Audrey woke suddenly, feeling she had missed the alarm. However as she glanced at the alarm she saw it is set and she still had 15 minutes before she need to get up. Disoriented, she looked around the room, verifying that it is in fact, her room, and then fell back onto the pillows. She glanced back to the clock and thought about going back to sleep for 14 more minutes, however she disregarded the thought and got out of bed.
As she walked to the bathroom, she felt that she had been somewhere else last night. She knew she was home in the evening and that she went to bed in her room; she knew she got up in the same bed. None the less, she felt positive that she had gone somewhere during the night. Her mind contained fragments of things; a room with a computer, A field with an arbor gate, and people. These people seemed familiar, and yet she had no idea who they are.
As she was fixing her hair, she recalled that in her dream someone grabbed her arm and she had to wrestle away. Then, as she used her right arm to reach she felt a twinge of pain in her shoulder. She paused at the fact that the pain seemed associated with the incident in the dream. Then she thought that maybe she just slept on it wrong.
“Audrey; Audrey, are you still getting ready.” Her mother’s voice brought her mind back to reality. “You need to hurry dear or you’ll be late for school.”
Audrey finished dressing and ended up at the kitchen table. She was still having trouble focusing as she sat, staring at the box of Lucky Charms. Her mother set a glass of orange juice in front of her, but Audrey didn’t notice. Her mother had seen this before.
“Another dream?” asked her mother in a concerned tone. Audrey didn’t answer. She just picked up the glass of orange juice to drink. Her mother stood patiently waiting. Audrey’s eye looked up at her mother as she sipped the juice.
“Um-hum” she said while drinking.
Audrey’s father entered the kitchen. His demeanor was very upbeat.
“Good morning Dear” he said to his wife, giving her a kiss. He then turned to Audrey, and bent over giving her a kiss on the cheek.
“Good morning Princess. All set for school?”
Audrey didn’t answer, still staring at the cereal box. Her father looked at his wife with a questioning expression. Without saying anything, she mouthed the words “another dream”. He nodded affirmatively, and mouthed back “Oh”.
“You know Princess; dreams are a hard thing to understand. Our moods for the day can be set by them. It’s up to us to not allow these dreams in deciding our day,”
Audrey was getting irritated by the concern of her parents. She had heard all this before, and she didn’t understand what the big deal was. Her grades were fine, she was getting plenty of rest, and it is not any of their concern anyway. She realized if she spoke to them, she would just start getting angrier. She finished her juice.
“I have to go” she said as she put the dishes in the sink and grabbed her back pack. “See ya” she called back as she went out the door. Her parents were frustrated.
“What do you think?” asked Audrey’s mom.
“Oh, I don’t know” replied her father, “she’ll talk to us about the dreams when she wants to. Besides, she’s doing well at school.”
“I’m still concerned. You know this could be something that’s happened to her.”
“It also could be some cheese she had late at night. Cheese gives me weird dreams.”
This made Audrey’s mom smile. He always had a way about doing that when she is worried.
Audrey’s lunch period was only 25 minutes long. That was 25 minutes to get in, select and buy your lunch, get to the table and eat. All students had to sit at the table designated for the class they were in when they went to lunch. Audrey sat at Mrs. Richardson’s table. As she started to eat, her friend Trinity sat next to her. They made some small talk, however Audrey was still distant.
“Are you okay?” asked Trinity. Audrey blinked her mind back to the lunch table and she smiled at Trinity.
“Yeah, I’m fine” she answered, taking a bite of her chicken nuggets.
“Are you still having the strange dreams?” asked Trinity. Unlike her parents that seemed to feel something was wrong and needed fixing, Trinity had a real interest for what was going on.
“Yeah,” she answered pausing for a moment. “You know, they are strange, but they are so real” she said, taking another bite. “I’m really not bothered by them. I am more interested in trying to remember them; I mean everything about them.”
“What do you mean real?
“Well, it’s hard to describe. Have you ever had a dream and then woke up only to feel like you were actually at the place you were dreaming about, and doing the things you did in your dream?
“Sure, I guess everyone probably has.”
Audrey paused for a second, her mind preparing her for the next statement.
“What if you really did? I mean, what if you were really at that place, and you really did the things you dreamt about?”
Trinity stopped eating and looked at her friend. She wanted to believe her, but wondered how it could even be possible. However, she was her friend.
“I guess I never really thought of it before. But how could you go someplace in your dream?”
I don’t know if that’s what happens. I’ve been thinking that maybe the dream isn’t a dream, but rather memories of the things I did.”
“You did in your dreams?” Trinity question was in a somewhat disbelieving tone. Audrey detected the disbelief in Trinity’s voice. At the same time she felt if anyone would be receptive to her theories, it would be Trinity.
“I know that it’s a difficult concept. But I do believe that it is what happens to me in these dreams. Last night, for example, I remember someone grabbed my arm, and this morning my arm hurt in the same area.”
“That is a bit coincidental. Do you think that you just slept on it wrong?”
“I did think that, but I’m just not sure that would be the case.”
“Do you think you’re the only one who travels, ah, you know, in your dreams?”
“That’s also something I have considered, but I tend to think I’m not the only one. It may be that I’m the only one who considers whether or not it’s real.”
The bell rang, and the students started to vacate the tables.
“Keep me in the loop on this, will ya?” said Trinity as she cleared her part of the table.
“Sure thing; if I find out I’ve really been someplace, I’ll let you know.”
“Well, if it’s someplace cool, you better not go without me.”
Both girls laughed as they headed for their classes.
“Dad” Audrey called out, “I’m going to need the computer for my homework tonight.”
“Ok, Princess, just let me finish the finances and you can have it until bedtime.”
After her dad finished on the computer and headed for the television, Audrey got out her textbook her text book and started her homework. As she typed in key words to the search engine her mind started to drift. She found herself looking up words related to what she could recall from her dreams. However she would catch herself and return to her school work. After some time had passed, her father walked up behind her.
“Are you about done, Princess,” he asked causing her to jump, “It looks like you’re getting pretty tired and it’s getting pretty late for you. You need to hit the bed before its tomorrow.”
Audrey quickly looked at her watch.
“Sorry Dad,” she said standing up from the desk, “Computer time doesn’t seem to be the same as actual time.”
“Yes, I know. Time seems to move at a different speed when you’re on the computer. Good night Princess.”
Audrey gave her father a goodnight kiss on the cheek and made her way to her room. She got everything ready for the morning and then finished her night time routine, getting into bed. She tried to remember what she was dreaming about the night before in hopes that she could continue the dream, but she just laid there awake. It never really seemed to work. Instead she imagined herself in a story she recently read, and she drifted off to sleep.
Audrey found herself inside a very old building. She remembered that she had been here before. She walked down a worn looking hallway. The building had a musty smell like it needed a good cleaning. She seemed to know where she is going as she navigated her way to a room and opened the door. Inside the room is a computer console; nothing else. She walked up to the console and looked at the monitors, however the information on the screen was unlike any language she had ever seen before.
She had a feeling that someone was with her and turned around to see a man standing behind her. He was dressed in a futuristic looking uniform, and was possibly 10 to 15 years older than her. The man spoke to her.
“Audrey, you were very perceptive in your explanation to your friend. Others also experience the same dream remnants that you do because they too have traveled to a place in this dimension. However, their guides are often not so benevolent. Often, those guides are from the ships that sail in dark skies.
“Why?” asked Audrey.
“The guides on these ships are robots. They work for a master who revels in despair. He attempts to infect others with this despair and surrounds himself with misery by inflicting torment on the travelers that are called by his processor.”
“For what purpose? she asked.
“He wants them to join his world. He is especially attracted to those who are very good, and some that are called may not be allowed to leave.”
“You mean they will never wake up?”
“In a manner of speaking; they will remain here.”
“So while they are home in bed, they will just stay asleep?”
“No, like you, they are not home; they are here. All travelers may only remain here for 12 hours, but in their home they are only gone for six seconds. If a traveler remains here past 12 hours, they will not be allowed to leave. The process that brought you here will only last that long.”
“And you can’t send them back?”
“The processor of the Dark Guide, who brought them here, is different than mine. I am confined to this building. Likewise the Dark Guide cannot leave his tower, so he has built his robots to accomplish his will. Likewise, I need you to find the ones who are lost and return them to their home. You have 12 hours, but they have less.”
As the man spoke, Audrey started to remember. She had been here before, for training. She remembered the previous encounters with the man. She now remembered that her hurt arm occurred during training.
“This is my first assignment?” she asked.
“Yes; there is a child, Madison, who is lost here. She has 8 hours before she cannot return home. She is on a lone beach. You will be transported to that beach, however she may be hiding. You will be given all that you need, based on the training you received. Do you recall how to send her home?”
“Yes, I remember. But why is she hiding?”
“She is hiding from her monster. We all have a monster that the Dark Guide can use against us. Once you locate her and send her home, you will have 4 hours to return to the transport location so you can be sent home as well.”
Audrey turned to go to the transporters. She then paused and looked back at the guide.
“Why can I not remember?” she asked.
“No one may know of this placed. There are those who would exploit it for their own personal gains, wants and desires. Your memory, as anyone who travels here, will remain fragmented. Perhaps someday you will form a more complete theory, but you will always lack evidence of what you have witnessed. Good luck, Lieutenant Henderson.”
As Audrey exited the room, the title caught her attention; Lieutenant!”
Next “Madison’s Monster…”