Judai's brown eyes slowly opened and quickly closed again. He was finally awake, but as usual, he didn't want to get up right away.
He didn't want to drag himself out of bed and all the way to class like he did every single day.
He wanted to stay in bed and keep sleeping for as long as he could, or at least until he was fully rested. He didn't exactly like the idea of spending forever in bed though.
There were things he wanted to do after all. Regardless, the strange smell in the room rendered him unable to focus on his extra sleep. He opened his eyes again and looked up at the ceiling.
No, that wasn't right. Judai slept on the bottom bunk. He should be seeing the underside of the top bunk. More than that though, he should be in bed.
Seeing the ceiling made him realize his head wasn't even resting on a pillow. There wasn't a blanket on him either, nor was he in his room at all.
He was laying on a floor, looking up at a ceiling he didn't recognize.
Judai wondered for a moment if he was getting pranked.
Did some of his friends manage to carefully get him out of bed and place him somewhere else as a practical joke?
He grew curious about whether he would actually be capable of sleeping through something like that or not. He didn't consider himself to be a light sleeper, so maybe it was possible.
Either way, Judai had to get up and figure out where he was. He rolled over and got to his hands and knees to push himself up to his feet. Judai let out a yawn and stretched his arms up.
After rubbing his eyes, he looked around at his surroundings. Something was off. He didn't recognize where he was.
Sure, he was certain he hadn't seen every room in the school or even on the island, but he felt like the place didn't fit in at all. It almost felt like he was in an office building.
An empty office building. The walls were a plain pale yellow while the carpet was sort of like a mustard yellow. Everything looked too yellow.
There were fluorescent lights in the ceiling and Judai could hear a faint buzzing sound coming from them. He also noticed a couple stains on the walls, ceiling, and floor.
It almost felt like he was in the hallway rather than a proper office. There were door frames leading elsewhere, but no actual doors. It dawned on Judai that it was a bit tough to breath.
The air was thick and musty. Clearly there was no air circulation in the building.
"Sho?" Judai curiously called out.
He couldn't imagine he was left alone if it really was a prank. His friends had to be watching him from somewhere, right? They didn't really leave him alone to find his own way out.
That seemed a little too far, even if it might have been Manjoume's idea. Judai was pretty brave though, so he could make it out on his own perfectly fine.
He'd just have to tell his friends that it wasn't a very funny prank to pull on him. Judai picked a direction, the right, and began walking down the hall.
Wherever the exit was, he assumed the building wasn't like a maze with dead ends, so he could just keep walking until he found it.
While walking, he wondered where he was to begin with. Unless he was in some kind of secret location on the island, Judai didn't think he was actually at the academy anymore.
An empty office building just didn't make sense. Sure, there was a lab on the island, but there were reasons for that. Reasons he didn't really agree with, but it served a purpose nonetheless.
An office building didn't seem to have any purpose he could think of though.
The only offices Judai knew about were Headmaster Samejima's office, the teachers' offices, and at least one meeting room.
There couldn't be a reason for the island to have an empty drab office building on it.
A humming sound started to bother Judai to the point that it took him out of his thoughts. Perhaps he was focusing too much on the sound coming from the lights.
Otherwise it was completely silent in the office minus his soft footsteps, so it was easy for the humming to get stuck in his head.
Along with the humming, the light behind him started flickering. Judai stopped in his tracks and could see a bit of the area around himself get dim every time the light flickered.
It made an annoying sound too. He turned around to see the light flicker right in front of him. It flickered on and off and on and off and on and off and then didn't come back on.
Judai stared at it with a hint of confusion and curiosity before pursing his lips. Something about the light going out just... unsettled him.
He worried for a moment that it was a sign the power would go out.
Judai gripped at his arms for a few seconds before he realized he was wearing his Osiris Red jacket.
Looking down at his own body, he had to feel a tad disappointed in himself for not noticing he wasn't in his pajamas. He was fully dressed with socks and shoes and everything.
But he knew he didn't go to bed like that. Did his friends dress him? Putting aside the embarrassment at that thought, Judai had to stop suspending his disbelief.
There was no way his friends could get him out of bed, change all his clothes, and take him who knows how far away from the dorms all while he was sleeping.
He just didn't believe it was possible. It couldn't be.
And then an idea came to Judai. He was dreaming. It was all just a dream. That was why him being in an empty office building fully dressed didn't make sense. It wasn't supposed to.
Dreams were just weird like that and Judai being so aware of himself was because it was one of those lucid dreams.
So shouldn't he be able to control things? He thought about being back at his dorm room, lying in bed, and enjoying the comfort of his pillow.
He tried to imagine the softness of his blanket too, but nothing was happening. He wasn't back in his room and he wasn't waking up.
Maybe he needed to do one of those tests where he hurt himself to snap himself out of it. He pushed up his sleeve a bit and pinched his skin.
"Ouch!" Judai whined.
He winced, but again, nothing happened. He rubbed his skin to make the pain go away quicker and pushed his sleeve back down.
If it was a dream, then why wasn't he waking up? How could he be stuck? Did he just not focus enough?
He'd never been stuck in a dream before so he wasn't sure how he was supposed to think in order to free himself from it.
What if Judai was stuck in a nightmare then? Perhaps that was something he couldn't wake up from on his own.
The light that went out suddenly burst and shattered glass onto the floor. Judai yelped and covered his face with an arm. It was a nightmare. Definitely a nightmare.
He gripped at his arms again and backed up a few feet before turning around. He quickly tried to walk away. He needed to find the exit. He needed to get out. He needed to wake up.
"A-Asuka!? Manjoume! M-Misawa...?" Judai called out.
Believing he was no longer awake, he doubted he would actually see any of his friends. Still, it brought him some level of comfort to call out for them. Even just thinking about them helped.
He wanted to see everyone again. He didn't want to be stuck in the weirdest nightmare he's ever had.
He only hoped if there was nothing he could do on his end then someone would eventually wake him up.
Continuing on through the halls, it felt like things were getting less linear. Before, the hallway just went straight and made a turn every once in a while. Now, it didn't look very coherent.
There were too many paths Judai could take and it almost looked like there were several unnecessary walls. Judai walked ahead a bit where there was a short wall.
He was able to go around it to reveal another hallway. He paused and stared down the hallway. It kept going down and had a right and a left turn. That wasn't right.
The hallway jutted out of the wall. He walked along the wall where the left hallway turned down. There was no way an entirely separate hallway could be there.
It should only have a right turn and nothing else.
Judai walked down the hall to where the paths branched and stopped. It was definitely a real hallway, but he still couldn't believe it. It just wasn't possible.
He turned around and quickly made his way to the end of the hall. He rounded the corner and stopped in his tracks before he could collide with the wall. Judai looked around and furrowed his brow.
"B-but... But there was... right?" Judai muttered to himself.
He came from that hall. He travelled all throughout it before he turned the corner. He was walking for a while so it couldn't be possible that there was nothing there.
He couldn't have gotten turned around either, could he? Or did he forget where he came from? Maybe he did get turned around. Maybe he lost track of where he was.
There was no other explanation... unless the hallway changed when he wasn't looking. Judai pressed a hand against the wall, needing to know it was real.
He believed he was in a nightmare, so things really could change on him at the drop of a dime. Anything was possible so he couldn't be certain what was real or not.
The thought unsettled him.
Judai removed his hand from the wall and turned around, walking back to the intersection. He would never get out if all he did was question things. He had to just keep going and not look back.
Looking down the left, middle, and right halls, Judai chose to take the right hall since it was the only one that reasonably should be there.
Things down the right all seemed just as distorted as they did a bit earlier. Too many turns that didn't need to be there and many door frames to walk through.
Nothing seemed to be like a room anymore, it was just lots of hallways mashed together too closely. Looking around as he walked, Judai noticed one door frame that seemed upside down.
He could vault over it to get through, but he felt like the distortion alone was enough to make him choose another path.
Preview finished! You can finish this story and find many more on my AO3 (NyanBerri) and FanFiction.net (Nyan Nyan Soup). Please consider checking them out!