His eyes exploded open to then scrunch up once more as soon as the harsh sunlight hit them. Mikey had had one of those dreams again but this felt more real than usual. He wracked his brain trying to remember every detail before it faded away.
The lake. Sound of a boat’s engine. Voices. His best friend Warren was there. A close up of the T-shirt they bought during a group trip to the Mall last week. A huge explosion. A time – 9.15am. Then Mikey woke up…
Laying deathly still in bed with just his eyes blinking at the sunlight streaming through the blinds, his arm shot out from under the covers. Mikey brought his watch up to his face to check. Phew! 8.45am, 7th July 1989. Good old 1989 again. With a smug look on his face he pulled the covers over his head ready to go back to sleep. It was the weekend after all! As soon as he shut his eyes he was transported right back to his dream and the watch face. It read 9.15am, 7th July 1989!
The duvet shot across Mikey’s bedroom after his reaction caused him to kick it with everything he’d learnt in soccer practice. Was this a coincidence? Yes, yes it must be, right? But what if it wasn’t and this wasn’t a dream. “What if it was one of those preammunitions?” thought Mikey. His watch hit 8.46am. He jumped out of bed. Whatever this dream was he couldn’t risk it. He had to tell Warren! Mikey set his watch alarm for 9.15am in the hope he never needed it.
Throwing on his smelly jeans and sneakers and sticking with yesterday’s T-shirt and underwear he flew out of his room and slid down the bannister to the kitchen. It had taken months to perfect this stunt and his dad had refitted the bannister countless times but it was too much fun to stop. Landing with his feet together on the kitchen tiles, good enough for the House Olympic Games, Mikey grabbed the phone off the wall by the fridge and dialled Warren’s home number. If he was at home then it proved the “premovision” was fake and he can go back to bed. The phone rang once, twice then CLICK!
“Hi, Mrs Johnson. Is Warren there?”
“You just missed him Mikey. His dad has taken him down to the lake. You… CLICK! Hello?” asked Warren’s mom. Mikey had hung up. Running out of the kitchen towards the back yard he came face to face with his own mom, who with folded arms, looked furious.
“Where are you off to?” she asked knowing Mikey was up to no good as usual.
“Mom I can’t right now! It’s Warren, he’s in danger. I have to go!” Mikey was desperate, she could see it but he’d let her down too many times.
“No! You’re staying right here and having breakfast. You know you’re grounded!”
“Mom, I’m begging you!” pleaded Mikey.
“Yeah yeah yeah. How many times do we have to start or end the day like this? Mikey, I’m sick of it. Just come have breakfast and calm down!”
“Mom I… Oh what’s the point! Okay let’s get some breakfast then.” conceded Mikey hugging his mom as they walked back into the kitchen. He sat down at the kitchen table as she opened the fridge ready to start making him his favourite, scrambled eggs and bacon.
Mikey’s mom inspected the contents of the fridge.
“Oh damn! We’re out of bacon but we have ham if that’s okay? HEY??!!!”
Mikey was no longer at the kitchen table, he was halfway down the backyard heading for the back gate. His mom stormed through the kitchen door waving a spatula at her wayward son.
“Michael Terrence Baxter, you better come back here young man or I’m telling your father and he’ll ground you for life!”
Grabbing his BMX, which was lying on its side at the far end of the garden, he swung his legs over the frame in mid-flight, started to pedal before his butt hit the seat and kicked the gate open to make his getaway. He checked his watch 8.50am!!
Riding hard down the alleyway behind his house Mikey flew out onto the sidewalk from behind a fence, only just missing running over the neighbour’s cat by a couple of whiskers. Considering how many times it had scratched him, Mikey saw that as a missed opportunity.
Planning the fastest route to the lake, Mikey was already flying down his quiet leafy road knowing this was about to get crazy. To get there before 9.15am he would have to ride down the busiest street in town and the last person who did that didn’t try it twice or rather they couldn’t. Trying to wipe those grim facts from his mind he pressed down on the brakes, skidded round the corner and pedalled hard down the sidewalk hoping it was early enough on a Saturday that the crowds and traffic was less than usual. This “premenstruation” better be real!
Thankfully the pavements were quiet as Mikey swerved numerous shop owners opening up, dithery pensioners, parents with prams and dog walkers. The first five minutes was almost fun as he put his bike skills to the test but this was short-lived. Mikey slammed on the brakes and saw the sidewalk ahead was rammed, along with the road. Both ways gridlocked with traffic. The combination of car horns and a sea of pedestrians was not helping Mikey think, so he threw caution to the wind and steered into the road. Acting like a real life game of Frogger he rode in front of the first car causing it to brake suddenly, then steered behind the next car just before he was roadkill. This was madness but wiping the sweat off his brow, Mikey was halfway across the road.
Pedalling even faster he began to ride towards oncoming traffic. A station wagon was heading his way and if he turned anywhere else Mikey would be hit by a car so he sped up. The driver screamed, his wife and baby also screamed a second later, he hit the brakes but it was too late. Gripping the handlebars even tighter Mikey pedalled like the wind, leant back and began to stand up. Just before his bike wheel hit the bumper, Mikey wrenched the front of the bike into the air. The wheels of the BMX hit the bonnet, Mikey cycled up over the windscreen, onto the roof and flew off the back of the car and onto the road once more.
Smiling in disbelief at his latest stunt Mikey almost forgot he was still on the road until the horn of the Porsche in front of him woke him up and he swerved onto the sidewalk, cycling down an alleyway to a much quieter route down the rest of the hill to the lake.
Despite the traffic he was making good time as he sped down the hill with the lake in the distance. Every muscle and bone in his lower body were screaming in agony but Mikey couldn’t slow down now. Flying past the disused warehouses on his left he saw one of them was open. This was enough to distract Mikey from his mission and what was in front of him. Turning his head back to the task at hand he came face to face with someone in the road, emergency swerving the BMX but it was too much to stay upright causing bike and rider to crash to the ground. Mikey scraped along the ground in one direction and his bike off in the other direction hitting a telegraph pole further down the street.
Still dazed a few seconds later, Mikey felt like he was floating. Opening his eyes he realised he was actually being carried by his arms into the depths of the open warehouse. Whatever was carrying him dropped him to the ground unannounced. His whole body was on fire now, Mikey could feel his ankle was throbbing but hoped it wasn’t broken. Looking quickly at his watch he saw 8.59am tick over into 9.00am before something kicked his side.
“Wakey, wakey Baxter!” Mikey recognised the voice instantly. It was his number one school enemy Jed and the sniggering coming at him in stereo suggested the other members of the gang, Zak and Tyler were the ones who’d carried Mikey into the warehouse.
Coughing and spluttering himself back to life, Mikey tried to reason with Jed knowing this school bully was not usually the listening type.
“Jed, great to see you man and there’s nothing I’d usually want more than to fight you, but today I have to be somewhere else like NOW!!”
“Really? Your lies Baxter, they’re incredible you know that?” chuckled Jed, looking to Zak and Tyler to do the same.
“I’m serious! I had a… vision.” Mikey winced at how dumb the truth sounded.
Jed looked at Zak and Tyler as they launched into hysterics in unison. Laughing in Mikey’s face for well over 30 seconds, Jed took in a warehouse full of air before responding.
“Vision, right? So what did you see in this vision then?” asked Jed smirking at his buddies.
Mikey gulped knowing this was useless.
“I saw Warren at the lake and I think he’s about to be involved in some kind of boat accident in 15 minutes unless I go and save him!”
Jed and his gang laughed some more.
“This is the best one yet Mikey! You just don’t want us to beat the shit out of yer!”
“No, I’m serious! You gotta let me go help him!” Mikey’s strength was back as he got back on his feet. His ankle hurt a little but he had to get out of there as soon as he could. Jed thought through Mikey’s request before spitting on the floor and clicking his fingers.
“Hold him guys!”
Tyler and Zak grabbed Mikey whilst Jed took a knuckle duster out of his pocket. Trying to wriggle out of their grip it was hopeless, they were too strong. This was going wrong on every level.
“This was my Dad’s fighting tool of choice when he was a kid. So enjoy meeting this antique face to face!”
Jed pulled back his fist ready to connect with skin and bone. Mikey wrestled left and then right and then his only escape option came to him. Using the firm grip of Zak and Tyler to his advantage, Mikey swung his legs hard towards Jed kicking him hard under the chin, lifting him off the ground landing in a flabby heap of bully flavoured shit on the dusty ground. Tyler and Zak let go of Mikey enough to allow him to wriggle free and with a limp and a sprint he headed for the warehouse exit as quickly as possible. He could hear Jed and his posse screaming behind him but he didn’t have time to care. It was 9.05am!!
Taking a brief look at his bike the wheel was missing so continued to hop and run down the road to the final stretch of hill before getting to the lake. The road route would take too long without his bike so Mikey tried to blank the pain in his body, ran for the edge of the sheer green drop and proceeded to speed up. Hitting the edge Mikey ran briefly in mid-air and then sprinted vertically towards the lake. Trying his best to avoid any mounds of grass or trip hazards he bounded downwards getting closer and closer to the water, when suddenly his sprained ankle gave way and he was tumbling head over heels, faster and faster down the remaining few metres of the hill. As his broken body span in the air down the grassy incline, his head hit the ground, then his legs, followed by his shoulder and so on until he hit the slatted wooden decking of the lakeside in a bruised and bloodied mess. Winded of all energy Mikey brought his watch up to his face – 9.09am. This was enough to activate his back-up generator and lift his beaten body into action mode once more.
Looking around the lake Mikey couldn’t see Warren anywhere, his eyes raced left to right trying to make contact with his best friend before it was too late. Suddenly he heard something,
“Have fun, guys!”
Mikey’s eyes darted over to meet the owner of these familiar tones. Warren! Limping much slower now as his body struggled to function Mikey began to shout Warren’s name as he ran down the jetty towards his friend.
“WARREN!? WAIT!! STOP!!!?”
Warren span round to see Mikey in his broken state and his smile for his friend disintegrated into concern.
“What the hell happened to you? You look like shit!”
Mikey’s bruised face tried to uncrumple itself into a smile.
“Thanks bud! I need to talk to you!”
“Sure! What’s up?” asked Warren, thinking Mikey had got himself into trouble again.
“I had a dream just now and you were in it. You were wearing your…” Mikey stopped explaining his dream as his eyes met Warren’s chest. His T-shirt was different. It wasn’t the same! It was just a stupid dream! Oh the relief!! Mikey’s concerned face broke into a full-on laugh. Warren was confused about his friend’s physical and mental state now.
“What’s so funny?”
Mikey caught his breath and began to tell the rest of the crazy premonition.
“Oh this weird dream freaked me out and I thought you were in danger as it was so real but you were wearing that T-shirt we bought in the Mall. But you’re not wearing it so…”
“Yeah my Mom stole it from my room as I’ve not stopped wearing it all week. Could’ve walked to the lake on its own.”
Mikey and Warren hugged and laughed as they began to walk down the jetty to the side of the lake.
“Still at least you’re wearing yours!”
“What?” asked Mikey. Warren pointed to his friend’s chest.
“You’re still wearing that T-shirt we both bought at the Mall!”
Mikey stared into the water at his reflection to discover he was wearing the identical T-shirt from the dream. Before he could react, the alarm on Mikey’s watch chimed 9.15am and from behind they heard a boat’s engine, quickly followed by familiar voices scream “Go faster, Jed!” A huge explosion caused the lake to light up with scenes that were the stuff of nightmares.