Please note: each of my chapters contains four short stories, and a tie-in at the end.

I walked out the door. My friend turned towards me.

"No work, no play," he said. It was one of his sarcastic proverbs.

"Aw, screw you. You know I've never done a day's work in my life."

"No work, no play." Now he was blocking the door to the cafeteria.

"Dude, stop blocking the door."

"No work, no play."

I heard banging on the other side of the door. It sounded like fists. Maybe people were trapped in the cafeteria.

I was grabbed from behind, and heard again:

"No work, no play."

I turned around to find my homeroom teacher. Only...different. She seemed as if she had no will over herself.

"Okay, this is really weird, guys. Not funny. Stop it."

"No work, no play."

"Stop it!"

My teacher walked over to the cafeteria and motioned for my friend to move away. She thrust open the door to the cafeteria.

"No work, no play."

Then why was she opening the cafeteria?

That was when a flood of emotionless students streamed out of the cafeteria, all chanting, "No work no play, no work no play, no work, no play..." they ran over me, hardly signifying that they knew I was there. I was knocked down by one. When I got up, I couldn't think---

No work, no play.

No work, no play.

No work, no play.

No work, no play.

No work, no play.

No work, no play...


My brother was chasing me again. He always did this, day after day. It was very annoying, but I played along. He could never catch me.

I heard his voice, calling out "I know where you are!"

He probably did. I was hiding behind a tree trunk, and any sane person would know where I was.

"I know where you are!"

I dared to dash to behind the scuppernong arbor.

"I know where you are!"

This time it was from right behind me. I spun around and it took me a moment to take in what I saw:

My brother, standing there with an ax.

"I know where you are!"

He swung the axe. I screamed. It had chopped through my stomach. As I had seconds left to live, I heard him laugh a childish laugh and say:

"I know where you're going."


I was reading my schoolbook peacefully on my bed when I heard my mother.

"Honey! It's time for dinner!"

"Coming," I yelled back down. I sighed and turned another page in my book. I had to finish it by tomorrow, or else I wouldn't be going to camp. I went to camp every year with my friends, and it was what I lived through. So I decided to wait a few minutes. After I had finished a chapter, I ran down to the kitchen. I looked at my mother.

"So what's for dinner?"


"I didn't smell it."

"Oh, you wouldn't have."

"Why not?"

"Why, honey, because you're the main ingredient."


I woke up on a cot. But I hadn't gone to sleep on a cot. I had gone to sleep on a bed. I wondered where I was. Then I wondered who I was. Then I wondered what is myself? I am not myself. You are not myself. I am in a room-

-But what's a room?

-with a cot.

-But what's a cot?

Why can't I remember anything? And what is remembering?

I stepped out of the door that did not exist into a hall that did not exist. I walked down the hall that did not exist to a door that did not exist. I opened the door that did not exist and I did not fall. But I was falling. I bounced off of something that did not exist. Was I in Alice in Wonderland? Wait a minute that does not exist. Alice in Wonderland does not exist. I was falling, a long fall that did not exist-

-I woke up with a migraine. That was a weird dream. At least a sun was in my window now. My mother came in.

"Mom, I-"

"I am not your mother."

"Then who...?"

"We do not exist."

The world was black.



I was walking home from school like I usually did, smelling the fresh fall air. One of my friends jumped out of the bushes and started walking next to me.

"No work, no play."

"Dude, would you stop it?"

"No work, no play."

I raised an eyebrow at this but continued walking. I would only have to endure his weirdness for a few more minutes before I was home.

"Why has everybody been saying that lately?"

"No work, no play."

I turned into my driveway. He followed.

"You can go home now, you know," I dismissed him. But he didn't do anything. I opened the door, and found a frightening site on the inside.

There was my mother, cooking what looked suspiciously like my sister's head in a pot, with a boy whom I had never seen before sitting down with a bloody axe in front of him.

"What's going on?" I asked, really freaked out.

"Ah, Timmy, it looks like the student council has brought the condiments."

I screamed as the boy with the axe ran towards me.