...The memory dreams visited me again. The blue men stayed blurry, though they looked more and more like men. A few of them even seemed to be carrying guns.
I could see my bedroom—the one with the space theme walls. I remembered playing with my toys. The He-Man was my favorite. I took him everywhere I went. But it was always He-Man and his faithful friend—a green-and-orange striped tiger called Battle Cat.
My dreams drifted all over the place. Times before the blue men arrived and after. I could see Fidget Bridget and a few other kids, but I couldn’t see their faces very clearly.
There was one blue man who seemed like a friend. I remembered talking to him often. The dreams were like a silent movie. I could see his lips moving, but couldn’t hear a word. I remembered handing him battle cat. When he handed the toy back to me something had changed. No, everything had changed. It was more than physical changes—the time of day, the clothes I wore. I knew the blue man could no longer be my friend. I no longer saw the smile on his face as friendly; somehow I knew he was deceiving me. He was carrying a gun, and he scared me. He terrified me. And I knew I had to run away.
The silence of the dreamscape gave way to deafening sound. I could suddenly hear everyone and everything. I was crying and screaming, and my blue man friend was yelling at me.
“Lucas! Lucas!” His voice was deep and gravelly. Just like Ben’s. I wondered what Ben was doing in my dream. Then I crossed the bridge from dreams to reality.
Ben was sitting on my bed, trying to waken me.
“Wake up,” he said.
I pushed away his arms. “I’m up.”
“Same dream?” he asked.
I nodded. “Things are getting a little clearer, but not clear enough for me to make sense of anything. Something odd did happen this time.”
“What was it?”
“There has never been sound in my dreams before. However, this time, just toward the end, there was. I could hear the voice of the blue man who had been my friend. The weird part is that his voice sounded just like yours.”
“That’s probably because I was trying to wake you up.” Ben smoothed out a blanket I had kicked off. “My voice carried over into your dream.”
“I guess that makes sense. But in my dream the blue man with your voice called me Lucas. You weren’t calling me Lucas were you?”
He cocked an eyebrow at me. “No. Why would I do that?”
I shrugged. My alarm clock read 5:30.
“I might as well get on the road. I won’t be able to get back to sleep.”
“Sounds good.” Ben stood. “Give me a few minutes and I’ll be ready.”
“Ready for what?”
“I’m going with you,” he said.
“I don’t need a chaperone, Ben.” I followed him into his room.
“I’m not going as a chaperone.” He pulled off his T-shirt and it took all my strength not to stare at his chest. Heck, it took all my strength not to step forward and run my hands down his chest.
“Then why are you going?” I asked.
“Because I’m your friend and I think you need one on this trip.”
“That’s not necessary, Ben.”
He met my gaze. “I know it’s not, but I want to, so just shut up and deal with it.”
“What about your job?”
“I haven’t taken a vacation in years. Hell, I haven’t taken a day off more than once or twice a year for the past three years. I have plenty of annual leave stored up. It’s already been cleared with my supervisor.”
“When did you talk to your boss about taking time off?”
“Last night after you went to bed.”
“You’re a sneaky bastard.”
He smiled at me, but didn’t say a word.
“I can’t talk you out of this, can I?”
He shook his head. I knew arguing was futile, so I turned and walked to the door, where I stopped and faced Ben again. The word “thanks” was on my lips, but suddenly I couldn’t speak. His back was to me and he obviously didn’t know I was still there. He had bent over to remove his underwear and presented me with a glorious view of his backside. It was a rearview to envy...