So I wrote this a few years ago and it has sat stagnating in my WordPress site for way too long, so I recently dug it off my page, swizzled it about with the magic of editing and voila. New edition and if I say so myself, a pretty good chunk of a story here too. I will add to this, but I’m not someone that fits well swith Schedules so;
Follow my Twitter @Sixwriting for more up to date details about things that I’m up to and I will be posting things on this site a lot more in future as i work my way into getting this bonfire re-lit.
Without further ado, Welcome to Breeze.
The first day
Mike entered the office through the glass doors, dressed in his best ‘It’s my first day, don’t hate on me’ clothes which consisted of a white shirt, black trousers and a dark blue tie. someone described it as navy, but to Mike it was just dark blue.
Approaching the desk, he breathed deep and spoke to the receptionist.
“Hi, my names Mike…
Nothing. She didn’t even blink as he stood there. A minute passed as he stared at the top of her head. Was this deliberate, or did she not hear him?
The girl looked up at him, frowned as if to say who is this guy?
She was pretty, medium length brown hair, slight tan from the brief burst of sunshine they had recently.
“I’m the new guy… Hi.”
Mike said with a slight wave, then an intesnse mental interrogation by himself as to why he did that slight wave.
She stood up, taking Mike by surprise at her willingness to help.
She gestured across the office and spoke with a well rehearsed script.
“Welcome to JTC recruitment, a “brand new approach to recruiting!” As you can see we each have a desk, well except me, i get this batterred thing that stops me seeing when people come in.” He did recall having to lean over to get her attention.
“We’re split into sections that cover the local area. Generally speaking town by town, so you’ll get assigned a town that you’ll get used to, make friends and contacts and just as you hit optimal sales the boss will throw you into a different section entirely.”
Slight hint of bitterness there. Mike thought as she continued.
“So we’ve got Dave and Bill covering the Eastern parts of the town, Wendy and Gavin on north and central, Ted on south and Manji on Western. You’ve got me on reception and booking clients in, im Alecia and lastly, lurking in the dark office away from the genral public youve got Harry, or “Mr Wizard” as he will introduce himself as. Hes IT. And a freak. So where will you be working?”
She gestured limply in the directions of each of the tables and stared, stony faced into Mikes eyes as she awaited his answer.
The first few days passed without incident. There was a cock up regarding email on one day, but that was sorted within a few hours. Mike began to think that he may have landed the perfect job as he never seemed to need to do anything. He’d never had so much freedom in a workplace before, and he’d never put so much time into his games before, yet here he was spending hours just… Sitting there.
Harry “Mr Wizard” was the same. Although he was more brazen with it, using the work server to play Glorious Fantasia. Some JRPG* online game where you played as a different varieties of what looked like cat people and fought other ridiculous mammal based enemies.
*JRPG – Japanese Role Playing Game
“…But by that time I’ll be a level 76 Feline Battlecat so I should sweep through the expansion pretty easy.” Mike blinked twice in response to the nonsense that Mr Wizard had just babbled to him. He continued on about his cats and the other classes of feline interpretation, but something caught Mikes eye on Mr Wizards screen.
A small message box had popped up and bounced gently on the screen, titled simply “Mike”.
“After about a month or so, I wouldn’t say I was hooked on it but…” Mr Wizard spotted the bouncing icon on his screen and turned to face his P.C, clicking the icon a white box of email to and fro’s spread itself out.
Mike ducked down, despite his own wanting to read the message. His stomach contorted awkwardly, had he done something wrong? Did the office hate him or think he was slacking off? What did it say? Slowly Mike began to give in to his urges to look at the screen and found his eyes pulling upwards. As he caught the screen, Mr Wizard closed the message.
Mike went back on his phone when Mr Wizard turned in his chair. “Ahh its nothing. You wanna grab lunch?” Mikes stomach rumbled in answer for him.
A small group of them headed into the town, all heading towards the cafe near the centre. Mike felt a little like he was on the outside, even with people he knew for a long time he could still come off as awkward sometimes. It was something of a superpower.
They approached the cafe and Mike had begun to feel that this may be something of an initiation rite into the group as pretty much the whole office went in a group to this place. All except Dave who was sticking to a strictly Vegan diet and the place was deemed “beneath his standards”.
They passed the usual sports and vape shops as one of the group said that they had “Sprung up overnight those vape shops.” Mike was curious to the trend but remained at a cautious distance to trends as anyone with photos of themselves from the 80’s would. They passed a strange little alley, the kind of place you wouldnt go down at night. It was unremarkable really, apart from the apparent reflectiveness of the tiles at the end. They looked as though they had been polished to a mirror like quality, reflecting the suns glare with incredible violence as Mike glanced down. He regretted looking down as his eyes were immediately filled with blueish burn marks that blocked his vision considerably for a few seconds.
When they were in the cafe, Mike was hit with the barrage of usual questions;
“Where’ve you worked before”
“You got a girl? Or a guy if your into that?”
“Where do you come from?”
The questions came heavily, but going off everyones expressions, he had answered each one satisfactorily and begun to feel a little more comfortable with the office as a whole. Maybe they wouldnt think him so much of a freak now.
Of course he hadnt given himself a nickname either, so that may have helped somewhat.
The day drew to a close and as Mike waved off everyone he felt as though he had gotten over the worst part of starting anywhere.
He felt accepted.
Something he had always struggled with in the past. He got home, with a smile still sitting in his chest and looked forward to tomorrow as he entered his small flat, threw the keys into the cupboard, swung round into the kitchen and launched his bag onto the sofa as he switched his kettle on and grabbed a mug.
After a few hours of boring t.v he set his stuff onto charge for the night and lay in his lonely bed, waiting for the night to take him to the morning.
Though this time, morning was not the first stop.
The Stop Before Dawn
Mike watched the orange sunset that stretched above and below him, as though there was no end to the sky. Also, there seemed to be no sun that he could make out, even though the sky was clearly during sunset, going from red to strong orange and finishing in a bizarre green at the lower points of the sky. He realised he was stood on the edge of a cliff and his stomach flipped. He stepped back from the edge and sharp jagged edges came into his vision on either side. This was some form of cave that led to a dangerous lip at the end of the world.
Wait, end of the world? Where did that come from?
The whole scene felt… familliar to him. As though he had been here long ago but forgotten it existed.
Where is she?
The girl in the patchwork dress! One of the Inami tribe!
What is going on here!?
His head felt like it was arguing with itself, as though an old part of his brain was shouting at his conscious mind. He raised his hands to cover his ears instinctively, but the voice continued.
Im in your head, you aren’t hearing me.
“Whats going on!?” Mike shouted in frustration as he backed further into the cave.
Dont shout, the Cave Dwellers will come.
What cave dwellers?
The sound of rubble dropping from the walls came, along with a slow scratching sound. It looked as though the rocks themselves where moving in response to his shouting.
Whatever ‘them’ were, ‘they’ were waking up. The walls of the cave seemed to ripple and shimmer independantly as grey lumps with shiny black hides began to lift up and look around. it was near impossible to tell were one of the creatures ended and the creatures began. They started moving faster and faster as one leaned over a ledge, its tremendous paws gripping the ledge powerfully with claws that looked razor sharp and about the size of daggers or short swords. His heart began to pound loudly in his chest as more and more of the surrounding ledges and boulders began to shudder into life. It looked as if the entire environment was alive and steadily becoming more aware.
You have to get out, its too dangerous here.
Mike began to look for anyway out that he could find, but the shadows blocked every crevice and possible exit. Scanning around, he looked deeper into the cave and spotted one that seemed to be a deeper recess then the other shuddering entrances.
He burst off at a speed that surprised himself, the cavern began to fill with a strange juddering, cracking sound as the creatures reared up, attempting to locate what had disturbed them. In a matter of seconds he had reached the recess, but to no avail as he pressed against the hard, cold stone wall that blocked his way. A loud thud crashed behind him and a sense of dread ran up his spine as he slowly rotated, coming face to face with the strangely beetle like face of the Cave Dweller.
Its black sunken eyes were hard to distinguish against the black of its eye sockets, only difference was their wetter shine. Its tiny feelers twitched in the air as it emitted a strange crackling noise from what Mike guessed was its mouth. More loud thuds landed behind the humongous creature that had him cornered. It was a strange feeling, being cornered by something that was clearly going to kill you at any given moment, Mike closed his eyes, afraid of the impending impact from the massive beast and began to think of how much of his life he had wasted, all the invites he had turned down because of stupid reasons such as talking to strangers, even being with friends terrified him slightly and had been one of his excuses. “Oh i have to take my cat to the vet” when he didn’t own a cat
“Its my ____ birthday so i have to see them”
He hadn’t seen anyone from his family in years so again that was a lie.
His mind switched to work, never again would he see that group of people that made him feel… welcome ever again. Speaking of which, where was he? How did he even get-
A deafening sound filled the cave, almost distorting his vision with its sheer volume. It sounded like a mixture of whalesong and an elephants call, this time there was a severe earthquake that threw him to the floor towards the Cave Dweller, who had now turned to the origin of the noise and reared up in defense.
The rocks had split open on its back and revealed delicate wings which shone with a multicolored sheen and began to rapidly flutter, levitating the strange beast off the floor. Mike crawled forwards, curious of what had come to his aid, peering round the rocks, the largest creature he had ever seen had crashed into and blocked up the entire caves precipice with its enormous pale white body.
It resembled a whale, immense and pale, with two large eyes at the front of its face and bizarre pupils that resembled crosshairs. It screeched the bizarre noise again and opened its mouth, revealing thousands of blunt teeth, obviously designed for crushing or grinding, and strangley about 20 tongues. The Cave dwellers all formed up in the air, some form of defensive position, there razor sharp claws readied to strike against this massive creature.
Some had gathered underneath it and began to bite, stab and cut against its flesh. The whale creature now began its attack, its tongues stretching out with dangerous precision, latching around the Cave Dwellers and pulling them into its mouth and pinning them powerfully against the tongues housing.
Mike was fascinated by the scene. Two incredible creatures he’d never seen before, one attempting to feed itself and the other defending what must be a nest of some form. Someone shouted his name over the noises of battle, he turned to face the sound of the strangely familiar voice and thats when he saw.
He awoke in a sweat. That was the most intense dream he’d ever had, clearly remembering everything that he touched, smelled. The sheer panic as the creatures surrounded him and the unnerving feeling of familliarity that lingered even as he sat up in his bed.
Shakily he entered the kitchen, a vague feeling of being watched hovered around the whole flat, so he got quickly dressed for work and left in a hurry.
Myra watched from the kitchen counter as the door slammed before her, giggling a little to herself. Found you.
Mike hurried through the streets, his mind racing with pictures of the dream, the colourful sky, the vast cavern that hung over the edge of nothingness. The giant field of grass populated with tiny little tents and collossal-
Mike stopped dead in the street as he examined the last thought,Wait that didn’t happen last night, what’s this?
He remembered the loud thuds as he ran close to the giant creatures legs. They stomped with enough force to shake the ground as he and the girl played together. Sure it was a dangerous game, but it felt like so much fun. She was one of the tribespeople from the area which explained her patchwork appearance and the black mask paint that ran down her face. She was his age, or very close and they laughed as they ran around the enormous beasts legs.
The beasts were peaceful, like massive walking islands amidst an ocean of yellow and green grass stalks. Deep brown leathery skin covered them from head too foot, a long powerful neck held a wide flat head. Their build allowed them to devour trees whole in one enormous sweeping bite. A flock of small raptor like creatures swarmed through the fields, creating a wave of movement across the plain.
He blinked a couple of times as the images faded, finishing with him and the girl sitting atop one of the enormous creatures, now named Grass Islands, watched the sunset as it thundered along at a slow, gentle pace. Up in the sky, two sky whales helixed around another, much smaller whale with pinpricks of sparkling light beginning to come through the thinning cloud and peach coloured sky.
Confusion ran among him as he strode along, walking at a faster pace then most as to avoid anybody talking to him. What was going on? His dreams were usually weird, rabbit in the fridge kind of things, but never this vivid or… real.
He got into work, still flustered about the dream and unable to shake the bizarre feeling it had left in his stomach.
The ‘Wizard’ was perky, strangely so for a day like today as it was raining quite heavily, in fact the whole office seemed rather energized.
“Its payday! And we got fantastic bonuses from our targets!”
“Oh… Yeah fantastic! Sorry i had a bad nights sleep so I’m not that… up yet.”
“Ahh don’t worry about it, anyway it’ll kick in later when you can spend it!”
With a weak smile, Mike sighed out
“Yeah, i think you’re right, I think I’m just being tired at the moment, maybe food will help?”
The wizard smiled widely
“Now you’re making sense, I’ll round up the office for our trip.”
He left in a hurry as Mike sat down and shook his head, trying to jolt the feeling of exhaustion away, his computer was already on so he quickly logged in. His emails were still onscreen as if he hadn’t logged out yesterday, but he was certain that he had turned the computer off before he left last night.
A box popped up in the corner;
With hesistation he clicked the box, hands shaking from exhaustion and tension at the weird occurences today. The box filled part of the screen with a weirdly constructed message;
BReeZe NEedS yOU.
The message sat onscreen as Mike stared at the words and their unusual construction. the confusion hit hard, leaving him nauseous and he looked away from the screen. Closing his eyes he thought that maybe this was all still part of the dream or maybe he was getting a fever. it had been raining pretty heavily recently and that always stirred up the flu germs. But when he looked back at the screen, the message was still there.
Questions flooded into his mind; Was breeze the name of that world? No, it wasn’t a world, it was a dream. And he wasn’t receiving emails from a dream.
Just a dream
Thunder rattled the outside of the building as it rolled across the sky. The office windows were left slightly open, allowing the breaking noise to crackle inside the office. Everyone had gone for food but Mike had stayed inside stating that he felt sick now and wanted to just stay in the warm for a little while.
The I.T room today was particularly dark, thanks to the small amount of window they had, but it didnt help that the storm had brought with it thick cloud cover and so was darker than usual. the tiny blinking LED’s pierced through the shroud like neon lights on the end of pins.
He sat, shaking a little, still staring at the badly constructed email on the screen in front of him. His stom ach knotted itself with a clenching twist, the other room flashed quickly, splashing a weird shadow on the wall to his side, strange how in an empty office it can still look like the shadow of a person can be cast in lightning.
When he finally managed to move, he knew that something weird was happening. Was this a long trick? Maybe he’d dropped off at some point and spoke outloud and this was a prank by the office?
He even entertained the premise of being the subject of a hypnotist that was trying to subliminally influence his life, having watched some weird stuff on t.v lately, no matter how unlikely that was. Sighing, he shook his head and rose up from the chair to head to the kitchen coffee might help right n-
Another flash lit up the office before him and illuminated the girl from his dream. She stretched her hand out towards him, as if gesturing him to follow her. Her black facepaint now more detailed then ever, drawing lines down her face, her hair braided and twisted expertly seemed to radiate the orange, fire like quality of colour. It was remarkable the amount of detail that could be gathered in a split second flash of light.
Just as soon as she appeared, she was gone, leaving no trace but a stark imprint on his memory. He remembered her name.
They had been… friends during childhood, one that he seemed to have forgotten as the dull reality of life had taken over. It felt like bumping into an old family member that you hadnt seen in decades. What was causing this to happen?
It was just a dream, right? Yeah a prolonged dream, one that was extremely realistic and life like, but still just a dream that he woke up from and carried on life as normal…
Mike stood, barely having moved a step away from his chair, staring at the blank space in the doorway where Myra had just been standing. He wondered if he would need to go back onto his medication if this continued too happen…
“Hi Mikey, im Dr Peret, pleased to meet you.”
Mike looked up at the strange person before him, a dark skinned lady with tight curls that dropped just passed her ears and rolls of gentle fat lining her chin. She looked friendly enough but something whispered in his ear
“Shes gonna lie to you…”
He ignored it, staring into her face. She raised a hand out towards him and instinctively he reached out and shook it, his own hand tiny in her comfortable grip. His mind turned to warmer thoughts as he scanned her features. He pictured her laughing, surrounded by people with the same skin and hair as her, but in different styles. The air was heavy with the scent of spices and loud voices, yet it felt welcoming.
“She comes from a good home…”
“How could you possibly know that? Anyone that dresses like this must not be trusted. They want to put you on tablets and injections to ‘calm you down'”
His mind jumped from the warm environment to a cold, white tiled room where he was strapped to a table, his eyes pinned open and people with glasses standing around him, watching his eyes flick from person to person in the room, jotting things down on clipboards when a machine dropped down, revealing sharp syringes aimed right for his face, possibly his eyes. He screamed as they approached and despair filled him as he tugged on the restraints
“I hear there has been problems at school?”
He was back facing the doctor from the warm home. He breathed deeply and pushed down the sick knot that formed in his stomach.
He shook his head.
“No? No problems? No bullying or difficulties focussing on work?”
He shook his head again, Mikes mother nudged him, jolting a response.
“I… I prefer stories.”
Dr Peret leant closer to him, Mike lowered his face to avoid eye contact. It was stupid but he felt that if they made eye contact she would control the conversation, she would wring him for information and find out about her, find out about the dreams and how they sometimes followed him.
“Find out about me huh…”
“I prefer stories too… who do you read?”
“I don’t, the stories come from me.”
“So a creative type eh?”
He didnt answer, he had said too much.
What was i thinking!? ‘The stories come from me’!? I’m going to have to leave home… ill never see my mom again!
A tear slipped down his cheek, a cold sadness settled in his chest.
“Its ok Mike… Everythings going to be fine. Just, talk.”
About an hour later, Mike had vented everything about the world to Dr Peret, about how he visits it at night and rides enormous creatures across the plains, about the various tribes and people he had met on his travels. Everything from the Pirates at Bladewater Cove to the futuristic city of Nilla. All in incredible detail, he had even gone to the effort to describe each of the knights houses in Empire and also the mysterious Crystal City in the heart of the Lifeless Dunes.
“You… told her everything…”
“Yeah… Sorry… nobody had ever seemed interested before-“
“Well now they will be! You sounded ansolutely crazy in there… they’ll split us up you know.”
“They can’t do that. You’ve always been there, they can’t take you away.”
“Mike, they have medicines and potions that can send me away! That’s why i told you not to tell them!”
His heart beat rapidly, filling up with terror. Had he truly messed up that much? Would the kind looking Dr send him to the cold stone place, where lots of scary Drs would poke at him and try to work out what was going on. He felt sick, his stomach flipped and knotted uncomfortably as the murmuring from the office grew louder.
“- but continue with the course and we’ll see how he progresses.”
Mikes mother nodded, she had shoulder length hair that was grey and blonde at the same time. She looked tired, he knew that it was hard for her, but didn’t understand why. Sure he played a lot more in his head then other children and maybe, just maybe, he spoke to himself or others that were around often but he still didn’t see what the problem was.
She smiled weakly, her baggy multicolored jumper was covered in loose threads and ends that completed the picture of a woman at the end of her tether.
“Come on Mikey… let’s get home, we’ve got one stop to make before we get home. Say thank you to the Dr.”
Mike stood up and caught his reflection, people had described him as an “old 8” which confused him, how can you be an old version of your age? In the window opposite, the reflection showed another child, Keller, one of his best friends who was shaking his head with a saddened face.
“Thank you Dr.”
“I’ll see you soon Mike, do as your mother asks now ok?”
He nodded gently, feeling resigned to his fate now.