The story below is a winner from our Fiction Fantastic Young Writers Contest, open to all youth in Lane County. For more information on this contest, including how to enter, visit here. Support this program with a donation.
You can purchase this story in the 2020 Winners Anthology Fueled By Fire here.
“The Dream” by Rogue Miles-Waybrant, Gilham Elementary School
Third Place, Elementary Level, 2020
By Rogue Miles-Waybrant
Gilham Elementary School
The sounds of breathing echoed through the dark forest. There was so much fog I couldn’t see anything more than a yard away from me. I pulled my dirt-stained flannel off and wrapped it around my waist. I heard whistling in the distance. I started to get nervous. My eyes darted everywhere there might have been a sound. The wind seemed to whisper into my ear. Suddenly, a silhouetted figure appeared in the fog. I had the urge to ask who was there, but I was too scared. I didn’t know why. I decided I didn’t have a choice. I had to declare who this mysterious subject was. “Hello?! Is anyone there?” The figure started to get closer. “Only you,” the figure said. “What?” I asked, sweat running down my face. “Only you,” the figure repeated. “What’s happening?!” I yelled, trying to get a clear answer from him. “Only you,” the figure repeated. “Stop saying that! I need a real answer from you!” I said, annoyed and scared now. The figure was still saying, “Only you. Only you. Only you.” Darkness crowded around me as if I was slowly drifting into a deep, deadly pit. Then it all went black.
“So you had a dream about some tall shadow dude?” my best friend, Alex Jayman asked.
Fortunately for me, I happen to have a very realistic imagination during sleep. “I don’t know. It just seemed . . . so . . . so real,” I answered, shuddering just thinking about the strange incident. What if the shadow figure is real? What if he’s after me? Will anyone else see him? Am I going insane? My thoughts swirled around my head like objects in a tornado. “Only you. Only you. Only you.” Oh, no. It was happening again. “Only you. Only yoooou!”
Suddenly the sound stopped. The silence broke when someone started yelling my name. “Robert! Robert!” I snapped back into reality.
“Dude. What the heck?! You totally just spaced out,” Alex said.
I grasped my forehead. It felt hot.
“Are you all right?” he asked.
“I feel like I’m gonna throw up,” I answered.
“Come on. Let’s take you to the nurse.” He grabbed my hand and walked me to the health room.
“What’s up, sweetie? You got a fever?” Ms. Anne, the nurse, asked.
“Yeah.” I answered groggily. She stuck a thermometer in my mouth. She unfortunately said, “Oh yeah. 104. What’s your mom’s number?”
I coughed painfully and answered, “555-787-4639.”
She tapped the numbers on the phone. The repetition of the clicking started to get on my nerves. Bad. Finally, the nurse stopped and started saying something to my mom. But whatever it was, I couldn’t understand it. The darkness was starting to come back. “Only you. Only yo—Aughhh!”
I jolted into the air, sweating like I was wearing a jacket in 80-degree weather. My mom looked at me.
“Hey, sweetie. How are you feeling?” she asked.
“Wait, whuh?” I answered with a psychotic look on my face.
She chuckled. “Yeah. You were passed out when I got there.”
I stared at her. “Huh?”
She chuckled again. “Go to sleep, sweetie, it’s late.”
I gasped. “No! No, no, no, no. No. No.”
She glared at me. This time it was her turn to look psychotic. “Okay, okay! Relax. Watch some TV or something.” She started up the stairs and then stopped. “Tell me if you need anything, okay?”
“Kay.” I answered. She started up again. “Wait!” I said.
“Yes?” she asked.
“Why did you tell me to sleep, after I’d been sleeping?” She shrugged with her pupils at the edge of her eyes and started up again.
The angry-looking cafeteria lady poured the green goop on my tray as I talked to Alex about what my mom had said.
“Yeah dude. Pretty peculiar indeed,” he said with his eyebrow an inch above the other. We walked over to the 7th grade table. “You know, I always wondered about ol’ Ms. Morganson.”
“Your mom isn’t exactly the most normal person out there.” We dropped our trays on the table and sat down on the bench. I picked at my macaroni. “What’s the matter, dude?” Alex asked. “You always love macaroni day.”
I looked at Alex. “I don’t know.”
“All right, everyone. Open your history books to page 437 please,” Mrs. Bowmanson said to our class.
I pulled my textbook out and flipped the pages over to 437. On the top of the page, in bright red letters, it said THE MAYFLOWER. I rolled my eyes. History was my least favorite class. Mrs. Bowmanson always droned on and on about how World War I started or what year the Declaration of Independence was made. I know she’s a teacher and all, but honestly, why not study about Basketball or try to find out learn who the voice of the Cookie Monster is or something?
“You said that to her face?” Alex asked me. We were at my house studying together. I had a guilty look on my face. Alex closed his book, and as soon as he saw my expression, he burst out laughing. “I can’t believe you said that!”
I slapped my face. I knew I shouldn’t have. “I’m guessing that had something to do with the C- I’d gotten on the big test yesterday.”
Alex looked at the clock. “Oh, no. I should be getting home now. Later, dude!” Alex said, grabbing his backpack.
“Bye!” I yelled, as he left through the door.
I jumped in bed, pulled the covers over me, and fell asleep. A long silence. “Only you. Only you.” I saw the figure again. I wasn’t at my house anymore. I was in the dark forest again. This was it. I was over it. “Stop it!” I yelled. I stood up and walked over to the figure. I formed my hand into a fist. “Tell me what this is,” I said. “Or else.” He lifted his arm. His hand facing horizontal. Without any physical contact, a force hit me and I flew into the air and fell on my back against the dirt, not paralyzed, but barely able to move. He walked up to me. I was finally able to make out his face. A very familiar one. “Only you,” he said with toothless sinister smile. I screamed.
“There’s no way that story’s true,” my new friend, Andrew Wayside said. “Oh, but it is.” I said. “Only you.” He glared at me. “What?” “Only you,” I repeated. He laughed. I could tell he saw the red glowing in my eyes. A frightened look grew on his face. This was just what I wanted. “You don’t understand. I’m Robert Morganson.” His eyes widened. “But I thought the shadow person was the bad guy,” he said, getting more and more scared. “Was, Andrew. He was. Until of course, he got me.” He started backing away from me. “Hey, Alex, it’s time.” Alex walked over from the side of the doorway to the empty cafeteria. “Welcome to the group, Andrew.” Andrew backed away more. He hit the side of the wall. Alex and I cornered him. I held up my hand. The force that impacted me ten years ago was now impacting him. “What’s happening?” he asked, rubbing his eyes groggily. He was panting heavily. He looked up. His panting silenced. Red formed in his eyes. He started to grin. Not just any grin. A toothless, sinister grin.