“Son, I advise you to delete that horrible story that you began as a first-grader and start something new.”
“But it’s five thousand pages long. It’s my life’s work.”
“It’s not a wonderful life. Trash it.”
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Dream Man – by Nichole
After fumbling with the lock, I was finally able to enter the room. The wall was outlined with bullet holes as if it were connect the dots and read: We Had a Deal
My heart froze as I reeled backwards. “Not yet!” I shouted, but it was too late.
Gravity was no more. I felt like I was floating but being crushed at the same time; a perfect dream state.
As hard as I fought it, my eyelids closed. There was nothingness for a few seconds until I awoke to a strange ticking noise. I blinked in the dim yellow light and found myself tied to a chair. The ticking sound came from a large clock on a peeling blue wall.
A gritted my teeth. “I had a few more hours.”
He entered from the shadows into the light, something Nightmare never did. He was still a little blurry, but scary all the same. His shady human form was always changing, like molten shadow mixed with fire.
“I suppose you didn’t think it would come this soon?”
I didn’t reply. He meant my death sentence. Five years ago I made a deal with Nightmare to haunt people’s dreams or cause them to have bad ones. It seemed pretty pointless now, but back then it was the only hope I had. I could never wake up from my nightmares and was now an agent of them.
I hadn’t collected enough dreams in the 1,825 days I had.
I’m not dead, if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m still alive, but wish I wasn’t. I’m free to do whatever I want as long as I collect thirty two dreams, specifically nightmares, a day.
As you can imagine, that chore takes up all of my time. I used to have a family. Two kids and a wife. But I’d lost it all to this demon Nightmare.
“Just kill me.” I muttered.
“Without a second chance? No, no, I am a fair man, Harrick.” His voice was like a volcano; starting out as a low rumble until it exploded.
“What do you mean?” I eyed him skeptically.
“I mean, you get another stab in the dark,” he chuckled. “I need you to create three Lifetimes for me.”
I grimaced. Lifetimes happened when I caused trauma in someone’s life that would give them nightmares for, well, a lifetime. I much preferred collecting random nightmares while people slept. But if that would free me…
“What kind of Lifetimes?”
Nightmare smiled, which pretty much looked like a black sliver in the middle of his faceless head. He leaned close enough to where I could feel the emptiness emanating from his dark soul.
“Yours.” He whispered.
My eyes flew open.
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