“Here she comes” a faint voice calls out, slowly becoming more visible as a pale white light lowers in tone, revealing an old office building stacked with early 2000’s-era technology. “Glad you could make it” the voice says again, this time clearer than it was before. Scanning the area, which lessens in color the further it is traversed, seems completely out of place from one’s normality, but feels decisively in place with the rest of the world.
“Don’t try to think” the voice calls out, feeling the sensation of the eye of the beholder trying to figure out what it’s experiencing. “You’ll ruin the illusion if you try to think too soon” the voice calls out once again, once more failing to convince the eye of the beholder, which soon sputters out of control, making the picture look as though it was the subject of an earthquake before it returns into darkness.
Finally, the darkness is interrupted by the familiar sound of an anger-inducing alarm clock, ruining the illusion and returning the eye of the beholder into her reality. “Scarlett, get down here!” a woman cries out, forcing the girl in bed to aggravatedly toss her comforter off and emerge from bed.
“You excited to go back?” the man in the passenger’s seat calls out, looking in the rear-view mirror to watch Scarlett’s face shift. “Not as excited as I was to leave” the girl replies, met with hassle from both her mother and her father. “Scarlett, don’t talk like that” her mother responds, met with confusion as to what’s wrong with it. “If you go into school thinking it’s a prison, it will always be just a prison” her mother replies, unable to change anything n Scarlett’s mindset.
“I’m locked in a building for six hours doing nothing but learning stuff I’ll never use again. Then they’ll have me take the same pointless stuff back home and steal another six hours. Then I’ll go to sleep and nothing will have changed” Scarlett replies, met with disapproval by the two elders ahead of her. “What am I supposed to look forward to?” Scarlett asks, genuinely intrigued by the possibility that her parents could have a response worthy of her effort. “You’ll get to see your friends and learn new stuff, pointless or not” her father replies, met with insistence that it would be the latter.
“It’ll do you good in the long run” her father replies, “what harm could algebra have?” Met with the challenge, Scarlett breaks her first smirk of the day and asks her father one rule he remembers from algebra classes of his own. Confident at first assumption, Scarlett’s mother turns to her husband and finds him rolling through his head in search of not just a worthy answer, but any answer. “Oh, Al” Nora replies, only to be met with him looking back to watch Scarlett’s smug grin do all the talking she needs.
“Have a good day sweetheart” Nora says, watching Scarlett into the school building and disappear into the sea of other teenagers. “Scarlett!” a blonde dressed in a blue dress with a pink sweater calls out, hurrying up to her. “Hey, Rachel” Scarlett says, fighting the urge not to groan at already having some stuck by her side. “Someone’s happy to be back!” Rachel says, watching Scarlett high five a few of the guys and girls she walks past.
“How’d the surgery go?” Rachel asks, assured by Scarlett herself that her jacked-up back is no more. “Three months later and the rose herself is back and better than ever!” Rachel says, finally getting a genuine smile on the girl’s face as they reach her locker. “So how’d the off-time go?” Rachel asks, watching Scarlett turn her face towards her and bite her lip.
“Glad to see you had fun!” Rachel replies, catching the drift before Scarlett even needed to say a word. “How’ve you and Jared been?” Rachel asks, this follow-up question making less beneficial traction than the one before it. “As well as you’d assume a guy with the last name ‘Wactor’ would take it” Scarlett states, met with a frown from her friend.
“He brought it onto himself” Rachel says, reassuring Scarlett that she made the right call. “No, shit… Fuck some other bitch and then expect me to just drop everything and move on like it never happened? I already know I made the right call!” Moving along to the subject of her return to school, Rachel and Scarlett start for their usual route through the hallways, passing by a girl who seemed rather lost. “What’s her deal?” Scarlett asks, breaking away from Rachel for a second to ask the girl if she needed any help.
“I’m looking for Mr. Graham’s psychology class, do you happen to know where it is?” the woman asks, getting a brief direction of where to go and what to look for. “I’m Scarlett, it’s nice to meet you” Scarlett says, shaking the girl’s hand as she replies, “Victoria Shea. Most people call me ‘Tori”, it’s nice to meet you too!”
With that brief interaction, the brunette goes on her way, vanishing into the crowd as Scarlett and Rachel return to their originally taken route as the day progresses as normal.
= Dream Sequence is created by Zachary Serra, all rights to the series belong to Zachary Serra and the entity of Pacer1 Media from the start of Season 1 onwards =
“How was your day, sweetheart?” Al asks, walking to the front door and getting the hug from his daughter that almost feels routine at this point, with very little emotion behind it. “It was fine” Scarlett replies, returning to her room with very little effort spared in order to get her work out of the way. By the time the night falls, Scarlett gets herself ready for bed and hops in, not thinking much more about the night prior than the fact that she can remember exactly the way the dream went.
Closing her eyes and trying to lose herself in the need for sleep, Scarlett drifts off and slowly falls into an unconscious blank slate of nothing just as the blinding white shot of light begins flooding through her eyelids. “I don’t wanna wake up!” Scarlett thinks to herself, shouting in her sleep in refusal to accept that daylight has arrived. “You’re not waking up” a voice beacons, welcoming her back as the white light slowly dies out to return her to the room she had been stuck looking at the night prior.
“What’s happening?” Scarlett thinks, unable to do anything more than respond to the strange voice as she is forced to stand frozen, looking out at the office lobby interior as the color pops off like neon paint from a canvas in a dark room. “You’re dreaming” the voice responds, “none of this is real.”
“AH!” a voice shouts, away from Scarlett’s perspective, causing her to question who that was. “Who are you?” the mysterious voice asks, meeting Scarlett with the same confusion of her own. “Calm down, both of you. Don’t think too much, you’ll break the illusion” the voice calmly pleads, slowing the breathing of both voices, Scarlett and the mystery voice’s own on their behalf.
“The least effort is the feat most likely to be accomplished” the voice goes on, bringing further confusion onto both parties. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Scarlett asks, the voice refusing to answer with any outright response. “The least effort is the feat most likely to be accomplished” the voice repeats again, leaving Scarlett and the second voice to try their hand at extracting the information necessary to fulfill whatever the purpose of their presence is needed for.
“The least effort is the feat most likely to be accomplished” the voice says again, convincing both presence’s that trying to get information out of this realm they find themselves in is like pulling the teeth of someone afraid of the dentist. Soon, the room starts losing its color, and the pallet starts running dry, and Scarlett is ripped from her dream by the sound of her alarm, instructing her that it’s time to start a brand new day.
Seated in her desk just as the students surrounding her are, Scarlett begins drifting off, falling into a nap as the room grows into a dark black bubble, overtaking her consciousness before a faint voice in the back of her head steals her focus as if it had purchased it. “Wake up!” the voice shouts, shooting Scarlett back into the present, jolting her body upon waking up and halting the teacher’s lesson for a brief moment.
“Are you okay, Scarlett?” the teacher asks, watching her gather her composure and assure him that she is perfectly fine. “Okay, I’ll take your word for it” the teacher replies, continuing his lesson as if nothing had happened, allowing Scarlett to get her bearings back. “Alright, where were we?” the teacher says, trying to get back into his train of thought before another student speaks up, giving him the push he needed to correct his course.
“Alright, can anyone tell me what they know about Richelle E. Goodrich?” the teacher asks, expecting nothing more than silence, but surprised when not one, but two people both utter the same exact thing.
“The least effort is the feat most likely to be accomplished!” the two voices exclaim, one belonging to Scarlett, and the other belonging to one of the students on the other side of the room. Without thinking, Scarlett leaps from her seat and stands at attention, looking at the other side of the room to see Victoria staring daggers right back at her.
Impressed by near-impossible chances, the group laughs in awe at the sight they just witnessed, chalking it up to a coincidence. “Yes, that was, indeed, a Richelle E. Goodrich quote” the teacher replies, trying to correct his course, but is unable to get past the strange occurrence having just taken place. “Can I use the rest room?” Victoria asks, met immediately by Scarlett thereafter. “Only one of you can use the restroom at the same time” the teacher replies, ultimately changing his mind when both girls insist, telling them to make it quick.
“What the hell was that?” Scarlett asks, hurrying alongside Victoria before the pair duck into the girl’s bathroom, telling three occupants to get out. “What’s your problem?” one of the girls asks, only to be met with the same demand again, this time with less of a kind tone. “Again, I’ll reiterate… What was that?” Scarlett asks, locking eyes with the girl as they realize that they both recognized each other’s voices.
“I’m going to suggest something insane, and I want you to be honest with me, alright?” Victoria asks, watching Scarlett take in a deep breath before nodding in compliance. “What do you think of when you hear ‘office building’?” Victoria asks, trying not to push too hard on the obvious wonder. “I think of a dream I had last night and the night before” Scarlett replies, watching Victoria’s eyes grow wide. “Do you remember hearing a voice you knew you didn’t know?” Victoria asks, watching Scarlett refuse to verbally respond, too startled to do much more than nod.
“You were in my dream last night” Victoria replies, met with the same insistance from the woman, putting both women in the same boat as the other. “What does this mean?” Victoria asks, watching Scarlett panic as she realizes the dreams weren’t actually dreams at all. “I don’t know, but I guess they’re not dreams!” Scarlett replies, confusing Victoria. “What are they then?” the girl asks, not blaming Scarlett when she insists that she doesn’t know. “I don’t know what they are, I just know people don’t share dreams” Scarlett concludes, putting her back against the wall and trying to convince herself that she’s not going crazy.
“So… What now?” Victoria asks, watching Scarlett stare at her, unable to give an answer worth putting all their eggs into one basket with. Later on that evening, Scarlett finishes having dinner with her family before retiring to her room for the night and getting ready for bed. As her head hits the pillow, and her eyes close to allow herself to drift off, a sudden dread comes in, sweeping across Scarlett like a rug being pulled from beneath her feet. Eyes shooting open, she simply lays there and worries that, once again, she’ll drift off into the same world she’s been introduced into twice before.
Hoping that tonight will be different, and the brief interaction she had with Victoria would be left to ancient history, Scarlett closes her eyes and lets her brain take her to wherever it pleases. Finally encompassed by the darkness, the same bright white light shines through her vision once again, forcing Scarlett to return to the hope that she’s simply being awoken by the sunlight peering through the curtains. “Welcome back” the voice calls out, ending all hope for this night being any different from the last.
Breaking through the light and returning to the office lobby, Scarlett is met with remaining frozen in place as she hears Victoria’s voice beside her, asking how to break from this freeze. “Don’t try too hard, you’ll break the illusion” the voice says again, noticing Scarlett and Victoria’s attempts to argue, and silencing them in order to keep the illusion strong. “What do you mean by ‘the illusion’?” Scarlett asks, waiting for a response from the dissident voice, who only assures her that she’ll see in due time.
Frustrated, but taking the voice’s advice into consideration, the two girls remain calm and stare accordingly at the blank wall ahead. “Try to stay here long enough” the voice requests, telling the girl’s that “it’s on the way.” After a brief moment of panic over what that is meant to mean, the two girls ask for clarification on what it is that they’re soon to encounter. Before long, the office lobby begins to light red, which grows harsher the longer the two girls remain in this strange limbo, and a distant growling begins to hiss throughout the halls.
Growing louder and more volatile with every passing second, the shrieks of horror bounce off the walls like a rubber ball as the ground begins to shake. Briefly, if only for a moment, the two girls physically feel the world around them begin to shift with the weight of whatever is coming for them. Soon, the growling grows loud enough for the source to feel as if it were right between them, and the red lights begin to coat the room like paint. Through the lobby wall ahead of them, a monstrous beast plows through the walls and takes a single swipe at them, coating their entire sight red and jolting them awake in their separate beds.
Gasping for breath at the realization of her dream turning into a nightmare, Scarlett’s chest heaves as she looks to compose herself and notices the time on the clock beside her. Realizing that it’s only been a few hours and the world has only managed t make it into the middle of the night, Scarlett drops back into her pillow and stares at the ceiling, refusing to return to the scene of what just unfolded.
“You saw that too, right?” Victoria asks, spotting out and catching up to Scarlett as she does what she can to forget the night before. “What was that?” Victoria asks, changing the question as she earns no response in return, only to find the same outcome handed to her once again. “Scarlett?” Victoria calls, trying to get the girl’s attention before she politely asks her to leave it alone before walking into her next class, leaving the girl stood in the middle of the hallway, trying to figure out what went wrong.
That night, Scarlett lays in bed staring at the ceiling, refusing to close her eyes for anything other than blinking, and refusing to return to the world she knows full-well will return her to whatever realm spawned the nightmare of the night prior. Looking out through the window beside her bed and between the blinds, Scarlett spots a shooting star dancing across the sky and disappearing from her view, leaving her comforted in the idea that all could be right once again some day.
That morning, after the first sleepless night of many she expects to experience, Scarlett staggers through her classes, refusing to pay them any more attention than they require. “What’s up with you today?” Rachel asks, lightly nudging her with her shoulder, which was nearly enough to knock her off her balance. “Seriously, what’s up?” Rachel repeats, this time more animated by the surprising ease it was to get her best friend rocked. “It’s nothing, don’t worry about it” Scarlett says, playing the typical card of refusing to accept what’s wrong, allowing herself to continue with the self-destructive tendencies she’s perfectly fine with indulging in.
“Scarlett, don’t do that to me. Something’s off with you right now” Rachel replies, pulling Scarlett’s arm and keeping her from walking off. “Please trust me when I say that I’ll tell you about it, just not right now… Not yet” Scarlett replies, walking off and leaving Rachel stood much the way she did with Victoria the day prior, allowing her friend to watch her walk off into the crowd of teens and return to whatever she intended on doing prior.
For the next two nights, Scarlett remains awake, downing coffee as if it was a race to see which person could drink the most in any given time. Eventually, she resorts to simply drinking straight out of the pot, refusing to add anything into it, and relying on it to act as the drug to keep her problems away. Bed untouched, Scarlett remains sat at the kitchen counter as her family is sound asleep, leaving her and the one light on above to her own mind. “Sleep” a distant voice requests from seemingly nowhere, telling Scarlett to give in and return to slumber, thus, returning to the world beyond.
“No” Scarlett replies, visibly spooked and staggering around her kitchen, searching desperately for where the voice is originating to no avail. “We need you back” the voice calls out once again, telling her not to be afraid of what remains awaiting her. “What do you want from me?” Scarlett asks herself, muttering under her breath to keep from waking her family, whilst hoping that she’ll receive an answer worthy of finding truth in. “There’s nothing to be afraid of” the voice replies, softening the usual tone, and bringing a small level of comfort to the girl. “You can’t avoid this forever, you’ll only be here longer when you return” the voice replies, telling her that it’s okay.
“I’m not coming back. That thing is still there” Scarlett whispers, grabbing at her hair as her elbows firmly press against the countertop. “It won’t be long before it’s no longer a threat” the voice replies, playing with her emotions, leaving her to ask why the voice would be so sure. “You wouldn’t be welcomed here if you weren’t able to overcome it” the voice replies, almost convincing Scarlett to fall asleep right there before slowly dissipating as the sound of footsteps above force Scarlett to clean up around herself and sneak back up to bed.
Almost dragging her feet through the hallways, Scarlett finds herself stunned by Victoria, who called her name prior to catching up to her, yet not catching her attention until the final moment. “What do you want?” Scarlett asks, having been too bothered to even put on makeup that same morning, waiting for the girl to grant her knowledge of her latest realization. “You haven’t been sleeping have you?” Victoria asks, watching the girl lock eyes with her, the exhaustion present in the daggers being thrown through her pupils.
“Scarlett, I don’t think I’m supposed to do this alone” Victoria states, telling Scarlett that there’s a reason it isn’t just her in these dreams. “Have you seen that thing again?” Scarlett asks, assured that it keeps coming back and waking her up. “And what? You just go back to sleep?” Scarlett asks, met with the disappointed confirmation that she just returns to the lobby without the voice until her alarm wakes her up.
“No matter what I do, I can’t even feel the ground shaking” Victoria admits, telling Scarlett that she must be the missing piece. “They keep telling us not to break the illusion, so let’s just go with it tonight. Let’s just try to give into whatever it’s making us feel” Victoria pleads, finally convincing Scarlett that there’s no avoiding it forever. “Y’know we’ll figure this out, right?” Victoria says, pulling Scarlett back for a moment, and watching her eyes light up, pleased to finally have some reassurance from someone who’s actually aware of what’s happening.
That night, Scarlett finally gives into whatever power is pulling her back to take control, resting her head on her pillow and closing her eyes, embracing the darkness before finally returning to light. “Look who decided to join us” the voice says sarcastically, breaking through the light and returning Scarlett to the office lobby, where she calls out for Victoria, who responds in kind, asking the voice what to do next. “Don’t break the illusion” the voice calls, frustrating Scarlett enough for her to throw her hands out and look around the room, sarcastically challenging the voice to give the smug sarcasm back again.
“Scarlett?” Victoria calls, locking eyes with the girl who now realizes that, despite still being stuck in place, she can now move her head and arms, freeing up a portion of her body to the humor of the voice above. “This is only the beginning, girls” the voice calls out, “it’s coming.” Soon, the ground begins shaking and the lobby begins growing red again. “I can feel it again!” Victoria shouts, finally pleased at the sensation as the reminder of the threat closing the distance between the two retakes the spotlight.
“Whatever happens here, Vic... Just do what you can to get back!” Scarlett shouts, watching the girl beside her nod as the lobby grows increasingly red, and the growling becomes ear-piercing. Finally, emerging through the walls like a wrecking ball, the beast takes a swipe and cleans house, snapping the girls free of the illusion, and sending them back into the realm of reality. Jolted awake by the sudden sight, Scarlett looks to her clock and notices it to be right around the same time as the last instance she was awoken by the beast. Without hesitation, Scarlett places her head on the pillow again and attempts to drift back into the dream world, only to open her eyes for a brief moment and see the same shooting star from the night before through the blinds of her window.
Brushing off the sight, Scarlett enters into the darkness again and quickly breaks through the light, returning to the office lobby and looking over to see Victoria in the place she always has been. “Get ready girls” the voice calls out, signalling for the rumbling to begin, setting them up for their second-consecutive encounter, this time more determined than the last. “Don’t break the illusion” Scarlett says, convincing both herself and Victoria to just go with what’s thrown at them and think about it later whilst the walls start turning red once more.
“Ready?” Vic asks, watching Scarlett turn to her and smile as they gear up for round two, watching the beast burst through the concrete walls and lift it’s arm into the air, ready to swipe down for yet another clean sweep. Letting their instincts take control, both Scarlett and Victoria bend their knees and throw their hands up, sending off a sudden burst of nerve-tingling electricity to pulsate throughout their bodies like nothing they had ever experienced before.
After a few seconds, both girls feel the rest of their bodies break free from the frozen stance, allowing them to take a slow step forward and look towards each other in jubilation. “We did it!” Vic says enthusiastically, sharing Scarlett’s smile before turning to the beast and noticing him frozen in place, arm still ready to swipe. “What the fuck?” Scarlett whispers to herself, walking forward and tapping the sort of blue shield they threw in its way, hearing the hollow sounds of what you would normally feel tapping on hard plastic.
Calling Victoria over, the two girls stand beside each other and place one hand each on the bubble, doing what feels right and watching the blue surface start to tremble. Before long, the light blue coating begins turning golden before finally turning a harsh red and exploding, allowing the beast to charge forward and swipe at where the girls once were, only to connect with nothing and explode on contact, shifting the ground as if an explosion had just gone off.
“We did it, right?” Vic asks, smiling with Scarlett, who pulls her in and embraces her, having been freed from the fear of having to return to the world beyond. “You did, indeed” the voice calls out, this time closer than it has ever felt before. Turning around to see what rests behind them, Scarlett and Victoria stare down a woman of the same height and stature dressed in a long white coat with silver accents.
Stunned by the sight before them, the girls stare on without saying anything, watching the woman break the silence by directing them onwards. “Follow me” the woman says, “You have a lot left to learn.”