"Bobby's Dream," Chapter 8. Available in print and digital format.
| Chapter 8
Bobby still lay in bed when the unbridled power of his psyche began to seep forth. Groaning, his hands twitched. He shuddered. Then his eyes snapped open.
The boy sprang up, eyes bulging, jaw hanging. On high alert, senses deluged,
amplifying everything to paranoiac—almost painful—levels:
Darkness flooding his mind’s eye.
Silence crashing against his ears.
Stillness heavy upon his bones.
Trembling, Bobby opened his mouth as a low, sinister, voice issued from the darkness.
“Screamm...nnot...” it said.
But he did.
Bobby screamed, alright…but it came out as little more than a breathy hiss.
“Bee...calmm...” the voice said, followed by a thick rasping breath.
The boy stiffened.
No way! How could HE be here?
After years of wishing for the impossible, Bobby couldn’t believe that the impossible had come to life. He’d heard, but he hadn’t seen. A black shape, darker than the shadows, now stood in front of the closet…and that’s all he knew.
That, and the shape seemed immense and very still.
Could it be? he wondered, staring at what might be anything…or nothing.
Could it really be?
Bobby wanted to believe. Quite bad. But this fell outside the realm of all normal hopes and dreams. This pushed the very bounds of reality. To believe it, he’d have to be crazy.
Or maybe…just maybe…I’m dreaming!
Eyes fixed upon the shape, Bobby took a deep breath. “Are you real?” he whispered, dreading the response.
An unbearable moment passed. Tense, the boy fidgeted, unsure of what to say or do. But before he could say or do anything, the shadow spoke:
Still unable to comprehend the ominous sight, Bobby gasped. Staring into the shadows, aware that the shape stared back. Neither moved, but the thick, bestial, breaths continued in a steady rhythm.
Did I make him angry? Is that why he’s here? To punish me?
Bobby blinked. “No?”
In his amazement, the question didn’t register. “Is it…is it really you?” Bobby asked, leaning forward. “I can’t see…”
The light switch flicked upward—
—and the room exploded with bright, artificial light.
Bobby flinched—part surprise, part pain—and shut his eyes.
Whoa! Did I do that? Or was it...
“Ve'yn?” he whispered, leaning back.
“Me? I did it?”
Reluctant, Bobby opened his eyes...and there indeed stood the tall and impressive form of his idol, The Almighty Ve'yn. A dragon which walked like a man. Black horns, black claws. Green, leathery hide. Winged, clad in ebony battle armor which covered its thick tail.
And that face!
Shiny black pupils. Curved, goblin ears. Thin nose. Sharp cheekbones. Wide, skeletal jaw, lined with putrid teeth.
A true nightmare come to life.
With each syllable, the dragon’s lower mandible twitched, exposing a black hole. No tongue; no thing at all. As if The Void within swallowed the light inside its mouth.
“Lacks focus…” Bobby repeated, dumbstruck.
“Did I summon you, Almighty Ve'yn?”
“Be-holld!” Ve'yn threw up its right hand. Its sharp black claws whooshed! through the air. “An-swerr!”
Jolted by this command, Bobby scrambled to his feet. His chance had come! Perhaps the last he’d ever get, and the frantic boy intended to take it.
But, where do I start? What do I say?
Mind awhirl, Bobby almost fell as the mattress shifted. The dragon, ever still, towered over him. Gazing into those cold black eyes, the boy took a deep breath.
Okay, now or never!
“Almighty Ve'yn...I’ve waited so long. Please…help me. Teach me to be as strong as you so they can't hurt me anymore...”
Silent except for its harsh breath, Ve'yn considered this plea for a full minute. Waiting, trembling, Bobby felt the weight of its emotionless stare. Looking through him, sensing every weakness, every desire, every fear. Each second felt like an eternity of hopelessness. Then, at last, Ve'yn spoke:
The first thing Ve'yn did shook Bobby to his core. Without looking, the dragon ripped two planets from the Xyrian mobile in the corner. The twine snapped—cut by a fraction of thought—and they flew over in graceful arcs.
Hovering side by side, the plastic orbs stopped near Ve'yn’s molded chest plate.
Staring at his idol, Bobby nodded.
Bobby looked at the planets. Without hesitation, he chose the one to his left.
The boy thought it over. His inner eye conjured up a pudgy, red-haired tyrant, and memories of pure rage. “Clint,” he uttered. “Clint Gault makes me very angry.”
Ve'yn let out a husky breath; almost a snarl. “Gaullt...”
“He’s a bully,” Bobby replied, glaring at the model planet. “He likes to push little kids around. He likes to push me around.”
The dragon exhaled. This time, a snarl. “Gaullt...”
“He shoved me down today. But I shoved back. And he’s lucky, so lucky that I didn’t know—”
Bobby couldn’t believe his eyes. The plastic ball began to splinter; collapsing upon itself, crushed like an empty soda can. All from the unseen pressure of a mental vise!
Crack! Crack! Crack!
And within a matter of seconds, he'd finished the job.
Bobby’s jaw fell. The demolished chunk of plastic hovered just long enough to survey the damage, then fell to the floor with a soft thump! Following it with his gaze, he felt a pang of regret. It had, after all, been a present from his mother.
Bobby looked up. “Thank you, Almighty Ve'yn.” The other planet hovered before him, and he set his sights upon it.
Oh, well. Mom wouldn’t care that I broke them if she knew about this!
“Fear?” This time, he didn’t have to think. “Ms. Thornton.”
Another snarl. “Fo-cuss...”
Galvanized to the task at hand, the boy thought of his teacher:
Gray hair in a tight bun.
Hard, lined face.
Cold, judgmental eyes.
“She hates me. I don’t know why. No, wait. Probably I do know…” His eyes narrowed. “She thinks there’s something wrong with me. Whenever she's near I feel strange things…”
“Thor-tonn...” Bayn urged.
“I feel...anger…and mistrust…and fear…and something else. Resentment, maybe? I don’t know. It…it’s all mixed up. Very…painful.”
Shuddering, he paused.
“There’s something...scary...about her. Something mean and hateful. And…for some reason…it comes out whenever I’m around. I wish it wasn’t that way, but I really think she wants to—”
Crack! Snap! Pop!
The model began to shake as invisible explosions racked its plastic frame. Panels busted loose, small rods sprung away. Bobby’s mental hands tore apart in just a few seconds what had taken his real hands several hours to build—
Pop! Snap! Crack!
Startled, Bobby gaped at this wreckage with incredulous eyes.
I did that?
Folding its thick arms, Ve'yn's armored tail slithered around its armored leg
Bobby shook his head. “No! How did I do that?”
“Emotion? You mean, fear and anger?”
Impatient, the dragon growled.
“Sorry, Almighty Ve'yn! I'm just trying to understand. You're saying it begins as emotion?”
Ve'yn nodded. “Fu-ells...de-si-rre...”
“Emotion fuels desire!”
“Desire is...channeled...into thought?”
“And thought becomes power!”
Again, Ve'yn nodded.
“Oh! So it's a process! Like applying heat to liquid! The liquid boils, then turns to steam!”
Smiling, Bobby wrung his hands. “Okay, but...that means I have to be really mad or really scared to do it. Is there, uh, any way that you can teach me to do it even when I'm calm?
“Awesome, Almighty Ve'yn!” the boy replied, folding his arms like his idol. “I'm ready!”
The dragon snarled. “Cloose...eyess...”
Overjoyed, Bobby obeyed.
The instruction had ended.
Not much older but a great deal wiser, Bobby gazed at his idol with a sense of peace he’d never known. Ve'yn still stood at the foot of the bed, arms crossed, wings folded.
The silence of things better left unsaid hung heavy around them.
“Almighty Ve'yn?” Bobby whispered. “Do you have to go?”
The dragon dipped its bald, finned head, then turned.
“But...you’re my only friend.”
Wordless, Ve'yn stepped into the shadows.
“Please...can't I go with you?”
Bobby winced. “Well, will you come back?”
“Please watch over me, Almighty Ve'yn. Keep me safe.”
No answer. The dragon had gone, leaving mundane shadows in its wake. “Please...” Bobby whispered, lips quivering. Silent, the boy stood there for a long while, staring into the night. Moonlight shone in his eyes. Tears dripped down his cheeks. Power surged through his being. He knew that he'd changed, knew that his life would never be the same.And now he harbored even more secrets. From his classmates. From Ms. Thornton. From Principal Fairchild. Even from his mother.
Oh, Mom...what am I gonna do now?
Groaning, the weary, distraught boy sank down and curled onto his side. Like Colleen, he'd worried himself into exhaustion, and within seconds he'd fallen asleep. Unlike her, no nightmares plagued him.
Thank Almighty Ve'yn.
(Author's Note: Download "Bobby's Dream" @ https://www.books2read.com/u/baPEyq)