“Dream Jockey in da house!” someone shouted and the club went wild.
“Why are they so excited?” Mark asked, plugging his ears with his fingers. The place was dark and had laser beams shooting at various angles. It was very stylish and modern, he had to admit. No wonder it was considered the coolest club in the city. Mark only got in here because Niko knew a guy who knew a guy.
DJ dropped the beat and everybody started dancing around them. The music was electronic, Mark didn’t even know what it was, but he was never a music person anyway. He wasn’t a nightclub person either.
Truth was, he had come here at the Slumber Party club for one thing and one thing only.
“Suzanna is here!” Niko said, waving his arms so that she’d see them.
“Oh, shit,” Mark said and looked away. He quickly opened his phone and tapped on selfie mode to check his face. Nothing stuck in his teeth. That was good. He licked the back of his hand and smelled it. Eh… It wasn’t rosy but it didn’t smell bad.
“Hi!” Suzanna greeted them like only girls do in their high pitched voices. She wasn’t holding a drink, just her phone, and she was in the tiniest, hottest skirt ever with a jacket and a tie on top.
“Hi,” Mark managed to say. “Love your tie.”
“It’s ironic,” she scrunched up her nose.
Niko stepped in. “Well, I see we got here just in time.”
“Yeah, we’re about to pick the Dreamer,” Suzanna said, eyes wide, mouth open. “Isn’t that the best?”
“Sorry,” Mark shouted to be heard over the music. “What’s the Dreamer?”
“Oh, it’s the reason we come here,” Suzanna said, tilting her mouth. “Look around you, the people.”
Mark did so. Of course he did, she could have asked him to jump of a cliff and he’d comply immediately. “What am I supposed to be looking at?”
“Are there any drinks? Drugs?” Suzanna said, moving her head left and right.
“Don’t think so.”
“Exactly,” Suzanna said, touching his chest with her finger. “‘Cause the stuff we’ll be doing tonight, is different.”
“I still don’t follow.” Mark did not want to look like an idiot in front of Suzanna, but this didn’t make sense so far.
“It’s dreams,” she said with meaning.
“I don’t dream.” Mark shook his head.
Suzanna snorted. God, even her snort was sexy. “Everybody dreams, silly.”
“Not me,” Mark shrugged.
“You’ll see,” she said, turning around with the smirk that said, ‘follow me.’
Mark did, pushing through the crowd. Boys and girls swayed with the music, looking entranced. Some had their eyes shut, others rubbed their bodies on each other. Mark wasn’t a clubgoer, but this was definitely not how it as supposed to look like.
That’s what he thought.
Dream Jockey picked up the mic and the music shifted into a repetitive drum beat. “Tonight… I… The Dream Jockey…”
Mark scoffed at that.
Suzanna slapped his shoulder. “Shush. Listen, I swear it’s good.”
“Will mix not one, but TWO DREAMERS!”
“YEAH!” the crowd said, cheering.
“What does that mean?” Mark asked.
“I’ll pick two people with my DJ algorithm. You’re logged in the WiFi, so those of you that get a notification, come on up the stage.” DJ paused for dramatic effect and the music died down.
Suzanna’s phone glinged.
She turned to him, excited. “Yes! I’ve never been the Dreamer before. This is the coolest night ever!” She squealed in delight and ran up to the stage, leaving a waft of perfume after her, making Mark dizzy with it.
“Hello sexy lady,” DJ said, helping Suzanna up.
A light came on and a chair showed up. It was one of those where you laid back, like a dentist’s chair.
“Please, lie back there and you’ll soon dream for us,” DJ said, holding her hand.
Mark rolled his eyes. He didn’t like the jerk.
Suzanna complied and sat on the chair, pushing her tiny skirt down so she wouldn’t flash her coochie in the entire club.
“Who will be the second Dreamer?” DJ said, rapping his fingers on the turntables.
Mark’s phone glinged.
Oh, this was bad.
Mark felt a shove forwards. “Come on, dude,” someone said. “Get up there.”
Mark did. He got up on the stage, looking around. He found Niko in the crowd, who made the kissing the tips of all his fingers gesture that Greeks liked to do. He knew that that meant he was in for a treat. But Mark didn’t like surprises, especially when Suzanna was around.
“Hey, noob, move it,” DJ said and shoved Mark along.
“Okay, fine,” Mark complained and sat on the seat that got illuminated. He leaned back, feeling weird and vulnerable right now. But Suzanna wouldn’t have come up either if this wasn’t safe, right?
DJ turned to the crowd. “I need some sexy lady to help me up here. Oh, you’re perfect little blonde hotness you, come on up here.”
Mark couldn’t really see. The booby blonde came up and put a pair of devices on his temples.
“Stay still,” Dream Jockey said, and put on some mellow music.
The blonde went to Suzanna, putting the devices on her as well.
“Thank you, blondie. Stay up here with me, keep me company, okay?” DJ slapped her butt and she giggled.
Mark felt tense. The Dreamer? How was he supposed to fall asleep in this noise? Not that he wanted to, he was a messy sleeper and he’d probably fall of the narrow recliner and everybody would laugh at him.
“And we have slumber, in five, four, three, two…”
Mark looked around. He didn’t really feel anyth-
Mark felt like he was floating. Everything was pretty much the same in the club, dark, lasery, colourful, crowded. But he was at floating at least three meters over the stage.
“Whoa,” everybody said. And he did mean everybody, the whole nightclub was there except the Dream Jockey.
They started to dance in place, just moving their arms and legs to the rhythm of the music, entranced.
The DJ chuckled, something was clearly wrong. “We seem to have a bit of an issue here.”
“I don’t dream, I told you!” Mark said but his voice came out hoarse, drowned out by the bsst-bsst of the bass.
“It’s okay, I’ll remix the dreams and we’ll all have a Slumber Paaartyyy!”
“Sluuumber Paaartyyy!” the crowd repeated like a reflex.
Okay, this was getting weird. “I wanna get out!” Mark said, forgetting about appearing cool in front of Suzanna. “Just pick someone else.”
“Oh, no. Dream Jockey doesn’t give up, noob.” The DJ pressed some buttons on his laptop and turntable and the club went darker.
Mark’s skin crawled. This did not feel safe, something in the primal part of his brain told him that there was something in there with them. Something dangerous. And clearly, the people felt it too. They stopped dancing and looked around in the dark corners.
Suddenly, one of them got dragged into the darkness, screaming.
He was gone in an instant.
Then the rest of them screamed, terrified, trampling each other, stepping on manicured fingers and expensive clothes. It was chaos.
“No…” Mark said, seeing it all from up high. Could he even do anything?
Suzanna was in her seat, trying to get up but something invisible held her down. No, it wasn’t invisible, it was spidersilk, and there were spiders running around in circles and weaving her in place as she still kicked and writhed.
“Suzanna!” Mark shouted but he couldn’t move.
The spiders went into her open mouth.
Suzanna gagged, coughing out spiders but they were too many.
She stopped moving after that, eyes still open.
“No! This can’t be!” Mark shouted and forced himself to move close to her.
This time he managed it, and he pushed the spiders away from her body. She looked dolled up, ready for a night out with friends at the club, perfect makeup on, eyes dead open.
Mark whimpered, touching her forehead. He shut her eyes, and turned around to the clamoring crowd.
The thing in the shadows claimed quite a few of them. There were now no more than twenty, whereas before the place was packed. That blasted DJ was nowhere to be found.
The thing in the shadows growled, and the remaining people pushed out of the way, up against each corner.
The thing in the shadows stepped out and it was the scariest puma-like beast he’d ever seen. His claws were extended, scratching the floor as it moved forward with feline grace. His canines were as big as Mark’s hand, and they dripped fresh blood.
The beast stepped towards Mark.
Closer and closer and closer.
Mark protected Suzanna with his body, pointless as it may be. “You won’t take her!” he shouted at the beast, his voice cracking from terror.
The beast stepped on the stage slowly and gracefully.
That was it.
Mark was done for.
The feline beast opened his mouth and then-
Mark opened his eyes.
“What did you do, man?” the DJ cried out on top of him, still shaking him vigorously awake.
Mark pushed the Dream Jockey away. “I’m awake, stop it. Where is it?” Mark stood up and looked around. Some people were still dancing in place, but they looked terrified. One had peed himself. The others had falled on the floor, motionless.
“Are they?” Mark asked, his voice trailing off.
“I checked. No pulse, man. What the fuck?” DJ asked, looking frantic.
Mark hurried to the other recliner to check Suzanna.
She was motionless, eyes wide in terror, mouth still open in a gasp for air.
“Nonono…” Mark wailed, shaking her, hugging her.
He hurried back to the DJ. He was huddled up under his deck, moving his body back and forth and muttering to himself.
Mark shook him. “Hey. Tell me this is all a dream. Tell me!” He shouted in his face.
The DJ stared at him for a long moment, then snorted and laughed maniacally. “Of course it is. It has to be, right? I didn’t kill all these people. I didn’t. Where’s that blonde chick?”
Mark pushed himself away. “Damn you.” He looked around.
He just had to… wake up.
Mark opened his eyes. Everything was normal, the beats, the lasers, the crowd. They moved slowly at the music, no booze, no drugs. Just dreams.
He sighed in relief. It was all a dream. A nightmare. What was the fun in that?
No wonder he didn’t miss having dreams.
Suzanna woke up too.
“So? Did you like it?” she asked, giddy.
“What was there to like? It was horrible.”
“What? The sea? How could it be horrible?”
“I didn’t dream about the sea.”
“Huh. It was supposed to be the same thing, that’s the whole point.” She looked around, then shrugged. “Who knows.”
“I certainly don’t.”
“Hey,” she hooked her arm inside his own. “Come on, let’s blow this joint. Wanna come back home with me?”
Mark blinked. Now he must have been dreaming. He pinched the soft part of his hand to make sure. “Uh… Yeah!”
“Okay. Let’s go.” Suzanna pulled him out of the Slumber Party and into the cold night.
Mark felt excited. Was it really going to happen tonight? Make love with Suzanna?
Well, even if she didn’t want to let things progress too quickly he wouldn’t mind. He was okay with some kissing and the promise of something more.
Suzanna was a girl worth waiting for.
This really was a dream come true.
“Wait,” he stopped. “I forgot to tell Niko, he must be looking for me.”
Suzanna tugged on his arm. “Just send him a text. Tell him you got lucky.”
Mark raised an eyebrow. “Oh, yeah?”
“No promises,” Suzanna said and let go of his hand and hurried off straight ahead.
Mark juggled with her quick pace, the dark streets and his phone, tapping a text for his friend.
And then he felt it again. The threat.
The puma beast.
It couldn’t be.
“What’s wrong?” Suzanna asked, turning around to look at him. She fixed a stray tuft of hair that had blown in front of her face, it was like those gorgeous women in slow motion.
He saw her cute smirk. The twinkle in her clever eyes. The shine of the beast’s claws.
And then the beast dragged her into the dark.