There was no light at the end of the tunnel, and for a brief moment he felt gypped. Very quickly, he realized he had other concerns.
“R... Rose?” he stammered, feeling around in the dusk for some sign of someone, anyone else. They had been fighting Jack, right? After he saw... his dad. John bit back a choking sob. His dad was dead. Rose’s mother was dead. Rose might be dead, for all he knew; Jack was vicious. She needed his help.
“Rose!” he called out again, pushing himself up and preparing to run through the darkness, only stopping as pain ripped through him.
“W... what?” he said to no one, trying to peer down through the haze. His hand clutched his midriff, as if it was trying to ward off the pain. It felt wet. Was that blood?
Frantically, he tried to remember. There hand been the castle. Rose babbling in the throes of her grimdark regrets, seeing his dad. He took a deep breath, focusing. Then, they were fighting Jack, and there had been a sharp pain. Now this darkness surrounded him. John gasped, and his eyes widened behind his glasses. Was he dead?
He couldn’t be dead. Godtier couldn’t die!
If he was dead, where was he?
Before calling out again, he reconsidered. Judging by the pitch black silence, he was totally alone. There was no escape, and nowhere to go. He worried his lip, gnawing at it nervously as he wondered if this was all the afterlife had to offer him.
This thought was suddenly shattered by a low, shuddering grumble. He jumped, recoiling backwards into nothingness and biting down harder on his lip. A small cry escaped him as he drew blood, and he frantically tried once more to see what was sharing the darkness with him.
Just as he had convinced himself he had imagined everything, the grumble came again.
“Who is that?” he called hesitantly.
Another floor shaking groan answered his call, and out of the gloom a tentacle snaked around his ankle. He recoiled instinctively and tripped, sprawling backwards as he landed hard. Grasping at the ground while he pawed for a handhold, he fought for breath as the monster he couldn’t see dragged him towards a fate he didn’t want to imagine.
Despite his best efforts, he was pulled steadily forward, and his breathing spread to a frantic pace. Just as he was giving up on freeing himself, as he was abandoning his fight and slumping in defeat, something happened.
The ominous, consistent grumbling changed to a keening moan, and the world shifted slightly. He stopped sliding backwards, and looked up startled to see what had happened.
A soft blue glow emanating from a pair of shades shone on an incredibly shitty looking sword that had just hacked him free of his tormentor. Dave Strider looked back at him, his expression unreadable, and barely had time to sigh “Really Egbert,” before everything blurred once more.
John blinked several times as he gazed around, befuddled. He sat in his own backyard, unmolested by imps or horrorterrors of any variety. Dave was looking around as well, no doubt smirking at the sprawling unironic suburbs before him. Seeing John, he rolled his eyes and offered him a hand up. He took it, heaving himself up and wincing at the sudden stab of pain.
“You know bro you don’t have to keep the damn wound,” Dave remarked offhandedly.
“What?” John asked, his head still reeling, “What was that? Where are we? Why-”
“Jesus Egbert I just saved your afterlife will you give me a fucking second? I can’t sweep in and solve every problem you’ve managed to derp yourself into. Seriously bro, you’re godtier, how the hell are you dead?”
“So I’m really dead?” he asked worriedly, biting his lip once more, only stopping as he hit his cut.
“Well if you’re here something’s up dude, and I’d say since you’ve got a damn hole stabbed through you you’re probably not doing too well.”
“So... if I’m dead,” he said, furrowing his eyebrows and trying to reconcile everything in his head, “are you dead too?”
“Give the kid a gold star,” Dave chuckled, “yeah I’m one of about a fucking thousand doomed timeclones running around these damn lunatic asylum bubbles.”
“We’re in a bubble?” John asked, hopelessly confused.
Dave’s palm hit his forehead with a slap, and John winced guiltily.
“How about this bro I’ll just give you the skinny.”
“While he wasn’t quite sure what Dave meant, he nodded, eager for some kind of answer.
“All right here you go dude. Go get a fucking pen if you need one because I’m not repeating this shit.”
John couldn’t help but giggle at this, but he nodded to show he was paying attention.
“Good let’s do this. Basically from what I’ve figured out, once you kick the bucket in game shit isn’t over for you. I can’t tell what the point of these things are but everyone I’ve run into calls them dream bubbles.”
“Who-” he began, but Dave made a silencing motion with his hands.
“Bro if you ask dipshit questions I’m just going to sit here and stab you a couple thousand more times. There are worse ways to kill an afterlife. Seems like every damn troll we’ve ever talked to and then some are floating around in here somewhere, I’ve run into Harley a couple of times, and lil Cal for some fucking reason.”
He shot John a warning look, “I swear to every conkass spelling of Jesus if you open your mouth again I’m shoving the fucking sword in it.” Seeing John’s expression of mildly disgusted obedience, he continued, fighting back chuckles, “Your ectobiolosister is totally chill bro she’s still alive. Just narcoleptic remember? It’s annoying as fuck she’s always coming and going. Anyway since you’re pushing daisies somewhere else in the medium you got landed with the horroterrors for some reason.”
“Horroterrors?” John asked, before clamping a hand over his mouth and looking at Dave guiltily.
He rolled his eyes, “Whatever man I give up. You know those weird tentacle beast things Lalonde was always crazy over? Yeah those guys.”
“What do they want?”
“They want a fucking tea party dude they had your dress and a matching bow all picked out for you; it was pretty adorable. You just freaked out and ruined it so they called me up to come chill you the hell out.”
“Really?” he asked, nose wrinkling. Dave chuckled.
“Yeah dude they’re all upset and shit now. Send them an apology card or something or else you’re just being rude.”
“I’ll put it on my social calendar,” he answered, wide eyed with honesty, before bursting into laughter.
“Make it priority shit bro, etiquette is more important than anything,” Dave replied, still casual, “nice backyard by the way.”
“How did you know it was mine?” John asked, slightly put off by the sarcasm.
“Dude,” he answered flatly, “I know. Bouncy rides and a swing set this practically screams Egbert from the rooftops. If it was any more flamboyantly derpy it would be painted neon pink and in constant motion I mean really.”
“Okay Dave, I get it!” He raised his hands, palms out as if to stop the flow of ironic nonsense his friend seemed to enjoy spewing constantly, “My backyard is a little goofy!”
Dave snorted as John said ‘a little’ but he was silenced by a warning look shot from behind the godtier hood. As his eyes glanced over John, he winced visibly.
“You know dude I told you you can stop with the wound. It’s hurting me just fucking looking at it.”
John, too, looked down at his chest and winced. It was gory looking, a ragged hole in his shirt soaked in his own blood. His mouth twisted as he examined it, making the foolish mistake of trying to poke it. He winced, annoyed to find that he still felt pain after death.
“How do I..?” he asked, still focused mostly on his midriff.
“Just focus man, remember yourself before you got stabbed in your pajamas.”
He pouted. “I thought these looked pretty cool.”
“Lose the hood and you’ve got a look bro but that’s not the point here I’m sick of looking at your weird chest orifice.”
“Oh yeah! Sorry!”
John closed his eyes to focus, and tried to remember himself before the... accident? Impalement? When he opened them again, he looked down with a certain satisfaction to find that his shirt was now clean and not torn, and he could move his torso without it aching constantly. Immediately he celebrated this by swiveling in circles with wild abandon and grinning widely. Once he stopped, he realized that Dave had been observing this process with no little amusement.
“Don’t quit your day job bro,” was his friend’s only comment on the matter, and it was still enough for a light flush of embarrassment to cross John’s face.
“So... what do we do now?” he asked, to move the attention away from his own awkwardness.
“There isn’t a hell of a lot we can do dude, just fuck around here until the bubbles decide to shift again.”
“When will that be?”
“Egbert when the gods reach down from the sky, touch a finger to my forehead and grant me knowledge of all that is was and will be I’ll fucking let you know, how about that.”
John was spared the trouble of coming up with a clever response. Before he got the chance, the world seemed to blur out of frame, and a new scene was set. He let out an involuntary gasp as he was plunged once more into darkness. As he got over his initial shock and residual fear, he realized belatedly that he was almost clinging to Dave. While his friend provided a nice reminder that he wasn’t completely alone, and his attention seemed to be entirely focused on their surroundings rather than the boy grasping his arm, John still blushed and put some space between them.
“Looks like the bastards are after their apology man,” Dave muttered dryly, scanning the nonexistent horizon for signs of motion. John smiled tensely, doing his best to help in the defensive search.
A low rumbling moan, accompanied by a squelch was the only warning they had as some unknown appendage of an unknown beast shot towards them. Taking a fraction of a second to mentally apologize, Dave dove into John, pushing them both out of the way. John began to protest the sudden violence, but Dave unceremoniously covered his mouth with his hand, silencing him.
“Look sorry dude but if they can’t hear us they can’t see us,” he whispered, almost silently, “we’re stuck here till they give up on us.”
He stopped speaking as the squelching moved nearer to them, and they both did their best to breathe silently with eyes wide open on the lookout for any indication of movement.
Still, when the monster moved near them, they didn’t see it. They felt it. The air grew colder and more compressed as it glided over their heads, forcing Dave to press closer into John than either of them were sure they were comfortable with. When it was directly over head, and the two could feel the aura of malice it emanated, their senses blurred and they resurfaced in an entirely different zone.
That zone happened to be Dave’s bedroom. Once they had adjusted to the change, they both heaved a sigh of relief, and then simultaneously realized the compromising position they were both in. There was a scramble to get up, or at least away, and they ended up on near opposite sides of the room.
“Sorry about that man I don’t normally tackle my bros and cuddlerape them. Desperate times and shit,” Dave said, coughing awkwardly.
“No it’s fine!” John was eager to diffuse the awkward moment, “I’d rather be, uh, cuddleraped than eaten by a monster.”
“Glad to hear I’m a better alternative to alien molestation,” he deadpanned.
“Yeah.. yeah I’d definitely take you over a horroterror!”
“Man I hope those aren’t the only options you’d ever consider. I mean not that being
cuddled or whatever would be shitty.”
“Yeah me too! I’m pretty sure I have more choices than you or tentacle beasts. Although we haven’t met anyone else!”
“No one is about to hold you at gunpoint and be like cuddle someone or you’re toast too bro this is kind of pointless. Still there are worse things than giving your best bro a totally platonic hug and shit.”
“Definitely!” John said, not sure what he was agreeing to anymore. The conversation had taken a turn for the worse, and neither of them could seem to turn it around. As if to prove he didn’t care, Dave merely hit the accelerator pedal.
“I mean really it’s not like we both turned insta gay and hell chicks cuddle all the time its totally cool between bros. Seriously its like some damn people have never heard of a fucking bromance before and get all up in arms. I’m glad we’re chiller than that man.”
“Yeah.. yeah we’re pretty chill!” he echoed uselessly, searching his mind frantically for a change of topic, and coming up with nothing more than snippets of Nic Cage and a burning desire to hide his face in his hood again. “There’s nothing wrong with a hug between friends.”
“Exactly see Egderp you’ve got the right idea. Still you’ve got no clue what some people would just up and assume from that shit like oh just because two people were hugging for longer than two damn seconds they must be totally gay seriously its ridiculous. Hell I could hug you now it wouldn’t be a big deal or anything right?”
“Dave!” John said, finally sick of this, “That was more for survival than anything else! Honestly you have been trying to justify it longer than it actually happened.”
His friend said nothing, an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a pair of ironic Ben Affleck shades, and John took it as a cue to continue. “Are you going to answer me dude?”
The poker face cracked slightly as he took the opportunity to smirk at being addressed as ‘dude,’ and he sighed.
“What do you want to hear bro I’ve got about a million answers I could give you. There’s the ‘the puppets did it’ excuse or the wussy ‘you don’t understand me bit’ or I could always strip down to a rainbow fucking speedo or some shit.”
“Okay can you speak English instead of irony please?” John asked, biting his lip. While he was fairly certain he understood, he had learned through a long process of trial and error that assuming anything involving Dave usually led to disaster.
“Do you want me to spell it for you bro, cause it’d look fucking ridiculous if I got it wrong.”
“Dave can you just tell me whatever you’ve been hopping around?”
“I can dude-”
John’s inarticulate moan of irritation was enough to spur his friend into finally speaking. Rolling his eyes, he provided a legitimate answer. “Yes, you were right when you guessed five seconds ago bro I’m gayer than a school fucking musical.”
He knew it wasn’t right to do, and probably insensitive, but John fistpumped.
“Ha! I was right!” he cried, savoring his moment of triumph, while Dave watched him, amused, for the second time in fifteen minutes.
“Gotta say you fucking stunned me right there I was waiting for dipshit questions not a party.”
“Well I guessed right,” John shrugged, “It’s not every day I catch on to what you’re talking about.”
“You’ve got that one right,” he laughed almost bitterly, “you’re pretty clueless sometimes dude.”
“Sorry if I don’t understand everything cool,” he stuck his tongue out, “not all of us are gifted. Wait, I just thought of something.”
“Here come the dipshit questions,” he said smugly, “I knew they’d crawl out of their holes eventually.”
“Well I won’t ask if you don’t want me to,” John defended petulantly.
“Whatever man I don’t give a fuck.”
John almost opened his mouth to protest, then decided against it. Dave definitely cared, but he would never admit to it. Instead, he fired away, “If you’re gay, does that make all the yous gay or just you or you and alpha you or what?”
“Well fuck if I know what alpha me is up to, I punched out failing at godtier. Alpha me could be drowning in bitches for all I know.”
“I doubt it,” John snickered.
“Hey don’t doubt the Strider charm dude I could get anyone to cross sides for a piece of this.”
John only chortled more, making Dave scoff.
“Don’t test me bro the irony shit is like magic. But to answer your question, if you still give a fuck about it and don’t just want to sit there laughing like a doof, all I know are the past mes were homo future me could have a revelation and start bible thumping for all I know.”
“Okay... that makes sense!”
“Is that seriously all you’re worried about man, you’re a freak.”
“What? Should I be worried about something else?” John asked, frowning slightly.
“No dude chill out no one’s after your skin for a tux or something.”
“Ew! People do that?”
“Yes, Egbert, everyone these days has a skin tuxedo. You’re not really hip till you can strut down the hood wearing some other motherfucker draped across you.”
“Wow, I guess my godtier clothes aren’t so cool anymore! They should be made out of skin!”
“Exactly dude, you’re passe, it’s embarrassing to hang out with you now. Get on that shit bro.”
“You must really like me then! To sacrifice your coolkid cred and hang out with such a fashion backwards kid,” he joked, grinning at Dave across the room.
“Don’t flatter yourself bro its not like there’s anyone else here to chill with, I’m stuck with you and your bass ackwards hoodie shit.”
“Hey, I like the hoodie!” he protested, too attached to his godtier digs to keep up the joke.
“Dude it’s the dorkiest thing I’ve ever seen.”
“It suits me,” he sniffed.
Dave laughed. “Hell I never said it didn’t.”
“Hey!” John cried, “that’s kinda harsh!”
“The truth hurts man. Embrace your inner dork dude cause otherwise its gonna take you over and go on a rampage, shit’ll never be the same.”
“God forbid,” he said dryly, “Why were you so worried about telling me?”
“Telling you what?”
“That you were, uh, gay! You kind of freaked out about it.”
“Striders do not freak out about jack shit man you know that.”
“Maybe you should change your last name then because you were freaking out!” John giggled.
“Whatever,” he scoffed, causing John to laugh again. Dave glowered at his seemingly smug friend. “If you must know, you nosy ass, its because usually the first fucking question I get asked is some dipshit saying ‘well do you like me’ and I am so sick of that shit.”
“You didn’t have to worry about that! We’re bros, right?” he asked, confident in the knowledge that there was no way Dave was attracted to him that way.
“Duh bros for life and all that dipshit douchebag posing deal man you know that.”
“I do! I was just checking.”
“Think a fist bump is in order here dude don’t leave me hanging.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it!” he laughed, and the two touched knuckles, as the world surrounding them blurred out once more.
This time, instead of their surroundings shifting, the ironic posters and smuppet detritus stayed firmly in place. Another Dave, however, seemed to have appeared out of the woodwork.
“Well fuck whats happening you two?” he asked, as John and Dave stopped fistbumping, looking up with faces that made it seem like they had been caught making out. Dave, John’s Dave, although John didn’t know why he considered him to be such, recovered quickly.
“Hell I was wondering when I’d run into another me somewhere around here when are you from?”
“Damned if I know but heavy shit was going down with Jack Noir, I was a spare time clone.” The imposter Dave shrugged, “guess I was doomed from the start.”
“Jesus man what happened, you’ve gotta be from the future.”
“W..what happened to Rose?” John finally chimed in, drawing both Daves’ attention away from each other.
The future Dave chuckled reassuringly. “Chill out Egderp she’s alive and kicking, and speaking normally. Gotta say that grimdark shit was unnerving, Lalonde without punctuation is like Karkles without caps lock.”
Finally reassured that Rose at least was okay, John chuckled at the thought.
“Wouldn’t be much of a troll!”
“Well they were all shitty trolls anyway,” Dave shrugged. The first Dave, John thought, keeping them straight in his mind was going to drive them crazy.
“Dude aren’t you even worried about yourself I mean jesus you are kind of dead,” the future Dave suggested.
“Does that change?” John asked him, confused, “shouldn’t I kind of... stay dead?”
“Yeah well death is apparently for fuckers with normal sized teeth, the game needs its hero bro you’ve got some freaky ass resurrection bullshit down the road.”
“So I come back?”
“What like this is news to you you’re on your second death bro, you never stay down.” The future Dave rolled his eyes, “Seeing you here explains a hell of a lot of the shit you had to say to Alpha me though.”
Something in his words caused the less recent Dave to furrow his eyebrows. “What the fuck do I do?” he asked his future self.
“Well man you come about this close to fucking everything up,” he replied, shrugging.
“Hell I doubt this helped at all, now he’s gonna have all sorts of dipshit questions,” Dave argued, gesturing to John, not even having to look to know that John stood there watching the two with an expression of polite befuddlement.
“Huh, you could be right. Maybe it had to happen that way,” was his only reply.
“God fuck all this time shit I hope we beat this game, I’m sick of being the fucking omnipotent one.”
“You’re telling me Mr. ‘oh future self stop me from becoming an emotional train wreck,’” Dave chucked, “oh, shit, looks like I’m on the out train bro. See you Egbert.”
With a nod to his past self, and an ironic salute to John, he blurred out of existence.
“Before you even ask,” Dave began, curtailing all of John’s questions with a single gesture, “don’t.”
“Well it sounds like I’m going to worm it out of you anyway!” John protested, “You might as well tell me now.”
“Nope, no go. I’ve got all my damn afterlife to avoid you bro I figure I can manage.”
“The dreambubbles are more in control of that than you are. Besides, I can just ask every you that I meet, can’t I?”
Dave sighed, “you really would risk pissing off every Strider you meet to get your answer wouldn’t you. Like a damn fly in our collective ear trying to get us to scratch the homo itch.”
“Homo itch?” John asked.
“Fuck,” was all Dave replied, sighing and hoping John wouldn’t piece together the clues that were practically staring him in the face.
“Wait...” John said, stroking his chin and causing Dave to curse again, “wait so... if you fuck something up with me... and a homo itch... hey Dave?”
“What,” he practically groaned, turning to face the music.
“Do you have a thing for Karkat?”
He stood there for what felt like an eternity, staring at his concerned looking companion. Many thoughts fought for supremacy in his head, but the one that won over was a disbelief that any human being could legitimately be that dense. Apparently, however, that was the case, as John blushed and stammered his way through an apology.
“Well you know I was just wondering and I’m sorry if I’ve pried to much and I’m also sorry because it kind of seemed like Karkat wanted a thing with me so I wanted to let you know even though you don’t have to worry about me as competition! Because I don’t think I reciprocate the kind of relationship he wants and...”
His apology fizzled out as Dave’s facial expression remained unchanged. While that was typically the case, there was usually some muscle tension or a glimpse of an eyebrow that clued John in on what his friend was truly feeling. This time however, his brows were lodged firmly behind his glasses, and his mouth was pressed in an unemotive line. Until, that is, it broke into a smirk.
“Dude are you for real?” he asked John, who had been looking awkwardly around Dave’s room for something else to discuss.
“I think I’m real. As real as I can be, because I’m dead and not quite sure if the place I’m in is real either...”
Dave sighed. “Not what I meant man, not at all. Why would I ever like that turd full of hatred?”
“I don’t know!” John shrugged, “it made sense to me somehow.”
“As much as I’d love to hear that thought process in action man, you’ve never said anything stupider in your whole life.”
“Was I really that far off?” he sighed, reformulating his thoughts and trying to find something that made more sense to him.
“Nah its more like you took the right train in the wrong direction,” was the only hint Dave would provide.
“That doesn’t help!” John complained, furrowing his brow in thought. Dave was equally befuddled as he watched John trying to puzzle out something that was, to him, crystal clear. Rolling his eyes, he decided to offer a few hints.
“Do you need like three strikes bro cause you’ve used one.”
“Sure,” he accepted, determined to guess right, “So it isn’t that you like Karkat..”
“Hell no,” he rolled his eyes, “Why did you need to ask that twice, the answer is never going to be anything but no.”
“I was just checking! You could be lying after all,” John said, laughing at Dave’s disgusted expression. “Okay, so it isn’t Karkat, but is it someone else?”
He pursed his lips, giving John all the confirmation he needed.
“So you do!” he cried triumphantly, “Will you at least tell me who?”
“Dude chances of that are hovering between fuck and no.”
“Aw,” he pouted, “Do I get a hint?”
“See those are slightly better you’ve got hell to the no going for you there.”
“Dave!” John cried, “just a little one?”
“Fine he’s got hair. Big reveal there hope you can narrow it down enough.”
Wisely, John realized that further protests would be useless. His expression of disappointment was enough to spur Dave into at least attempting to explain himself.
“Look bro this isn’t some girly hair braiding sleepover shit I’ve got my deal, you’ve got yours and I don’t spill my guts every which way like some derps I know who’re always getting stabbed in the chest.”
“I’m not always getting stabbed!” he protested.
“Dude twice is two times more than most other people on the planet how many times do I have to think you’re dead?”
“I wish I knew, it isn’t like dying is so easy! Besides, according to your future self I’m fine anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.”
“Better tell that shit to alpha me, he’s probably shitting gold bricks in game someone should capitalize on that man we need all the grist we can get.”
“I’ll make a note of it for when I get back.”
“Good we got this shit squared away.”
“But wait Dave what about your mystery crush?”
“Fuck Egbert I thought you’d given up on this shit.”
“Nope!” he announced, “I am determined. I have all of eternity right?”
“Actually no man you’ve got a deadline for this shit.”
“Well you’ll be up and out once those shitheads decide they need you again.”
“Hey, you are one of those shitheads Dave, don’t forget that!”
“I am exempt.”
“You are- wait!” he cried with sudden realization, “stop distracting me!”
“Can’t help it if I’m just a natural obstruction to your thought process I just have that effect on people bro.”
“I didn’t mean it like that!” John said helplessly, “you keep changing the topic before I can think about it!”
“Hey your absentminded shit isn’t my problem, it’s hardly fascinating to sit here and watch you look constipated while you try to figure out the obvious.”
“It isn’t that obvious, if it was I would have gotten it by now,” he defended.
Dave shot that thought down with a blatant eyeroll, John could practically see it behind the shades.
“Yeah what a fucking mystery not like there’s someone I care about more than every other cocksucking dipshit in this game clearly.”
“Well you don’t exactly make it easier on me,” John complained, “You’re always so cynical about everything.”
“Dude that’s a trademark deal, what else would you expect from me an actual heartfelt confession? I don’t play that way.”
“I know,” he grumbled, “It’s annoying.”
“You’ll get it eventually dude don’t worry,” Dave shrugged, “hell if I ever get drunk as fuck I might actually tell you.”
“Why do you have such a problem trusting me? I won’t tell on you!” John assured him.
“I know that man I’d trust you with my life or my kid or whatever but just trust me it’d be a really fucking bad idea to tell you.”
“But why?” John began to say, when his focus was shifted from his friend’s romantic entanglements. His face scrunched up, and his hand moved to his torso as his wound reappeared. “What?”
“Looks like you’re headed somewhere man,” Dave said, feigning nonchalance.
“Where?” John asked, “What if it’s the horroterrors again? Wait you’re going too, right?”
“My best guess is they finally figured out how to get you back,” he shrugged, “so I’ll be there, sort of.”
“But you won’t be the same you,” John insisted, “even if that is where I’m going, and I’m still not sure!”
“Look man just relax freaking out isn’t going to get you anywhere-” he began, then John doubled over as the pain resurfaced in his gut. He clung to Dave’s arm as dry heaves shuddered up his throat.
“It hurts...” was all he could articulate.
“Fuck. Just.. just chill okay? If I had to bet I’d say you have to do all this shit in reverse.”
“Dave I don’t want to go anywhere else, I don’t trust these bubbles.”
“Bro you’ll be fine,” he insisted, half trying to convince himself.
John could feel something changing. He was, solidifying almost, his organs becoming more and more dense and weighing on his body. Instead of the normal shift from dream bubble to dream bubble that was barely perceptible, there was a sharp pull he felt in his lower back. It dragged him flat out on the floor of what was then Dave’s bedroom, floorboards cracking as the pressure increased.
“Jesus Christ,” Dave muttered. John bit his lip.
“Is this bad?” he asked.
“Fuck Egbert I don’t know but dude really you bend the rules of this game fucking turnways if anyone’s going to be okay it’s you.”
The divot in the floor grew as the pressure increased, and John was pulled even farther downward.
“Hey Dave?” he asked, curled in on himself to try and contain the bleeding.
“What now Egbert,” Dave answered, his voice higher pitched than usual with tension.
“Can you tell me now?”
“You fuckwit you have the worst damn timing,” he sighed, “why the hell now?”
“I doubt I’ll get another chance to ask any other yous” he replied, truthfully, managing to stare up at his friend with clear blue eyes.
“God fine but only because you look like you’re fucking dying,” he sighed. “It was-”
There was a huge, creaking ripping sound, and Dave’s floor split wide open, John was sucked down, and the edges of Dave’s world blurred until he landed on his feet, back in John’s backyard. He took a moment to survey the area, smiling halfheartedly at the kiddish yard toys, then looking up at the house he would never see the inside of. He sighed, trying to compose himself, and finished his sentence, speaking to the empty air.
“It was you.”