Chapter 7: Dreamscape

Theme: "Back To Life" by Lansdowne

The logical decision, and the smartest one, would be to get the others to go and help Lizzie. After all, with all of us, we'd have a better chance of getting it away. But of course, I've never been on with logic, and rather act on impulse without thinking. So, the second I see Lizzie being choked by this thing, I do what only the most dumbass of all people would do.

I charged at it. And without some sort of weapon to even defend myself. I just flung the door open and ran towards them, almost slipping the dew-ridden grass. "Leave her alone!" I screamed at it, ready to tackle it. When I saw Lizzie, I was mortified. Her face looked frozen in fear, those spring green eyes cold and just staring at Him. I was nearly ready to tackle it, then just grab her and get as far away as possible. But everyone knows nothing goes the way you plan.

So, before I was even close to the thing, I found myself thrown back, my back making direct contact with the concrete of the driveway. I tried to get up, but found myself staring into two big black lines that passed for legs. I slowly looked up, staring at the white ovular blob that made up for a face. A dozen black lines were wriggling behind its back. I suddenly felt lightheaded, and I doubled over. A terrible cough racked my body, making me shake and feeling like I was about throw up, spit coming up. I fell onto my side, everything dimming as I continued to cough. I looked at Lizzie, who was lying spread eagle on the grass.

And just like that, i was out of it.

The sun is shining bright, and I see I'm in a field. Bright green grass goes on for miles, and a few patches of colorful wild flowers. I look around. What am I doing here? I look down to see my feet are dressed in white Mary Janes that have baby blue bows on the straps, and socks that have lace on the cuffs. I have on what looks to be an off white dress. I look at my hands. They're too small and too chubby. In fact they look like the hands of -

"Joanne! You coming?"

I turn around the see the source of the voice. At the top of a hill is Bethany. She's wearing a sleeveless dress that's pale yellow with a white camisole. A yellow headband nearly blends in with the rest of her blonde hair, and she holding a pair of thong sandals in her hand. But there's something different about Bethany. She's younger, shorter. Her chest isn't developed yet, and her legs aren't as long as they normally are.

Then, it hits me that this is what Bethany looked like when she was eleven. Yes, I remember. This is an outfit she wore when we went to play in the fields once. She was eleven, I was eight. But why am I dreaming this? It's nothing of importance. I look up again to see Bethany waving at me, urging me to hurry up. What's her deal? But I run as fast as my feet can take me, and start climbing up the hill. It's a bit steep, so I have to crawl like a soldier before I can make it to the top.

When I'm at the top, Bethany's already going towards the forest, her dress seeming to glow in the darkness of the trees. "Bethany, wait for me!" I call out, my voice a bit high pitched. As I run towards her, I trip, my glasses flying off and landing a good few feet away from me. I sniffle when I get up. The bottom front of my dress is covered with dirt, and I have a scrape on my knee. I pick up my glasses, a bit upset when I see there's a crack in them. I see that Bethany's disappeared from sight. I just grip my glasses in my fist and run. "Bethany, where are you?" I yell out, looking around the forest. It's a bit darker than the field, and the silence- save for the occasional chirp of birds- is a bit scary. I wander around. The forest, from up ahead, looks like it goes on forever.

"Come on, Joanne!" I see Bethany at the right, calling me over. I start running, though it's a bit difficult with my scraped leg.

A sudden cracking stops me, and I slow down to a stop. I look behind me. Nothing's in sight. I tilt my head, a bit confused, before shrugging and turning around.

But there's something in my way.

It's a tall gangly shape. Two long lines hang at its sides, and it's held up by two longer lines. It's blacker than anything in the forest, which is weird since it's the middle of the day. A patch of white is the only thing breaking through with color at the top. The top, speaking of which, is a circular shape, barren for anything but its snow white color.

It's like a person.

We just stare at each other, me at him, him at me. He's tall, like a tree. It's nothing I've ever seen before. I reach out to touch him, to make sure he's real. I walk closer. He doesn't seem to be moving. I reach out to grab his hand, but a giant scream that rips through the forest breaks my concentration.

"JOANNE!" Bethany's voice screams from behind him, "GET AWAY FROM HIM!"

"Joanne! Joanne, are you okay! Say something!"

I'm brought back to the land of the living by the shrill voice of Paige, who sounded awfully close. Suddenly, a sensation of a hand on my shoulder started shaking, and I shot up, afraid of who was touching me. Paige was on her knees, looking like she was about to have a meltdown. Jason was over by Axel, who was over by Lizzie. Axel suddenly picked Lizzie up bridal style and gestured to me. "What happened?" I asked, still a bit out of it. "That's not important, we need to get you inside," Jason bluntly said as he grabbed my arm and flung it over his shoulder, his hand around my waist. Paige mimicked the movement and they dragged me inside like I was a wounded soldier.

They brought me to the bathroom. Axel had Lizzie leaning against him on the edge of the tub, a bottle of peroxide in his hand a a thing of bandages on the sink. Jason leaned me up against the wall, and they shut the door. "Why is...?" I began to ask about the contents, when I realized why they were out.

Lizzie had a burned, bloody handprint around her neck.

A sudden stinging sensation made me look at my ankle, where I realized, to my horror, there was a matching handprint. "What happened to you two?" Axel asked as he dabbed Lizzie's neck with a paper towel. She winced, coming back, looking around. "Where am I?" she asked, before realizing with wide eyes that she was leaning against Axel...who was shirtless. I looked at her. "I-I don't know. I was using the bathroom. I saw Lizzie wasn't in her sleeping bag, and the window was open. And when I looked out, she was...out there...with..." I trailed off, the others seeming to get where I was going.

Axel looked at Lizzie, who looked like she was on the verge of panic. "I-I-I don't know. I was sleeping, and I felt like someone was dragging me, and when I woke up, I was..."

She looked like she was about to cry. Axel wrapped his arm around her side and pulled her close, not seeming to notice the Lizzie was several shades of scarlet. "Now, now. No time for that. We got to get those wounds cleaned," he explained, going to dab at her neck again.

But he was stopped by the sound of the doorbell ringing.

"Hey, guys, someone left a package for us!" Jasmin yelled from downstairs.