I close my eyes and sink into sleep. I seemingly wake into a dream. I was prone to lucid dreaming, knowing that I'm dreaming.
But this is different.
Nothing is happening. I just stare at the off-white walls and floor. They meld together and go on forever.
"Hello?" calls out a voice. It sounds too real to be a dream-voice.
"Hello?" I call back, unsure. There's the sound of a relieved sigh.
"Oh, thank goodness," says the voice. A girl's. A silhouette comes into view. Then morphs into a girl, teenage. Then she fully appears, as out of fog.
She's around eighteen, with long brown hair streaked with neon colors. It's tied back with a bandana. Her clothes consist of leather booties, fishnets, a red crop top featuring skulls, a black leather jacket, and a spiked collar. She has an anarchy symbol tattooed on her neck.
"Uh..." I say. Was this actually a dream.
"Just wait a minute," says the girl. She looks around and rocks on her heels.
"Anyone here?" calls another voice. The girl's heavily makeuped face smiles at me.
"Over here," she calls. A boy appears out of the fog.
He's nearly a polar opposite of the girl, with his pristine white dress shirt, pressed black slacks, shiny dress shoes, and gelled hair. His smile is radiant.
"Are we meeting anyone else?" he asks the girl, like they knew each other. Maybe they did.
"I don't know. Everyone should show up in a few minutes," she says. "If we know what minutes are."
"What do you mean, 'If we know what minutes are'?" I ask her. She laughs, but doesn't respond. The boy just gives me his million dollar smile.
"Hey! You fuckers out here?" calls another voice. The boy scowls and the girl laughs.
Another girl appears from the fog. She's dressed in sweats and Ugg boots. She has messy hair and Cheeto dust on her face and blue sweatshirt. She suffers from Resting Bitch Face Syndrome.
"Anyone else joining the party?" I ask sarcastically.
"This isn't a party," says the boy, his blue eyes wide and innocent.
"You're an idiot," comments the slob-looking girl.
"No, I'm not," the boy says. "My IQ is much over yours. While yours seems to waver at average, let's say...90...mine is off the charts...perhaps...180? A genius level, IQ, if I do say so myself."
"Whatever, Einstein," she says, rolling her eyes.
"I am in no way Albert Einstein," says the boy. "But I am indeed Quincy Fauntleroy."
"Whatever you say, Quirky Faustboy," smirks the girl.
"Shut up, you two," says the dark girl. They both look away. The boy sulking, the girl smirking. "And you," she addresses me.
"It's almost as bad as Benadryl Cucumberbitch," interjects the slob girl.
"I said shut up!" yells the girl. Slobby rolls her eyes but is quiet. "Now, I'm from The AlleyCat. What are you three from?"
"The Sacrifice," says the boy miserably.
The slob girl rolls her eyes. "Along for the Ride." They all look at me.
"I'm from Idaho," I say. "Sandpoint?" I don't really understand what's going on.
"Oh," says the gothic-ish girl, her voice filled with awe. The three teens stare at me expectantly. Slob-girl rolls her eyes.
"Well?" she asks.
"Well what?" I say.
"Are you the Narrator?" she asks. Under her breath, "Asshat."
"Excuse me?!" I exclaim. "Narrator?! What the fuck is a Narrator?!"
"'A person who narrates something, especially a character who recounts the events of a novel or narrative poem,'" says the boy, a walking dictionary. "Synonyms are 'storyteller', 'relater', 'chronicler', 'raconteur'-"
"No more!" yells the slob-girl. "Are you the Narrator or not so we can go back to our lives?"
"I don't really want to go back," mutters the boy.
"Nobody asked you, Shittown," growls the girl.
"Calm down," says the gothic-ish girl. "So you're not from a story, and that means you're the Narrator. You're going to narrate our stories. We give you a summary, and you dictate what happens."
"I don't want to," I say.
"You have no choice. You can't leave your head until you do," says the girl, brandishing a piece of paper. I read it.
Marissa Levy has lived on the streets all her life, but when she meets a drug dealer, a fight ensues that changes her life.
Having acquired several million dollars' worth of drugs, she's on the run from mercenaries who want the drugs back - and her dead.
"I don't want to narrate this," I say. "I just want to go back to my life."
"You can't, so suck it up," says the slob-girl. She gives me a greasy piece of paper.
Tally was a nobody, just another face in the crowd. She was special in no way. She wasn't smart or stupid, athletic or weak, musical or not. She was nothing.
Until a new boy, Adam, took an interest in her right away. As they become friends (and maybe something more), the thing Adam was running from catches up, and Tally is caught in the middle. She's
Along for the Ride.
"Yours is horribly cliched," I tell her. She shrugs.
"Can't pick the story." The boy clears his throat. He hands me a gently creased piece of paper.
Quincy was always told he was destined for great things.
He never thought that would mean being sacrificed to the gods to appease them.
On the brink of being sacrificed, Quincy runs away, afraid of what is to come.
Now the villagers are searching, and the gods are angry. Wars ensue, and Quincy only has one ally...Death...the one thing he fears most.
"Fine," I spit. "I'll narrate, just so I can leave." Marissa nods. "Uh, how do I narrate?"
"Close yours eyes, and just start with one of the stories. Your choice. You're the Narrator. You dictate our lives. We'll see you, Sydney..." I blink and they're gone. I'm alone in the off-white abyss.
"How did she..." I mumble. I shake my head and look at my three options. Quincy's seemed the most interesting.
"Okay, here goes nothing. Narrate. Be the Narrator. You are the Narrator..."