A somewhat trashy story aimed to help counter my pre-exam stress, but which I believe was made worse instead — because writing it was such a riot! But whatever.

M/M slash full speed ahead.

Advice to all active and potential sleepwalkers: For the personal safety of yourself and others, please ensure that the windows and doors to the room in which you're sleeping are securely locked. Take care not to disturb the other occupants of the same room.

Midnight Rambles

I wouldn't be caught dead in this kind of situation, but soon enough I might be.

One of the Great Whites chomped a huge chunk off the wooden floor from outside, and I screamed in terror, scuttling to the other end of the hull. "Don't come over!" I pleaded to the shark, almost expecting it to understand.

And I thought it did — it showcased to me its glorious set of bloodied incisors with a wicked grin, and then charged straight at me. With a pathetic yell — my pride all disposed of right there and then — I yanked open the creaky door behind me, and jumped into the safety of the open sea.

Which, coincidentally, was home sweet home to the sharks, and also where the rest of the pack was patiently waiting.

I could have cried at my own stupidity, but there was no time for that.

I dived underwater and tried to search for a place to hide in, but the monsters were gaining fast. But strangely enough, the jaws which I expected to sink into my succulent human flesh never came, and I started swimming like an eel on clockwork.

A slow torment before death, I wept inwardly.

Thankfully, it wasn't long before I saw it: the Titanic-like shipwreck, all covered in crusty barnacles and seaweed, and teeming with who knows what else. The shark pack gave a low bellow behind me, but I wasn't going to take any more chances — with them, that is.

I propelled myself through the waters one last time, and pushed at the algae-covered glass of the first rusty porthole I saw. The circular pane gave way, and I managed to tumble head-first into the dusty darkness of the ship.

Seconds later, a series of dull thunks resonated all around the vessel. I had to admit — and be grateful — that big snouts could really get into the way sometimes. Those poor sharks.

I half-crawled, half-floated to a corner of the dark room, meaning to stay there until those brainless Great Whites decided to leave me alone. Funny, I suddenly thought. I don't even need to breathe here underwater!

Unwilling to die of lack of air and not even realising it, I took the deepest breath I could ever have, and —

A multitude of suckered tentacles wrapped themselves around my body.

I almost died on the spot. Apparently I wasn't alone in this shipwreck, and this — this giant sucker was making sure I became its dinner so that it could boast to those sharks afterwards! The nerve of it!

To register the identity of my murderer in preparation for any future revenge — or before I left this ridiculous world for good — I turned sharply back, and saw —

A pair of huge, watery eyes staring back at me.


I garbled and struggled to free myself, but the long slimy arms refused to let go; instead they reeled me closer and closer to those frightening orbs — which were starting to shine with an oily sheen.


Not wanting to die a slow and oleaginous death, I squeezed my eyes shut, grabbed the octopus by what I hoped was its neck, and started strangling and yelling bubbled war cries. The creature did finally release me, but it also went into a musical series of . . .

. . . coughing fits?

My eyes snapped open. All I saw were two wide brown eyes almost the size of mine — and obviously shrunken from their original oily self — and all I heard was the continued cacophony of hacking and choking and spluttering and gasping. I can be a professional strangler in future, I mused, staring at my hands that were still clasped tightly around the creature's neck.

"You know," I taunted, smiling crazily, "your eyes are really tiny for an octopus . . ."

"What octopus? And what — what the hell do you think you're doing? Trying to murder me?" A light snapped on, and the octopus — the person that spoke earlier stared strangely at me, with one hand on the switch of the bedside lamp and the other around my wrists, trying to get them away from his neck.

I stared at him, then down to the blue bedsheets which the two of us were tangled in, then at the unfamiliar posters on the wall, then back at him.

Slowly I let go of his reddened neck, and tried to take stock of the situation. "This . . . is not my room?" I asked carefully.

He rolled his eyes. "Hell no, your room is next door!" he hissed, pointing at the far wall. Then, in a less annoyed but nonetheless suspicious tone, he asked, "And what in the world are you doing here in my — in my room anyway? Trying to steal something?"

I sheepishly made my way off his bed, face positively burning. "I . . . I sleepwalk sometimes," I said lamely. "Maybe I came in while I was dreaming, and then — and then I ended up . . . here?"

He continued staring like I had been freshly admitted to some asylum. "Forget it," he finally muttered, getting up and pushing me out of his dorm room. "Just my damned luck I forgot to lock the door." And for some reason, he even steered me through my open room door, as if worried about me wandering in the middle of the night as the resident ghost of the corridor.

He turned me around to face him. "You'd better lock yours too," he suggested in earnest. "I don't want you to come over and disturb or kill me in my sleep when I have a test first thing tomorrow morning."

And he yanked my door shut.

I dragged myself over to my own bed, scratching my head. Why his room, of all places?

"Because it's just next door," I murmured.

And why not the other room next door?

"Because that porthole was blocked . . ."

As much as I was practised in the art of somnambulism since who knows when, I also liked to give creditable excuses for myself.

And it wasn't like I could help it, either.

– – –

I knew this had to happen one day — books were written about them; movies were made about them; even space rovers were sent to their planet to check for their existence. All that had to irk them somehow!

Now the Martians were invading. And about bloody time too.

But what really bugged me the most was that I couldn't run and escape from those gigantic robot aliens in the open so courageously, like those actors did in the movies. Those smart-alecks from space were much faster — and sadly, much more intelligent — than I thought.

Because half of my dream house had already been burnt to cinders when I realised that, and outside — in plain view — the aliens were firing heat-rays at any Earthling they could see, gleefully laughing at their demise.

I turned to my niece and yelled, "Get out of their way! Run!" Still she didn't budge, absorbing herself in her Tetris game, which beeped at my last word. She giggled and cheered at her new high score.

"All right then," I snapped, royally pissed by then — that the Martians nearby weren't shooting her, and that she could break my old record when I was the Tetris champion. "You can die for all I care!" I shouted, unbolting the storeroom door and throwing myself in. "Ungrateful prat, I'll see you in your next life, uh —"

It then dawned on me that I didn't know her name. I gripped the side of the door as I tried to recall. Did it start with a G, or —

Hang on. When the hell did I even have a niece in the first place?

At that same moment there was a bright flash of light, and the girl was blown to grey smithereens. The stupid handheld game continued to beep, and then no more as a smaller heat-ray ensured its doom.

"Thank goodness for that," I exclaimed — perhaps a little too loudly. I clapped a horrified hand over my mouth, but the Martian that had killed the anonymous girl and the gaming device had already heard.

I felt like crying at my own stupidity, but there was no time for that. I would most probably die sooner than expected, anyway.

The alien slinked its way to the entrance of the storeroom, and shone the glaring spotlight at the top of its head at me. I tried as best as I could to look like a corpse, but couldn't help but squint at the illuminating spotlight. It was a little familiar — almost like the fluorescent lights on the ceiling of the dormitory corridors, but ten times brighter.

This is it, I thought, pressing myself against the far wall of the tiny storeroom, which the Martian deliberately tiptoed into. I'm a goner. I'm a bloody goner. I don't think anyone can rescue me this time. I don't think I can get out of here alive. I don't think there'll be any last minute miracle that —

The final flash of light came, and I died. (I could have asked that Martian to scatter my ashes into the ocean, but too bad.)

Or rather, I thought I died.

When I opened my eyes I saw an androgynous being carrying my body in the arms, with a dumb-looking halo hovering over his — her? — head, and brilliant white wings behind the back.

And it was sky, sky and more sky below and all around us.

I burst into nervous tears. I had acrophobia since I was a child and this darned angel knew nothing about it!

"Stop being so squeamish," the angel said, rather irritably.

Definitely male, I concluded, sulking over his accusation.

Eventually the sky stopped spinning and that angel — or whoever it was — lowered me onto a solid-looking patch of clouds, which felt strangely like cotton.

Cotton. Of course. I could have slapped myself.

"Why am I here then?" I asked absently. "Am I dead? Am I?"

"Yeah, yeah, you're good as dead," the angel replied with rather perfunctory sarcasm, hovering in the air beside the cloud. "And I'm supposed to dispose of you."

"Dispose?" I repeated incredulously. "But isn't this supposed to be heaven? Shouldn't I be — er — reincarnated or something?" I sat up at once. "I don't want to die yet, you know. Can't I just — go back or something?"

The angel leaned closer, his baby blue eyes diluting to reveal a common brown underneath as he frowned. "Go where?" he asked softly. "This is where you're supposed to be . . ."

"Go back down to Earth, you idiot." I found myself slurring even while attempting to be cross. "I don't want to die just yet . . ." Distractedly I raised a hand to his synthetic blond hair, which was becoming darker and darker by the second, along with the rest of the sky. It felt real enough to me, though. "But if I'm really dead, then will . . . will it work if you give me . . . the kiss of life? Will I be able to — to live again? I really . . . don't want to die, you know . . . I'd rather kiss a stupid angel like you than to . . . to die like that . . ."

Throughout my ludicrous request I vaguely wondered what it would be like — splendid like gold? Fluttery like wings? Sweet like a harp's melody? Or utterly insipid like what the clouds were made of? Impatiently I lifted my own face towards his, and then —

I didn't get to kiss him.

He pushed me down against the bed by my shoulders, gasping. In the light of my own lamp I saw his flushed face, and his dark hair hovering over his forehead and drenched with perspiration. And he couldn't stop staring or blinking.

"I . . ." he started, then removed his hands from my body almost too calmly, as if pretending, and took a step back. "You made a hell lot of noise outside my door, and I found you sprawling there like dead, so I carried you back here," he summarised rather matter-of-factly, running a hand through his damp hair as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

The look of disdain on his face was probably a facade too.

"Uh, thanks," I mumbled feebly. The blanket suddenly felt like a great place to hide in.

"You're welcome," he said, staring as I burrowed in between the bedsheets. Under his scrutiny I had never felt so naked in my entire life.

I refused to look at him again, but I heard him mutter something like, "You damn radical dreamer," and then slam the door shut. In frustration I gripped the blanket and seethed.

My subconscious self was getting out of hand! If I couldn't find out what the crux of the problem was fast enough — and I mean fast — who knows what else I'd do to him?

"But he said 'you're welcome' . . ." I murmured.

– – –

It was painfully simple, really. I just had to make sure they were asleep, wait till the moon rose high enough to cast its light onto the cave door, and then enter the cave with the password — and the treasure would be mine! All mine!

There was nothing too scary about the task; it was just that the two dragons, of all colours, had to be purple and green with gleaming white teeth — and a useless pair of small sparkly faerie wings on each of their backs! Just how camp was that?

"Whatever," I muttered, watching from a safe distance at the giant reptiles finished the dinner 1'd prepared for them beforehand — turkeys stuffed with an astronomical quantity of sleeping pills. The dragons burped in unison, then promptly fell onto their backs, ready to hibernate for the next twelve months. The wings made a satisfying crunching sound like potato chips.

"Merry Christmas, you losers!" I punched a victory fist into the air, and watched as the moon finally revealed itself from behind the clouds, shining perfectly onto the stone door. I ran gleefully towards it.

The door was made of solid rock, but of course that was no problem. I cleared my throat grandly, and prepared to shout out the password, which was — which was —

Which was what?

I went pale, but in the moonlight I nearly became silvered. Why the hell did I have to forget the password at this crucial moment?

I wanted to cry out my laments, but there was no time for that. And neither did I want to awaken those two stupid dragons from their slumber.

It wouldn't have made any difference anyway, because they somehow woke up from their sleepy spell and were both glaring at me — because I was trying to steal the treasure in the cave, or because I had indirectly crushed their lovely wings?

"Fairy wings!" I yelled desperately at the boulder and pounded at it. It happily remained in situ.

The infuriated pair stormed closer, snarling and snapping ferociously. I pressed me back against the door, shaking my head and moaning at my idiocy of not remembering the magic phrase.

Magic phrase?

"Thank you!" I shouted. "Please! Abracadabra! Voila! Er — Coffee or tea! Happy family! Er, er — Jurassic Park! Moonwalk! Diamond ring! Drugged turkey!" At the last attempt the dragons roared and set fire into the bushes beside the cave, and I burst out sobbing like a wreck.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" I cried to the guardians, squashing my face against the door. "Why don't you just let me in, you damned rock?" I wept pathetically. "I just want to grab the treasure and get out of this place alive! Is that too much to ask for? Why don't you just open and —"

And I fell through the rock like it were a curtain of satin.

I burst out laughing maniacally despite the hard landing on the other side. It was, like I said earlier, so painfully simple — one easy answer in exchange for a bit of pain! Why did I make it so complicated?

But the joy of getting the password quickly evanesced — for in the middle of the cave was a mountain of coins that illuminated the entire cavern, and at the very top of it all was a gleaming treasure chest, sparkling in all its forbidden glory.

"Behold," I breathed in awe. "What lies within thee shall be thine."

Overcome with avarice, I scrambled my way towards the jewel-encrusted casket, stumbling as the slippery golden slopes gave way under my weight. But eventually the coins all formed a shallow pool around the treasure chest, and I ran my hands randomly over the rubies and sapphires and mother-of-pearl that glittered ever so prettily before my eyes.

Whatever could be inside there? I wondered. More gold? Platinum? Diamonds? An ancient cursed jewel? Wads of cold, hard cash? The key to a Bentley parked somewhere outside? I roamed my hands all over this ultimate treasure, gaping like a retarded goldfish. My fingers closed around a lock — no, a dead knot, made with golden rope and fixed to the rim between the two halves of the chest. I tugged hard at it, but it held fast.

"Damn," I muttered, sitting right across the top of the chest and inspecting the knot carefully, trying to undo the loops one at a time. But it was too complex to untie in such a short time — the cave walls didn't seem to be able to withstand the fiery wrath of the dragons outside for too long — but no way was I going to leave my treasure alone!

"No," I pleaded to myself, throwing myself flat onto the chest and clutching it tightly, still tugging uselessly at the rope. The ground was already beginning to shudder from all the roaring and slamming outside. "I want my treasure . . . I want it all for my own! I'm not leaving here without anything . . ."

I shut my eyes tight and gave one last pull at the knot — which still refused to loosen — and at the same instant the chest heaved deeply together with the cave floor, and —

And went on heaving.

Only it wasn't a treasure chest that was under my body. It was his chest. Heaving.

I blinked stupidly at him. His face seemed to mirror mine as he stared back at me with those wide brown eyes of his, and his mouth open in such delicious confusion.

I stared at him, then at his spreadeagled body which I was straddling so suggestively, then at the tangle of blue bedsheets under his back, then at the drawstring of his pants in my hand, then at the still unfamiliar posters on the wall, then at the door that was thrown wide open, then back at him.

You're welcome . . .?

"I . . ." I was at a wretched loss of words. And his chest was still heaving. Was that because of all my blinded tugging earlier? Or because I had been riding him with such superlative vigour throughout the dream? Or both?

His voice was so frighteningly raw, it confirmed my suspicions.

"Did you . . . did you intend to rape me like that in your nightwalk?" he whispered hoarsely, a smile that was so dreadfully knowing spreading across his face.

"I . . . I . . ." I want to die, my mind screamed, but still I managed to hastily pull my hand away from his drawstring. He, however, seemed to have read my ulterior motive way too soon, and pulled me down by my arm, sending my blushing face into his with one haphazard kiss.

I kissed an angel, but I still want to die, I cried inwardly.

He didn't restrain me as I finally managed to scramble off his chest — which was still heaving — and stumbled back into my room, dizzy with both shame and rapture. Nothing, nothing had been done to alleviate the problem at all! I only made it a hell lot worse!

But at least, I'd realised the root of it all — of why my evil twin was acting like that. Which was way too embarrassing.

"Bloody hell," I muttered helplessly to myself, curling up behind my closed door. "You're lusting after him . . ."

– – –

I tugged yet again at the plastic cord that fastened my ankle to the railings at the other end, but of course it was perfectly secure. I had made sure of that.

In an attempt to stop myself from leaving the room while sleepwalking I had locked the door and windows, but because I hadn't bothered to replace the faulty bolt on my door, I decided to compromise by binding myself to my own bed by one wrist and ankle, just in case I managed to get the door open in my sleep. And should I be safe till next morning, I would just have to cut away the cords with the scissors I kept in the bottom drawer beside the bed.

The problem was, I couldn't even reach for the drawer with one half of my body tied to the bed like that!

I could have cried at my incomparable stupidity, but what was the use in that?

With an irritated sigh I leaned back down onto the pillow and flailed my free arm randomly to switch off the lamp. I just had to make sure nothing would happen in the night. Or maybe, I could just try to stay awake until the next morning — which was Saturday.

Meaning I would have one whole weekend to yell for someone to release me from my self-afflicted bondage. Someone who had the strength to bring down the locked door. Someone that wouldn't — I hoped — happen to be him.

I closed my eyes. My room was far too quiet for me to fail in falling asleep. And the bed was too comfy for discomfort, too warm for arctic torment, too soft for potential backache, too spacious for cramped torture, too . . .

Too watery to even be considered a bed.

I opened my eyes in sheer terror, utterly speechless. Hell, did I just wet my bed?

With a half-strangled shriek I sat up straight — and saw that my body form the waist below was submerged in water. Water that was so clear I could see the strange, floaty milk-coloured garment I was wearing. Water that smelled of spring and not of shame or urinals. Water that flowed in steady currents past me. Water that cascaded down the magnificent waterfall from the distance. Water that was essentially part of a wide river.

I was on a riverbed.

And this time both my wrists and ankles were bound. By iron rings and chains. I tried to yank my hands apart, but they held even more tightly than those stupid cords I thought I used.

Recklessly I tried to stand up, but instead tripped over my clothes and fell onto my side, drenching my entire face and long black hair and —

Long black hair?

I stared at the beautiful, wet locks of shining dark hair that tumbled down the sides of my face, then at the dreadfully ventilated outfit I was wearing, then at the tiny, lily-white feet peeking out from under the hemline, and eventually I understood.

"Why the ruddy hell am I a woman now?" I yelled shrilly at the waterfall.

But as my last word died away a group of people galloped out from behind the waterfall on glossy dark horses. They were all dressed in black, and I couldn't see their faces.

The tallest person of the pack shouted a command, and the Men In Black drew out a glinting sword each and aimed the tips right at me. On impulse I kicked and tried to tear apart the chains to escape, but to no avail.

And to make things worse, the bloodcurdling whiny screams and shrieks I was making seemed only to amuse those villains, and they howled out in sick laughter.

Now I'm a damned damsel in distress!

I squeezed my eyes shut as the horse-riders came closer to where I lay, wincing as the water splashed all over my skin. Then I felt the sharp and cold edge of a sword blade graze my cheek, and one of the men laughed.

What a corny way to die.

Suddenly there was a burst of Latino music inside my head, and I opened my eyes just in time to see yet another dark rider making his way over from the bank ever so gallantly, his long black cloak billowing out behind him as he brandished his graceful rapier and swung it across the band of malefactors, sending a good half of them falling into the waters and their horses neighing themselves berserk.

And with the dramatic fanfare still blasting in full force, the belated hero drew the final bloodied slash across the chest of the nearest villain, who yelled in pain, but still managed to steer his horse around and gallop away in defeat with the rest of the gang, vanishing behind the waterfall. I buried my face in my hands.

What a corny way to be saved.

But then there was a series of zings, and the iron rings around my wrists and ankles fell broken and useless into the water. Before I could raise my head, however, a hand roughly grabbed me by the back of my dress — urgh — and pulled me upwards while I yelped.

The next thing I knew, I was sitting sideways on the horse, with my mysterious rescuer right behind. I stared at the black leather mask on his face, then at the two completely foreign mounds of flesh on my chest protruding from under my dress, then at his right hand holding the reins, then at his other hand snaked around my waist, then back at him.

I thought the brown eyes seemed vaguely familiar.

Curiously I leaned in to take a closer look, but the masked crusader took me by the chin with his right hand, and laughed deeply. "No creo que pudiera, señorita," I heard him say. Then with a flourish he swung his cloak in an elegant arc till it covered the two of us whole, and —

And then all was dark.

Well, not exactly. I could see the moonlit leaves outside the window, the messy pile of books on my desk, and the rectangle of light from behind the closed door. The rest was, however, blocked by this shadow right beside me.

I blinked. I was no longer a damsel in distress.

I was a boy in almost a state of undress.

The shadow had his body pressed so lusciously close to mine, and I could feel his thigh wedged easily between my legs — and he was necking me. Those — I was sure — were nothing that a masked crusader or Boy Next Door would ever do!

But there he was. And he didn't even seem to have the intention of stopping.

When his mouth roamed to the back of my ear I gave a helpless whimper, and he raised his head. I didn't need all the carrots in this world to tell me what colour his eyes were.

"Are you intending to rape me now or what?" I asked, almost too breathlessly.

He trailed a deliberate hand down my nearly bare chest. "I'm sorry but . . ." he pretended to hesitate. "I had been sleepwalking."

"Sleepwalking my foot!" I hissed, trying to kick him away — only to realise the plastic cords were still around my ankle and wrist.

I winced. If that didn't appear to him like the perfect setting for any foreplay, I didn't know what was.

He seemed to have read my mind as he fingered the last intact button on my shirt and nuzzled my cheek. "It was kind of you to strap yourself here and wait for me, wasn't it?" he murmured softly. "Especially after inviting yourself over to my room the other night . . ."

But try as I might, I couldn't bring myself to work on my Achilles' heel — his proximity, I finally deduced — or to stop my raging hormones from spinning and bursting out of control right under him. With great reluctance I threw my gaze to one side, refusing to look at him. The glint of something on the chest of drawers caught my eye instead — a multipurpose metallic hairpin.

That damned double-faced housebreaker!

I glared back at him, pushing a puny fist hard against his chest. "I thought you'd learnt your lesson by then?" I growled, trying to keep my cool despite his consistent assaults to my face and all else below; it was proving too difficult, and I couldn't help but let my free leg stray all over his in return. "How come . . . how come I could get into your —"

"I was expecting you. Did you think I'd be stupid enough to lock the door again when you kept throwing yourself at me like that?" He chuckled in relish. "And the way you went about it, it was . . . so damn lovely. I would've thought you were harbouring a dirty little crush on me." His fingers deftly undid that last button, and I let out a quiet sigh. "I wonder . . ."

It's not a dirty little crush, I wanted to tell him. It's not just a dirty little crush. It's . . . it's . . .

By then my hand was already operating on impulse, uncurling against his chest and trying to tear away the layer of clothing that separated his skin from mine. "I — I wasn't . . ." I tried to lie, but a shift of his thigh made me cry out softly with secret pleasure, and in a flash I took into my mouth his thumb that he'd been grazing against my lips, in almost an act of obvious soliciting.

I couldn't believe how kinky I could get.

Teasingly he tut-tutted at me, and pulled the digit out once more. I — with my mouth suddenly empty — felt nothing but peeved and deprived and ravenous all over again. "Bloody hell," I threatened lowly. "I'm going to report you for harassment."

"Don't you give me that harassment crap," he muttered against my temple — his voice was getting seductively huskier — and then my nose. "I might just gag you and leave you here and let someone else dispose of you next term. . ." His forehead pressed against mine, and he looked at me with a moonlit Cheshire smile glowing on his face.

"And anyway . . . it's not called 'harassment' if you're really liking it, right?" I shuddered as his lips caressed mine ever so invitingly. Damn — I wanted to take a bite off that person. "You're thoroughly enjoying all this attention, aren't you?"

As he went on with his cajoling his hands slid their way smoothly up my torso, and I drew my breath in sharply, forcing myself to give the only answer we both wanted to hear. "Oh, yes," I heard myself whisper, in between stunted breaths.

And with what I assumed was satisfaction and gratitude, he ground his hips hard against mine in one masterful move, and I let out a moan in half-hearted protest — which abruptly died as he finally devoured me in one slow and hungry kiss.

There was nothing cloudy about it, of course, but I swore he tasted something like the most clandestine melody from an archangel's harp. And it was nothing but heavenly.

Being tied to this bed in exchange for a romantic tryst with him suddenly didn't seem too unfair a deal after all. Even though he was only a familiar Boy Next Door and not a mysterious masked hero of my dreams. And even though — I couldn't imagine — I might get cramps all over my body by the morning. Which I most probably wouldn't even mind.

If all this isn't going to end my sleepwalking nights, I strained to think, my fingers entangled in his hair, I'm going to have to knock a hole through the wall between —

"I'll wreck my bolt first thing tomorrow morning," he promised, his breaths hot against my lips.

or maybe not, I decided drowsily. But I still needed that hairpin always at the ready. Just in case.


"I don't think so, miss." I'm not sure if the Spanish is used correctly, but anyway. I hope the whole thing was fun enough! :D