my face, and into a puddle of something I could only describe as "bloody mush" that lay before me on the ground. Whatever that mush was, I didn't know - but it sure hadn't been there before. I didn't want to know what it was.
Then, the whole of my team started throwing bowling balls at our rivals.
"TAKE THAT!" shouted Chase, as a her bowling ball turned into an egg-salad sandwich and hit Tatiana in the face.
Tatiana and Chase had never met each other in real life, but Tatiana had been really mean to me in kindergarten. She had tossed my favourite teddy in the bin and then poured her pot of raspberry yoghurt all over it. A genuine bully. I guess they hated each other now.
Then, the rival team suddenly started throwing basketballs at us, glaring into our eyes with a burning hatred which could only be tied with that of the devil itself.
Before reaching us, the basketballs turned into comically fuzzy greenish tennis balls, and then huge metal oil heaters. I could even note the pungent stench of kerosene when a particularly hot oil heater fell right at my feet. But it didn't hurt - even though I could see some of my skin melting off. It dripped in a gloopy puddle, and melted into the bloody mush from before; spiralling into a red and pink swirly mess. I leant down to take a closer look, and saw my reflection looking back at me. Only it was a younger version of myself.
Then Larry (who was on my team) threw a turkey sandwich directly at the gremlin's saggy tummy. There was an indignant farting sound from the impish little creature - and before anyone knew what was happening, it turned into a bomb and exploded. Gruesome bits of dark green gremlin guts flew in the air, and a horrific cloud of oniony gas went all the way up our noses.
After all the farts cleared, the only thing that was left of the gremlin was its tunic; lying in tatters in a pile of its own blood and gory green innards. The hip-hop music changed and turned into a song about toilets, and eating toothpaste spread on toilet cakes.
"Toothpaste, oh boyyy, what a great taste! And don't forget the toilet cakes! Toothpase, oh gee, what a cool taste!" went the song, its volume increasing with every line. "You've gotta eat 'em, ayo! Can't beat 'em, ayo! Give ya'self a treat, yee, and save some for me ba-by, that'd be lovely..."
It sounded almost as if an older version of Larry was singing the song. To be honest, at the time I thought it sounded kind of good. Who'd have thought?
"WHAT A BOP!" I shouted.
Then, I cheered at the repugnant mess of tangled green guts and ripped up fabric in the middle of the court. The gremlin was gone. The gremlin was dead.
All the other kids on our team cheered loudly, clapping our hands and screeching. "BING BONG THE GREMLIN'S DEAD!" yelled our team in unison.
All of a sudden, I found myself standing in the school library. The lights were dim, but I could still see just fine. I could still see my whole class, the old sofas, and the bookcases - but for some reason our normal librarian wasn't there. Instead, behind the desk there was seated a very warty old woman, not unlike the gremlin from before. I had a sinking feeling of dread as I walked up to her.
"Who are you?" I asked indignantly.
The librarian smoothed her white mohawk and pouted her blotchy purple lips. "What a peculiar question!" she exclaimed, making a non-disclosing gassy snort with her mouth.
I folded my arms in response. "I still don't know who the hell you are," I complained.
The strange librarian scratched one of her greyish cheeks, rubbing off a particularly hairy wart and flicking it off the desk. She stood up - and it was then that I realised she was no longer wearing a tacky and moth-eaten lemon-yellow cardigan. She was now wearing an even tackier lavender-coloured 80's jumpsuit, and it was far too tight for her.
"I, am Molothy the librarian," she replied sternly, leaning over me and glowering menacingly.
Her sour breath was hot on my face.
It was like onions, but worse...
It was the gremlin!
I backed away, and bumped into a bookcase that was far too close to the library desk, and a ton of books fell from it and upon me. They created painful thuds upon my back; just like I was being punched by a thug who was angry about being mugged.
One book in particular fell in my hands. I stared at the cover and read the title... "How to Hide a Body for Dummies." I dropped the book in disgust and shock.
Larry walked up to me.
"Are you okay, Violet?" he asked, picking up the book carelessly. His eyes widened. "Whoa, How to Hide a Body for Dummies?" he asked, more shocked than me.
I shrugged, after all this was just a dream; though I kept on forgetting it. And I didn't even have to answer Larry, because he was just a dream with no feelings or expectations.
"Yeah, I'm fine," I said casually, "even though you are just a dream, and I don't have to talk to you."
Larry's jaw dropped. "But...isn't this my dream?" he asked, genuinely shocked.
I lunged forwards and tried to hit him on the arm, but he moved out of the way just in time. He looked almost hurt, but mostly angry. "Uh, you're not meant to hit me, you pony," he sneered, "you're meant to pinch me, see if we're dreaming."
I leant forward and pinched him on the arm, making him flinch away like a sad caterpillar which looked a lot more like a human.
I jumped in the air when I saw he was still there. He hadn't woken up, or vanished. "You were lying! It is my dream after all!" I exclaimed joyfully, receiving an angry "shh" from Mololthy.
"We'll see about that," he chuckled, pinching my wrist. He looked like a psychopath, how happy his face was to bring me pain - actually it wasn't that, he was just a jerk.
I didn't wake up, and it hurt really badly - like in real life.
Larry had proved me wrong for once. He had proved that it wasn't my dream...but it wasn't his dream either. In fact, come to think of it, if this was a dream I would have woken up by now, and I had never known a dream to be this vivid.
I gasped comically, just like a character out of a trashy soap opera. "But what does this mean?" I whispered.
Larry shook his head slowly in disbelief. "That this isn't a dream," he answered doomfully.
I was still suspicious of the theory of course, but what else could it have been? We had both thought this was a dream, and we both should have woken up by now.
Now, all we had to do was prove or disprove our bold new theory. After we found out the truth once and for all, we would have to work out why everything was so damn messed up, and hopefully a way to fix it - but right now that was just bonus.
It didn't make sense or seem at all logical that it was possible to teleport in real life, and it didn't seem possible for gremlins to come back from death either, especially as librarians. In fact, it didn't seem so logical that there could ever be such thing as a gremlin in the first place. But for some reason, we both forgot about the flying, and how ridiculous that was.
After our short discussion about disembodied voices, teleportation, exploding gremlins, and basketballs turning into random objects, I decided we needed to find our friends.
I spotted Chase hanging around near the back of the library, reading an inappropriate book, for grownups. Disgusting grownups with really bad taste. That was nothing like her, and frankly gross and uncalled for in a fifteen-year-old girl.
Still, I needed to talk to her pretty badly.
There were carpeted stairs leading down to the table where she was sitting with her "oh so dreamy" crush, Sam; and a self-proclaimed "popular" girl called Tandy. That was so unlike them. I mean, this behaviour made the exploding gremlin believable.
I wandered down the stairs, and up to their table. I tilted my head down, then realising that there was water on the floor here too - soaking into the carpet, the bottoms of the bookcases, my shoes and socks, and everything. Weird. But not nearly as weird as Chase being allowed to, and brave enough to sit next to these people.
"Whazzup?" Sam asked enthusiastically, looking up at me from staring down at the blank table.
That wasn't anything like him. Sam was the sort of person who only cared about himself, being "funny," and a couple of other things which were probably illegal. And most importantly, he didn't bother to talk to people like me. Ever.
Tandy even looked up from her encyclopaedia about Thomas the Tank Engine to smile at me, a full smile. The very same beaming grin you'd use if you wanted somebody to fall in love with you.
Also, why did this girl have a Thomas the Tank Engine encyclopaedia? She wouldn't have been seen dead with anything like that back when life was normal. Maybe this was just a dream after all?
No. It couldn't be.
But it had to be.
I averted my eyes from Tandy's eager grin to face Sam.
"I'm okay," I addressed him, incredibly weirded-out, "only, it's funny they've got water down here...you know? And those gremlins-"
He reached out and patted me on the arm endearingly. How did he even reach out that far? Why would he reach out that far to touch me? Me of all people?
"Awesome, little buddy!" he exclaimed in a goofy voice, giving me a disconcerting wink.
So Sam was also a hippy now?
I grinned unnaturally widely at him, though I didn't want to. Even I was weird now. Well, a whole lot weirder than before, if (or if not) that was possible. It was just a shame the affectionate side of my weirdness was being directed towards Sam.
Chase looked up from her revolting book and gave me a smile, which went involuntary returned. I wouldn't have smiled at her if I could have helped it.
"Hi," she chuckled, sparing another glance back down at her gross book before looking back up at me again.
"Uh, hi," I mumbled, feeling something in the water brush against my ankle, "I was just wondering if-"
There was an explosive cough, and Chase began reading out loud... "And so, with a flourish of his bronzed hand, Nethaniel undid Hortense's gloriously expensive magenta silken corset, and-"
"Ew," I complained, "you know you shouldn't be-"
My lecture was interrupted by whatever that thing was, brushing past my leg again. I stumbled backwards, narrowly saving myself from falling over and into the water of the library floor.
"Oh sorry, that's just Nigel," Chase giggled playfully, splashing her feet in the water.
There was more thrashing and splashing that couldn't have possibly come from her. It was too violent. I could just tell that there was a lot of muscle behind it.
"I know I'm probably gonna regret asking this," I began awkwardly, "but who's Nigel?"
"Oh, Nigel, the Nige?" asked Chase casually, waving a soggy chicken sandwich in the air - a sandwich she hadn't been holding just the moment before.
I nodded and rolled my eyes.
Smiling innocently, Chase ripped a small piece of the sandwich off and threw it to one side. "He's a crocodile."
And before I could say or do anything at all, Nigel splashed out from under the table and towards the meaty piece of sandwich. He chomped down viciously, and made a faint hissing noise like a serpent, his rough scales glinting in the low light.
I shrieked and ran up the carpeted steps, over to the higher part of the library, where there wasn't all that deadly crocodile-accommodating water. Because of Nigel, I hadn't been able to ask my "friends" if they thought they were dreaming as well. But I had also been acting weirdly, just like them. Maybe that meant we were all real people, and Chase had somehow gotten over her crippling fear of crocodiles?
"Aloha," Larry said randomly.
He waved at me casually, from where he was sitting on an old yellow velvet sofa. Beside him were a couple of his good friends, Bob and Pie. Of course, those were not their real names - except for Bob. He didn't go for nicknames.
I waved back at Larry.
"There's a croc back there," I said casually, pointing behind me, "in the pit."
Larry shrugged. "Can't say I'm surprised."
"Anyways," I began, in a drawn out voice, "do your friends think this is a dream, or do they think it's real life?"
"Nah, nah, this is an awesome dream," Pie argued in an unusually relaxed tone. It was strange for him really. Pie was usually more rambunctious and excitable.
Maybe everyone was acting so strangely because they thought this was a dream, and they thought they could do whatever they wanted?
Like me, when I did jazz hands.
"Well, Larry and I both thought we were dreaming too," I declared seriously, "but I don't think so anymore."
Bob and Pie looked at me, like they wanted proof.
"Just pinch each other," I requested.
They reluctantly pinched each other - and it obviously hurt judging by their pained expressions. But they were still here. They hadn't woken up, or anything...
"Now, see?" I asked.
"Not a dream," declared Larry.
His friends nodded along slowly, unsure. They had no idea what to do about this new and horrible reality we were living. Me neither. In fact, they were probably still unsure whether this was real life or not. They still thought this might very well be a dream, and I couldn't blame them.
I thought for a second...
"Oh my!" I exclaimed.
Larry and his friends jumped. "What?" asked Larry, his eyes almost popping out of their sockets.
"This is far too crazy for real life," I began intensely, "so this must be a shared dream!"
I grinned and clapped my hands together triumphantly, but Larry still looked skeptical. Pie shook his head in disbelief.
"No, no man," Bob began, getting Pie's attention, "I've heard about these things happening before."
"Yes!" I exclaimed, clapping my hands together again. "Don't disregard this so fast! It has to be a shared dream. Scrap real life - this is far too crazy to be true."
Larry and Bob nodded along slowly, though Pie still shook his head in an irritating manner.
"So, how do we wake up from this sick thing?" Larry asked, his tone of voice caught somewhere in between the metaphorical couch cushions of disgust and hope.
I shook my head at him seriously. "First we tell everyone, so we can wake them too," I declared firmly. "We never leave anyone behind."
Pie made a fake gagging sound, and Bob hit him on the arm roughly, willing him to grow some morals.
"She's right," Larry said seriously, staring at him.
"Fine," grumbled Pie, his overgrown fringe falling limply over one of his eyes. "But that's all up to you guys."
And so I went back for Chase, no longer caring about her new friend, Nigel. Sure enough she still sat at that table with Tandy and Sam, reading her inappropriate book.
"I have something to tell you," I declared.
Chase looked up and me and smiled brightly. "What is it?" she asked cheerfully. "And don't take too long. It's getting really good, Hortense is just about to-"
I clapped my hands to interrupt her. "This isn't just your dream," I said gravely, maintaining my eye contact with Chase the entire time I addressed her.
"Uh, what do you mean?" Chase chuckled uneasily. "Of course it's my dream. Why else would I be reading this naughty book?" She held up the raunchy novella she had been reading, shrugging at me anxiously as her face slowly reddened.
"This is a shared dream, Chase," I answered, my tone of voice solemn and frank.
Tandy and Sam looked up from what they had been reading.
"This is a what?!" Tandy asked, taken aback.
I nodded. "Yeah, and we've gotta wake up before it's too late."
"What do you mean by "too late," exactly?" Chase asked firmly. "I mean, like, what's the harm if this is just a dream?"
Sam and Tandy also looked at me for an answer. Unfortunately, I didn't quite have one yet.
"I mean, have you ever known a dream as crazy as this one?" I asked them, maintaining eye contact the entire time I spoke - despite the fact I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing.
They shook their heads slowly, like they didn't know what to think anymore.
I faced the main part of the library. "WE'RE ALL DREAMING THE SAME DREAM!" I shouted, giving all my classmates a start.
Molothy looked up from her book, and stared at me with her deep-red eyes. Then, she closed her book and attempted to throw it at me. I leaned out of the way - and just in time. Molothy was too late to stop me now. Everybody's eyes were on me.
"YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT," I shouted, jumping on the spot. "This, is a collective nightmare!"
Ursula - a classmate of mine - gasped incredibly sarcastically. "What's a...a collective nightmare?"
"This," I declared, gesturing around me, "is a collective nightmare." I pointed to Molothy, trying to make it inconspicuous - but she still growled at me anyway, her red eyes flashing.
"You just repeated the same sentence," Ursula complained in irritation, "and why do you always pause a bit after you say "this"? I mean, what's with that?"
I grimaced at her. "For dramatic effect," I declared, "because this, is serious."
That got everyone's attention again, and for good reason. "We have to wake up, now!" I exclaimed, waving my arms about drastically. "There's this gremlin, this epically disgusting gremlin, and frankly-"
It was Franklin. He thought I had said his name.
"I wasn't talking to you," I snapped. "This is far too important to ignore! We're all trapped in a collective nightmare. This is real! Something crazy is going on here, and we have to-"
"We can do whatever we want!" shouted Franklin, jumping up onto one of the tables. "NO CONSEQUENCES!"
He began shuffling and dancing somewhat like a chicken, and then he did a Nae Nae. There was absolutely nothing stopping him from dancing (or flailing) however he wanted, even though he knew other people would probably remember it when they woke up. If what he was doing could even be called dancing at all...
People cringed away, embarrassed by his horrible scene. Even the yucky gremlin librarian couldn't watch. She just stared down at a mouldly old leather-bound book on decapitating cabbages, muttering the words to herself quietly.
"HIT IT!" screeched Franklin, clapping his hands and shuffling much faster.
Suddenly, a group of ninjas dropped down on wires from some holes in the ceiling. The main one was holding a huge golden boombox which played Moves like Jagger - but instead, "Jagger" was replaced with "Ninja." And as if that wasn't enough in itself, instead of black, the ninjas were all wearing shiny purple Lycra.
As soon as their slippers touched the ground, those ninjas started busting moves. I even saw the main one dab once or twice.
"Dabbing is so dead!" I exclaimed.
But the ninjas didn't seem to care: they just kept dancing and circling around the table Franklin was on. It was almost as if they were worshiping him. I groaned as Bob jumped up off the sofa and joined in, and Tandy and Sam ran past me and up to the ninjas. After that, it wasn't long before Chase dropped her dirty book, ran past me, and joined her new friends and the ninjas in dancing.
I was disgusted by everyone's behaviour, especially when more and more people joined in. Even Pie joined them, getting down on the floor and doing the worm. He hadn't been able to do that in real life. Same went for Bob and his head spinning.
"Careful you don't go bald!" I called to Bob from the sidelines, as he most likely gave himself carpet burn of the incurable cry-until-you-die kind on his scalp. That kind that you need lifelong counselling and therapy to get over the pain of.
"It's just a dream!" he called back as he span around effortlessly - just like a pro.
Sam grabbed onto a bookcase, and began...twerking at it, to the point he was practically grinding.
I turned away in distaste and looked at Molothy the librarian, who by this point, was cutting some cabbages on her desk and stuffing them into her mouth in time to the music. Bobbing her head up and down, she was clearly in her zone.
"THAT'S SO WRONG!" Ursula shouted at Sam.
I turned to look at her. She, Bale, Cassandra, Tatiana, Alistair and Larry were all on the sidelines, either sitting down or standing around; judging everyone else who had got up to dance. Like I was. I could be judgemental with them.
I sauntered over to the sofa where Larry, Bale and Ursula were sitting, and plopped myself between Larry and Bale. I hadn't seen Bale in eleven years, or in other words, since I was four. He was a kid who had gone to my old kindergarten: one of the little boys who was completely obsessed with monster trucks and obliterating ants.
But he looked as old as me now.
I turned to him. "So, Bale," I began smiling, "did you get that new green monster truck you wanted for Christmas?"
"Um, what truck?" asked Bale awkwardly, looking around the room with an uncomfortable expression.
"You know," I began in a chummy fashion, "you wanted a green...eh, never mind. Nice to see you after the eleven years."
Bale squinted at me. "Who are you, again?" he asked.
"I'm Violet, from kindy," I chuckled warmly. "Weren't they the days?"
He frowned at me in confusion. "Who?"
"I'm...uh, you know what, never mind," I sighed, turning away from him, and towards Larry instead.
Larry was looking at the people dancing, with a face that portrayed disgust of the extreme kind.
"Dumb, right?" I asked him.
"Tell me about it," he agreed, turning to look at me, "they're all sick in the head. They haven't taken into consideration the fact people normally remember at least some of their dreams."
"Disgusting," I muttered, glaring at Sam who was still grinding on the bookcase, the books in it shaking madly above him. I wished those books would fall on his head. With every fibre of my being, I pictured the books falling on him...
Sure enough, a large blue encyclopaedia fell smack-bang on top of his head. He let go of the bookcase, spinning around in the air and falling onto the carpeted floor, face down.
Larry laughed at him enthusiastically.
"I did that," I gasped, "I killed him!"
Unfortunately I was wrong, and Sam climbed back up, unscarred. He didn't try to dance again though - just ran back down to the reading pit he had been in before...and jumped into the water. Where Nigel was. If I didn't kill him, Nigel sure could do the job.
"You made the books fall on his head?" Larry asked me in shock and wonder.
"Yes," I replied solemnly, "with all my mortal might, I wished for all the books to fall on his head. And in detail, I imagined them knocking him out permanently, or even killing him. I guess there's only so much you can wish for."
"Huh," Larry said, looking at me rather intensely...
"Nothing happened," he said after a while, disappointed.
"What did you want to happen?" I asked, confused.
Larry hesitated. "I wanted you to kiss me."