Something about the lighting in the room was very... Off. I found myself in a room that appeared to be the basement of the house I grew up in, before my charming 'mother' sent me to this hell. I was looking around the room- I didn't know what I was looking for until I found it, of course.
Or should I say, I found him.
I recognized everything from the pink insulation stuffed behind the ricked planks of wood on the walls straight down to the cold concrete floor that had always tinged my feet strangely. It felt exactly the same as it did before.
I aimlessly wandered into the next room, where the scene before me had changed dramatically. I had seemingly left the dull room, and as I exited, an amusement park unfolded before my very eyes; The night sky was darker than black, and the stars brighter than, well... Stars. There were roller coasters and tents, ride upon ride... And I instantly felt a pang of joy. Of course, I still felt incomplete. I had to find what I was looking for. I needed to.
So I wandered, completely ignoring all of the sights that surrounded my vision. Soon enough, I stumbled upon a large purple and green striped circus tent. Without thinking, I entered, and inside was easily what I would call a very cliche circus arrangement. There were a few clowns; One of them easily balancing on a giant purple ball, and one of them taming a lion. There was a bearded lady pushing a baby carriage and even a man on stilts And in the middle of all of this going on, I noticed a man.
He was wearing an all baby blue suit with a top hat to match. And as I walked towards him, my eyes fixated on my destination, I began to recognize his face.
The messy tuffs of blonde hair hiding beneath the hat… The aquamarine eyes... The evil, yet oddly attractive grin...
It was Liam.
His face was painted entirely white, with a red stripe decorating each cheek from his eye, which was also displayed some sort of sparkly makeup. And when he saw me, he smirked.
"Ah, Natalie, you've arrived!" He said jubilantly, his arms outstretched as if to give me a hug. Suddenly, I noticed that I was no longer in the same attire I was previously wearing. I was wearing a sparkling gold dress, red bunny slippers and some sort of funky bonnet.
"The fuck?" I asked out loud, even in a dream being my natural self.
"We've all been waiting for you, Nat." Said Liam, before standing up and clapping his hands ridiculously loud. Everybody snapped to attention. "Listen up, Carnies! Our main event has finally arrived!"
Main event? I wondered to myself, confused.
"Lets get this show on the road!"
All of the ... interesting carnies cheered, and suddenly the tent's bleachers were flooded with people.
"Ladies and Gentlemen," Liam announced, his voice strong and proud as always, "we welcome you to the most amazing, most exhilarating, most fantastical circus in the entire universe. I am proud to present, Liam's House of Madness!" The crowd went wild. I stood there, forever baffled. "For our main event, we have the wonderful tightrope walking Natalie! Give it up!"
The spotlight fell upon me and I instantly had no idea what was going on. And before I even knew it, I was way, way, way up high, higher than what would be considered 'normal' for a circus (apparently the tent had grown) and Liam was up there with me.
"The whole crowd is watching, Natalie." He said, his eyes boring intently into mine. "Don't fuck up."
I gulped, looking forward at the very thin rope that would be my path. This is a dream, Nat. I told myself, my critical lucid dreaming skills coming into play. And so, I walked forward, swallowing any fear I was feeling.
I stood on the rope.
I took a step forward.
... Nothing happened.
And so, I smiled, thinking hey, this isn't so hard!
Most definitely a jinx. One more step, and I had tripped, plummeting to what felt like was my death, and instantly everything went black.
I shot upright in my bed, completely startled. It took me a moment to process what had just happened.
"What a weird fucking dream." I thought aloud, my expression quizzical. I recalled it; Every moment of it, down to the very last second where I believed for a second that I was actually going to die.
And then I remembered why I was supposedly going to die.
"... Liam..." I said grudgingly, cursing his name to the very pits of hell.
I had spent the rest of the day doing homework and a bit of art in my room. It was around 6 o'clock, and I thought it was weird because Kiara and Laura weren't back yet. I assumed they'd gone out for dinner.
As I lay on my bed, math textbook and papers sprawled in front of me, I felt my tummy growl. I laughed to myself. "I guess I am a lil hungry." I said aloud, standing to my feet. I decided that some dinner wouldn't be so bad. I thought for a moment, before grinning. "Junk food."
I had tried to contact Brendan and Johnny, but they weren't answering, for whatever reason. This annoyed me; I hated going out alone. But alas, it had to be done. So I made my way over to the cafeteria, cautious with every step... Why?
Because I wanted to avoid you know who, of course.
Much to my thankfulness, I arrived at the cafeteria, eyes untainted from the sight of Liam. This certainly lightened my mood... Until I spotted them.
Probably the first thing I noticed in the caf were none other than my two best friends, plus worst enemy...
(I don't care if I sound over dramatic, I hate that guy!)
The Three Musketeers were sitting at our table, enjoying a delightful, elegant dinner for three. I didn't even have time to second thought myself before I had stormed up to them. So much for avoiding Liam, eh?
"What the fuck is this?" The rage inside of me spoke. The three of them all raised their heads, eyes falling upon me in confusion. I glowered angrily, my blood reaching a boil.
"What?" Johnny was the first to inquire. I glared at him.
"Why didn't you answer my texts!" I demanded.
"I left my phone in my room..." He answered sceptically. He could tell I was angry. Johnny, though a complete buffoon at times, was intelligent enough to know not to fuck with me when I was in one of those moods. "Sorry, Nat."
"Humph." My eyes fell upon Brendan's. He looked semi-frightened. He should be, I thought. "What about you? Why didn't you text me back?" As fast as a little mouse being chased by a fat persian cat, Brendan whipped his cell phone out of his pocket and tossed it to me.
"Batteries dead." He peeped. I examined the phone, and sure enough he was being truthful. The phone would not turn on. Just to make sure, I checked the back of it as well to see if the battery was even in it, to determine if Brendan and Johnny were simply avoiding me. Much to my thanks, that was not the case. However, there was still one problem left...
"You." I shot Liam daggers- Flaming daggers with blades as sharp as exacto-knives. Oh, if looks could kill...
"Oh, hey Nat, sup?" Liam inquired casually, oblivious to my evident state of mind. Yeah, he is a fucking idiot.
"Don't 'sup' me." I bitched. "What do you think you're doing?"
His eyes darted from side to side. "Eating dinner...?"
I scoffed and rolled my eyes. "I can see that." I pointed to the chair he was sitting in. "That's my seat." I told him, intense sternness lacing my voice.
"Oh!" He abruptly jumped to his feet. "I'm sorry, I didn't think you would be joining us tonight."
"Yeah, well, here I am." I said, instantly sitting my flustered ass in the seat he had previously stolen from me. I was now back in my rightful place. Brendan and Johnny looked modestly petrified.
There were many moments of awkward silence, before Axel dared to break it.
"So uh..." He nervously scratched the back of his head. "What's got your knickers so twisted?"
If he had asked this question a few minutes earlier, I probably would have ripped his head off. But by the time he had been brave enough to utter the words, I had calmed down. Kinda.
I merely shrugged.
"Yeah Natalie, you seem awfully tense." Liam commented. I chose to ignore this.
"Well you did go home sick today, did you not?" Queried Brendan. I nodded.
"Yep. I had a... Headache."
"That's too bad." Liam said. "Did you take an advil?"
"Naw. I didn't bother."
"But if you have a headache, don't you think you should take some medication?" He suggested. "I bet you'd feel a lot better."
I shook my head. "No thanks."
I wasn't looking at him, but I assumed that Liam's expression had turned puzzled. I didn't care.
In all honesty, dinner that night had been an awkward one. Not just for me, but for everyone. It was clear that I had invaded their 'guy time' or whatever they wanna call it... Which sucks, because normally, I am 'one of the guys'...
With my belly full of deliciously deep fried mexi-fries, I made my way back to my dorm room on my own. The hallway was quiet... Too quiet, and for whatever reason, it gave me the chills. I sped up. And as soon as I turned the corner...