The Nightmare World

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Chapter 3

I open my eyes and find myself back in the nightmare world.

I stiffens at the surrounding from yesterday reemerge.

Thoma: Jessica!

I sit up. And saw three young men standing before me.

I smile at them ,but the feeling I was hoding back suddenly loosen up, I felt something hot roll down my cheeks.

Thoma: are you crying?!

Thoma immediately rushes to my side.

Ray: don't crowd her space.

Ray turns to me.

Ray: are you hurt anywhere?

Me: no, I..

I wipe my tears.

Me: Monica.... I don't understand what happened. This is all so unnerving... But seeing all of you makes me feel so much better.

As soon as my cheeks are dry, I feel the sting in my eyes once more. I bite my lips.

Subaru pats my back reassuringly.

Me: I am glad you all are okay.

I hold back the tears again and speak up.

Me: I was so afraid after hearing about Monica.

Ray: I understand. The news was so concise about things...but knowing what happened here, it's so much more compicated.

I stare into the dark abyss.

(This is where Monica died...)

(We will find out what happened to you, Monica. I promise.)

In my heart, I offer a little prayer for her.

Ray:for now , let's head back to the room we originally appeared in .

Ray is so considerate. He must have noticed the way I was looking at the hallway. He's bossy ,but surprisingly kind.

Thoma:so I have been thinking about it over all day.

Thoma looks at each pf is,and we all nod for him to continue.

Subaru:if we die in here,we die in real life too.

I tried to avoid thinking about it until now,but the reality of this hits me like a tons of bricks.

Ray: whether this is all real or just a dream, I don't know, but from the looks of it, he's probably right. We also don't know when these nightmares are going to end. Lets just call it a"nightmare world" for know.

Me:nightmare world...

Ray: sleeping and dreaming are functions of the central nervous system. When you think about it that way, Monica passing away due to a severe brain injury makes logical sense.

Subaru cups his chin in thought.

Me: what's wrong, Subaru?

Subaru: this feels like some kind of game.We are against something we don't know,and as long as we stay alive, we will win.

We are talking about life and death here,and he's treating it like a game?

(Is he really not scared?what a weird guy... I don't know whether he is carefree or just plain stupid.)

Thoma: that's a nice way to look at it, but setting is so ominous that I am not having fun at all!

Thoma laughs at his own joke,and I can't help but chuckle a little.

Ray:get real ,guys. Do you think this is some kind of a joke?we could all due here.

Me:...

His words snap me back to reality. Thoma looks like Ray just slapped him.

Ray: we don't know anything about this world . If we are going to survive we need to learn everything about this place.

Me:you are right. It's a little scary,but if we don't explore outside,we won't get anywhere.We don't know what's outside ,so why don't we start by taking a look there?

(The very thought of opening the door and seeing that monster sends shiver down my spine.)

Besides, I am anxious about what will actually change by us finding out more about this world. As if reading my thoughts, Ray lightly pats on my head.

Ray: right. To borrow your analogy,we will win this game.

Subaru:no matter what.

Thoma nods,his eyes lightning up. A slight smile even seems to slide across Subaru's face.

(Ray really is a good leader.)

With our outlook a bit more positive,we decide to explore what we have begun to call "The Nightmare World"

I look around the room and notice a window. The blood moon shines down on us.

Thoma:are you ready ,Jessica?

Me:yeah,lets do this!

I grab the baseball bat.

The four of us head to the door.

Ray:okay,splitting up would help us research for clues faster. Lets meet back here in half an hour.

Thoma:but we don't have any way to tell the time.

Ray takes somethings out of his pockets.

Me:are those stopwatches?

Ray: that's right. I figured if watches can't tell the exact time here,atleast maybe we could tell how much time has passed.

He expected us to be taken to the nightmare world again tonight and came prepared.

(While I spent my time denying the reality of this, Ray was busy thinking of a solution.)

I gasp lightly,returning a smile of my own.

Me: that's a great idea.

Ray: I replaced the batteries,so I know they will last for a while.

Thoma:lets see if it works.

Thoma takes one of the stopwatches. We watches closely as he clicks the button.

Me:Aha!

The numbers runs,ticking up as the seconds pass by.

(It works.)

We each take a stopwatch,and while the three of us are still deciding what to do, Subaru clicks his flashlight on and is already out of the door.

Me: Subaru,wait!

Subaru looks back at us and points eastward.

Subaru: I will check over here.

Ray:alright,just be back in thirty minutes.

Subaru nods and disappears down the hallway.

(Is he really not scared?)

Thoma: he's an odd one.

Me:you can tell from his uniform that he's in high school. He's younger than me. Will he be alright on his own?

My comment fades into the darkness.

Thoma: it's pitch black...

Thoma narrows his eyes. Ray turns on his flashlight,but it does nothing to tell us what's out there.

Me:its like a long ,endless tunnel. I can't believe Subaru walked out there alone.

All of a sudden I feel a breathe on my neck.

Me:!

Reminded of the fangs of that monster from last night,my entire body breaks out into goosebumps.

(what was that?!)

I cover the nape of my neck and turn to see Thomas's blinding smile.

Thoma:are you scared?

Me:jeez!

(Of course I am scared!)

(I feel silly for being so jumpy,but can you really blame me?)

Trying to hide my embarassment,I give Thoma a good strong poke.

Thoma:Ow,ow!okay,sorry.

Me:...

He laughs at me.

I notice Ray looking at us to see what's going on.

(He didn't notice that I was about to cry,right?)

Thoma:no need to be afraid. I will let you come with me.

(I can't be looked after all the time. I need to do my part too.)

Me: I will go the other way.

Thoma:all right then ,see you later.

Thoma waves as he walks in the opposite direction.

Me:okay, I have to get going too.

I tell myself ,staring into the darkness. But as soon as I take a step, I feel my legs freeze.

(I have never a anywhere this dark...)

I shake my head. I find myself turning in the direction Thoma headed off.

Me:so much for not being afraid.

I gasp when I sense something moving behind me. I clutch the baseball bat tighter to my chest.

Ray:you should have said so earlier,then.

(What the-? It's Ray. He's back.)

Feeling Ray step beside me , I let out a sigh of relief.

Me: I am not scared. I just...

Ray lets out a quiet laugh.

(This is embarassing...)

Ray: don't push yourself too hard .

Ray pats my head softly.

Ray:given the circumstances, its perfectly normal for a human to be afraid. However, I question the mental health of those two fearless fools.

Me:normal for a human..?

(I don't really understand what he means,but maybe this is his way of trying to make me feel better?)

(Wait,does he means that Ray is scared too?)

Ray walks ahead of me,but then he stops,turns, and smiles. It's a comforting smile,warmer than any I have seen from him so far. I get the urge to rush over to his side.

Ray: what's the matter?are you not coming with me?

Me: I will be fine alone, Ray. The least I can do is look around.

Ray:suit yourself. Just be back on time.

I nod and Ray leaves,taking the straight path.

(Okay Jessica, lets do this.)

I find stairs that take me down.

Me:the door is huge!

I reach for the rusty knob,and it creaks horrendously as I turn it.

(Oh holy crap...)

Opening the door, I step out into the courtyard. The grass is Overgrown and the flowers are wilting.

(Hmmm....this place seem so strangely familiar.)

I look straight ahead to find a towering gate.

Me: have I been here before?

For some reason I start to feel nostalgic,as if remembering my forgotten childhood.

(Could be connected to my missing childhood memories.)

Me:then again,this is a dream...

BEEP BEEP!

Out of nowhere,the stopwatch beeps.

(Time to go back...)

I eye the gate as I slowly turn around.I stand next to Ray.

Ray:okay,so is everyone here?

Everyone:yeah.

We all look at each other.

Ray:okay,report.

I raise my hand and Ray nods.

Me: I went downstairs and found the entrance. There's a dying courtyard,playground and a huge gate . But....

Subaru:but...?

Me: it's strange....but I feel like I've seen it before.

Thoma: I feel the same way.

Ray narrows his eyes.

Thoma:not the courtyard,but I find a study hall in the east wing.

Thoma tilts his head.

Thoma: I feel like I have taken a class here or something.

Me:you too?

I try to search my memories of any other clues.

Me:oh! And I found a name on the gate. It was backwards ,so I couldn't read it properly. But this place... It seems like someehere kids have stayed

Subaru:an orphanage?

Thoma:why would be at an orphanage?

Ray:we can't be sure yet. What about you Subaru?

Subaru: I-

Subaru suddenly stops talking .

Me: Subaru, what's wrong?

He says nothing. Worried, Thoma shakes him.I follow Subaru's line of sight and freeze.

Thoma: what's wrong?where are you-?

Thoma turns to the doorway and freezes as well.I hold my breadth.

Ray: that's....

Outside the door,a little boy is standind guietly.

When I think about the events of last night, I realize they were someone's childhood memories of this place.

(....who is that?)

I feel like I have seen him somewhere before.For some reason, sorrow grips tightly at my heart.He's not doing anything. The boy stares at us for a few seconds,then turns to walk away.

Me:wait!

Without thinking, I call out to him. I immediately cover my mouth with my hands.

(Why did I do that?)

The boy looks over his shoulder casually, then turns and keep walking.

Subaru:He wants us to follow him,it seems.

Ray stands up,stepping ahead.

Thoma:follow him?you can't be serious!what if he's a monster?

Subaru:only one way to find out.

Subaru follows Ray's lead and heads to the door.

Thoma: Jessica,tell me you are staying, please.

(I don't know why, but I don't feel scared or threatened by the boy.)

Wanting the reason the reason for this sorrow I feel, I pull myself together and stand up as well.In the end,all of us follow the young boy.

We follow him down the stairs until we reach the basement.

Thoma:okay,what now?

The young boy walks through the door without opening it.

Everyone:!

We all look at each other,jaws open in horiffic awe.

Thoma:what was that?!

Thoma hisses dramatically

Thoma:that was a ghost!a ghost!

Ray:we have no choice but to follow him. Maybe we can find some answers behind the door.

Ray clutches the door knob.

We are taken from the dustt records rooms filled with books through to the stark room in the back.

We all gasp at what we see before us.

On the bed,there lies a gorgeous young man.

Thoma:is he alive?

I bite my lips.

I am scared but my feets seem to be sure of every step I take towards the man. Despite the dread , its as if my feets are moving of their own accord. I get close enough to see his face.

(He looks like an angel...)

I can't help but feel like I have met him before.

(But where?)

I lift my hand to touch him,but...

His eyelids flutter slowly.

Me:oh!

The young man groans ,finally opening his eyes.

???: Jessica...

Smiling sweetly at me,he says name with gravity and care.

(He knows my name ?)

My eyes widen.

Me:have we met before...?

Still in shock, I feel a cold touch on my face. I am suddenly overcome with a longing nostalgia that puts me on the verge of tears. I can't seem to take my eyes off him. I brush away this mysterious feeling of nostalgia and gently remove his hand.

???: I am sorry I startled you.

The weak young man tries to get up .

Ray:who are you?

He groans as he finally sits at the edge of the bed.

???:my name....is Licht.

We all look at each other , confused.

Ray:do you know this guy?

We all stay quiet .

(I don't think I have ever seen Licht before... But somehow, there's something familiar about him.)

Ray turns to Licht,his expression serious.

Ray:do you know Jessica?

Licht looks up at me.

Licht: Jessica... is that your name?

I nod.

Licht: I see. I am not sure how I know your name... I don't think we've met before.

(What could this all mean?)

Despite my curiosity,I decide to avoid digging any deeper for now. Besides he might know something about this world.

Me: that's okay. Don't think about it too hard.

Subaru: more importantly,do you know where you are?

Licht brings a hand to his head.

Licht: I don't know.... I don't remember anything besides my name and hers, apparently.

(Is he suffering from amnesia too?)

Subaru:what were you doing before you came here?

Licht shakes his head.

Licht: I know it sounds difficult to believe, but my mind is pretty hollow. Nothing comes to my mind.

I look at Licht. My heart aching with sympathy.

(He does not have any memories,huh? I know how it feels.)

Me:you are not alone, Licht. I can't recall most of my childhood either.

Everyone except me:!!!?

Thoma:what do you mean ?you have amnesia?

Me: that's right. I have never talked about it,though.

Ray and Thoma fall silent, seeming thoughtful.

Subaru: this is going to sound weird ,but I don't have any memories of childhood either.

Thoma:you too?all three of you?

Ray: actually, four. I don't remember anything from before I was eight years old.

We all look at Ray.

(No way...)

(We're all missing part of our memories?)

Me:what about you, Thoma?

Thoma sighs, refusing to answer.

Ray: I will take that as a yes.

Thoma:its personal. There was no need to bring it up. It's not like I am hiding something,or anything. I just don't believe in dwelling on the past, that's all.

(Maybe he is scared of recovering his memories. I kind of understand how he feels.)

Licht:ah..

Licht smiles sadly.

Licht:we are all quiet unfortunate,then.

Ray:still , that's another clue, we all have chunks of our memories missing.

Subaru: there's something else too.

We all look at Subaru.

Subaru: I didn't get time to say it earlier,but I found a room full of beds. There's also a bunch of toys lying around.

Thoma: children's beds?toys?a study room?a courtyard With a playground?

Me:so it is an orphanage....

Licht:what do you guys means?

Ray:all the memory we can't recall, and the memories that familiar.......... Are they from our missing childhood? Is that what's going on? That explains why this place feel so nostalgic.

Ray clenches his fist.

Lost memories, an orphanage....

(What connection could my past have with this orphanage?)

A static noise his my ears.

Me:ah!

(This is....)

All of a sudden, it turns to the clear ring of a bell.

Ray: shoot, we were finally getting somewhere! Everyone, tomorrow 10a.m.! Meet me at the fountain of Stadtbelle Plaza!

My mind is a blur.

Stad-

Before I could make sense of what Ray said,my world turns dark.

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