Well! This idea's been floating around my head for a while, and it's only recently that I've refined it. Enjoy!

The moon shone in the sky above, casting its bluish light upon the inhabitants of the world. The trees in the forests whispered to each other constantly, hissing and whistling and murmuring. The lakes shimmered and rippled, although there was no wind. The mountains spoke to each other in their loud, rumbling voices.

James Jacington tripped on a rock. He fell to the ground and quickly brought himself back up again, swearing. The rocks in this forest were unpredictable: sometimes there would be a clear path, and all of a sudden there would be a large stone in just the right place to trip him.

"Clumsy as ever, I see," said a figure emerging from the shadows. The boy and the man stood staring at each other for a while, allowing their eyes to adjust to the dim eternal light of the moon.

"You again. Wearing that same old theatre mask- tell me, are you frowning behind the smiling mask today or smiling behind the frowning mask today?"

The masked figure cackled, a rather mad type of cackle, thought James. "Perhaps I'm tearfully grinning, or cheerfully mourning. I could be frowning as I laugh, or laughing as I frown. I could be anything at all behind this mask, but I'm afraid you'll never now."

"Enough games, Mime. You told me you had something to tell me." James's face darkened with this pronouncement.

"Dear, deary me. You know that Mime isn't my name, nor is it what I am. I stand here, speaking to you, and you call me Mime? Poor boy."

"Don't stray off-topic."

The masked man smiled behind his frown mask, or perhaps he frowned behind his smiling mask. "Fine. No fun, none at all, that's what you are. I came to bring you a message, boy."

"Which is?" With a raise of his eyebrows, James implored the Mime to speak.

"They're coming for you, boy. They know you're here, but here you don't know. I'd be very wary were I you, but I am not, so my wariness is not of the question. Goodbye, boy."

And the man stepped into the shadows and disappeared.

James woke up. The sun shined brightly into his room through a window: he'd forgotten to pull the shades down over it the night before. He had rushed himself to bed to make sure that he received the Mime's message. The Mime had never told him his real name, but James never could find anything else to call him, although whatever the Mime was, he surely was not a mime.

"James! You're going to be late for school!" his mother's thick British accent screeched at him from the kitchen.

"Alright, alright, I'm getting up!" James yelled back down the stairs. He hurriedly dressed himself and practically ran down the stairs to the kitchen table. His sister, Jack, was already nearly finished breakfast. His mother was busying herself unloading the dishwasher.

"Honestly, James, I don't understand you. You practically go to bed early, but you're still the last one down for breakfast."

"Mmm," James said as he wolfed down a bagel. He hurried to pack his schoolbag, swearing when his binder wouldn't fit on the first try. After his mother told him off, he took off for the bus stop, still finishing his bagel. Jack walked alongside him.

"I hope the bus isn't late again today," she said. "When's our History quiz supposed to be?"

"Today," James replied.


The bus stop was a relatively small cluster of neighborhood kids on the street corner. Some were younger than Jack and James, some were older, and some were their age. It all ultimately amounted the same thing. Noise. It would be worse on the bus, James reminded himself. He sighed.

The bus pulled up to the stop, and the children filed on. Inside there was pandemonium: paper airplanes, spitballs and various other mischievous deeds were taking place. The bus only picked up two more loads of kids before stopping at Jack and James's school. James was thoroughly relieved to step off the bus; Jack was simply happy to see here friends. The first bell rang about three minutes after they arrived.

School was a monotonous routine of classes. Always the same, always boring. Almost nothing interesting happened. Oh, the subject material was different from day to day, but there were no drastic changes. It was almost too easy, thought James as he put the finishing touches on his History quiz. The most interesting thing that the class had studied all week was the myth of Emperor Nero playing the fiddle as Rome burned.

Math, however, was a different story than all the other classes. In Math everything changed constantly. The numbers, the letters, the concepts, the execution, and eventually it all fell into one single place. All of the classes should be more like Math, thought James as he sat through a particularly boring Science class. If something had changed in Science rather than everything being set in stone, then perhaps he could be interested. But Science was one of those subjects: Learn it once and know it forever.

The breaks in the day weren't bad. James could do whatever he wanted, or finish his homework so that when he arrived home he could have more time for his artistic sketches. Or perhaps more time to simply read. Either way, breaks were good. Unless they were lunch, in which case the food was more often poisonous than not.

English was a strange subject, James often thought. Every now and then you bumped into a rule that needed remembering, and in the next five minutes you'd learned that there were three different exceptions to it that were constantly applied. Then the reading was the same, but different. The stories ranged from Shakespearean comedy to dystopian tragedies. But they were all written with the same rules. It often confused James, although he enjoyed reading in and of itself.

Latin was boring. All these rules did not bother James. It was simply the fact that the rules didn't change. He much preferred English as a language, although Latin made more logical sense. James could simply not see the fun in repetition.

So when the final bell rang, he sighed a sigh of relief and began to leisurely pack his bags. It was a Friday, so it was into the free bliss of the weekend for him.

His father awaited in the car to pick him up for school. Jack ran to the car, James, however, walked at the same pace he had been before. When he finally stepped into the car, Jack and his father were having a heated conversation. With a little time, James began to understand what they were debating.

"Absolutely not, Jack!"

"But we'll sleep in James's room," Jack pleaded.

"Hold it! Hold it!" said James. "Nobody's going to be sleeping in my room until somebody explains what's going on."

Mr. Jacington sighed and turned to James. "She wants to have a sleepover with her boyfriend."

"Dad! He is not my boyfriend! Tell him that, James! Tell him that Mack isn't my boyfriend!"

"I might as well tell him that the sky is red," James replied.

"You...you!" Jack fumed.

"We'll discuss this with your mother, young lady."

The homework was easily finished and put away, so James resigned himself with nothing to do. Being able to complete schoolwork so easily meant that James could assign to himself multiple other activities to do, such as reading (currently finishing 'Great Expectations') or piano, or sometimes even video games when it struck his fancy.

Today it was thinking.

James needed to think about something very important: the Mime's message and how to respond. Sometimes in that world everything wanted to kill him. Sometimes everything wanted to protect him. James didn't know why, but he had always been almost completely awake during these recurring dreams, or whatever they were. Perhaps they were portals to another dimension. They certainly were very realistic. Sometimes he'd even met people he knew in the real world, but there was something different about them that he couldn't quite place his finger upon. Once he had had a conversation with a little girl living in the house next to his in this dream-world, and, upon waking, found himself walking to her house to carry on the conversation. But she denied knowing anything about it, and gave James a very odd look. James turned, and, having learned from years of past experience, knew that there was no-one he could talk to about the strange and fantastical world of dreams.

The Mime had told James that 'they' were coming for him, whoever 'they' were. Perhaps they were the rulers of the other world. Perhaps they were people from that universe that hunted people like him. But it did not matter. They were coming to kill him, of that James knew. What he knew not, however, were the real-world repercussions of this. If he died in that world, would he actually die in both worlds or return to his own world, never to visit the dream-world again? If that were so, James would be immensely happy to throw himself off of a cliff.

But it was too risky to take the chance. Although James may be abnormal, he was sure that his death would be quite normal. He doubted that he'd rise from the dead to walk the world forever, or be some sort of ghost.

He had always been on his guard in that world. Too many madmen to be careless around, in his opinion. Sometimes the madmen or madwomen, as the case may be, would actually attempt to harm him. Sometimes he'd stumble to what he thought was the heart of a forest and come out on a desert plain. He'd find a town where he expected there to be none, and the inhabitants would be frogs and snakes and dwarves and giants. Everything was changing constantly, and there wasn't quite a way to map it out. But that did not bother James, for he did not truly live in that world.

It was on Earth that he was grounded and would forever remain to be.

His mother called him for dinner. James leisurely walked down the stairs, knowing that with every second he got closer to knowing the meaning of the Mime's straightforward, and yet cryptic, message.

The dinner was not terrible, although it was not the best food that James had ever stomached, either. Chicken, rice and vegetables. It was surely very good for him, and organic. His mother, luckily for James, was one who went out of her way to make sure that nothing she bought was processed.

Once dinner was finished, James went to his piano and began to bang out a tune. It wasn't perfectly musical, yet it seemed to fit. The key seemed to flow from major to minor within seconds of the last switch. James had written it a long time ago; it was his first composition. It was borderline insane to write something that sounded out-of-tune and musical at the same time. The piece mesmerized James for nearly two hours, and he added to and amended it just as he had been since the third grade, in which he had first learned to write music. Over time it had grown to be greater than he had ever hoped it to be, or perhaps over time it had grown to be more tuneless than ever before. It really depended on how you first heard it, thought James as he played it one final time.

At 8:00 P.M. he led himself into bed and pulled the covers up around him. He read for about thirty minutes, inhaling Charles Dickens' great work of Great Expectations. Before James turned off the light and easily dropped off to sleep, he realized that the window was open. He cursed himself for being so forgetful before actually getting up and shutting it. Once he completed this great task, he put himself to bed, and with that, to sleep.

Hope you liked it. Constructive criticism is great. Godly praise is also great. Reviews are even better. I promise most of the next chapter will be in 'the dreamworld' or whatever it is (first person to suggest a name gets a cookie! Okay, not really, but maybe commendation in the next chapter)