I was hiding in a locker, same as always. I wasn’t a coward; I was just tired of running, so very-very tired. Us damned souls, we could run forever and still end up bled out like a slaughtered farm animal. That’s what we were; cattle, except instead of milk, we were harvested for our fear. I couldn’t remember how long I’d been doing this, or even how old I was. I could remember being a young child, without a care or fear in the world. Who am I kidding? At least I can remember being young. It all seemed like another lifetime ago. And yet my body didn’t look a day over twenty. (I’d say 21 if alcohol was a thing in this hellscape.) Except for the bags under my eyes but that might just be because I hadn’t had a goodnight’s sleep, even before arriving here.
I’d tried so hard to find a way out. I had one power, blessing, (whatever you want to call it.) While others had agility, strength speed, or even healing, my only sense of optimism came in the form of my ability to remain fully aware of the dream dimension. It was as if I could stay awake in the one place where people were meant to become like fish in a barrel.
Needless to say, it was kind of situation-specific (in that, it worked best against one particular demon who took sick pleasure in using the dream dimension as his own personal hunting ground.) Unfortunately, the role of ‘killer’ was selected at random from a pool of over two dozen creatures; from a Louisiana-born zombie to a mad scientist with a melee weapon (Pikachu meets Thor with a dash of Candyman.) And the latest was a psychopathic pop star who specialized in knife throwing.
Speaking of projectiles, I’d sat on the floor, trying to remember who else was part of the four-person ‘survivor’ team when the locker doors flew open. A tall muscular woman wearing a bunny mask grabbed me before I could muster the energy to run. She tilted her head like a confused baby doll. Clearly, she was questioning my lack of foresight. (I couldn’t blame her, I would be too.)
This particular demon was Anna, a Russian ax thrower who reloaded her weapon stash via the red lockers placed throughout the game field. So, basically, me using this as my hiding place to take a breather was a little dumb on my part.
Anna threw me over her shoulder. I didn’t even attempt to struggle, there was no point. As usual, I was put on a living hook, waiting for either rescue (so I could continue playing this never-ending game.) Or I could get sucked into the ground, into the darkness to awaken in the hub world. either way, I wouldn’t be allowed to die. there was no escape.
I emerged in the hub world, resting under a dark willow-like tree. in the distance, I could hear the chatter of the other lost souls. And then I heard Nea. The Swedish-born graffiti artist had lived the life of an urban explorer. As such, she had a unique sense of courage and confidence paired with the athleticism of a gymnast.
“Hey Quentin,” my friend said, leaning her slender body against the trunk of the aforementioned tree. “You doing alright?”
“I can’t complain,” I said, sitting up. “I mean literally since we’re all just stuck here.” In the distance, I could hear the crackle of the campfire; a strange ungodly force that burned on its own, feeding off of… something. Maybe it was our misery, anger, and pain. “I don’t want to go back to the group, not just yet.”
“No worries,” Nea said with a nod. She stepped closer to take a seat by my side. “We can just hang out for a while.”
“Thanks, I’d like that.” I stretched my back, making myself comfortable.
Nea rested her head on my shoulder.
I stroked her cheek, moving a lock of hair over her ear. “Doesn’t that itch?” Nea wore her hair short, under a wool cap, like something a burglar would wear to blend in with the darkness.
“My hat?” she said with a shrug. “Not really. I mean why would it?”
“I don’t know,” I said awkwardly. “I’ve just never seen you take it off.”
“I never really had a reason to, unless you want to look at my ruined hair.”
“I always kind of liked your hair,” I muttered. The words falling from my lips before I had a chance to mentally censor myself.
“Yeah, me too. ‘Ruined’ was my mother’s word for it.” Nea took off her hat, running her fingers through her dark sweaty locks. she closed her eyes, and as she did, the once dark hair changed to shimmery red, metallic green, before settling on a multitone ocean blue.
“Wow, that’s really cool.”
“I guess that’s one of the perks of this place: magic is real. For better or worse, right?”
“I guess,” I replied, still marveling at her transformation. “Did you choose blue?”
Nea bit her lip as she scratched her chin. “Maybe. I mean, my hair was this color once upon a time. It’s always been one of my favorites. Why?”
“I’d been thinking about the color blue.” It was the truth. I missed the ocean, the sky. Actually, I missed all bright, vibrant colors. That was just part of the atmosphere.
“Do you think we can control things?” she asked, with a general sense of curiosity.
“Things? What kind of things?”
“Right now, I’d settle for any level of control.”
“I’m not sure. I never thought to try anything with a second person, or outside of the dream realm.” And even then, I never had the ability to manipulate my surroundings. “Let’s try an experiment. We’ll huddle, looking into each other’s eyes while focusing on something that we both want.”
“That’s pretty vague.”
I had to admit she was correct; we needed an actual, focused plan. “Try to picture something cosmetic. Something that we’d be allowed to have, even if just for a moment.”
Nea brushed a lock of blue hair from her eye line. “So basically, don’t wish for a chocolate cake or a doorway back to the world of the living?”
“Chocolate cake might not be a bad idea.” I put my arms on her shoulders as if we were athletes in a huddle. Nea followed suit and together we locked eyes, staring at each other unblinking until my eyes started to feel sore. ‘What did I even want?’
I shut my eyes, letting the power of the dream realm wash over me. When I opened them again, I found myself inside of what appeared to be an oil painting. The world was bright, colorful. the sun was in the sky, sparkling down on a lake. Everything had an odd paint-like texture, thick brushstrokes melting downward like chocolate frosting on a freshly baked cake. I was tempted to taste it when I suddenly realized I was alone. “Nea! Where are you?”
A figure dove down from a tree. Before I could react, Nea cupped my face and kissed me. Her mouth tasted like cotton candy, with hints of chocolate, vanilla, and sweat.
Her eyes looked at me with a youthful innocence and once she finally pulled away for air, I got a glimpse of her body. She was naked with green handprints over her tight muscular tits. “Look.” she reached for a leaf causing the material to transform to a thick paint.
“Wow.” I touched my shirt, causing the blue-grey material to dissolve into a sea of pigment. This had to be a dream.
She wrapped her legs around me, rubbing her warm, wet pussy against my growing cock. “I can feel your strength, your power.” Nea walked her fingers down my chest, spreading the blue color, down my stomach, to my cock. She smiled at me, licking her lips.
It was actually kind of strange to witness an act of such joy. I chuckled nervously, unable to form a coherent sentence.
“Are you a virgin?”
“No,” I replied with a nervous half-smile. “You know I had a girlfriend.”
Nea pressed her lips to my ear, speaking in slow, deliberate breaths. “That was in another lifetime.”
“I guess.” I knew she wasn’t wrong. I’d forgotten all about my girlfriend, Nancy. At that moment, I couldn’t even picture her face, all I could see was Nea’s powerful, hypnotic beauty.
Nea looped her leg around my waist, as she held my face in a passionate kiss.
I couldn’t help letting out a moan as I felt myself inside her. Nea’s pussy was so tight. Grinding her hips, as she rode my throbbing cock, it was like she was trying to devour me whole.
Nea glided her tongue along my ear. “Pull my hair.”
I did as she asked, gripping her scalp with both hands. I felt my naked back pressing against the cold stone surface, as a gentle waterfall caressed our skin.
“Just like that, Quentin. Just like that.” Nea leaned back, holding my face to her chest. Her pink nipples were so stiff, just begging to be licked and kissed. (Maybe even nibbled, Nea seemed like the kind of girl who’d be into that.)
I took her areola in my mouth, suckling like a man dying of thirst. I could tell she was close to climax; her body was warm to the touch, trembling all over.
“Oh, yes, please.” Nea moved my face to her neck, guiding my hands to cup her breasts.
I massaged her chest, from her collarbone, down her firm, perky tits, as I sucked on her neck. I wanted to leave a mark, to brand her as my own.
“Spank me,” Nea whispered in a breath.
“Spank you?” I asked with a smirk.
Nea took the opportunity to offer an example. With an open palm, she gave my thigh a hard hit. I had to admit, the sensation felt incredible.
I quickly maneuvered my hand from her chest, down her hip, to her ass. She was firm, strong, with just the right amount of softness, to create a satisfying smack. “You like that?”
“I always like it rough.” Nea leaned in close, kissing my neck.
I leaned back, closing my eyes as a tidal wave of raw intense pleasure washed over me. I couldn’t remember the last time I had an orgasm; the full sensation of warmth, moist touch. Skin to skin, breath to breath, ending with me blowing my load over and over. My cum was dripping down her thighs, mixed with her juices. I wanted to taste. I reached between her legs, stroking her soft, quivering skin. I started with her inner thighs drawing small circles with my finger.
This caused Nea to whimper. “More please. I just want to be touched.” She spread her legs giving me full access to her labia as she rubbed her clit.
With two fingers, I helped myself to a taste straight from the honey pot. I was two knuckles deep, when Nea had another orgasm. Her muscles went tight, trapping my hand. She arched her back, making her engorged breasts look like perfectly ripe fruit, just begging for my mouth.
Her juices smelled like sweat and warm maple syrup. And she tasted like absolute heaven. I held her on my lap, fingering her to a deep intense orgasm, until she fell limp in my arms. She looked like a fantasy creature; a nymph or maybe an elf.
This was a memory to burned into my masturbation bank. Not that there was much of an urge to jerk off in this place.
My eyes flickered, as my skin felt a rush of cold. When my eyes opened, we were no longer in paradise.
Nea was on my lap as we continued to fuck. Except we were on a cold plastic slide, like something in a preschool.
Thankfully we were not without our clothing. My shirt and jacket were on the floor while my jeans were around my knees. Nea was naked from the waist down, with her shirt lifted and her panties hanging off her ankle. Her dark jeans were found a few feet away. Not that being naked would have made much of a difference; we were still in the middle of yet another round of the death game.
Nea got off my lap, adjusting her tank top. “Is this the Badham preschool map?”
“I guess.” I glanced around as I quickly put my spent cock back in my pants.
“What do you mean?”
“Look around, no generators, no chests, probably no lockers or palettes.”
“And probably no exit.” I stood up, making my way to her side. Nea was right. We were in the Badham preschool map, outdoors under a dark purple sky. I reached for her hand. If we were somehow trapped, we would need to stick together to find a way out.
Nea nodded her head and gripped my hand. “Let’s check behind the building.”
Before we could take a single step, the sky opened, creating a rather large crack in the reality. In this opening the size of a doorway, we could see another world; blue sky, buildings, streets, flowers and trees. People were walking past, most of them were on their phones or distracted by their children. Then there was one figure. A woman with long black hair. She was gripping her purse, walking with her head down. She looked like the kind of person who would walk right past the anomaly without a second thought.
I watched in awe as she stopped, lifted her head and for a brief moment we locked eyes. “Nancy?”
She opened her mouth to speak, just as the portal slammed closed. The force sent Nea and I flying backward. I landed hard on my shoulder. It was all I could do not to cry. For a brief moment I could see the outside world, and that hurt more than anything.
Just when I thought things could not get any worse, I felt an all too familiar trio of blades scrape down my back.
Nea gripped my wrist, nearly dragging me down the street. “We need to hide!”
“Hide where?” I shouted.
“Up?” Were we going to try to enter a building?
Nea pointed at a tree near the end of the block. “In my experience, Freddy Kruger is not great at climbing.
“What makes you think that?”
“He can barely make it through a window, we should be safe near the top.”
I made sure to keep one hand on Nea at all times, touching her bare ankle, sometimes her shoe. Whatever I could reach until we made it to a stable branch near the top.
Looking out at the view I could see a fog brewing beneath us, the strange haze stopping just below our feet. I could hear the sound of piano music playing an all too familiar theme. This was combined with the sound of slow, methodical, scratching. “I guess you were right; he can’t climb a tree. Not physically anyway.” I squeezed her hand; as long as I held on to Nea everything would be okay. We’d still be in hell and probably cut into pieces before getting sent back to the hub world, but with Nea by my side, somehow it would all be ok.
“We can’t stay up here forever,” she said with a sigh.
“Yeah, we need a plan.” Or maybe just a wish.
Nea gripped my hand holding my fingers to her cheeks. “Let’s think about the hub world; the campfire, the faces of our teammates.”
I could picture the image in my mind, but there was nothing to connect to. That and I could still feel Freddy hacking away at the tree. “Let’s play fuck marry kill,” I said for a laugh.
Nea bit her cheek for a moment before replying. “Sure, but only if you go first. And we need a rule.”
“What kind of rule?”
“We can’t say each other, not for ANY option. Agree?”
“Yeah, that’s fine. But I want to do mine in reverse. I’d totally kill Jake, that guy is annoying as all hell. And that says a lot.”
Nea closed her eyes, giggling to herself. “My turn. I’d kill Dwight, just so I didn’t have to look at his little rat-like face. And he always manages to steal my prize chests, as if he’s the only one who needs health potions and flashlights.”
“I think I need to change my pick.”
Nea nodded in agreement. “Now, who would you marry?”
I closed my eyes as well, focusing on holding her hands. “I guess I’d marry Claudette, I mean if I had to choose. She’s one of the saner people here, and probably the best at healing.”
“Fair enough. I guess I’d marry Feng. She’d be pretty fun to live with.”
There was a moment of awkward silence. I was picturing my teammates, sitting around the forever burning campfire. I could practically feel the warmth.
“Hey,” Nea said, clearly laughing. “And who would you fuck?”
“That’s a very unfair question.” I leaned forward, reaching one hand to her cheek while holding on with the other. I wanted to kiss her so badly, when suddenly the tree started to sway.
Freddy Kruger was a determined killer, but there was no way he could cut down a tree on his own. Was this my power, our power? Or the entity just screwing with us?
“Hold on to me!” I braced myself for an impact that never came.
I opened my eyes back in the hub world, somehow, we landed softly on the cold wet ground. I looked to Nea, whose head was in my lap. “Hey, Nea, are you ok?”
Nea looked up and nodded. “As ‘ok’ as I can be.” Like me, she wore a look of disappointment, but we were not defeated. Together we walked back to the campfire, thankful for what we’d learned. There was more than just strength in numbers: there was hope.