Nightmaren at the Seaside
The fight against Reala was epic. The four dreamers were idly watching as NiGHTS and Reala were throwing balls at each other. At least, until NiGHTS got hit for the third time. NiGHTS fell to the ground and took a huff. The four couldn’t believe that their hero was defeated.
Yet a red glow was activated by Reala’s boots. They flew around NiGHTS and NiGHTS sunk into the ground. Helen began to scream, as Elliot and Will began to ready their blue chips.
“Where did you take NiGHTS?” Claris asked.
“Oh, to where you would be awake,” Reala coyly answered with a toothy smile, “no guessing where though.”
Elliot threw a blue chip toward Reala, and they fell into the portal. Everyone looked at Elliot, “What? If Reala can bring NiGHTS there, they can very well bring them back!”
It was very hard to guess where in the world was NiGHTS and Reala, but if they can’t really guess that with Carmen Sandiego, no way they can guess that with two Nightmaren. They were sure the problem would sort itself out.
Also, it’s almost Monday of the Summer Bank holiday. Elliot’s summer job at the local sports shop was closed, Will ended his training at Football camp, Claris just got out of sleep away camp, and Helen’s Mum had invited her and the other to stay at the Cartwright summer home. They were excited to end their summer together, since they were only able to see each other in Nightopia. It was a pity they couldn’t see each other often seeing how close Twin Seeds and Bellbridge were to each other.
They all took the train to Wellside as they talked about what they’re going to do there. The train was clean and carpeted. Helen and Elliot got a powdered lattes, as Claris got a tea from the beverage cart as they waited for their stops.
“Is there any shopping there?” asked Claris.
“Well, there is a small downtown with a lot of cute shops, but they’ll be closed on Monday due to the Bank Holiday,” Helen explained, “But the summer home has a beach, so we can play there until Monday.”
“Can we play volleyball?” Will asked, “I want to see if I can beat Elliot at something.”
“Fat chance,” said Elliot, “I’m better at you at everything.”
“Well, there is a net, but we may have to blow up the balls, they haven’t been in use in a year,” Helen explained. She lifted a bag of groceries “And I brought all the food we need. Including vegetables from my garden.”
Elliot looked in the bag, “Must be courgette season.”
“It’s always courgette season,” Claris laughed, “but this is going to be a good time.”
When the four got off their stop at Wellside, they saw a man with a top hat and cape giving out pamphlets. Claris took one and read it, “Ghost Tours?”
Helen nodded her head, “We can go to one tonight, they’re really cool.”
“Oh, ghosts don’t exist,” Elliot mocked the whole thing, “it’s probably just a bunch of boring history.”
“And yet a world we go to when we dream does exist?” Will asked sarcastily.
The man began to speak up from his overhearing of the kids, “Oh, the portal of dreams. If you go to the cave at the edge of the beach during the lat night hour, you may find reminants of people’s dreams fall out from there. I found two teenagers looking for it last night, claimed they fell out.”
The four looked at each other, “thanks,” they all said.
Helen turned on the lights to the house. The house was fairly large, with three bedrooms. One had a bunk bed that--
“I call topsies,” Elliot cried, as he threw his duffelbag onto the top of the bunk bed.
Will set his rolling bag on the bottom bunk, “Well, I’m shorter anyhow.”
Looks like the girls will take the other two rooms. Claris took a room with two twin beds, that she promptly put together. Helen had the Master bedroom, which meant she got her own bathroom. Yet she agreed with Claris that they’d share that bathroom.
Upstairs was a kitchen and living room. Helen pushed the glass sliding door to a deck that had sight of the beach on a balcony. The waves were a beautiful blue-gray and the sand was a vivid light brown. There was a layer of sea shells where the sand meets the water. It was a glorious view.
On the beach were two teenagers. One with purple hair and a fisher hat, and one with fiery red hair. Helen took out a pair of binoculars and looked closer at the two, to see what they were doing. They seemed to be looking for something. Helen took a look closer at the red-haired individual, to see that they were wearing what seemed to be a Persona.
Helen quickly ran downstairs and went to the beach. Then she tripped over a dead horseshoe crab.
The two individuals looked at Helen, then laughed. It seemed like the first laugh they needed for that day.
Helen grunted as she looked at the two. One was wearing a pink vest and white blouse with purple pants, while the other was just wearing a red vest and a pair of yellow and green swim trunks. The contrast didn’t match well.
“Sorry Helen, didn’t think we’d run into you,” said the purple haired person, “We’ve transformed ourselves into Visitors and began looking for the portal back. No luck. I did find this cool hat, and Reala found a pair of pants. You humans like pants, right?”
Helen didn’t feel comfortable answering that question, but she heard rapid footsteps behind her as Clairs, Elliot, and Will found her.
Claris and Elliot facepalmed themselves, “Not again.”
“What not again?” Will asked.
“NiGHTS once got themsleves lost in Twin Seeds, it was a process to get themselves back,” Elliot exclaimed, “The police was after them and everything.”
“Hey, at least I turned myself into a Visitor this time,” said NiGHTS, “this way, I won’t cause as much trouble.”
“We should probably get you some lighter clothes,” said Helen, “You can borrow ours.”
Reala grunted, “I’m not sure how Visitor clothing will help our sticky situation, then they pointed at Elliot, “This is your fault you know.”
“Can’t you just paraloop NiGHTS and yourself back?” Ellitot asked.
“That would get Visitors to freak out,” NiGHTS said, “I remember how Twin Seeders are scared of Nightmaren.”
“Also, my power is limited in this world,” Reala explained to the visitors, “remember when NiGHTS couldn’t fly when they were at Twin Seeds after defeating Wizeman the first time? If I can’t fly, I can’t paraloop.”
“And yet you can transform?” Will noticed, “because last time I saw you both, you looked a bit more like jesters.”
“Transforming is easier to do, unfortunately we don’t have the dream energy to turn back” said NiGHTS, “anyhow, we were looking for a portal back.”
Claris thought for a moment, then remembered, “didn’t that crazy guy at the station mention a portal of dreams?”
“I wasn’t really listening,” Elliot admitted, “how about we get these two better clothes, and we can talk portals.”
Reala borrowed Will’s white shirt and Claris’ black skirt, while NiGHTS borrowed Helen’s purple leggings and Elliot’s blue jersey. They still lacked a sense of fashion, but at least it wasn’t a set of green swim trunks with a red vest.
“Okay, about that portal of dreams?” Reala asked.
“Didn’t the guy at the station say it was at a cave?” Helen asked.
“We did come out of a cave,” said NiGHTS, “let’s go there!”
The cave was rather small. It had a lot of rocks, and was rather dull. All four kids took out their cellphones and turned on the light. They looked around for about ten minuets before they gave up. All they found was a well without water.
“Is there an app for finding things?” Reala scoffed.
“Shut up Reala,” NiGHTS scoffed back, “maybe we need to talk to that guy at the train station again?”
“He won’t be there anymore,” Will shrugged.
Claris swung her orange backpack around took out a pamphlet, “he will be at this ghost tour though, and maybe we can hit up the shops while we wait until the tour.”
Elliot groaned, “are we really going to that thing? I know this guy mentioned knowing something about this cave, but is it worth the time and effort?”
“Yes!” Reala cried, “Wizeman is going to be rather menacing if I’m stuck in this world. He might even put Jackle in second command, and I’ll assure you: you don’t want Jackle in a position of power.”
Claris suddenly turned pale from what Reala said to the group. She began to speak rather quickly, “go shopping, go to the ghost tour, find them a way home. That is our plan and we’re sticking to it.”
“I like your attitude,” Reala chuckled, “I often wondered about the appeal of ‘shopping’ might help with some inspiration. Do merchants still haggle?”
Helen laughed, “we’ve gone a long way from that.”
Wellside had a lot of shops with various nick knacks and crafts. It was as if Etsy was brick and mortar. Will bought some handmade soap made with vanilla and brown sugar, since he liked the scent. Claris bought some whole leaf green tea, since Helen admitted to only bringing coffee, and Claris wasn’t a coffee drinker. NiGHTS ogled at a pair or amethyst earrings. Helen offered to buy them a pair, but they said that they didn’t have ears often, so they wouldn’t be redeemed useful.
They went to the center square where the guy from the train station was waiting with a few other people. Helen took out a notebook, then asked, “hey! We met at the train station. Mind if I asked you about the cave at the end of the Wellside beach?”
“Ah, the cave that encloses the namesake of our town.” Said the man, “what about it?”
“You said that people and objects from others’ dreams come out of it sometimes. When we looked, we couldn’t find anything. Are we doing something wrong?”
“Yes, you will have to come during the last hour of the night to see the portal, it is in the well itself. It will fill with a prism of water, and you can find things drop out from time to time.”
“And can we go in?” asked Reala.
“Well, that might be a dangerous thing to do,” the man coughed a bit, “You might not be able to return.”
“Good.” Reala said.
“So, you’re here for the ghost tour?” asked the man, “It’s five pounds a person, and I did give you that valuable information.”
Helen looked at her notepad:
In the cave at the edge of the beach.
In the well during 24:00.
Will show prism coloured water.
Out of politeness, Helen gave the man thirty pound notes, “sure, we can see what more mystical things happen in this town.”
Apparently, a lot. The tour went until beyond midnight. So Helen had to make sleeping arrangements for two more people.
There were three bedrooms. Two with two beds, one with one bed. Helen knew it would be awkward if anyone shared a bed.
“Well, I’ll take the big bed,” Reala began to take their skirt off.
Helen quickly covered her eyes, “you have to share with someone. Maybe NiGHTS?”
“Yeah, sure, whatever.” Reala said as more sounds of disrobing was happening.
“We get the big bed?” NiGHTS squeed, “sure beats sleeping on the streets.” NiGHTS said as more sounds of cloth coming off occured.
Helen promptly shut the door as she continued to cover her eyes, “anyone have any extra pajamas?”
Claris had two extra sets. One with rabbits on it, the other with trees. Helen threw them into the bedroom, as she said, “put these on while you sleep.”
Helen was beet red. Claris didn’t want to bring up the embarrassment of almost seeing the nightmaren naked, but at the same time, she kind of did. The girls were going to share the room, and Helen helped Claris pull the bed apart.
“Sorry you couldn’t have a full sized bed,” said Helen.
“Not a problem,” said Claris, “did you see them naked?”
Helen went even redder, “no, I covered my eyes before I could.”
“Well, probably for the better,” Claris laughed as she tucked in her sheets. Claris laid down on the bed and began to relax, “so we’re beaching in the morning?”
“That’s the idea,” said Helen, “then at the 24th hour, we’ll get to the Wellside Cave and get NiGHTS and Reala back to where they belong.” Helen faceplanted onto the pillow and began to sleep.
Elliot spooned some coffee into the french press and poured the hot water into it, then he pressed down onto the press. Elliot grabbed his coffee mug and poured in some cream before be poured in the coffee.
Will looked curiously at the french press, “you’re really into that caffeinated stuff, huh?”
“Yeah, it what gets me functioning in the morning, want some?” Elliot asked as he made his first sip.
“Nah, Helen got some orange juice,” Will opened the fridge with a carton of orange juice. He poured it into a glass and took a sip, “so we’re beaching today?”
“Yeah! I’m going to kick your butt at Volleyball,” Elliot exclaimed.
“You may jump high, but no one can punt as well as I can,” said Will.
That was when Reala got to the kitchen, looked at the french press, then shook their head. “I’ve always wanted to compete with NiGHTS in a sport, maybe if we had a go at this game as well?”
“Or one of us could have NiGHTS as a teammate, and the other can have Reala as a teammate,” Will suggested, “It can be a team sport after all.”
“Okay,” Reala looked at Will, “I’ll team up with you. You don’t throw blue chips at Nightmaren after all.”
“It was for the good at Nightopia,” Elliot cried out.
“Sure it was,” Reala rolled their eyes.
Everyone got their swimsuits on. Claris had on a red and white polka dotted bikini, while Helen had a pink and one piece with blue vertical lines. Elliot had a pair of blue trunks, and Will had on some black swim trunks and a white T-shirt. NiGHTS borrowed Claris’ light blue bikini, while Reala used the green swim trunks that they found.
Claris and Helen were going to look for shells, while the rest were playing volleyball.
Elliot pumped the ball to give it some good buoyancy. Him and NiGHTS served first. NiGHTS punted the ball so hard that Will flinched at the speed. Reala punted it on time, then Will punted it back to the other side of the net. Elliot blocked the punt, but Reala was able to punt it back, only for the ball to ball right to their side of the court.
“One point for us,” said Elliot.
NiGHTS served again, and it was really fast. Will didn’t flinch this time and punted it back to the other side of the court. Elliot punted to NiGHTS, then NiGHTS lurched towards the ball only to miss.
They were even.
Reala served the ball this time, and it was so hard that both NiGHTS and Elliot flinched.
“Wow, Reala, that was too fast!” said NiGHTS.
“You were just as hard!” Reala argued back, “I know you’re just as strong as me, but you’re not as good at receiving!”
Elliot tossed the ball to Reala, “Just try one more time. It’s 2-1.”
Reala served the ball even harder, but NiGHTS punted the ball really high. Elliot jumped as high as he did with basketball then slammed it onto the ground. “Hah, tied again!”
While the boys and nonbinary folks were playing volleyball, Claris and Helen were collecting shells. That was when Helen came upon the horseshoe crab she tripped over. “Kind of odd, I’ve never seen one before I tripped on it.”
Claris took a closer looked, “I once took a vacation in the states, and saw one there they’re horseshoe crabs, yes?”
“Could this had something to do with NiGHTS and Reala in the Wellside Well?” Helen asked. She poked the crab with a stick, then it got up and ran away.
Claris listened to a shell with her head, “I often hear you can listen to the ocean with these things.”
Helen laughed, “can’t be, it’s not like shells can catch sound.”
NiGHTS ran over to the girls, “hi!”
“Aren’t you playing volleyball?” Claris asked, “I was hoping you’d win.”
“Nah, Reala and Elliot were arguing rules, so I left.” NiGHTS looked over at Claris, “is that a new earring?”
Claris laughed, “no, just listening to the ocean.” She placed the shell into NiGHTS’ ear.
NiGHTS eyes went really wide, “It sounds really cool.”
“Like anything familiar?” Helen asked.
“Like the static on a telly,” said NiGHTS.
Well, NiGHTS wasn’t wrong…
After grilling vegetables on a grill for dinner, the four kids took out some flashlights to find the cave again with the two nightmaren. It was 23:30. Half an hour before the water is supposed to appear.
They ventured off to the side of the beach to find the well again. It didn’t light up mostly because it wasn’t midnight.
So they waited. They waited until they saw something in the distance…
It looked familiar… like Helen had tripped over it before.
It had a large shell and a long tail.
Reala began to yell, “wait, did Equefoot end up here?”
NiGHTS looked at Reala, “whose Equefoot?”
“A second level nightmaren who went missing. You wouldn’t have known them, since they were created post your rebellion.”
Equefoot crawled to the nightmaren, and began to making a lurching sound. It did not seem like they were friendly.
With six defenseless humans, there was no way to fly out of this one.
At least until Elliot threw a volleyball at Equefoot’s face.
“Do you have the solve everything by throwing balls at every problem?” Reala asked.
“They seem to work, you would seem to know that,” said Elliot.
“Ow,” Equefoot winced, “That hurt.”
“Well, shouldn’t have threatened us.” NiGHTS ciriticized, “now you want to get back to the Night Dimension?”
Equefoot nodded their head, “yeah, I just couldn’t figure out how.”
“Well, these kid did,” Reala pointed to the four dreamers, “and we can get you back.”
“That’s great!” said Equefoot, “I heard it had to do with the well, but I didn’t know how.”
“We’re about to see,” said Will as they wall went to the cave. Equefoot shrunk enough to fit inside.
The well began to light up, and NiGHTs, Reala, and Equifoot jumped in. There wasn’t much after that. They had to wait and see in their dreams.
When the four went to bed, they dreamed of a secondary school gym. They saw NiGHTS and Reala playing volleyball, “Hey, we never finished our game,” Reala said.
The girls giggled. Guess school was soon after to start thinking about gym class.