Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Dreams This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category.

By
     I feel his hand on my shoulder. It is cold, bony, and scrapes against my skin. It doesn’t sting too badly. Pain doesn’t cause discomfort for me - it’s like a Popsicle - strong at first, but after awhile, it melts away. He tells me something, the man behind me. I don’t hear him at first, and that makes him angry. He grips my shoulder tighter.

Now there is pain, pain like grabbing a wire hanger that is left beside a fire, yet I ignore it. He knows I am here, I know I am here, but for some reason, I feel if I don’t acknowledge it. If I ignore what is happening, we will both remain suspended. The two of us will stay lost in this never-ending scene, and I will never die.

The knife enters me anyway.

I feel it; I’m not quite numb yet. I can feel it twist inside me, switching my lung with my heart. Then the world goes black.

I die every time.

I shut my eyes. It doesn’t matter if I sleep for five minutes or 10 hours.

“It’s like sucking your thumb; you’ll grow out of it,” my mother tells me over the phone the next day.

She’s told me that for 18 years. Now I’m ten days away from turning 20 and she still says the same thing. But nightmares are nothing like sucking your thumb. I don’t suck my thumb anymore.

***

It’s 2 a.m. My mouth is dry, and I cannot see because of the tears that blur my eyes. But that doesn’t bother me. Four days is not long to go without sleep. I’ve gone longer. People don’t understand, because they don’t feel their dreams. In mine, I am conscious of everything.

A man is standing in front of me, a doctor. He was called when I stopped responding to the pleas of my pencil-neck roommate. Apparently, he is discomforted by my 96-hour days.

“Having trouble falling asleep, Wesley?” the doctor asks.

“No,” I say.

Falling asleep is easy; too easy. Giving in is something that tempts me every minute. But I can’t do that, because I know that one day, I’m not going to be able to wake up.

He hands me a pill anyway, and tells me to take it. I know this doctor. His name is Ben or Bill or something. He’s come for years. I argue at first, but I know that I don’t have a choice. I swallow the pill dry. Before I know it, I’m back in again.

***

This time I’m underwater. I’m going to drown, I think. The thought relaxes me. The dreams where I drown aren’t all that bad, considering what experiences I could compare them with. But then the dream changes. I am still in water, but it tastes like soup. I look up to see a giant sitting above me.

It’s then I realize that I am going to be eaten alive.

I used to look away when I was about to die. I used to run, beg. Now I lie limply and watch. The giant lifts me up with his fork and bites down, taking off my right leg.

I don’t look away ... I’m past that. But I still scream.

***

I am in the car with my roommate now. We’re getting groceries, and since we’re in my car, I’m driving. I can tell he’s nervous, so I try to calm him.

“Darren ...,” I say.

“Dylan,” he corrects quickly.

I could have sworn his name was Darren. Part of me thinks he’s changed it just to f*** with me. I continue talking anyway.

“I’m not tired ...”

Darren, or Dylan, or whoever he is makes a sound.

“... and I know how to drive.”

Just then, a car honks at me loudly, as if he too wants to prove me incompetent. Apparently, this is too much for my night-light roommate.

“Pull over. Now,” he says.

“Fine,” I say roughly, and pull over. Right into the face of an oncoming truck.

***

Please, someone wake me up. Please. Please. Anyone, please.

I am balancing on the top of a pillar that is just large enough for one foot. Below me, there are hundreds of creatures with whips, chains, and spikes - they’re ready for me to fall. This death will be worth remembering.

Usually I don’t, but I can’t help but start crying this time. This dream has gone on too long. I’ve died five times. Usually, it only happens once or twice. For a moment, I wonder if I have died ... for real ... in the real world. The thought scares me. I always thought it would end at death. Then, around me, I hear familiar voices. They belong to my mother and the doctor.

“Would you like me to let him go?” The doctor asks sympathetically. “There is very little hope that he will come out of it.”

There is a pause and I hear my mom crying, and I allow myself to hope. I am in a coma ... I know it ... it must have happened because of the crash ... and if she chooses to pull the plug on me, I can escape this time. I’ve never been able to escape before.

Against my first instincts, I find myself wanting to die more than anything. If it happens now, in this way, I will never have to die again.

Please, I beg, and then I silence my thoughts so I can better hear her speak.

“No,” she says finally, “not just yet.” I hear the shuffling of tissue. “I want him to rest ... he could use it.” Then, her voice is gone, and all I can hear is the sound of the mob below me.

I lose my balance and fall.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category. This piece won the January 2008 Teen Ink Fiction Contest.





Join the Discussion


This article has 77 comments. Post your own!

ShannonC17 said...
today at 9:11 am:
WOW... is all i can say. I actually don't read too much, just trying to get some in before my Leaving Cert, but I read that I'd say about 12 times.. Seriously that was dark, captivating and you just get sucked in and lost in his thoughts too.. Well done and sriously WOW
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
DramaLlama96 said...
Mar. 27 at 10:50 pm:
I had to read it a couple times to really *get* it. That's a good thing, you know. Not everything should come easy. Not my usual genre, but GREAT writing and style.  One note of critism: I, too, imagined the main character as a girl. Perhaps change some pronouns around?
 
EcilaThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 26 at 8:49 pm :
I don't think it's the pronouns. I think it's the accompanying picture that gives this impression. We subconciously think of it as a representation of the man character.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Firelight23 said...
Dec. 26, 2013 at 12:13 pm:
Nice job! I liked it a lot; it pulled me in.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
MarkJallayuThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 4, 2013 at 7:48 pm:
I couldn't resist this article. I just kept going back and back reading it. You're such an amazing writer. 
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Outcast4GodThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Nov. 12, 2013 at 4:54 pm:
One word: heartbreaking. Not in a bad way, in a really REALLY good way. It really portrays the emotions well and draws you in. You should really consider writing a book!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
DrowningPenelope said...
Nov. 2, 2013 at 3:18 pm:
Crazy has become an understatement.... I wonder if it's like this for all comatose patients?
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
writer5This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Oct. 21, 2013 at 8:34 pm:
That was crazy and amazing; I loved it!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
karinkmokm said...
Oct. 21, 2013 at 9:49 am:
This type of story was so refreshing for me. It is short but very understandable when the scene changing in the character's dream and real world. Plot is utirally express how the main character feeling about the creepy dreams and I think the author has amazing describing skills!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
ramfthomas4This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 3, 2013 at 3:39 pm:
well, that was horrible.  i mean, writing and plot were brilliant. genius. dying over and over again is horrible.  bravo.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Miriacera said...
Sept. 29, 2013 at 5:55 pm:
Your story was really good ,Its diffrent from anything ive red
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
novella said...
Sept. 7, 2013 at 7:14 pm:
This is excellent!  Refreshing, haunting, and just downright scary not knowing what's real and what's not.  It's a great piece!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
SavannaCumbeeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 25, 2013 at 2:40 pm:
The plot was really different from other stories out there; it was nice to be able to read something that wasn't predictable! But, the beginning of the story was a little confusing. Maybe you should add some more characterization to the main character? It might help the readers understand what's going on and why he is going through this. But overall, it was a really great idea!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
kamkitThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 3, 2013 at 6:05 pm:
I am also a pretty morbid writer, and this was a very intriguing story. Weirdly, I originally thought the main character was a girl until the doctor was talking about him after the crash haha... Anyways, short but perfect. This really makes me think about psycology and everything, great thought-provoking piece. Can't wait for more! :)
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Forbidden1 said...
Jul. 3, 2013 at 12:55 am:
That was refreshing. It's always nice to read a new plot, a twist. Most writing seems to be the same, you can always guess the ending. This was different, refreshing, new, thrilling. Thank you. Please keep writing!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Nelu96 said...
May 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm:
These are the writers we admire! Well done.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
theReluctantCynic said...
Apr. 28, 2013 at 3:01 pm:
I've seen this type of plot before, but what's different is the way you delivered this story.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
ladonna said...
Apr. 28, 2013 at 1:09 pm:
This story is so cool, I like how it gets kind of confusing whats reality and whats real. I can't imagine living in this characters shoes...
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
WingsForLily said...
Apr. 6, 2013 at 12:13 am:
Wow, it was captivating, morbid, and your own. I have never read anything like it. Thank you
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
In_Love_with_Writing said...
Jan. 10, 2013 at 7:44 am:
Great story! You're very talented :) Can you rate and comment some of my stories?
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback