Chapter 3

Riley went downstairs to find them all in a circle where the coffee table would normally be. Their sleeping bags placed so they were all lying comfortably. Someone had stretched out a couple of her family’s blankets in the middle of the circle, ready for her to join them. Next to Cat was her cell phone, the screen dark from already having served its purpose. They were all sleeping restfully, waiting for her to pull her in to one shared dream.
Could she do this? What was she even thinking to try such a thing. I should have just done this by myself with Suzy. We could have had some fun and it wouldn’t be as embarrassing if something went wrong… but if something went wrong inside the dreamscape, they’d be alone…
Riley pushed down her fear and moved to the center of the circle.
She looked down at her friends, and smiled at how peacefully they each slept.
“We’re going to have so much fun.” She said, and then lowered carefully, making sure not to touch any of them until she could do it all at once. When she was ready and reached out to them all, the world around her vanished…

Riley emerged at first in a room that was completely dark and she could see each on of her friends like she was looking at them and their dreams on tv screens hanging on hidden walls. She wasn’t sure where she was, but had a sense that this was kinda like her internal control center. Which was good. She hadn’t know what to expect when she’d first entered the dream. She knew what she wanted, but wasn’t sure how to get herself there.
She thought she would have to find each one of them in their dreams and yank them out to her own. This would be much easier, she hoped.
“Okay,” She said to herself, let’s create the world.
She thought about where she wanted to go, but nothing was happening. Everything around her stayed dark.
“Come on, you can do this.” She said to herself thinking of what she wanted to do. She wanted to race. She wanted her friends to race with her. Why wasn’t it working?
Riley grew mad and slammed her fist down. As she did, a rock appears and her fist hit it hard, causing the rock to explode into rubble onto the floor then disappear. Riley looked at the place the rock had been briefly, only vaguely aware of the pain in her hand.
“Hello, can I help you?”
Riley spun to see another girl there with her. Once that Riley thought she recognized, but couldn’t place her.
“Who are you?” Riley said, her surprise causing her voice to raise to nearly a shriek.
“Who are you?” The girl asked in response. “What are you doing here?”
“This is my dream. What are you doing here?”
The girl looked around at the darkness around them. “This isn’t much of a dream.”
“Yeah, well, I’m working on it.”
“There’s so much darkness.”
“Not my idea. You going to tell me who you are?” Riley said. The shock having given way to anger. She hadn’t realized that as she’d been talking, she’d conjured up her laser axe and now had it slung over her shoulder. She was now poised to fight.
“You’re Riley.” The girl stopped looking at the darkness and back at her. “I’m here to help you.”
“Yeah, well who are you?”
“I’m a part of you. That inner voice. The one who tells you don’t eat too many cookies or when you start doubting yourself, I’m the one who tells you how beautiful you are.”
“Yeah, cut the crap. Who are you?”
“You can call me Lisa, if that helps.”
“Is that your real name.”
“I’m whatever name you want to call me. I’m only here to help you. That’s all I ever want to do.”
Riley didn’t know why, but she did find herself trusting this girl. There was something about when she spoke. Each word was like a calming breath that washed over her body and each time she spoke, Riley could feel some of that tension leaving her. It was like a cool, refreshing caress that massaged down her back as Lisa spoke to her, and Riley found herself giving in. It would be okay to trust her, after all, she was a part of her. Why would she fight trusting herself?
Riley found herself lowering her axe.
“What do you want to do?”

“Woah!” Was the first thing out of Bruce’s mouth when he entered her dream. He was the first one she had pulled in, though Suzy was a quick second and they both stood there looking around in amazement. Riley was still looking at it herself too, and she was pretty happy with what she had done. It was awesome! Around her looked like something taken straight out of the Willy Wonka chocolate factory. It was colorful, with large mushrooms that sprung up from the ground, the tops red and glistening as through from a fresh rainfall. Behind them were flowers, all kinds of flowers that rose taller than the mushrooms. Their colors so bright that they seemed as though filtered, but the blossoms looked so stiff as though they weren’t real. They were in a flower garden, with everything so tall, that it made the five of them seem like bugs on the ground. The flowers were as tall as them, the mushrooms up to their chests, and yes, like all great creations should be, it was all made of chocolate. But that wasn’t what was catching Suzy’s attention. She was look at the stretch of racetrack in front of them and the selection of 8 very stylized race cars before them. They all looked like straight out of video games, though not all the same game. There was a black car that had bat wings out the side, and they all knew who that one was for. Then there was a small car that was mismatched yet obviously made from candy that they all recognized. Suzy was already rushing over to it, mimicking sounds of breaking things and stomping on her way over to it. “Is this really?” Cat asked, looking around at the world. “Is this all edible?” “Yep.” Riley said, smiling. “How did you pull this off?” Saber asked, already having changed into her guise of the dream warrior, her electric sword handing on the belt, low to her hip. “It took me some practicing, thinking about what I wanted, but once I did, it just quickly took shape.” Riley thought about telling them about Lisa, but why? Lisa was a part of her. What would she say to them, that she had been talking to herself and herself helped her? They’d all start thinking she was crazy. Maybe she was. Having an inner voice like that, was that normal? Normal people didn’t just start talking to themselves. It twisted Riley’s stomach to think about it, and as soon as she did, she noticed that the world around her started to darken. She hoped nobody else noticed as she started to count down from ten, pulling her mind away from the thoughts. “What’s that?” Riley’s dream eyes shot open, not realizing she had closed them and saw that Cat was pointing down at Riley’s feet. Riley looked down to see that a large toad had jumped between her feet. It reminded her of one of the ones from the cavern. She looked quickly to Saber and their eyes locked. Saber was obviously thinking the same thing. Riley bent down to pick it up. “Eww.” Cat said. “Frogs are so disgusting.” “Frogs are not disgusting.” Riley said, and was getting ready to lift the frog to show Cat how cool it was, when it jumped out of her grasp. Riley tried to watch it, but within a hop, it was gone into the closest brush of flowers. “Are we going to race or what?” Bruce said. He was already in his black racer, His helmet hit much of his face, but his smile was large enough that it could be seen no matter how much of his face was covered. It was so radiant, he was almost glowing with excitement. “So what’s this like? Mario Cart of Slaughter race?” Saber said as she walked over to a miniature version of a bright red car that looked customized out of a road warrior movie. Spikes were coming out from the wheels and the engine rose high through a hole in the hood. It screamed of power and fire and there was no doubt it would be recklessly fast. “I guess we’ll see.” Riley said. She walked over to her car. It was a simple red sports car that looks like a cross between a Camaro and a Mustang. “That’s yours? Isn’t it kind of plain?” Cat said. She was obviously disappointed with Riley’s boring pick. “I couldn’t think of what to pick. I spent so much time thinking what you guys would like, I just couldn’t think what I’d want. I’m not really into racing games.” “Yeah, but you like all those cheesy tv shows.” Suzy snorted. “Correct, I like awesome tv shows, their just all from the eighties. I can’t help it. I love my CBS access. Gives me all the old stuff.” “Seriously, there isn’t one car that you’d love to drive.” Saber said. “Well, there are a couple.” “Like what?” Bruce said. “You want Kit don’t you?” Suzy asked, shaking her head she looked at the bright purple sky. “No. That’d be my dad. Uh uh, no way.” “Then what?” Riley thought about it for awhile. Talking about Kit, which was from her dad’s favorite old TV show Knight Rider did have its appeal, but that wasn’t her and the last thing she wanted to do in there was have anything that reminded her of him. Especially if it was something that reminded her of how happy they had once been, back in the days when she had been daddy’s little girl and they were always hanging out together. He’d raised her on the couch, watching campy old tv shows together, and she’d love it, laugh with him and enjoy all that old stuff. Now he was always gone, and she was all alone, no one’s little girl anymore. There were the more modern day reboots. She thought about the Transformer films. Yeah, those were some cool cars, but nothing that she’d want to race in. Then something came to mind. It was something recent, and as she thought about it, a smirk formed at the edge of her lips as she looked at Saber. Next to the red racer, a bike appeared. It was a long slab of metal that had a very large wheel that extended from the front and another one in the back. The wheels were as wide as the bike itself, what color was it was hard to tell as it looked to have been covered in a thick coating of dust. It was old if not ancient, but it was obvious that Saber recognized it immediately and knew just how new it was. “Nice.” Saber said appreciatively. “Is that from the latest Wars movie?” Bruce asked. “Yes. Yes it is.” Riley said as she swung herself onto it. To top it off, she put on a large white helmet and was immediately covered in the armor from head to toe. “The force is strong with this one.” Suzy said, shaking her head.

“So are we going to race or what?” Riley said, gunning the engine.
Bruce didn’t wait for an answer as the engine of his black roadster roared to lift, spitting flames out from the back of the car. In seconds, it leapt forward, and the race was on as they all moved to catch up.

Published by JasonRDavis

Author of the #zombie apocalypse trilogy Invisible Spiders and the Edge of Darkness series.

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