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Foreword From the Author Edit

What is fear? Fear is a chemical reaction in the brain that strikes whenever you experience terror. Fear is primal. Fear is baser. Basically, fear is an emotion, and no one is without fear. Fear is what drives us to defend ourselves and our loved ones when needed. Most of all, fear comes from the unknown.

The unknown is what we don’t know, or what don’t want to know. Yet all the time, it comes to us in the strangest ways. That’s what ‘I Must Be Dreaming’ is all about: striving to discover the unknown; about three people struggling to uncover the unknown—before their fear gets the best of them.

Furthermore, this trilogy is about discovering what our dreams are made of. Our dreams can be so enigmatic sometimes, and some people want and need to find the answer. Hopefully, you dream-seekers will find answers.

Here’s to fear; how it drives us, how it saves us, and most of all, how it scares us. Hopefully people don’t say they aren’t afraid of anything. They would have a big part of themselves missing.

Dedicated to Maria and Francis, my cousins;
Without them, the experience of fear would be nothing.

F.<話して~!!>

Staring Edit

My office was bright and blinding as always. The fluorescent lights were still on even though there was so much light reflecting off the buildings of Thunder Bay. Everyday I was forced to sit there, staring out the door blankly. My job is boring, the people I talk to are boring, and general area of Thunder Bay I work in is the epitome of boring.

I had already made enough money to support myself and my brother, and possibly even more. Why did I still work here?

As I was still immersed in thought, there was a metallic clattering coming from the doorway. There was a nondescript-looking young man at the door. His clothes were wrinkled and he looked like he did not make any attempts to fix it. He was very harrowed-looking; his eyes were wide and his hair was all in straggles. To say the least, he looked and smelled like sheer hell.

“Hello sir,” I greeted him. He looked up at me with large, worried eyes. When he came closer, I saw he looked a little bit like my brother Sebastian.

“Hi,” he said simply.

“How are you feeling?” I asked him.

“Fine,” he replied.

“What’s bothering you?” I asked him. He went quiet after that. Even his eyes went quiet—there wasn’t anyone else in the facility, and that only added to the impact of the silence.

I smiled at him, trying to force a response. Still, he was impassive.

“Could I at least have your name?” I asked him.

“Derrick,” he replied. I noticed a bit of a German accent in his voice.

“What’s bothering you Derrick?” I asked him next.

“A dream…” he said lowly.

A dream? Now we were getting somewhere. If I had a nickel for every person who comes in here, preaching their dreams, I’d be obscenely rich.

“Please,” I asked him now, with a sort of sense of longing; “Describe your dream.”

Derrick took a very deep breath, and by the end of it, I was sure he was ready to start telling me his story…

“I had this dream before—when I was about 8. It isn’t really recurring, but it just came back to me last night. It’s weird though, it’s as if the second time this dream occurred just picked up where the first one left off. “Anyway, the first one was around this old fairground. There were about two games in the whole midway. There was one really pathetic rollercoaster that was still made out of wood. There were screams of laughter and enjoyment coming from everywhere, but I was alone. I remember just walking around aimlessly, like I was searching for something to do.”

I pondered for a moment. I realized Derrick’s dream had an underlying theme of loneliness. Maybe the screams of enjoyment represented everyone enjoying themselves and he was left out? I needed to delve farther.

“Tell me more,” I urged him. Derrick sighed solemnly.

“Alright… “The second time this happened, I was at the same fairground, but the rollercoaster was taken down. There were more games and stands in the midway, but nobody was manning them. I didn’t hear any giggling or enjoyment this time. It was all so silent.”

He paused for a second, as if to gather his thoughts. He kept his head bowed.

“Are you alright?” I asked him. He made a choking-sobbing noise.

“I’ll be right back,” I assured him, standing from my seat. I started walking into the hall behind the reception desk. Taking a left down the hall, I swerved into my office directly to the squat fridge beside the counter. I pulled it open, took out a water bottle and made my way back into the hall. When I got back to the desk, Derrick was still there, staring emptily into the floor.

“Here,” I told him as I sat; holding out the water bottle to him. He took it, but did not open it.

“Can you go on?” I asked him. Derrick nodded and inhaled slowly.

“I walked down the midway—this time, I knew I had a purpose there. I just made my way down the whole midway, looking left and right for something. At the end of the midway, there was a door. But the door was blocked—there was a heavy trolley and a cage blocking its way.”

Once again, he stopped talking and inhaled slowly. He finally opened the water bottle and took a heavy gulp from it.

“Tell me about the cage,” I urged him. His eyes opened wide as soon as I said the word ‘cage’. Abruptly, his breathing became somewhat labored and thick. I could see his eyes skit around nervously, trying to probe the area around him. Again he inhaled deeply and slowly.

“The cage has bars almost a foot apart, so I was afraid that whatever was in there could just reach out and get me.

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