Running Round A Dream

Submitted into Contest #151 in response to: Write about somebody breaking a cycle.... view prompt

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Adventure Fantasy Teens & Young Adult

Read original story “Running Down A Dream” here https://blog.reedsy.com/short-story/03dhqg/

His eyes exploded wide open as the harsh sunlight hit them. Mikey had had one of those dreams again but this felt even more real than last time. He didn’t need to wrack his brain because every detail was etched into his mind. 

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. An enormous explosion. A time – 9.15am. Then once again Mikey woke up… 

Lying in bed with just his eyes blinking at the sunlight streaming through the open window, 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. He shut his eyes and 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. 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 premonitions?” thought Mikey. His watch hit 8.46am. He hopped 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 rancid jeans and sneakers and sticking with yesterday’s T-shirt and underwear he flew out of his room and fell down the bannister to the kitchen. Landing in a heap on the kitchen tiles, Mikey picked himself up, grabbed the phone off the wall by the fridge and dialled Warren’s home number. If he was at home then it proved the dream was fake and he could go back to bed. The phone rang once and then CLICK! 

“Hello?” 

“Hi, Mrs Johnson. Is Warren there?” 

“You just missed him Mikey. His uncle has taken him down to the lake. CLICK! Hello?” asked Warren’s mum. Mikey had hung up. Running out of the kitchen towards the back yard he came face to face with his own mum, who, with folded arms, looked furious. 

Pushing her out of the way knowing he was wasting time, Mikey was halfway down the backyard heading for the back gate when he heard his mum shout after him. Waving a spatula at her wayward son, she bellowed, 

“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 8.49am!! 

Riding hard down the alleyway behind his house, Mikey flew out onto the sidewalk from behind a fence, when the neighbour’s cat flew directly into his face. Feeling the repeated scratches to his face from the cat clinging to his cheeks via its claws, Mikey took one hand off his handlebars, grabbed the tail of Mr Whiskers and flung the feline fiend off into a nearby bush. All this drama meant he didn’t hear the cries of “WAIT!” from the same person who threw Mr Whiskers in the first place.

Planning the swiftest path to the lake, Mikey was whizzing down his quiet leafy road knowing this was about to get insane. To get there before 9.15am he would have to ride down the busiest street in town and the last person who did that was flattened by a lorry. Trying to wipe those grim facts from his mind he skidded round the corner, pedalled hard down the sidewalk hoping the crowds and traffic was less than usual.

Thankfully the pavements were quiet as Mikey swerved numerous dithery pensioners, parents with prams and dog walkers. The first five minutes was almost fun as he tried to forget the pain from cat scrapes, by putting his bike skills to the test, but this was short-lived. Mikey slammed on the brakes and saw the pavement 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 Crossy Road he rode in front of the first car with a familiar looking driver, causing it to hit him head on, sending his bike and his body flying across the rest of road, crashing into a heap of metal and flesh on the opposite kerb.

Some seconds later Mikey opened his eyes to see a tall man standing in front of him.

“I almost killed you there, Mikey. That wasn’t part of my plan,” said the mysterious stranger. Mikey was confused trying to regain his focus so he could get a better look at this bearded guy.

“Sorry? Do I know you? You do look familiar.”

The man laughed before helping Mikey get back up on his feet.

“Of course I look familiar, I’m you!”

Mikey collapsed again on the floor as that revelation hit him. Older Mikey’s smile dropped as he got down to business. He grabbed his younger self’s arm and pulled him back up.

“No time to mess about. I’m here to get you to the lake and save Warren on time. The less I say the better. Your bike is in bits over there,” Older Mikey pointed to the pile of bike bits over by the lamp post. Mikey loved that bike like a best friend. He looked at his watch which read 8.54!?

“Anyway this will get you there quicker” Older Mikey pressed something into Mikey’s hand with a squelch. Before he could look at the palm of his hand, a green goo enveloped him until it was a spherical shield around him. He then drifted slowly into the sky as Older Mikey gave him instructions from the ground.

“Don’t panic! You are in charge of the Thought Bubble,” assured his older self to the naive version.

“Thought what!?! What is this? It’s like being inside a bubblegum bogey,” panicked Mikey who was feeling very claustrophobic.

“Just tell it which way to go and you’ll…”

Before Older Mikey could finish his instruction the Thought Bubble was zooming off in the direction of the lake. Mikey didn’t even hear his older self say, “Good Luck!” as he ignored the insanity of what just happened and began to master this green gelatinous thing of wonder.

High above the streets and houses Mikey still kept to the way he would have taken if he was on his bike as that’s what he knew. The Thought Bubble zoomed down an alleyway to a much quieter route down the rest of the hill to the lake. 

The lack of traffic at this altitude, other than the odd bug, meant he was making good time as he sped down the hill with the lake in the distance. 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 in hand, he came face to face with someone in the road emergency swerving the Bubble, but it hit the gate to the warehouse causing it to burst, instantly sending Mikey plummeting ten feet to the floor. As soon as his body hit the ground, the force of the green goo splatting around him and hitting his head caused him to slide along the ground into the warehouse premises. 

Still dazed a few seconds later, Mikey felt like he was floating again in the Thought Bubble. 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 caused by the fall but hoped it wasn’t broken. Looking quickly at his watch he saw 9.00am tick over into 9.01am 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 wiped the green goo from his eyes and 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 gunky 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 to 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. 

Before Jed could tell Mikey about the long history of his knuckle duster, someone walked into the warehouse and cleared their throat.

“I’ll take it from here Mikey,” said the mystery person who threw three purple balls at the bullies and hit them with a loud PARP! Jed, Tyler and Zak instantly drifted into the air within thick round screaming gungeballs hitting the roof of the warehouse with a THUD!

Taking a look at his saviour, Mikey came face to face once more with himself but this one looked even older with a grey streak through the centre of his long mane of hair. Even Older Mikey helped himself up and brushed off some of the dust from his junior self’s shirt and trousers.

“That should take them out of the picture for long enough. You’re running out of time! Take this and head straight for the lake. Both our lives depend on it!”

Mikey took two purple balls from his much older self and, without asking for further instructions, splatted his hands together creating an even bigger Thought Bubble this time.

“What does that mean?” Mikey asked his older self as he floated out of the warehouse door. He wished he had more time to question himself about how he got here, did he invent this gooey flying stuff in the future and why doesn’t he dye his hair but he simply didn’t have time right now.

“I’ve said too much… JUST GO!”

The purple ball zoomed down the road as Mikey heard Jed and his posse screaming behind him but he didn’t have time to care. It was 9.05am!! 

Mikey continued to bounce down the road to the final stretch of hill before getting to the lake. He needed to make up some time so took his gooey mode of transport off road and headed for the edge of the sheer green drop while speeding up. Hitting the edge, Mikey’s Bubble floated briefly in mid-air and then flew vertically towards the lake. Trying his best to avoid any mounds of grass or trip hazards he bounded inside his big assed bubble downwards, getting closer and closer to the water, when suddenly he hit a tree trunk. The Thought Bubble exploded and gave way. Mikey was immediately 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 – 9.08am. 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 someone burst into a rant towards him,

“God Mikey, do you destroy everything you own like this. It’s a bubble, all you needed to do was avoid sharp things. If you weren’t me I’d kill you right now.” 

Mikey’s eyes darted over to meet the owner of these familiar and irate tones. Standing next to him was a very old man who had the same eyes as him but a much frailer body, a bald head and a long white beard. Before Mikey could interrogate his ancient self he noticed someone else standing right behind him. Warren! Taking a look at Mikey in his broken and slimy state, Warren’s 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! He told you everything?” asked Mikey pointing at his Old Old Self. Warren looked at the old guy who was smiling at him like they were old buddies, well technically they were, which really confused him.

“No he just told me to come here and meet you. Anyway, 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 mum 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 side of the lake. 

“Still at least that old guy was wearing his!” 

“What?” asked Mikey. Warren pointed to the Old Old Mikey who was sprinting down the jetty. Sure enough he was wearing a faded and saggier version of the same shirt Mikey bought so recently.

Mikey stared in shock and disbelief at his pensioner self dashing down the jetty holding a huge object which appeared to be some kind of machine gun. Before he could react, the alarm on Mikey’s watch chimed 9.15am, he heard a boat’s engine, quickly followed by familiar voices he thought were still floating in a warehouse scream “Go faster, Jed!” A huge explosion erupted out of the end of Old Old Mikey’s bubble gun towards the boat which was about to hit the jetty. The lake lit up with slimy sprays of funky fireworks you could see miles around, finally ending a lifetime of nightmares.

Mikey and Warren walked slowly back home not realising that their survival was just the beginning of their adventure.

June 22, 2022 10:14

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1 comment

Philip Ebuluofor
15:38 Aug 08, 2022

The story line and characters in it is even a true life story these days. Humans have started living that life life. Fine work.

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