"What's wrong?" Irene asked.
"Remember that broken glass on the way to the party? Well, I guess I didn't manage to evade it all." I pointed at my bike's flat tire.
Irene drew a sharp breath through her teeth. "Yikes... How about you lift along with me and you just get your parents to collect your bike tomorrow? You're sleeping over at my place anyway." She smiled.
I sighed. "I suppose that's an option. Are you sure you can hold me?"
"But of course. Hop on already!"
I sat down on the back of her bike and, with a slight wobble, she set off into the night. "Damn, the battery of my headlight is low! I don't think it's going to last the trip."
"I hope there won't be any police checking the crossroad. They love giving tickets for this kinda stuff."
Irene huffed. "I'll just take the back road then, across the water."
"Good idea. Considering the time, it should be nice and quiet." Dog owners always used that path, but even the dogs should be asleep in the middle of the night.
"Incoming," Irene warned, but my butt still hit the metal frame hard when the bike went off the sidewalk.
"Jeesh, thanks," I teased and she laughed evilly at me.
She cycled over the road for a bit and then went back up the cycling lane on the other side using the ramp. We were both silent for a bit, enjoying the sound of crickets in the tall grass. Irene took a right turn and we ended up on the long road across the water.
"Damn, it's dark here," Irene mumbled.
I looked over her shoulder—I was slightly taller than she was—and noticed the streetlights were quite far apart. For every circle of light on the road, there was an equal circle of darkness.
"And my light is just about dead..."
I smirked. "Afraid of the Boogeyman?"
"Oh, shut up," Irene responded playfully. "You're the one who still has a nightlight!"
I gasped. "I do not!"
"Yes, you do." Irene giggled.
I turned my gaze to the water and huffed. "It is not a nightlight. It's a lamp that simulates the Milky Way."
Irene laughed loudly. "It does not simulate the Milky Way. It's just random pretty lights in all sorts of colours. If anything, it looks more like the aurora borealis."
"Whatever." I rolled my eyes, but with a large smirk. "Every time you crash at my place you want me to turn it on, so you love it as much as I do."
"Alas, thou hast caught me in the act," she responded before erupting into a giggle fit, the bike wobbling slightly as a result.
"Oi, eyes on the road, lady!"
Irene laughed loudly as the bike made a few s-curves before resuming in a straight line.
"You drive like a drunk," I joked.
"Says the person who had about twice as much to drink."
"I can hold my liquor just fine, thank you very much."
We both laughed and then fell silent, our ears tuning once more to the music of the crickets. I stared across the water at the dark sky. There were a few clouds, no moon, but stars aplenty. We sat in comfortable silence for minutes, thinking of the party earlier.
A sudden drop in my gut woke me from my reverie. Without knowing why I pushed myself off the bike.
"Wha—" I heard Irene say, but she couldn't finish her question as her bike dipped down and she tumbled over the front.
I could barely make out the large pothole that had caused her to trip as it had been in one of the dark spots. The bike clattered to the ground, silencing the crickets. Somehow, Irene had managed to avoid a painful crash and stumbled into the light. A dark figure stepped out of the next patch of shadows and caught Irene.
My heart constricted. "Are you alright?" I called out as I hurried towards my friend and the stranger.
Irene clung to the stranger who was clad in all black, their face hidden in the shadows cast by their pulled hoodie. She hugged the person as if she knew them. A gloved hand stroked her golden locks in an almost loving way.
"Irene?" I paled as I saw her blonde hair lose its colour and slowly turn ashen.
She looked at me and smiled, her head still pressed against the stranger's chest. "I'm fine," she said softly, her voice strangely melodic.
Cold shivers ran up my spine as I watched her fair skin change into an ethereal blue. "A-are you sure?" I blinked a few times and rubbed my eyes. Her hair truly had turned grey and her skin—oh, God, I could see right through her!
"Yes, silly!" She giggled. "This is an old friend." She snuggled into the stranger, who wrapped their arms around her, holding her tight.
Frightened, I looked down at my own hands. They were still brown and—more importantly—opaque. I stared at Irene again and gasped.
Her entire appearance was otherworldly as a slight glow now surrounded her. She was still smiling at me as if nothing was wrong. "I have to go now," she said and she released the dark stranger for a moment to blow me a kiss. "Don't worry, I'll wait for you. When the time comes, our old friend will reunite us." She waved. "Goodbye, Surya."
The stranger hugged her tightly and Irene closed her eyes as she did the same. Petrified, I watched the both of them rise up from the ground. Then, within the blink of an eye, they shot towards the night sky.
The sound of crickets became deafening the longer I stared at the stars. The moment I saw one fall I hugged myself and finally managed to pull my gaze away.
There, on the ground beside me, her neck in a strange angle, lay Irene.
As you might have expected, this story was indeed based on a dream I had (24-Sep-2016) I just love it when I dream something and it makes me go "Yes! Perfect story material!" I wish it happened more often though. (Most dreams I have don't have a proper beginning/end or are just too ... not Wattpad suitable.)
I wrote it in exactly 1000 words and submitted it to the ParanormalCommunity for their 2016 Halloween Magazine ♥ (Be sure to check it out if you haven't already! :D )
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Midnight Dreams & Nightmares ~ A short story collectionHorror
Horror // Paranormal // Thriller // Scifi // Short stories ~ A short story collection consisting of either tales inspired by dreams & nightmares, or retellings thereof.