Chapter 2 Dream World
Previously on Dreamscape…
He offered me a kind smile in return and I felt like I could trust this stranger completely, just with that one simple act. It felt like I have known him for forever. I just hope my judgment is correct. Little did I know, the moment I met Dominic Cobb, that my life will change forever.
Dominic Cobb brought me to a nice Parisian café, and I fidgeted as I felt his burning gaze on me. "Why are you not eating? Don't you like the food here? If you like, we can transfer to another café." he offered me kindly, noticing that I wasn't eating my food.
"No, it's fine. It's actually quite delicious. It's just that…I have issues about trusting people quickly. I doubt I can even fully trust anyone, even if I have the chance to get to know them better." I told him honestly, finding myself unable to lie to this man.
Luckily, he didn't ask any questions about it and continued with his meal in silence. It's just how I like it.
"Look around you." he ordered without looking up at me. I blinked in confusion but followed his order nonetheless.
My eyebrows scrunched in confusion as I looked around to see…whatever it was he was making me look at. I took in every detail around me, but what really got my attention is the fact that everybody seems to be looking at me!
I mean full-on staring, not the kind that when you look at them; they look away from your gaze. It is downright creepy for me. Well, not so much, really, since I ran with vampires for about a year and then discovered that my best friend is a werewolf.
I immediately felt self-conscious, so I inconspicuously checked out my appearance on the silverware. Fortunately, there wasn't any dirt on my face whatsoever, but unfortunately, Cobb noticed what I just did.
"There's nothing wrong with your appearance; you needn't look at yourself using your spoon." he murmured, the corner of his lips curling up a little bit.
"I don't understand, though. Why are people staring at me? As far as I know, I didn't do anything to attract this much attention." I whispered, slightly leaning in closer for him to hear me.
He dropped his eating utensils and looked into my eyes, and I could feel myself drowning into those deep brown eyes. Wait, what am I thinking? My vampire boyfriend left me a few years back and now I'm looking for something to cause me the same pain over again?
This is different, though, because whenever I looked into Assward's eyes; I felt like I was losing myself. This time, I look at Dom as if I am seeing the sun for the first time. He had celebrity features—a perfectly chiseled nose, a strong jaw, high cheekbones, definitely kissable lips, and eyes that held sadness and mystery in them.
Damn it, Bella! Just because he's freaking hot, doesn't mean you need to ogle at him. It's a good thing only a few seconds have passed because he is an extremely observant man, and he would have noticed if I stared at him for too long. And since when did I call him Dom?
He opened his mouth to speak but suddenly, the café just exploded, and there was chaos everywhere. I could hear a blood-curling scream coming from someone far away, but then I realized that it was coming from me.
"Just relax, Aria—," I heard him shout to me, but he was cut off by something I couldn't quite see. Suddenly, there was a blinding light in front of my eyes, and I felt something sharp pierce the side of my neck, beheading me.
I woke up with a jolt, panting heavily. Instinctively, I checked my body for injuries but found none. It all felt so real, like my head was really separated from my body. I can still recall the pain right now.
Just then, I realized that I wasn't in a place I recognized. But where am I? The last thing I remember is…I was with Dominic Cobb. I jerked my left hand to stand up, but apparently, it wasn't a good move because pain shot through my arm, causing me to wince slightly.
I recognized it immediately as the kind of pain inflicted by a needle on skin. I squinted and saw a small needle puncturing my skin, which was connected to a…brief case sort of thing.
"That's a PASIV device." somebody said, appearing from the shadows. He looked around my age, with carefully-styled short dark hair and soft but elegant features. He was wearing long-sleeves that were rolled up to his elbows, slacks, and shiny black leather shoes.
"Oh, and you really shouldn't pull that from your skin. Believe me; it can be really nasty when you don't know what you're doing." he warned, looking pointedly at my arm. My eyebrows furrowed in confusion, but followed his warning nonetheless.
No point in inflicting pain upon myself, is there? I was about to voice some of my questions, but he beat me to it. "You must be wondering who I am. I'm Arthur, by the way." he introduced himself, bowing slightly in a gentlemanly fashion; it made me blush slightly, but I kept my cool.
"Thank goodness you're alright, Ariadne." Cobb said, exhaling loudly through his mouth. He just came out of a room, holding a strange looking item in his hand. It was…a top? Isn't he a little too old to play one?
And for the second time of the day, before I could speak, he beat me to it this time. "I know you have a lot of questions, but I need you to listen to me attentively." he insisted, looking into my eyes for any signs of…I don't know what.
When he found what he was looking for, he backed away a little and settled himself comfortably on a chair. "Ariadne, do you have any idea at all what just happened awhile ago when we were in the café?" he questioned, and I felt like I was undergoing one of those psychiatric tests.
"Nothing at all; one time we were talking then the other I was being beheaded. I mean what the hell?" I exclaimed, shock seeping through me.
"Look, what you just witnessed is dream-sharing. It lets you share dreams with other people and create your own world. The dream was interrupted because you were gaining consciousness, and you finally realized that there was something wrong about that place. You panicked, causing everything to stir." he explained slowly, like he was afraid that I'll explode any second.
"You mean-I-you…" I trailed off, not able to form coherent sentences. Supernatural things aside, this is the weirdest thing I've heard that involves humans and humans alone.
"Don't worry; it really comes as a shock at first. You'll get over it in a few days or so." Arthur said, waving it off like it's nothing.
"So…this dreaming thing—you can do whatever you like in it. Create your own world and decide what happens in it?" I asked slowly, being intrigued by this new information.
"If nobody interferes with your dream, then yes, you can do whatever you like." Cobb confirmed, worry etched into his face.
"I'm sure you must have a million questions going through your head. Well, shoot." Arthur said, motioning for me to go on.
"Actually, I only have one. Why did you choose to share this information with me? I mean, you could have shared this with other far more intelligent people; not that I don't like it, but why me?" I asked, very confused.
The two men looked at each other as if they're silently communicating with their eyes alone. "I think you should sit down for a bit before we proceed in explaining things." the younger man suggested, walking behind me.
"You can tell me anything even if I'm standing." I said stubbornly, refusing to sit down. They damn better tell it to me face on!
"Okay, then. We want you in our team, Ariadne." Cobb said seriously, suddenly looking like he aged ten years.
"What kind of team is this—baseball, football, or badminton—what?" I asked, crossing my arms. Suddenly, I remembered the needle still attached to my arm, making me wince slightly.
"You see, what we do here isn't exactly legal. We go into other people's minds and plant ideas in their head. That's how we earn the money." Cobb explained everything in one breath.
Hmm…isn't exactly legal…planting ideas in one's head. This is the kind of job that Edward wouldn't want me to take. I am going to prove that ninny wrong. I am going to show that I am not weak like he wants to think about me. I am accepting the offer.
"Fine, I'm in. But what will be my role in here?" I asked. If this job isn't legal, do I have to learn how to shoot people or something? Or maybe, I could be the distraction to the victim. Gosh, I already feel like the bad guy!
"You, Ariadne, will be our Architect. You will design the dream, creating loopholes and escape routes that only our team should know. Make the dream as close to reality as possible, but not exactly alike because you might confuse the dream world with reality. Believe me, that's not a good thing." Cobb said darkly, and I wonder if he had confused reality with dreams before.
"So, that's why you chose me. But why didn't you just hire a professional? I mean, I haven't even graduated yet." I asked yet again. It's like we're playing twenty questions here.
"I see the potential in you, and the maze you created awhile ago? Simply…amazing." he complimented, making me go back to the time before I entered the dream world. I wonder how he made me fall into consciousness. I could feel the blood creeping up to my face, and I dropped my gaze to the floor. He really has a way to make me feel like a human Jell-O.
"It was nothing. I only did what you wanted me to do." I said humbly, while Arthur noticed the pain the needle on my arm was causing me. He gently slid it out of my vein and closed the wound with a band-aid.
"Thank you." I muttered, rubbing my arm subconsciously. "What are your roles, anyway?" I queried. If I was the Architect, what would they do?
"Well, I am the Point Man. That means I'm like the one who takes the bullet for everyone and makes sure everything is in its right place. Dom here is the Extractor. He gets valuable information from someone's brain or plants an idea into their head. He also plans everything that we do." Arthur explained.
"Um, what's the use of that PASIV device, then?" I queried, touching the metal surface of the device. In all my years, I have never seen anything quite like it.
"It's really called Portable Automated Somnacin IntraVenous Device. It is used for administering the drug Somnacin to the dreamers in the field. It also comes with Instruction Manual MV-235A that provides information on the proper usage of the machine." he started, making me pay full attention to him.
"This baby has configurable control settings for accurate monitoring and adjustment of Somnacin levels, four meters IV lines for versatile in the field set-up, LED display with atomized timer for monitoring precise flow rates, synchronization monitoring chip for flow chip monitoring and automated adjustment to optimize output flow, lithium iodide batteries with life of two hundred hours, and additional vial storage for multiple doses in the field." he continued, and I made sure to catch all of it.
"Plus, it has case lock for prevention of system tampering. We can never be too complacent, can we? There's memory backup for retention of infusion output data and easy access to fuses and batteries for replacement. Well, that's about it. I'm really looking forward to working with you." he flirted, making me smile.
"Well, that's sweet. When do we start?" I asked, with only one thought in my head. I will prove you wrong, Edward Cullen, even if I never come back to the real world.
(A/N: Okay, that was really crappy. Review?)