Saturday, 2 August 2014

Ill Dreamt by Moonlight

Like a good little girl, Somn had went back to her room, locked the door and laid on her bed as per the seniors' instructions. The only problem was, she can't actually sleep.

Somn soon finds herself walking down the hallway, her bare feet gliding along the tiled floors soundlessly. She didn't know where she was going, nor did she care-- overwhelmed by someone outright dying in front of her while she watched helplessly, she chooses to block out her thoughts and emotions until she feels better. A patrolling janitor walls right through Somn, making the goddess jump before chiding herself. Stupid! she scolded. No one can see you like this, remember?

The ghostly shape of Somn sighs. It was fun at first, wandering around and exploring, but by now she had practically memorised the entire layout of the new girls' dorm and each room's occupants. There wasn’t really much else to do.

A pink elephant-shaped bubble suddenly appears and crosses her path, distracting Somn. She watches it in astonishment until it leaves and breaks into laughter. Someone's sleepwalking again, she chuckles. Then she stops. Wait a second... that wasn't any of the girls' dreams... Hmm. Maybe it's a professor. Actually... a thought takes hold of Somn's mind. I wonder... What do the boys’ dorms look like? Do the hallways mirror the girls'?

Curiosity takes hold of her firmly, and the semi-transparent figure of the goddess takes off again, this time with a purpose.


Well. This is disappointing, huffs Somn, It's exactly the same!

The dorm for the gods of Somn's generation mirrored the goddesses' dorm exactly, down to the lonely potted plant at the end of the hall before the staircase on Somn's floor. She groans and leans against a random door. Now what? she asks herself. I can't just wander around the dorms forever. Mmm... What abo-- AIK!

Somn's hand accidentally falls through the door due to her incorporeal state. The goddess quickly proceeds to pull it out, but feels a familiar sensation and starts panicking. Oh Random... Whose dream is this?

Desperation lends Somn too much strength as she yanks out her hand, ending with her soundlessly crashing into the opposite wall. Ouch, thinks Somn, rubbing her head. Maybe that was a little too-- oh boy.

The young deity isn't alone in the corridor anymore. Standing in front of her is a tall, familiar figure, now getting up from his knees and taking in his surroundings.

Somn gulps. Oops.



Luke clutches his arm, trying to stem the hot, sticky blood seeping through his clothes and fingers. He could hear them, their excited mechanical chattering and heavy, thumping footsteps closing in. They've heard his outburst-- he is going to die here, in this strange place where even the walls themselves seem to be conspiring against you, with a robotic, seemingly nonchalant passive-aggressive voice mocking him at every turn.

He grits his teeth-- no way is he going to die here, not yet. He drags himself up to his feet, ignoring the numerous wounds peppering his body screaming at him in pain. He stumbles forward, only for his legs to collapse under him, sending him over the shrinking railing into the murky liquid below. He flails about, trying to do something, anything but fall. He screws his eyes shut, not wanting to see his watery grave soaring up to greet him. I am going to di--

Something suddenly grabs his arm. Something warm and soft. Something that isn’t crushing his bones into splinters or melting his skin off his flesh. Luke dares to open an eye. There, almost tantalizingly close, was the acidic gloop a quarter of a centimeter away from touching his dangling toes.

Luke looks up, trying to see what had rescued him. His jaw drops. Here, in this technological hell-hole, was a very human hand sticking out from behind an ajar tile. Luke hears a soft grunt and feels himself being hoisted up, away from the liquid below him and away from this place.

The hand's grip slips and sends Luke's heart jumping to his throat in response. Adrenaline surges through his body, and he somehow manages to swing himself up and firmly grasp his savior's wrist with his other hand.

Slowly, agonisingly, the hand drags Luke up until he can finally see the edge of the inky-black space behind the tile. He reaches out, grabs the edge and hurls himself head-over-heels into the empty beyond--

-- and finds himself kneeling in front of the first goddess he had ever laid his eyes upon.

He takes in his surroundings and tries to bring his shallow, gasping pants under control. I've escaped, he thinks. I-- "Somn?" he asks. "Wha--"

"You, um, were sleepwalking!" exclaims Somn. "And I, er, was helping you back into your room! Was kinda worried..."

I was sleepwalking?! Luke barely hears the rest of Somn's words. Instead, he feels blood rushing to his face as his brain gleefully presents him with a long, glorious list of delightful scenarios. Oh Great Random, begs Luke silently, please tell me I didn't do anything embarrassing!

"... so, no biggie, just close your eyes right now, and we can pretend that this awkward conversation never happened!" finishes Somn cheerfully.

"Y-yeah, sure," stammers Luke, reaching for his room's doorknob. "I'll just--"

Somn's eyes widens. "Don't touch that!"

Her shout comes too late. Luke stares at his hand in bewilderment. It had gone clean through the doorknob without even an iota of resistance. He brings it up to his eyes for closer inspection and discovers that if he focuses hard enough, he can see right through his entire forearm. A quick glance reveals that whatever this condition is, it is affecting his entire body. "... Somn?"

"Stay calm, it's nothing bad," says Somn quickly, waving her arms about in a direct contradiction of her own suggestion. "Just close your eyes, and I can fix this. It's all just a dream. No biggie!"

A dream... Luke manages to recall scenes from his nearly-forgotten nightmare. Someone... He looks back at Somn and finds one of her hands very familiar, despite it being thrown around in Somn's rapidly growing panic.

"Did you do something?" he asks.

The goddess halts in her tracks and lets her arms fall limply to her sides. "Did what?"

"I was... having trouble sleeping," says Luke, choosing his words carefully to prevent Somn from worrying. "And... I had to wake up, but I couldn't."

It didn't work. "You had a nightmare?" asks Somn, her voice full of concern.

"It's okay, I'm fine," says Luke. "Just..." Wait. He realises he isn't the only translucent one. "Somn, am I still dreaming?" he asks.

"Ah.. Yes and no. Physically you are sleeping, your mind and powers... Not so much," says Somn.

"What, am I doing astral projection?"

"No, that's for mortals," says Somn. "This is our equivalent of lucid-dreaming, I guess. Because of our niche powers." She shifts her weight onto her other foot. "Met an ex-senior the day before who could do this too. She said some gods' niche powers are active even when they're asleep. If they are lucid-dreamers, this is usually the result."

Luke looks puzzled. "Huh… I wonder what mine is, then."

Curiosity lights up Somn's face. "Oh yeah! You wouldn't be here otherwise! Weird..."

The goddess thinks about it for a moment, then shrugs. "I guess we'll find out eventually. Anyway, go back go bed and lie down. I'll meet you in the morning."

"Yeah, sure." Luke proceeds to put one foot through the door before a thought occurs to him. "Hey, Somn?"


Luke finds himself praying desperately that the heat he feels on his face is just him being tired. "Do you think we can, um... meet up again? Like this?"

Somn looks a little confused at this request, but smiles at him warmly. "Sure, why not? It'll be nice to have company."

"Ah, okay then. Goodnight."

"Night, Luke."

Somn finds herself staring at the door for another few minutes after Luke leaves, trying to comprehend this weird sensation running through her. What is with me today?! she wonders, shaking her head. She sighs. Maybe I’ll figure it out when I get up....

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