It’s debatable whether I deserve this banner or not, but I don’t care. I revised my goal for NaNoWriMo and wanted to achieve 25K and I managed to do exactly that! I am really proud of that achievement, so I am treating myself to the banner above. Also, if you think about it, I posted almost every day on the blog this month (except for last week), so my total words written would have exceeded 50K. If you just look at the novel, I still wrote 55 word pages, 25,097 words and 18 chapters. I’d say that’s pretty decent!
However, my novel (Dreamer) is far from being finished. I feel like I am still in the first third of the story, which makes sense if you think about the word count. I loved writing it though and I will definitely continue to work on it. But for now, I am celebrating!
I think this will also be the last time that I post a chapter of Dreamer here on the blog. If you want to continue reading it and are willing to give feedback, just shoot me a mail or PM on Twitter (you can find my contact info here) and I’ll send you a pdf file with updates.
Last but not least, I also want to congratulate my fellow Wrimos! Whatever word count you have achieved, you are awesome! I hope you had as much fun writing as I did! If you are willing to share your experiences below, I’d be more than happy to talk about it!
“Where were you last night?”
“That’s no way to greet your best friend, is it?” It wasn’t the best comeback he had ever thought of, but Wick was simply too tired to think of anything better. Don no longer wanted him to write a report, instead he repeatedly had to tell him everything he remembered over and over again. Apparently there had been rumours about a certain shadow-creature messing with the system, like a bug or computer virus would do in the real world. The Council didn’t want any of the information to leak to the general Dreamer public and cause panic. So far, Don had thought it was just that, a rumour, but he felt reassured now that he had heard Wick’s story. His position in the Council wasn’t as strong as it used to be, but he promised to inquire with some old contacts to find out if they had made any progress since he was assigned as Monitor supervisor.
“Well, first you bailed on me and then Ely didn’t show up either.” Aurora interrupted Wick’s thoughts and flushed immediately at his confused gaze. Wick knew that she didn’t like to spend her breaks all by herself, but there had been no way to get out of Don’s gruesome interrogation session.
“Wait, Ely didn’t show either? Don’t tell me he is still mad because of my little ‘excursion’.”
“No, that’s not it. He might ditch you because of it, but not me. I haven’t done anything to him.” That was true, Ely would never do anything to hurt Aurora on purpose. She was like their baby sister.
“Of course not, sorry. He probably just had to some stuff at work like I did.”
There was a pause and Aurora fidgeted with her hair, uncomfortable in the silence. Usually Wick would be the one filling the quiet with jokes and funny anecdotes about dreams he had witnessed, but somehow he just wasn’t in the mood. It wouldn’t let him go that there were Dreamers out there who knew about the shadow-creature and they didn’t tell anyone. Why were they hiding it? He could see how it might cause panic, but it would be even worse if a real attack hit them unprepared.
“Ely! Finally! Where have you been?” Aurora almost jumped up at the sight of their friend.
“Like Wick.” She said, not quite believing either of them apparently.
“If he considers sleeping and messing with dreams working, then yes.” Ely replied grimly.
“Okay, dude, whatever problem you have with me, you need to let it go. It’s killing our vibe.” Ely only glared at him, which was not the reaction Wick had been hoping for. He understood that Ely followed some sort of code of conduct when it came to dream-travelling, but Wick hadn’t done anything wrong. “I’m serious, Ely. It happened, I can’t change that and you need to move on.”
“You have no idea what you did.” Ely looked pained, as if just the thought of what Wick dream-traveling physically hurt him.
“I may know more than you …”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Oh, really?” Ely got up angrily.
“Stop!” Aurora suddenly exploded and caught Wick and Ely off guard. “You two never fight, so stop it right now. Let’s change the topic. Okay? Can you do that?” They hesitated for a second and then composed themselves again.
“Anything for you.” Wick winked at her, Ely just nodded and sat down again. “So, what do you want us to talk about?” He asked.
“How about that footage of yours, Wick? The one that had some bits missing?”
“What? No, I handled that.” Wick said playing with his food, trying to avoid that particular topic as best as possible.
“You? Technology isn’t really your thing.” Aurora said laughing and then blushing.
“Well, I figured it out on my own.”
“Rory, I do work as a Monitor, okay! I use all those buttons and screens on a nightly basis.” He didn’t often call her Rory, but it was his secret weapon. She loved it when he called her a nickname, just not right then.
“Yes, but I’m the one who taught you and who you ask whenever something doesn’t work.”
“Wait, I am lost guys! What footage?” Ely clinked himself into the conversation. Wick didn’t know what to do. He had already told them about dream-travelling, which he shouldn’t have. If he now told them about the shadow-thing, Don might just kill him. Then again, they were his best friends and he had to tell someone or he might explode. Don couldn’t just expect him to carry the heavy burden of responsibility all by himself, even though that was probably exactly what he was expecting from him. Wick rubbed the back of his head, which his friends apparently interpreted as an invitation to bombard him with more questions.
“Okay! Fine! I’ll tell you!”
He told them about Don’s suspicion and that the shadow-thing might be a lot more real than a nightmare could ever be. While Aurora’s facial expressions changed with every word and went from confusion to being terrified, Ely seemed to take it all in stride. Almost as if he had heard it before. Wick immediately knew what that meant.
“You knew all along, didn’t you? That’s why you got so angry about me being in the dream? And don’t try to lie to me, dude, I know when you’re not telling me the truth.”
The table got quiet, almost as if the rest of the cafeteria didn’t even exist.
“I knew that you blew this way out of proportion when I first told you, but now it makes sense I guess.”
“I trained for months and months on end to be allowed to go into a dream and to be prepared in case I had to face that thing. My unit had been investigating it for a while now. And what do you do? You just go into a dream on a whim and face it all on your own. Who knows what could have happened!?”
“Does that mean that thing is really dangerous to us?” Aurora asked in a small voice.
“Not just dangerous. Lethal.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“He has to be, because Dreamers … we don’t … nothing can …”
“We are not immortal, Aurora.” Ely said it with a chilly calmness in his voice that made it difficult for Wick to recognise his best friend.
“Yeah, maybe not, but so far they sure as hell have only died because of old age.”
Ely lowered his eyes and they all knew what it meant. Somehow and no matter how incredible it sounded, the thing had killed a Dreamer.
“Can I just say that I am really glad we are all on the same team again?” Wick mentioned after they had collected themselves again after Ely’s big reveal.
“Yeah, me too, man.”
They all smiled at each other, a united front at last. Wick had never been good at keeping secrets from his friends. “So, now that that’s settled. What do we call the thing? It needs a name. We can’t just continue to call it the shadowy-something. That doesn’t make it sound very frightening.”
“Are you serious right now?”
“Yes, come on. Aurora, you’re gonna help me out here?”
“I … I don’t know. What do we know about it?”
“Excellent question! Let’s summarise what we’ve found out so far.”
Ely rolled his eyes, but grudgingly joined in. “It seems to bring night upon the dream and it makes some sort of crashing sound like thunder.”
“True! I can definitely attest to that. What else?”
“I don’t know man, what did you experience?”
“Well, it was definitely blurry.”
“Very helpful.” Ely bumped Wick’s shoulder and they just then noticed that Aurora was taking notes on her tablet, recording everything they said. She looked up, indicating for them to continue.
“Let me think. I also remember reports saying that it got really cold inside the dream.”
“Yes! I got chills all over.”
“Anything more on the appearance?” Aurora looked up for the tiniest second.
“I don’t think anyone has actually ever seen how it looks like. It’s just like a living nightmare.”
“Okay, then what do you think about … ‘Cauchemar’?”
“Bless you?” Wick offered while Ely just looked confused.
“No! I didn’t sneeze.”
“Oh, sorry …”
“It’s French for ‘nightmare’.”
“Why would we call it something French? That doesn’t even make sense! Back me up here Ely!”
“It really doesn’t make much sense. Sorry, Rory.” He shrugged his shoulders.
“Then come up with something better!” Aurora said sulkily.
“Oh, I know! How about ‘The Chill’?”
“You can do more than that, Wick.”
“What’s that … Oh! Shadow and monster – no.”
“No!” Ely and Aurora answered simultaneously. There was a little pause as they all thought about it.
“Okay, I know it’s really obvious, but how about ‘the Night Shadow’?” Aurora finally broke the silence. “It sounds a little like something from a comic book, right? Not that I’ve ever read one of those. But …”
“No, you’re right! I think it could work. It just calls it as it is, but that’s way better than shadow-thingy.”
“Great! Now our opponent finally has a name.”
“I don’t think it’s just one.” Ely retorted.
“You think there’s more of them? Night Shadows? As in plural? See, it already paid of that we found a name for it.”
“I just don’t think that the Night Shadows are smart enough to work on their own. They must serve some kind of purpose maybe even be controlled by someone. You’ve mentioned that they seemed like a virus infecting a dream, so someone must have programmed them.”
“That doesn’t sound very good.”
“No, it definitely doesn’t.”
Any final thoughts or remarks?