Nightmare Utopia: In Your Dreams - Chapter One 3/4 Or Two 1/3

Nightmare Utopia: In Your Dreams - Chapter One 3/4 Or Two 1/3

A Chapter by Tabitha A. Rees

Cerina hopes that getting Bree back to the hospital means just a bit of persusian; not running into a complication she never expected.


I’d never quite fathomed how eerie and endless the road outside Vanadaine Institute was. I suppose that was the point, keeping us isolated and away from society so we wouldn’t be tempted to do whatever Bree was trying to accomplish now.


It seemed Bree was always a few yards away, and the next curve on the road was a few miles past her. I huddled in my jacket and hospital shirt for warmth, searching for the impeccable, Obama-worthy words that’ll get Bree to turn and stop and maybe be a good girl and follow me to VI again. I didn’t need this. No one needed this.


Not that there was silence.


Bree made sure of that.


"You know why they put me here, Cerina?" she said, mostly to herself though she intended for me to listen. "They forced me here because this freaky, rich girl jumped me and I got too angry about it. I mean, really?" She threw her red-clothed arms in the air. "Yeah, she attacked me and got away with it, of course I’m going to threaten to shove a pencil in her neck, that’s just expected, you know! But this teacher there gets all worried, and tries to calm me down, and…well, when I was dragged to the principal’s office I might’ve thrown a desk through his window….."


I opened my mouth to interrupt, but she’d already gotten too heated.


"It could’ve ended there, but no, I have to start f*****g crying and the school counselors pretty much snaps his fingers and declares bipolar! He always hated me. But he tries to talk to me and discuss my options, till he pisses me off so much that I kick him where it hurts. So that adds ‘volatile’ and ‘sociopath’ to my transcript. They talk some s**t over with my foster family, and that car arrives. Blah, blah, blah."


She abruptly turned, as if she wanted an ovation for such a monologue. When she saw me shivering like a cowardly Chihuahua, her eyes rolled.


"Can you keep up? And stop trembling, it’s weird."


I sniffed, producing a small cloud in the air. "No. I’m allowed to tremble. I’m cold, I don’t know where you’re going, I want you to stop and turn around, and if I had one handy, I’d definitely shove a pencil in your neck right now."


A normal person would flinch or gape, something. A normal person wouldn’t smile in approval - but Bree clearly wasn’t normal anyways.


"Whattaya know?" Bree said. "This harmless kitten has some claws."


"Don’t care," I retorted dully, "So can we please just go back?"


Bree stopped smiling, and walked my direction with a solemn expression, one that did not fit her rainbow clothes at all. She crossed her arms, until they matched mine, and mirrored my glaring look. That was what little kids did sometimes, to annoy their parents: imitation.


"Why are you at VI?" she asked. "I mean, I know what PTSD is…why do you have it though?


I always thought it was just ex-military guys who had it. And the depression?"


"Well, I could get into the dictionary definitions of it, but that’d be boring." I un-crossed my arms; it bothered me to have her copying me. "I have the post-traumatic stress disorder because I have these nightmares of a psycho killing me, and the signs of depression because I cut myself. Once." I pursed my lips. "Why do you care?"


She seemed hurt, and un-crossed her arms, too. "Harsh."


"Sorry," I muttered quickly. "I just don’t really know why we’re talking about me now. But hey, if you for some reason do care, we can always go back to the hospital and talk as much as you want…about anything…."


She suddenly laughed loudly, and sprinted away in the middle of my sentence, dashing down the road instead of walking.


I groaned and, still like an exhausted parent, began to chase down the echoes of her giggles and sneaker footsteps.


Then, there was a new coldness in the midst of all the trees. I hesitated, and looked around me.


In the forest shadows, a pair of eyes blinked.


My heart rate sputtered uncontrollably, and my legs ran for me. I shouted after Bree, trying to ignore the eyes. I was just hallucinating. It made sense - years of living with delusional psychopaths had tainted me, and now that I was in the real world again, it showed.


"Bree!" I called, seeing occasional glimpses of her purple shag. "Bree, please!"


And then one of her chuckles turned into a terrified screech.




The screech stopped.




Without her laughing or footsteps, the road was too quiet. Now I quivered from both the cold and anxiety, and had to fight a lot of internal, self-preservation instincts to follow the road, and find Bree.


A minute later, the objective was completed - lying on the side of the road was rainbow girl, her eyes and mouth closed. I was just preparing an emergency scream, when I noticed she was still breathing.


"Bree?" I whispered, leaning to her level. "You…alive?"


Her lips parted. "Stay…still."


Not being subtle, her hand snatched me by my jeans, and shoved down. I yelped but went silent once I’d collapsed to the road.


"Wha - ?" I said, just as her hand smashed against my mouth. "Mmff!"


"Shush." Her fingers crawled away, feeling like fleshy spiders. "Play dead."


Play dead? Was she crazy? Well, duh, but…oh, God, what were those noises?


Branches cracked and dirt shuffled around, until, through the slits of my closed eyes, I saw two figures stand above us, barely visible.


"That must be them, those two intruders," said one figure, his voice dry and rusty. "I recognize the strange colors of that talkative one. Let us take them."


"But they already dead," said the other, rather ungrammatically. His way of speaking was not nearly as collected, and seemed to be more jumbled, like the patients at the hospital when they were drugged. "Hungry!"


"We have specific orders, Sante. Harvest anyone who intrudes. These two intruded, so we harvest them." He jerked his head toward me. "You can have Snow White here."


"How do we kill ‘em, if they already dead?"


His companion made a low, growling noise. "Sante! I never said we were to kill them! We are to harvest - look, they are clearly from that mortal, mental hospital. I would assume there is enough emotion between them to feed a whole city of our kind."


"Feed," Sante repeated blankly. "Hungry."


"Yes, Sante, my point exactly. So pick up that one, and we shall bring them to Av"


"Hungry now!" Suddenly, one of the figures Sante, maybe? moved away. Seconds later, with a noise of disgust, the second figure trailed after. I heard a car then, driving by with irritating, foreign music playing on its radio.


I let my eyes open and take in the setting.


The road had come to a neat, four-way stop…after what had been miles of walking. At this four-way stop was a small, yellow taxi - and through the dim, back window I could recognize Cornelius the foster agent’s unkempt hair.


Bree noticed this as well, and seemed glad. Like me, she probably assumed this was a chance to get help.


That was before a cloaked, stumbling figure ran into the left side of the vehicle.


"No!" Bree screamed, dragging us both to our feet. We headed for the car, just as another stranger - one much quicker and more balanced - smashed into the passenger side. Both of the collisions had spread glass onto the road, and created a hole just big enough for them to creep inside. Odd, ripping, and hissing noises sounded.


Bree retreated, bringing me with her.


"Why d-don’t we get out of here, Cerina?" she suggested in a quiet voice.


I gaped at her, then the quivering car, then her again. "But - they - those things - !"


" - are not people you want to be around, now come on!" She tried to pull me by the arm, but my curiosity kept me in one place, wanting to see what would happen to Cornelius and his unfortunate taxi driver.


My curiosity was answered much too soon.


Through one of the windows, two bodies emerged. One was still covered with a dark, robe-like costume, and hunched over a lifeless, human body that was nothing but ripped material and crimson, glass-infected wounds.




The hunched figure placed a long, clawed hand on the man’s forehead, a hand that was not and could not be real. His claws were excessively long, his skin…too….




And the scene changed. Instead of standing on a road and watching Cornelius and the creatures, I was in a forest clearing, watching a frail female lying on the ground, with a man standing directly above her.


The female was strange enough on her own. She carried enough baggage to match her weight, a bulging bag, and jewelry of all sorts (though mostly bracelets). But the man was weird, too. I could see only his back, but he seemed to dress like a teenager, with baggy, violet jeans, and a white hood. How his clothes stayed so spotless in the middle of a forest, I didn’t know. Even the blank boots were clean.


And yet, while the characters and scene might have changed, the action had not. He was above the lady, and had a long, pale hand on her head.


" - know how it is," he was saying as I walked closer. " you kill the protector, then you kill the bond."


"You silly monsters," the lady said in a choked, strangled voice. "You believe every legend you hear…and don’t even consider them being false…."


"Avoiding the subject won’t save you, Carrie," the man chuckled. The laugh did not fit; it was too dark, too other-worldly. "I can assure you that I consider every possibility. So, I’m curious. How do you think I will kill you, Carrie?" He paused, brushing hair from her head. The lady, Carrie’s, eyes burned with emotion. "Do you think I will do it fast, snap your neck, dig my claws into your skin, something cliché but simple like that?" He bent her neck, until her tiny, round head was craned. "Or do you think I can use these memories of yours to my advantage? It seems as a child you were deathly afraid of snakes, for instance."


One of his fingers then lengthened, turning a blue-green shade, and wrapped around her exposed neck. I clearly saw Carrie panic and shut her eyes, probably pretending there wasn’t a reptile crawling on her. The man was displeased, and took his hand away, letting it return to its original, human form.


"Aren’t we courageous?" he muttered. "So sad."


An odd, tortured noise sounded. A hissing, growling, hungry noise. The man. It echoed from his mouth for a long moment, before his jaw swung down and grabbed Carrie by her forehead. The noise had stopped, but was replaced with rips and Carrie’s screams.


And I just stood there, trembling, unsure of what was going on.


The tearing continued for an endless minute, before he slapped Carrie’s head away, and she fell to the ground, eyes fluttering with whatever life hadn’t been shredded out.


His head turned my direction, growling quietly.


Half of his face was normal, pretty even. A glistening, dark eye and plush lips, over a smooth and pale face.


The other half was either covered in blood or scars, and seemed to be slipping off.


And yet, the mouth that lapped onto both sides curled up at the sight of me. He stood up, and began to walk over, claws still dripping and scarlet.


Then he disappeared. The entire scene was silent and moving slowly, until a high-pitched shriek brought it all back to life.


" - Cerina!"


I fell back, landing in Bree’s thin and heavily clothed arms. She struggled to pick me up, but once she was able to, we both stood on the side of the road. My face dripped just as much as the dream monster’s claws, only it was sweat, not blood, thankfully.


"I…what…" I cleared my throat, feeling a clog, and turned towards Bree. She didn’t seem overly concerned; just curious, with her round head cocked ninety degrees clockwise. "Those…that thing…."


"Then you do remember," she muttered blankly, before leaning in. "How much?"


"It’s like in my dream…." I could have stopped there, but no. "It's like in my dream."


She only stared.

© 2010 Tabitha A. Rees

Author's Note

Tabitha A. Rees
I sorta changed the layout a bit, so this would be the beginning of chapter two, not the end of chapter one. They were getting long, so I split 'em up. Thanks for the comments; any review, bad or good, is cool with me. I'll get the next part up soon. And be sure to read and comment the previous posts, too!

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ZOMFG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GAH1!!!!!! I LOVE THIS!!!! I can't wait for more!! OMFG1!!1 OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!1 Okay, i'll calm down now. *deep breath* Seriosuly, though, I LOVE it to DEATH.!!

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Added on June 23, 2010
Last Updated on June 23, 2010


Tabitha A. Rees
Tabitha A. Rees

Lake Havasu City, AZ

Hello, strangers. I am a young author who enjoys writing about insane asylums and unique worlds and characters. My current YA/urban fantasy series, NIGHTMARE UTOPIA, is about to enter the publishing w.. more..