Another nightmare, a riddle and a broken promise.
"I hate esculators." Ray muttered. That's when it hit me.
"Did you see the wall-paper?" I asked, laughing "The candles, remember at your twelth birthday Bob? We had candles just like this and one of them fell off and the entire room set fire?"
"Don't remind me!" Bob groaned.
"He's taken all of this knowledge out of our heads and put it into this house!" I laughed "So Ray, you're taking the esculator because it's your fault it's here."
"That's a little harsh." Ray replied, but this conversation had calmed us down a bit. Having just a normal conversation made us feel a little more relaxed.
We stepped into another large corridor. The wall-paper was black this time with bats painted on it. "Who thought of the wall-paper?" I asked.
"Me." Bob said, stroking it "It's what my Grandma has in her guest room and I had to sleep there every so often... And I hated it."
"Well, come on." I took Ray's hand and Bob's hand and began pulling them down the corridor "FRANKIE! MIKEY!"
"Gee?" A scared voice called back. Mikey!
I let go of my friends hands and followed my little brothers voice down corridor after corridor until I found him sitting on the floor, shaking. He looked terrified.
"Mikey!" I sat down next to him and hugged him close "It's okay now, everything's okay..." But we both knew it wasn't.
When Bob and Ray finally arrived, the door appeared infront of us. Mikey looked at me and asked what was going on. I couldn't lie to him so I told him everything. We heard a clock chime again, and I knew time was running out.
"Mikes, we need to face your nightmare." Ray stood up, and put his hand on the door-knob.
"I doubt you'll tell us," I said "But what did you draw?"
"I drew the ocean." He replied, as Ray swung open the door.
Something sucked us into the room, like a power-full wind. Although wind blows, not pulls. But it didn't matter, we were stuck under the ocean, not breathing. I was the first one to realise it.
"Just breath." I gasped, taking in air "This is a dream. It feels like water, looks like it... But it isn't. We can breath."
The others began to gasp air aswell. "Why did you draw the ocean Mikey?" Bob asked.
"It wasn't just the ocean." Mikey told him "I drew sharks, octupus, sting-rays... They scare me."
I remember when Mom had took me to Sea-World a few years ago. Mikey had insisted he was too sick to go, but he had looked fine to me... Was it because he was too scared to go?
I took Mikey's hand and said "We need to find a door."
We began to swim forwards. There was no-where else to go. Ray was the first one to notice that when we looked up, there was no top. We were in a ocean with no end. But we still had to find a door.
Suddenly, a large octupus appeared out of no-where, grabbed my foot and began pulling me deeper. The others tried frantically to swim closer to me but they couldn't keep up.
The octupus took me deeper until we reached what looked like a giant sand castle. He dragged me inside, taking me down weird, empty, corridors until we reached a large room where there was one object. A sand castle throw with someone sitting on it.
"Bert?" I spluttered. He had changed in such a short amount of time. His hair was now a golden blonde, and instead of two legs like he usually had, he now had a long tail.
"Hello." Bert smiled "Welcome to my kingdom!"
"It's totally empty." I replied "It's just a big empty castle."
"Oh Gerard, where is your imagination?" Bert giggled "You can't see them because you don't want to see them."
"Good." I huffed "Now let me go, you're not part of my brother's nightmare."
"The octupus is though. And your friends are terrible swimmers by the way."
"Ray can't swim."
"He can in his dreams though. And he doesn't like it, so I guess it isn't just Mikey's nightmare anymore."
"I want to get out of here."
"Wait!" Bert got out of his chair and swam towards me "Don't you want to save one of your friends, free of charge?"
"Is this a trick?" I answered straight away.
"No. I'll give you a riddle. If you give me the answer, then I guess either Mikey or Frankiekins doesn't have to face his nightmare."
I already made up my mind that I would let Frankie free, no matter what.
"What's the riddle then?"
"I am just two and two. I am hot. I am cold.
I'm the parent of numbers that cannot be told.
I'm a gift beyond measure, a matter ofcourse.
And I'm yielded with pleasure - when taken by force."
"When you figure it out, whisper my name three times and I will come and retrieve the answer."
In a flash he and the castle disappeared and I was back with my friends. "Where did you go?" asked Mikey, awkwardly hugging me under-water.
I told them about Bert and the riddle. None of them knew the answer.
"We need to get out of here." Bob said "Who knows when the sharks and stuff will show up?"
So we began to swim in no paticular direction. Then far off in the distance, we could see a door. "There it is!" Mikey cried, desperate to get out of his nightmare before it barely began.
I felt a rush of water behind us. I turned my head quickly and saw a large shark, sneaking up behind us. Like a cartoon shark, it smiled and suddenly snapped it's jaws.
"We have to swim faster!" I yelled, trying but failing.
"If it's a dream, can't we imagine we're swimming faster?" Ray asked.
"Dreams don't work like that!" Bob yelled back "You don't control them, they just... Well, it's kind of like a movie! Just try your hardest and hope to god you survive!"
We swam faster but then the octupus showed up again. It wrapped one of it's tentacles around Ray and began to drag him down. Bob stopped dead in his tracks and just watched Ray get pulled down, down, down.
I turned to Mikey and yelled "Get to the door!" It was his nightmare. If he got out of it, maybe it would end. "Bob! Try and help Ray, I'll distract the shark!"
Bob wasted no time rushing to help Ray. He swam down and then I had no more time to watch them. I turned to check on Mikey, who was swimming as fast as he could towards the door that was just clinging onto nothing. Good. He would soon be safe.
I turned to the shark who had stopped and was just staring at me. I looked into its eyes and saw something. They weren't ordinary shark eyes... They were Berts eyes.
I began to think back to his riddle, hoping that he wouldn't decide to hurt me. I thought hard. What brought pleasure...
Then it all came togethor! Where did every parent start? With a kiss! Because before you, well, you know, DO IT, it starts with a kiss... It is pleasure, it's a gift...
"Bert, Bert, Bert." I whispered under my breath. In an instant, the shark had turned into the merman Bert again.
"You figured it out?"
"Yes. A kiss." I smiled "Now you have to let one of my friends free.
"No. I said when you GAVE me the answer I'd let your friends free. Not when you told me the answer."
He smiled at me, the way he had in the shop "Are you prepared to do it Gerard? But one kiss, could make you want to stay forever..."