Dream Lover - Extended

Chapter 2

I remember being extra sleepy when I went to bed that night. Don't know why, but I was. I barely had the energy to keep my eyes open while sitting in bed, reading over Chucky's detailed notes and mental exercises. One thing about constantly remembering and writing down your dreams...you're always waking up two or three times during the middle of the night. It's something that happens automatically. I think it's a slight rush of adrenaline that does it. Or maybe your analytical, unfeeling, brain starts working and just abandons the fantasy altogether once you realize what's really going on. You lean over to write down what you recall with the most clarity, and then you try to simply roll over and go right back to sleep again. But, even though it seems like such a minor inconvenience...doing that a few nights of in a row, and you'll find yourself growing a nice set of matching luggage under your eyes. It just wears you out after a while. Like...you just can't get a level of sleep that's deep enough to really give you any real comfort. And it sucks.

The moment I crawled into bed, under the warmth of my heavy comforter, I spread my arms and legs out as far as they could reach and I went out like a light. I didn't realize how utterly 'numb' I was until I got a chance to fall face down on my mattress and just drift off into oblivion for a while. Sleep never felt so good.

But my slumber wasn't as peaceful as I was expecting it to be...

That night, as I dropped off into the depths of my subconscious...I found myself standing in the middle of a sunlit street in my pajama bottoms, a warm wind blowing all around me. Was that my house? It was. I think it was. There was no sound. None at all. And while everything looked normal enough...it simply didn't 'feel' right.

I began walking forward, feeling the gravel and asphalt sticking me beneath my bare feet, noticing the stillness in the scene surrounding me. I looked down, and noticed that both of my feet seemed a bit...blurry. I knew they were there, I knew I had no shoes on, I could feel it...but for some reason, I couldn't see them clearly. My focus was way off on certain objects. Both near and far.

It's truly an alien experience, slowly adjusting to the fact that you're dreaming. It's almost like having a sixth sense, alerting you to the fact that everything you see and feel is not how it's supposed to be. And yet...your mind doesn't fully grasp that idea. Not at first. It's a gradual 'awakening' while you're still asleep. Certain hints to the surreal nature of your experience build slowly. It's like watching a ghost ship appearing gradually through a heavy fog. I had no further doubts about it. I was dreaming.

I kicked a rock on the street in front of me, and as it flew forward, bouncing just once on the street, I saw it slowly float upwards into the air until it was out of sight. This wasn't real. None of it. You have to keep reminding yourself of that. It's so easy for the dream to suck you back in again, making you more of a witness than a creator. That was always the hardest part.

I did a few quick reality checks by looking at everything around me and making a list of the things that didn't fit. How did I get here? Why couldn't I see all the way down to the end of the street? Why am I standing in the middle of the street with no shirt on? Everything looked real enough, sure. But the more I tried to examine things logically, the more certain details became exposed of their oddity.

The Mackey's house next door was painted blue instead of white. And the tree across the street looked monstrously huge in comparison to the real life version. There was nobody out there but me. And even though a breeze was blowing...nothing around me was affected by it. Just a sensation on my skin and a few blown wisps of my hair. Not a single tree leaf or blade of grass was touched by it. I felt my awareness growing, my thought processes putting two and two together...and then...wow! I was HERE! I was in a lucid dream! I can do it!

As soon as my eyes were able to adjust, the colors around me began to suddenly warp and fade away. Melting like multicolored globs of forgotten ice cream. I turned around to see more. Was Idoing all of this? But...how? Why? There were birds in the sky. There were individual bricks in the walls of the house across the street. There were rocks, and clouds, and mailboxes, and well trimmed hedges all the way down the block. Stuff that I doubt I'd even notice in real life had I walked past it. But...if this is a dream, and this whole reality is all in my head...then some part of my brain took the time to fill out every last detail of this incredibly complex fantasy. Everything here...my mind was building it. Maintaining it. Maybe even trying to 'trick' me with it. And when I thought about that warm breeze blowing in the background...it began to blow just a little bit harder. And when I wanted it to stop...the air became dead still again.

Oh my dear God...did I really just DO that???

 

There was a fierce pounding in my chest as the overwhelming excitement of what was happening took a hold of me. My breathing increased to a pant...if I can even really call it breathing. And that's when the images started to slip out of my grasp. Everything around me began to blur and lose detail, which scared and frustrated me because I had only had a few seconds of awesomeness to enjoy it!

 

I wasn't sure how to keep it together. It was like the whole world was deconstructing itself at once, and a rational mind has no chance of trying to govern the look and behaviors of so many things at once. And yet, my subconscious was able to do it so effortlessly.

I kept trying to brighten the colors back up. I tried to keep the street from warping and twisting in unnatural ways...but every time I wracked my brain to fix one problem, ten others started to slip away from me. How was I suppose to keep all of this random stuff going?

It was then that I felt myself being sucked out of the moment. It was too unrealistic. My mind was rejecting the fantasy.

NO!

I was LOSING it!

Don't wake up! Don't wake up! Not now! I could practically feel the pillow under my face as I slept on my stomach, and my limbs began to move as my new and exciting reality continued to rapidly dissolve right in front of me.

Think!!! What did Chucky say?

Spinning!

Try spinning.

I probably should have asked for more info on what he meant by that exactly, but I'd do anything to stay in the dream for just a little bit longer.

I concentrated as hard as I could on the task at hand and, after a few awkward and clumsy movements on my part...my dream body began to slowly turn itself in circles. I thought back to when I was a little boy in the park, and Baxter dared me to spin around in circles until I fell down. I ended up getting sick and basically ruining my bag of fresh caramel corn...but at least I won the dare.

So...with my arms raised, I spun around and around as fast as I could, expecting to get dizzy and fall over. But the strange thing is...I didn't. I guess dizziness doesn't really exist in here. I focused more of my determination on what I was doing, I felt myself spinning faster. Seriously fast. And soon, I don't think my feet weren't even moving. Or touching the ground, for that matter. It was as if I was floating above the ground from the force of my rotation alone.

As I attempted to keep up a steady speed, the fuzziness of the detail in the dream world around me began to rebuild itself. Regaining clarity and solidifying everything around me faster than anything I could have ever done consciously. The sun's light got brighter, the colors returned, and the ground beneath my feet regained its stability. It was happening so fast that I couldn't even keep up with what was going on. Then, finally, I was able to stop spinning and remain in my fantasy without being yanked out of it again.

I steadied myself...listening to see if I could hear anything. And I just took a moment to marvel at what my mind had built for me here. I can't describe it. I was completely awake inside my own dream. Aware and in control of everything. It was, quite possibly, the most exhilarating feeling in the world...having my conscious and subconscious meet one another at last on such an intimate level.

I was almost scared to move, for fear that I might cause the vision to break down again. It was so strange, being able to actually see inside my own mind. Reality and non-reality, colliding with a gentle bump that seemed too confusing to comprehend fully. Certain objects around me seemed to be levitating without any rhyme or reason. And the wind wasn't consistent. It would blow for a second or two, and then stop as though it never happened, and then blow again for another few seconds. I knew that I was doing all of this on some level...but, like I said, it's hard to truly believe once you're inside. The sounds, what little there were now that the dream images were more crisp than before, seemed muffled and dull. As though my ears were plugged up with cotton. And everything that was in motion seemed to move with this strange, jagged, animation, like looking at the pictures of a slow moving flip book. Even when I brought my own hand up in front of my face, the movement was a bit jerky. Wow.....this was weird...but sooooo cool!

I slowly turned around to take a good look at my house, which appeared normal except for the fact that the grass was pink. Where the heck did I come up with THAT? And there was a swing set right outside the front door. Like, literally on the sidewalk leading to the front door. It was the same swing set that I had when I was about 4 years old. God, I loved that swing. I remembered it so vividly. The rusted old hunk of junk was locked away in the back of the garage now, worn out and broken from years of me and my friends giving it such a healthy work out over the years.

But...this swing set was shiny and brand new. Just like it was when my dad bought it for my birthday and set it up in the backyard for the first time. And now...it's blocking my way into the house.

Hehehe, God, that is just SO out of place.

I took notice of the address numbers on the side of the house because...they couldn't seem to stay still. In fact, they weren't really 'numbers' at all. Just this constantly morphing collection of nonsensical shapes and criss crossed lines that couldn't hold a stable appearance while I was watching them. Trippy.

I tried to take a few steps forward, but it was hard to really operate my body in a way that I was used to. I couldn't really feel anything...not in the normal sense. No real sense of gravity or balance. No coordination or muscle tension. It was like slipping in a wet puddle of mud at first, but I attempted to keep my cool and it got a bit easier with practice.

I truly marveled at this whole adventure. Was I really doing this? Was my mind really allowing me to see this place from the inside?

I wondered what kind of freaky stuff I would find if I walked around and explored the place a bit more. I wondered what I would see if I actually walked into my own house, or should I say my 'dream' house. Talked to my parents. Invited my friends. What would they look like to me when my subliminal thoughts were totally running the show?

Whoah...what if I could get Jesse McCartney in here with me now?

"Hey Donnie..." The second I thought it, Jesse rode by me on the sidewalk on a bike. I SWEAR to you...it happened!

My eyes widened, my burst of boyish joy making me want to chase him down the street. Or, even better...just mentally 'instructing' him to come back. And naked this time.

But as my thoughts went astray...I lost my hold on the physical workings of the world itself. My feet left the ground, and I was soon hovering helplessly above the street surface. Just...floating there. Unable to figure out why I did that. Unable to figure out how to fix it.

My sudden need to go after the blond celebrity left me as gravity itself became my main concern. I thought hard about being back down on the ground again, and it took a few ungraceful tries before my dream body eventually lowered itself enough for my toes to touch the concrete.

Oops...no...no wait. Not quite. Ok...that's one foot. Ok. There we go. Standing again. Geez, I didn't even know what the rules of this dream world were at that moment.

That's when the realization hit me...

The 'rules' are pretty much whatever I say they are! I mean...right? Oh my God...what am I doing just standing around in the street? When am I ever going to get to do this again?

It took less concentration than last time. Or...at least less of a loss of concentration, but I was able to gently lift myself off of the ground again. Then I came back down to Earth again. Then up...then down...then up....hold it....hold it....ok. I got it. I think I actually got it. I'm floating. Me and my blurry feet are seriously floating right now.

No way! No fucking way!

I imagined myself flying a little bit higher this time, and sure enough I began to rise. Higher. And higher. And higher. Ten feet off the ground. Fifteen feet. Twenty feet...

It was the oddest feeling EVER, but I loved it!

And as I reached about twenty five feet, I got a bit scared. I don't know why. It's not like I could be hurt or anything in here. Um....can I?

I was grinning the whole time, but it was a double edged sword. It's a bit of a frightening experience to suddenly be so...'free'. The infinite options you're suddenly blessed with can be a bit intimidating, to say the least.

I had to centralize all of my thoughts on my rate of climb to to slow my elevation. It didn't work right away. But, nervous as I was, I soon stalled at about 40 feet above the ground. Stable. Hovering like a natural. I couldn't help but to giggle wildly to myself over this whole mind-blowing situation.

I was expecting to see the whole neighborhood from my current altitude, but everything looked like it was covered in a dense grey mist outside of that one particular block of neighborhood. As though all of existence faded away into nothingness once it went beyond the few everyday details of my own street. I suppose I don't pay enough attention to everyday stuff to really notice and mentally 'record' when I'm awake.

With a smile, I tried to move around in the air, but couldn't. I was a bit stuck. I tried wiggling, I tried swimming, I tried shifting my nonexistent weight around...I even tried the whole Superman 'fist forward' thing...but I could only go up and down. Not that it wasn't exciting enough as it was, but I wanted more. This was just a taste of what I could do in here, once I learned how.

And then, without warning, I must have done something to break my concentration...because I felt myself completely lose my abilities and rapidly plunge down from a scary height to crash, hard, into the cement of the sidewalk below!

It scared the living shit out of me at first. The mind has a hard time remembering that this is all make-believe. But when I got up and saw the cracks I had made from the fall, and thought about the ridiculousness of my fear of hurting myself, all I could do at that moment was laugh.

Sweet!!! This lucid dreaming thing is the most awesome experience EVER invented!

I looked on the cracks in the sidewalk, and with just a thought, I stretched them out in all directions, like a mini earthquake. It was a game to me, but I was surprised it worked as well as it did. I saw the front lawn split open, and the trees shake, and the houses were rattled. And then, with just a wave of my divine hand, everything came to a halt.

Seeing as this was my very first experience with such godlike powers, I suddenly felt the urge to do what ANY teenage boy would do in this situation....

...Cause an insane amount of senseless destruction!

I don't know how long I spent doing it, not that time really existed in this place anyway, but I must have completely wrecked and rebuilt that single block a dozen times over, at least. I called tornadoes to rip the houses apart, I called lightning bolts from the sky to burn the trees down, I wiped everything out with floods and fire and meteors from the clouds! I even went around for a while just smashing shit with my bare hands. Just for the fun of watching it crumble under my power. I don't think I've ever had so much fun doing anything before in my entire life.

Then...something really strange happened.

I turned towards my own house, and with a few gestures of my hands, I began to rip it apart, piece by piece. I saw the foundation collapse, and the windows break, and the roof cave in...I was really having a ball with this. But for some reason, as the rest of the structure was being reduced to rubble, my room remained in tact. Unaffected. It was like...I couldn't touch it at all, not with every super power that I could throw in its direction.

The door was closed, and the room just hovered in the air where the second floor used to be, even as the rest of the house was reduced to rubble.

It truly baffled me for a moment. I tried to send a shock waveof energy towards the suspended box to blow it to smithereens, but it was hardly phased at all. I did everything I could to at least crack the door open, but it wouldn't budge. For some odd reason, my own bedroom was the one part of the dream that outright defied every attempt at my control. And then, I felt a wetness in my hands. I looked down, and saw that I was wearing a bloody baseball glove, with the stained baseball sitting in the other hand.

Shocked, and a bit sickened by the sight of it, I pulled the catcher's mitt off of me and quickly threw both objects to the ground...stepping back to wipe my hands off on my shirt.

As I looked down, both ball and glove simply melted into the lawn beneath my feet, and the sound of music suddenly invaded the air around me.

I looked back up to my levitating bedroom, unable to see anything other than that closed door and the room's outer walls...and I began to hear the same song from my Wednesday nightmares...playing softly...from an old record player inside.

"Somewhere, someday....we'll be close together, wait and see. Oh, by the way.....this time the dream's on me....

My ears perked up as I heard that ever familiar thumping sound starting up again.

'Thump....thump....thump...'

That hard baseball hitting the wall from the inside, again and again, like a rock. Gradually slowing down with every bounce. It was as if the room could tell that I was there. Like it felt my presence...and stood firm in order to keep me from interfering with its well calculated routine.

The sound of quiet sobs and sniffles could be heard much more clearly this time. Someone was definitely crying on the other side of that door. And it was absolutely heartbreaking. I had to step back and hold my breath to keep from getting misty eyed up myself.

I was soon smothered with the alien feeling that I was being...'observed' by something else in the dream. Something...not of my creation. And as I turned my head to look down at the end of the street, right where that obscuring gray fog had reached its edge...I saw the outline of a dark silhouette standing there.

Watching me.

I squinted my eyes a bit, looking at the dark shape as it stared right back at me. It sort of looked like a boy my age, but I couldn't quite tell for sure. The fog was too thick to make out any distinguishing features. But I did notice it tossing a baseball back and forth between its gloved hand and its open hand. I found that kind of intriguing.

It didn't say anything to me. It didn't even seem to really notice me, to be honest. So...with a bit of confusion and a slightly creeped out feeling in the back of my mind...I decided to speak to it.

"....Hello?"

Suddenly, the thumping sound stopped in my elevated room without reason. And the shadow from the other end of the street looked directly at me in silence for a moment. And then, even though the figure was all the way at the end of the block, submerged in the fog...its innocent boyish voice sounded as though it was being spoken into my right ear from directly over my shoulder. In a calm and friendly manner, the shadow stared at me...and it replied...

"Hello....?"

In a FLASH, I woke up with a grasp. The voice was so real, so clear, so incredibly close to my ear, that it literally scared me out of my sleep. I was sweating profusely and had to feel my clothes and sheets and the material reality around me to make sure that I was really awake again.

I was breathing hard enough to make myself dizzy, my mind still reeling from what had just happened to me. I was so harshly affected by it that I could hardly shake myself free from the illusion. It was so vivid. So emotionally heavy. My mind had just as much difficulty re-submerging myself into a waking reality as it had my unconscious one.

I lay there, numb, in my bed for a few minutes more...just reliving it all with a smile, and nearly forgot to reach for my notebook so I could write it down.

I rolled over excitedly, and started jotting down notes as fast as my pen could scratch across the surface of the page...hoping to capture every last second of recall that I could hold onto before it was gone. Even though I doubt I could ever forget something like this. Ever! Oh man...Chucky is going to seriously flip out when he hears about this!

I had gotten myself all dolled up and ready for school, anxious and trembling as I waited for my friends to arrive. Last night's journey was WAY more epic than a simple Jesse McCartney skin flick! This was full blown lucidity in the dream state! It felt like I could remember everything as though it really happened to me! Every detail, every sound, every action. I could hardly get it all down fast enough, my mind racing past my penmanship at the speed of light. It was too amazing to keep from smiling wide until my face was about to split open from the joy of it all. I'm going to have bragging rights for a long time over this one. Hehehe! By the time I finally heard Baxter's daily insult shouted up to my bedroom window, I was nearly ready to burst.

"What? Wait...slow down, Donnie. You're not making any sense." Jeff told me as I rambled on about how easy it was, and how incredible it made me feel.

"I'm telling you, Jeff! It WORKED! It was, like, complete control, complete recall...everything just came together all at once! I was literally walking around and looking at stuff...in my own dream!"

"Looking at stuff? You mean you didn't blow anything up?" Baxter asked me.

"Oh hell yeah! Of course! Mass destruction! I wrecked the entire block, dude! It was like being God!"

"Thatta boy!" He said, as I locked the door behind me and we all walked to the car. This time, he opened the door for me and Jeff and waited for us to get in, still holding onto it.

Jeff rolled his eyes at him. "Now what are you doing?"

"Since you don't know how to sit down in a car and properly close the door without slamming it shut like a madman, I figured I'd help you out this morning."

"You know, you really need to stop jacking off over this damn car, Bax! It's just a hunk of metal for crying out loud!"

"You see? It's talk like that, right there that's gonna turn you RIGHT back into a lowlife pedestrian. You just don't respect the ride, dude. That's why you don't care about what you do to it."

"I'll tell you what I'll 'do to it'...” Jeff shouted, almost laughing. “...Today at lunch, when you're not looking, I'm gonna go out to the school parking lot and I'm gonna kick all of the fucking windows in! How's that?"

"I know you love me, kid." Baxter said. And he blew Jeff a kiss before closing the door gently behind him. April sat in the back with me again as always, and even though I felt like they weren't really buying my dreamweaving story at all, I just had to keep talking about it. My whole life just felt so different all of a sudden. Enhanced. Like my spirit was just given a healthy dose of adrenaline and I just couldn't sit still anymore.

They don't know what it's like. They can't even imagine.

"April...I'm telling you, I've never experienced anything like it before. I could actually FLY! And make earthquakes and tornadoes! And blow up houses! Chucky is totally gonna freak. You've gotta back me up on this today!"

"Hehehe, I believe you, Donnie. Geez, I don't think I've ever seen you this psycho-happy before. You're starting to make me think that you were bored with my company before last night happened." She grinned.

"Oh man, it's just...it's hard to even put it into words. I can't wait to do it again." I told her. Then leaned forward towards Jeff, "Dude, you've gotta start practicing again. Once you get it, it is SO awesome! We could do it together, you know? Maybe trade notes afterward!"

"I think I've had my fair share of 'dreamy' surprises, thank you." He said.

"Afraid of what you might find floating around in your noggin, Jeff?" Baxter smirked.

"Aren't you supposed to be concentrating on driving your precious chariot?" He replied, and saw Baxter's smile get even wider. "DON'T say it!"

"What? I didn't say anything!" Baxter giggled to himself for a moment, and then added, "I'm just saying that if I was secretly lusting after my own grandmother, then I'd probably turn gay too. That's all." And when he couldn't hold it in anymore, he burst out laughing as Jeff began repeatedly hitting him in the shoulder with his fist. Not that it stopped us from laughing in the back seat as well. If anything, it made it all the more entertaining.

After driving a few blocks, April noticed me spacing out with a grin plastered on my face, and decided to take another candid picture of me. The flash snapped me out of my trance and when I looked back at her, she smiled after being given another opportunity to capture one of my distracted moments.

"Don't you go getting goofy on me." She said.

"Sorry. I'm just...I'm amazed. Blown away. You have no idea what it's like to...see yourself from the inside like that. You're kind of taken aback by the fact that your brain could do it at all. I hope I can trigger another lucid dream tonight. And the NEXT night. And the next! I'm going to be so excited, I don't know how I'm going to get to sleep at all!"

"What happened to the free dreaming, Donnie? You're supposed to free dream every now and then, remember?"

"I know, I know. But I can't! Not now. This is a major accomplishment here. A breakthrough! I just want to play around with things for a few days and see what happens before my luck fades and it goes away. I mean, you get me, right?"

"Donnie...you forget that I've read the books and Chucky's notes too on this, you know? Weird things happen to people who don't let their subconscious express itself without interference once in a while." She warned me. “Sometimes, you just need to let your own thoughts unravel on their own from time to time. Don't get too carried away, ok?”

"Don't worry so much, April. I mean, it's not like I'm gonna get 'addicted' to it or anything, I'm just trying out a few new tricks. And then it's right back to tght, well structured, rules and regulations...just like Chucky wants. I promise." I said. But as I thought on things a bit more, I told her, "There was one thing that I thought was a tad bit weird about it all, though."

"Weird, like how?"

"Well....you remember that recurring dream that I've been having every week? Well...for some reason, it sort of happened again last night. But it was...really different this time. Something about it was...disturbing."

"Well, I can certainly see that. You've probably had that creepy nightmare weighing heavily on your mind for weeks now. Why wouldn't it be a part of your other current obsessive thoughts?"

"Yeah...you know, that makes a lot of sense, but...." I thought back to what happened, and remembered how utterly odd it was to have images in my head that I couldn't recognize at all. "...This was different, April. I had this complete sense of dominion over everything else around me in that dream world...except for that one strange element. Just one. It's like...it wasn't even a part of me. It was totally separate from everything else. Like...like it didn't 'belong' there or something."

That got Jeff's attention from the passenger seat, and he turned around. "You mean, like you didn't create it?"

"Exactly. It was really random and really...out of place. And while I had sway over everything else, I had no affect on that one part at all.” I told him. “Oh...and there was this...boy in it too. At least, I think it was a boy. I couldn't make out what he looked like, or who he was, but....he didn't feel like he belonged there either."

April wrinkled her brow with concern for a moment, and said, "You really should lay off of the dream work for a while, Donnie. I'm serious, ok? If you end up turning 'freak show' on us, I'm not coming to visit you at the asylum."

I grinned and gave her hug. Promising that I'd take a break later this weekend. Well...maybe I'll take a break this weekend. We'll see what happens.

"Hey, don't forget, we're going Halloween shopping right after last bell today. So meet me here in the parking lot and don't ass around in the hallway all afternoon, I ain't got all day. Just wait by the car, deal?" Baxter said as he parked the car. "DON'T 'lean' on it...just meet me here." He said to Jeff specifically. Jeff stuck his tongue out in response and we all made our plans for later.

Mr. Lipton couldn't humiliate me for being late today, as I was actually walking into the classroom when the bell rang. But considering the fact that he pretty much hated me, he took his shots anyway once class was in session. "Once again, your writing lacks detail, and you fail to effectively make your point. Too bad, Donald. You really have so much potential." He said, as he handed back papers to some of the other students.

"Why are you picking on me, huh?" I sighed. "I came on time today, I turned in my work...and you're still giving me a hard time?"

Mr. Lipton bent down and replied, "My class requires you to be more than punctual and 'present', Mr. James. It requires you to be productive." He told me, and picked up my paper to show me the grade of 'C+' that he had written in big red marker up at the top of it. "This...is not productive. This is the work of someone trying to skate his way through my English class. And I guarantee you, you will find no free rides here, Mr. James. Nor will you find them anywhere else in life. I suggest you get used to it." He put the paper back down on my desk, and returned to passing them out to everyone else. You have no idea how much I fucking hate that man.

Between second and third period, I eagerly rushed upstairs to see Chucky in the chem lab, and he was just as thrilled as I thought he would be. But he tried not to smile regardless, attempting to take a more professional approach to it all. I think I could see him slightly trembling from the joy of it regardless. I'll take it. Hehehe!

"This is truly a giant step, Donnie. The next plateau. You're making sych a huge breakthrough right now. You've got to keep going. Ugh! I wish I could do it. I've got to find out what you're doing right and I'm doing wrong."

"You're gonna love it, Chucky. I swear, I didn't ever want it to end." I said. "I just turned myself loose and destroyed everything in sight! It was SO much fun!"

"Well, I don't know if destruction is such a good thing, Donnie. But it's nice to know that it works." I gave him a look to let him know that I wasn't going to allow him to sap all of the enjoyment out of his little dream project. He didn't argue, just sighed and said, "Fine. Whatever. Have your fun. But you should know that how a person reacts in an environment without physical or social consequences or boundaries says a lot about their sanity. And your first instinct was to start blowing shit up. What's that say about you?" He said while lightly waving his finger at me.

"It says 'goodbye, Chucky'." I smiled, and turned to leave the chem lab before the rest of his classmates came flooding into the room. But that's when he stopped me.

"Hey! Did the spinning thing, work?"

"Like a charm, Chucky. Thanks."

"I knew it would work." He said to himself, and I saw a little smile break on his face. But when he realized that it had become visible to the human eye, he got rid of the expression entirely. "Ahem...well..good. Keep it up. And let me know what you find rom here on out." He nodded, and I couldn't help but grin.

”I know you love me, kid!” I grinned, and kissed Chucky on the cheek as he recoiled in disgust. Too late! Hehehe!

April, Baxter, Jeff, and I, all met up in the parking lot as planned after school, and Bax drove us out to this huge costume shop in the city. It was like a warehouse, almost, and it had tons of really cool stuff there, most of it out of our price range. But there was always something sweet and affordable for us to pick up, and if we got to check out the horror props and expensive effects on top of it, how could we not have fun?

The first thing Baxter did once we were inside was strap on a fake pair of rubber breasts and begin walking around the store with them on as though there was nothing wrong with this picture. April watched from a distance, shaking her head as he took a not-so-private moment to scratch himself. Jeff looked at me with a grin and we both snickered to ourselves at the sight of it. Some guys are SO painfully 'hetero'.

The store was pretty crowded, but a lot of the merchandise had either been bought out or reserved in advance. So some of the shelves were kind of empty, and some of the bins were beginning to look a bit shabby as a million greedy hands had swept through the place with their Halloween loot bags. We walked around in circles trying to figure things out, seeing what would look good on us and what we were willing to spend a little extra cash on if needed. April already knew that she wanted to be a princess this year. She had her heart set on it. The only issue she had was piecing together a convincing outfit from what was left in the store. But I think she liked what she had accumulated so far. Jeff and were searching around, but picking out a costume was always such a task for us. You always have these amazing images in your mind of finding the perfect costume, but never go looking for it until the very last minute. Then it's all a hustle to choose what looks cool out of what bargain bin remains they have left. It was a decent challenge, however. I consider it my yearly ritual for Halloween, to be honest.

"I still think we should have gone as Charlie's Angels." Jeff giggled. "You, me, and Bax? We would have been awesome."

"I told you, I'm not dressing up like a chick for Halloween." Baxter said to us, and we all looked him over.

"Um...you are aware of the fact that you're wearing a pair of rubber titties, right?" Jeff asked him.

"I'm not wearing these because I'm interested in being a chick for Halloween. I'm wearing them so I can feel myself up while I shop." He said with a straight face. "It relaxes me."

"You can be such a pig, Baxter." April said, finding a tiara for her costume in the back of one of the head gear shelves.

"What? I'm not a pig. A pig would ask to squeeze your tits while I shop, April." He smiled. "I'd be happy to trade if you wanna...."

"Ugh!" Naturally, April wasn't really offended. In fact, being around three guys all the time, gay or straight, she was pretty desensitized to our testosterone driven comments. Still, she made sure to walk to another part of the aisle before encouraging anything dirtier to come out of Baxter's mouth.

"Maybe I could go as a pimp?" I said, picking up a wide, purple, pimp's hat with a leopard print band on it.

April took the hat from me and put it back in the bin. "You are NOT going as a pimp, Donnie."

"Why not?"

"Because I'm going as a princess, and you're my date for this party. So if you go as a pimp, that automatically makes me your whore."

"'Princess Whore', to be exact." Jeff said.

"It's NOT happening! Pick something else!" She demanded, and Jeff and I set out to find something gory and sick to entertain us for a while.

We must have walked around for five minutes or more when Jeff excitedly tapped me on the shoulder to get my attention. "DUDE! Check it out!"

"What? Where?"

"Over THERE!" He whispered loudly, and quickly lowered his head so as not to be caught staring. And that's when I caught sight of him...standing over by the fake plastic tommy guns and old time gangster hats. The same sweet boy from the school hallways. Austin. Beautiful Austin. Looking angelic as ever in front of a wall of demonic props. I wish I had more warning. Catching a glimpse of that boy without warning simply took your breath away.

A sudden gasp got caught in the back of my throat, and I almost felt like hiding when I first laid eyes on him. "Doesn't he go to school with us?" Jeff asked.

"Um...yeah. His name is Austin." I said quietly, trying to take a few long glances at him from around the corner without getting caught. It was then that I noticed Jeff giving me a shocked look.

"You KNOW him???"

"Know him? No...not really.”

”No, not really? You know his NAME!”

”I know a lot of people's names.”

A lot of people don't look like that! Not like that!” Jeff said, wild eyed.

”I just...I've seen him around you know? During passing periods and school assemblies and stuff."

"I'll just BET you have. He's fucking hard to miss!"

Austin looked up for a moment in our direction, probably overhearing the sound of whispers coming from that corner, and Jeff and I nearly squealed in terror at the thought of being spotted. We turned away and put our heads down so he wouldn't see us. But as the involuntary burst of fear passed, I realized that I kind of wanted him to see me. Maybe even come over and say hello or something. It gave me a jittery,almost queasy, feeling in my stomach...but I forced myself to look up again and I saw him go back to examining the wall of costumes in front of him. My dear God, he was beautiful. His thick mass of loose feathery blond curls looked so soft and sweet, almost like a bowl of wet noodles. And even from the side, his shining baby blue eyes were mesmerizing beyond compare. I was already beginning to lose myself in the thoughts of what it would be like to kiss those cherry red lips of his when Jeff lightly slapped me on the arm.

"Go TALK to him!" He whispered.

"WHAT???" I whispered back. "WHY???"

"Because, he's too damn HOT for 'me' to do it! And if one of us doesn't go over there soon, I'm gonna scream my head off until security pushes me out into the street." Jeff was practically melting right in front of my eyes, but I was hardly a warrior when it came to talking to cute guys just out of the blue. I was just as much of a virgin as he was. Well...almost, but Dale doesn't count. Not that having a slim and sexy straight boy dry humping me on a few random occasions wasn't extremely satisfying for a 13 year old boy scout at the time, it's hardly what I would call 'sex'. "GO! C'mon! Talk to him!" Jeff insisted.

"What the hell am I supposed to say?" I asked in a near panic.

"I don't know! Ask him if he wants a blowjob and wing it from there!" Jeff and I giggled, covering my mouth with my hand as we both tried to hold it in.

"Omigod...ok...I'm totally gonna do this."

Jeff's eyes popped wide open. "You're gonna ask him if he wants a blowjob???"

"What? NO!!!" I snickered. "Well...not yet, anyway. But I'm gonna go talk to him though." I think I surprised him.

"Dude...fucking go for it!" He said, and watched as I walked my way over towards that part of the store. I pretended to look around at the costumes near him, hoping that he would think bumping into him was merely an accident. But the closer I got to him, the harder my heart pounded. The more my stomach fluttered. The faster my mouth dried out. And yet, I attempted to steady myself anyway.

Finally, I was standing right next to him. I was actually absorbing some of his shining light. I was close enough to reach out and touch his shoulder if I wanted to. I could smell the dark denim sleeves of his jacket. God, was I shaking! But my biggest fear was that I'd suddenly burst out into a shy fit of giggles and run away before I even got a chance to say anything. I had to be cool about this. Really cool.

I wandered around the same area for a bit longer, taking little peeks here and there when I could, and just...tried to keep from sighing out loud. Does he have any idea how utterly gorgeous he is? Just looking at the smoothness of the skin on his cheek made me want to dive over the closest rack and smother him with kisses. No...no, that's not right. He looks too delicate for something like that. It's more like...a soft and fragile slow kiss on those delicious lips of his. Where I would be able to feel his breath on my cheek, and could run my fingers through those big warm sunshine curls of his until I was too weak in the knees to stand anymore. The intensity of being so close stole the courage from me, like pulling a rug from under my feet, and I wandered away from him in the other direction. I wasn't exactly 'running', but it felt like it. Not yet. Another few seconds to collect myself, then I'll just stroll back over and try again. Pretty. So very pretty. Is the blood in my veins supposed to be moving this fast? It makes me a little dizzy. Yeah...it's like that.

"Cough! Do it! Cough!" Jeff grunted from behind the wall, pushing me along. I shot him a mean look to shut him up before he gave me away. Then, continued my slow approach of the scalding hot body before me.

My wandering eventually put me right in front of him again, and he was still kind of looking away from me and not saying anything. So I kind of cleared my throat to get his attention. And when that boy looked up, when his eyes met mine up close, I fell all to pieces. I swear, just a look from him at this distance...? You could feel it in your balls. It must be downright embarrassing to be this cute.

I softly mumbled, "Hi...." And Austin nodded silently, that ready smile crossing his lips in the most polite manner.

”Sorry. Excuse me...” He said as he tried to trade places with me in the narrow section. We squeezed passed each other with Austin in front of me. His body barely touched mine at all, but the gentle friction of unexpected contact gave me a shudder of sexual delight that my body usually reserves for AFTER an orgasm. He smelled so good. I inhaled deeply, just trying to catch enough of his golden aroma to take home with me. You know...just for memory's sake.

Austin went back to looking at masks on the other side of me, and I waited for a moment or two before trying again so my 'courage meter' could have a chance to build itself back up to full potency. And then I took a deep breath and simply asked him, "Say, don't you go to my school?"

He looked at me again, and he said, "Oh yeah. I think I do. I've seen you in the halls before. Usually after second period, right?"

Omigod...he remembers me! Ahhhh!

"Yeah. That's me. Cool." I smiled, trying not to blush. I waited a second longer. I was trying to find a way to keep talking, even with the oxygen rushing out of me twice as fast as it took for me to suck it back in. But I didn't want to make it look like I was trying too hard. It might scare him off or something, you know? "I'm Donnie, by the way."

"Austin. How's it going?"

"Ok, I guess...just....shopping for, you know....stuff." I said. DON'T giggle! You'll look stupid if you just start giggling for no reason. Hold it in. "You?"

"Yeah, me too. I was looking for something cool to wear to this Halloween party thing happening next weekend. I'm not sure what to get though." Wow...even his voice was cute. I knew it would be cute. He's one of those boys that you can loo at and just tell that he'd have a sexy voice.

I was smiling dreamily to myself as I stared him in the eye, and had to straighten up before he thought I was some kinda weirdo. Looking back at Jeff, who was watching and biting his nails nervously as I interacted with the heartthrob beside me, I took a step back so Austin didn't think I was purposely trying to rub myself on him or anything. Even though...I totally was. I would have if I thought I could get away with it. I'd do a LOT of things to Austin if I thought I could get away with it.

I sighed to myself. This is not how I expected this to go. But I'm here now, so I might as well find a graceful way to survive this.

"So...you're going to Cory's party too, huh?” I asked.

Austin seemed pleasantly surprised. "Yeah, how did you know?"

"I'm pretty sure everybody's gonna be there." I said bashfully. "He's been talking about it for two weeks now."

"Well, this is the first big party I've been invited to since I've been here. I'm still a bit new to this area. So, I definitely need to find a decent costume for it. First impressions and all that." God, he's cute!

"I'm sure whatever you get will be awesome." Wait! No no no!!! What the hell did I say THAT for? Stop TALKING!!!

"I wish it was that easy. I was kinda thinking about going as a vampire. That would be cool. No too easy, not too hard." He said. "Have you seen anything kind of cheap over here for vampires?" Wait! Don't stop talking NOW!!! Start talking again!!! Hurry up!

"Um...yeah....I think I saw some stuff over...over there." I said softly.

"Can you show me?" Omigod, yes!

"Sure....I guess." I was barely above a whisper, so nervous that tears nearly welled up in my eyes. But somehow the intense pull of his beauty gave me strength. "It's this way..." I started walking, and had to shut my eyes for a quick moment of bliss as I felt him following behind me to another part of the store. It was the only way to contain the infatuated rush that I felt from having him interact with me in such a familiar way. How I kept from floating away, I'll never know. All in all, this one moment was more excited than anything that godlike dreamworld powers could ever hope to match. Much like most people in their dreams...I kind of took comfort in not being in control over what happens next. That's the mystery of it all. That's the excitement.

I can only hope that I get this feeling to die down by the time I get to the section of the store with vampire stuff in it. Otherwise, I'm going to be a shivering bundle of 'basket case'.

Austin and I walked passed Jeff, who almost broke character and smirked as we passed. I could tell that he was about to make a comment, so just as he was getting ready to say something, the back of my hand lashed out and hit him in the stomach. Cutting him off before he took the opportunity to embarrass me by saying...well...anything. Jeff could only grin happily to himself as he watched me move forward, my legs trembling the entire way. Please don't let me screw this up.

Please....