Bliss dreamt of Salty jumping at the show. His grey coat shining, his canter so smooth she hardly moved in his back. They glided around the ring on their victory lap, the crowd cheering.
A dark haired boy with purple eyes watched her from the crowd.
She’d dreamt of him before. He never spoke, just watched her. As he did now, his gaze never leaving her face, making her cheeks heat up. Then storm clouds crashed overhead, sending forks of lightening into the ground, scattering everyone. Salty reared, his head connecting with her cheek.
Then she was falling.
She woke with a jolt to see a storm raging above her head. Sitting up, she didn’t know whether to laugh, pinch herself or run, as the smoky clouds above her bed shot tiny lightning bolts at each other. Luckily, it was a dry storm. Explaining wet sheets in the morning would have been fun.
As she reached over to her bedside table and grabbed her mobile to check the time, an orb, about the size of a tennis ball, snuck out of the clouds and spiralled its way down to sit just above her head. It seemed to look at her, then shiver.
Without a bang, or even a whisper, it expanded, grabbed her into its belly, shrunk down again with her inside, and zipped back to the storm clouds.
Bliss tried to scream. Nothing came out, no matter how wide she opened her mouth, or how much air she pulled into her lungs. She tried bashing on the sphere, which only sent ripples across its surface, almost as though it liked it.
Phone clutched in her hand, she crossed her arms over her chest, and wondered if she’d have enough air to get wherever they were going. It kept her mind off the fact that she was inside an object that seemed to have feelings. When she’d gone through all the physics and science things she could remember about oxygen and carbon dioxide, and which one could kill you, she had a different problem.
Tapping one foot, she slowly stopped when the sphere did its freaky vibrating thing, then had to squeeze her knees together and will her bladder to stop filling up, or worse, leak out.
That’s when she realised what was happening. She was still in bed, nice and snug and warm, and dreaming about the boy with purple eyes. No, she shook her head, dreaming about riding Salty. Still, her belly quivered, making her jig on the spot, making the sphere shoot veins of white light around its surface.
‘Wake up,’ she said, not hearing the words. ‘Wake up and go pee so you can dream normally weird dreams, not these crazy ones.’
She waited, but didn’t wake up.
Why was this happening? She looked around, trying to see anything outside the sphere. Like they flew through clouds, she could see nothing but fluffy whiteness. She tried pinching her arm, which only made her bladder flinch. She tried not tapping her foot, and failed. The sphere gave a hum and turned pink.
‘I have to pee,’ she said, silently. ‘Let me out or you’ll have a puddle to clean up.’
The sphere went through a rainbow of colours, before settling on a pale yellow.
The sphere shuddered and dipped suddenly, leaving Bliss’ insides in zero gravity for a moment, then they caught up with the movement. She dropped her phone, clutching her stomach with one hand, her mouth with the other, and cross her legs even tighter.
Outside the sphere, lightning played out a spectacular duel, parrying and thrusting back and forth, sending shards of electricity off into smaller duels, until everywhere Bliss looked, arcs of luminosity crashed and cracked the blackness beyond.
She held her breath. Then found it wasn’t voluntary. Like a fish in a bowl drained of water, she slid to the bottom of the sphere, mouth open, holding her throat, gulping air that no longer existed.
I’m going to die, she thought. My life was about to happen, and now I’m going to miss it.