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

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     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.





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This article has 75 comments. Post your own!

Calligraphic said...
Jan. 24, 2012 at 8:19 am:
I could feel my gut churning ooooh gave me chills. I really liked it though, it evokes emotions well.
 
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LeCoxx said...
Oct. 17, 2011 at 6:23 am:
Gave me chills! Reminds me of A Nightmare on Elm Street!
 
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caedanse said...
Apr. 2, 2011 at 10:04 pm:
Haunting! Lovely!
 
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kristen178This 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...
Mar. 25, 2011 at 11:01 am:

I love this. It is so morbid! At the same time though, it is a bit unbelieveable. I think that if there was a bit more character background and maybe more sensory detail while he was awake. 

Wow, though! You are a very talented writer with a very good understanding of flow and word choice. Thank you for submitting this piece!

 
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bella049117 said...
Dec. 11, 2010 at 10:54 am:
very good. a little creepy for me, but veryvery well written. nicely done
 
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pookah22 said...
Sept. 30, 2010 at 5:45 pm:
abosolutely amazing writing!!
 
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Amieee said...
Aug. 17, 2010 at 7:53 am:
OMG that was just AMAZING!! i loved it ><  :)  <3 your choice of words are just right and your story plot rox!
 
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LastChapter said...
Jul. 26, 2010 at 11:28 pm:
incredible! i'm getting chills! This is what I aim for when I start a new piece. Ugh, this is amazing. I want to write like this.
 
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wordsflowingfreely said...
Jul. 26, 2010 at 2:39 pm:
Very intriguing and beautifully written! Draws the reader in right at the beginning! Keep writing!
 
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KillerButterfly said...
Jun. 12, 2010 at 12:38 pm:
I agree with liisangel!
 
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liisangel said...
May 21, 2010 at 10:54 am:

This is amazing. I love it ♥ <333

This is my favorite of all the stories I've read so far on this web site :]   5*

 
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writergirl13 said...
Apr. 7, 2010 at 7:16 pm:
this is completely incredible!!!!!! It's really beautiful, but it's also so sad!
 
soccercrazy replied...
Apr. 29, 2010 at 9:24 am :
my thoughts exactly!! i love it, so much!
 
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Darkchloe14 said...
Mar. 16, 2010 at 8:10 am:
This is so unbelievable. I loved it. Please don't stop writing!
 
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lily1411 said...
Jan. 31, 2010 at 9:26 am:
I loved it so much:) it just kept me in the whole story i felt what the character was feeling too...Also, when you switch from dreams to reality and then the part in the car, its like you have to really pay attention because its real...everything was well put together, keep writing definitely
 
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Pensivegurl said...
Dec. 18, 2009 at 8:14 pm:
Whoa! I love this! Keep writing! >.<
 
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Chrissy_L said...
Nov. 29, 2009 at 10:19 am:
I absolutely love this!
I read it a while back, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I just spent the better part of the last hour trying to find this again. This is definitely going in my favorites!
 
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SunshineGirl#15 said...
Nov. 26, 2009 at 6:35 pm:
My eyes almost popped out (really..).
Wow! Man,that's sick..but TOTALLY AMAZING!!
Cheers
 
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screenname! said...
Oct. 29, 2009 at 7:38 pm:
Wow! That was something
 
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Suki-Itami said...
Aug. 14, 2009 at 12:32 am:
This is amazing, great job!
 
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