(((! This chapter has been edited since it was first put up! Just some minor re-wording. Trying to make movements and actions more clear.)))
Here you guys go! Another chapter! This one will probably be every other day except on weekends. Weekends will probably be every day. If I can manage that. There may be some days where I'm supposed to post yet can't. *shrugs* I guess we'll see.
Kayla; MT? What's that stand for? Cause I can think of lots of possibilities. XP And yeah, I've read some of Rilzit. It's really good. I need to read more... it's just really long. XD I normally like that but it means I need to find time. And thanks, glad you like!
Femke; Sadly, I don't have a DA account. I plan to get one, but don't have one yet. Your English actually isn't too bad (especially if you're able to read these stories) so... yeah. And you're not stupid. :O You're just... happy. XD
To everyone else, thanks for reviews, favs, alerts, etc!
"All I got was a brief flash of, SOMETHING, but that's it. I thought it was just a malfunction, but, since then the jumps keep coming! Even without the machine! Getting longer and longer each time!
If I don't do something about it quick, it won't be long before I end up stuck!
STUCK IN THAT HORRIBLE DIMENSION!
"You mean this whole place is based off of my imagination?"
"Maybe I am crazy..."
"They're done with this place, ruined ALL of it."
"This whole dimension exists in your mind Dib! Maybe that's why your head's so big..."
Since before he was even ten, several years before Zim came, it was no secret Dib was unwell.
He had problems of high severity and no form of help.
As a child the nightmares had started. Dib's subconscious built different appearances for people he knew, based off of how they treated him. He was neglected, bullied, abused. Their alternate selves reflected Dib's pain, and their obvious hatred for him. Tangled limbs, bloody faces, blackened eyes, horror. It was portrayed in a way that could get anyone to recoil.
As a young child he'd had to go to the store and buy food, be it day or night, to keep himself and his sister from starving while their father went off on business trips, not bothering to buy his own children food before leaving, neglectful, uncaring.
The city was scary, especially to a seven-year-old, alone and lost, just trying to find a grocery store to soothe the pinched sensation in his tummy. Several nights he'd cried himself to sleep on the streets because he couldn't find his way home. After a couple years though, while it never got less frightening, he'd mapped out the city in clear detail, and was able to find his way around. He knew every building on some blocks.
He learned to fight back all feelings of pain, fear, sadness, and such, but the feelings had to go somewhere.
Everything of this sort polluted the deeper parts of his mind, mixing with his vivid imagination, knowledge of the paranormal, and good memory, to build a place of pure fear and hatred. Another version of his home, his city, and everyone in those places.
Dib had cried himself to sleep so many times. He was tired, the waking world was a wretched place, but his dreams, what should have been an escape, sleep; it was worse. He didn't want to sleep. He wanted an escape, but he knew the claws that would 'welcome' him when he lost consciousness. He was only a child. It wasn't right to have to witness these things. To be so messed up.
It all progressed, into more and more, a land of indescribable terror.
At eleven years of age, on Halloween, he'd been sucked in completely. He was lucky enough to bring Zim with him.
They got out, escaped, but just barely.
Dib thought it was over then. He didn't see much of it since. It left him overjoyed on that night. He'd laughed, almost shook with relief and happiness. Thank god... It was over!
"WE MADE IT! I MADE IT!"
It wasn't over.
It wasn't possible for such a huge mental wound to scar into a simple memory so easily.
His own mind became a stalking beast, ready to pounce, the big, bad wolf to gobble him up.
His life continued the way it had. The way that had built up that nightmare world in the first place. It built, and grew, feeding the beast, mutating it further. At sixteen, the paranormal obsessor's mind had grown the capacity to envision things so gruesome, there were hardly words to describe them. To have the monsters coming at you was enough to make Dib want more then anything to die. To just die. Even if he got away he'd only be pulled back. Death was the only thing that could ever sever the chain, connecting his spirit and self to his dark, polluted brain.
Zim gave him an escape though. Zim gave him something else to think about. When his thoughts were kept on healthier things, and his own little world forgotten, himself forgotten, it all seemed to begin to die off.
Being in that world was like what hell night be like. Pain, constant. It felt so real. The fear simply surged through his body, strong enough to make him puke or faint. He cried. He wailed, he screamed. There was never an escape. He was left to curl into a helpless ball and desperately pray that time would save him, and he'd wake up eventually.
He was always surrounded. Whether he ran or hid they'd always find him. They were everywhere.
When the bullying got worse, when things built up to the breaking point, the beast of Dib's mind snatched him, held him in its claws, petting him with the talons, toying with its helpless prey, until gashes tore Dib's flesh. And he felt it. It felt real. He felt the pain.
Several years after that fateful Halloween, the teen's dreams had returned, tormenting him until he finally broke free to wake up, gasping and dripping with sweat.
The entire school day after, Dib just wasn't paying attention, concentrated on the worry of the return of his nightmare world. He was seeing things when he looked around. He found himself chewing on his pencil, scratching his arms and neck until they were red, returning to an enormous plethora of nervous habits he thought he'd kicked a long time ago. It was worse then ever before. He was losing it! Losing his grip! He had to hold on!
When the school jocks pinned him in the hall and started beating him senseless , kicking and punching, just for their own sick amusement, as they did very frequently, the fear that had been mounting went out of control. Dib lost the grip he'd held so hard.
Since then he didn't even know what happened. He had no memory. He must have fainted, slipped into unconsciousness. Sleep- The realm dominated by his wronged brain.
He was a prisoner of endless fear, of nightmares. Since snapping, half the time he didn't even know a hint of what was going on around him.
At last he came to, slightly, only for a minute, to see Zim, on a background of blurry, heavenly white.
Normal world Zim. Not a twisted version. Zim; the being who had sent the message for a while now that he MIGHT, POSSIBLY, CARE. The one who stole his attention of self-pity and worries and kept his insanity at bay.
Dib was so desperate. He didn't care anymore. He couldn't do this on his own. Somehow he just, didn't care. He fell on Zim and begged.
Things blurred again.
Then Dib felt the adrenaline, the sick feeling as something scratched down the back of his head towards his neck, cutting through skin, pulling him, dragging his consciousness into his subconscious to merge. He clung to whatever was near but he couldn't fight anymore. The nightmares pulled him back.
Blackness surrounded him. There was no moon, no stars, and few working lights at 'night' in his dimension. Dib couldn't see. It was too dark for him to see.
He stood there, petrified as he had been for what felt like all his life now. He was detached and unresponsive, but inside he pleaded with himself, sobbing, shaking, willing his own limbs to move with unvoiced screams. He was like another being outside of himself, pulling, shoving, screaming, and crying.
"MOVE DAMMIT! MOVE!
PLEASE! RUN! THEY WANT TO- THEY WANT TO-
PLEASE! PLEASE RUN! THEY'RE COMING!
PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!"
Yet again he couldn't move. He was walled up in a tiny part of himself, unable to communicate with the unresponsive body that just stood and stared.
The child was back in his own little imaginary world. Such sweetness contorted was this.
Burning acid seized his ankles in a slimy grip, squeezing until he could hear his bones crack. Dib couldn't see who'd grabbed him and he didn't want to. He really didn't want to. Tears ran down his face, and his whimpers were unrestrained.
Teeth and hot, rancid breath scratched the back of his neck, along with serrated claws.
"There you are little one. We missed you. We'd like to have some fun with you yes?"
Red blood spilled down. Horrible pain. Something was biting him, tearing him open.
He could control his mouth again it seemed, but it did little for him. His shreikes echoed with an empty hopelessness as he sobbed and shrieked until his throat burned when he tried to make a sound.
Dragging a limp body out of a somewhat guarded mental institution, turned out harder then it had first sounded to Zim, even though Dib was incredibly light from starvation.
The rotting stench of insanity was thick, blocking Zim's ability to sense much besides it. He couldn't help his nervousness about whether or not he'd be able to tell when someone was coming. The alien tried to keep himself on high alert as much as he could, but found himself becoming shamefully jumpy.
After a couple minutes, the hallway came to a turn. Zim went around the corner to see a whole group of white-coated humans and he nearly chocked on air, going ridged. The humans startled and stared right back at him, mirroring his expression of utter shock from behind their dark, evil goggles and glasses.
Time slowed for a couple of seconds,
then the Irken turned on his heel and shot off running hard back the other way, panting fast, clutching his limp, comatose Dib-let tight in his arms, as he charged away from the imminent danger he'd found.
The 'doctors' had seen that Zim was carrying one of their strait-jacketed prisoners, and the alien tensed inwardly, squiddily-spooch twisting, as the 'psychiatrists' started screaming for more of their kind, and running up behind their green target.
Black military boots clacked, while various other shoes and boots squeaked, against the reflective tile. The soundless purity was completely destroyed by the sudden shock filled pursue.
Zim's cardiac muscle missed a beat before surging to a faster pace. The Irken jerkily shifted Dib around in his arms to hold him better, bridal style. He couldn't be caught! He'd escape them somehow! Just run! Run!
His pak whirred ever so softly as his thoughts sped.
A door, even a window- there had to be one somewhere around here Zim thought. A mighty Irken like himself could easily land on his feet and survive a leap from a third story window... Probably.
Either way, he'd been caught, at least by sight, and was getting chased.
Zim turned sharply and suddenly, down another hall, and then another, playing fox to get the hounds to lose his trail. He could use the maze until they didn't know which way he was going.
"It shouldn't be too hard to lose those smellies at this rate.." Zim thought.
He appeared to be faster then them. He wasn't sure, but it sounded like the chasing footsteps were getting mildly fainter.
The current hallway ended in unlocked, double doors and the Irken had to slide to a stop from momentum, arms full, powerfully kicking one door open with and running again right through into a waiting room.
Zim felt utterly sick again, as eyes fell on him. There were more people here. He became frantic. Out! He had to get out!
Several families sitting in chairs gave him very odd looks, but the only employee in the room was a young woman behind a desk, asleep at her post. Zim calmed down just slightly, and after glaring at the unmoving humans with huff, bolted again.
A huge window on one wall of the room let in beautiful, winter light, reflected off snow.
Someone gasped and someone else shrieked as long, thin, silvery, insectiod limbs slid out of the pod on the green-skinned being's back. In seconds someone would be there to attack, to stop him. Zim didn't give himself time to think, stabbing the sharp appendages forward. Glass flashed white like the foam of crashing waves as it ringingly shattered. Shards exploded out from the impact and the lithe alien vaulted out through the exit he'd made.
The ground looked very far away but pulled up close, too fast for feeling or contemplation. Zim tensed his stomach muscles, gritted his teeth, and extended all four metal spider legs. These limbs stuck through the snow and into the ground like thrusted shovels. The impact was well absorbed this way, but now Zim opened his eyes again and swallowed down nausea, wide eyed, head pounding. He hadnt dropped Dib at least- at least that had gone well- but...
Frantically, the alien pulled, and quickly got even more fearful when the legs didn't budge. He was trapped.
The building's ground floor doors were just twenty feet to his right, and immediately behind him was a huge window. He didn't even stress himself to look back. Zim writhed, jerked, pulled, pouring in all his strength.
One leg popped out, and for a moment the alien was dis-balanced. Re-steadying the leg, he began it all again, more determined from this bit of encouragement. He tugged hard and another leg came out.
It was taking too long. Shouting voices could be heard from behind him, hostile. Someone was at the window, knocking hurriedly, yelling, sounding furious. Zim didn't let himself look back. Speed was everything in the moment. Someone could bust out through the door and catch him at any moment now- he'd fight, but it would be very hard and against more then one or two, he'd go down.
Zim strained and gasped as the third leg pulled free. Using all the others he pushed forward and up, opposite of the last leg. It slid, and stuck again.
Running footsteps came from inside, behind the widow, fading to the right, speeding for the door.
The leg slid, then stuck again.
Zim shot free just before the door banged open. The Irken didn't look to see if he was pursued by mere employees or dangerous guards. He was too close. Adrenaline rushed. He had to get away. Fierce was his grip on Dib, as he shot forward like a cheetah from his spider legs, organic limbs not touching the frozen ground until he'd vaulted the seven foot, chain-link fence, setting down on the sidewalk. Then, he ran some more.
By now he was panting and covered in filthy sweat which was making him very cold in the frigid air. It had been simple enough overall, compared to many things Zim had done, but only because he'd put a lot of work and effort into it. He ran fast and hard, and even now he didn't stop. He was vested over Dib's current state, and wanted to get to his base as soon as possible to hook the dirt-monkey up to his irken machines and stabalize his vitals. It honestly scared him, how soft and faint Dib's pulse and breaths were. He remained so unresponsive. Dib seemed so distant.
Several minutes of panting and a heavy pulse went by. Zim was starting to wonder if he was home-free, unpursued, and if he could slow down now.
Just as he began to calm, a loud, close, unexpected siren blared hard. The invader jumped at the sound, looking around yet not seeing the source. It could be for anything but he had no interest in risks at the moment.
Giving a frustrated, feral snarl, the alien hurried into an alley, a tiny space between two buildings, dead-ended with a barbed wire fence, and littered with trash that came out of the rusty dumpster somehow. The stench made Zim's insides clench even harder then they already were due to fear, but he forced himself not to heave as he hid behind the garbage-disposal-unit and waited for the police cars and their flashy lights to pass.
He felt ill, squiddily-spooch knotting as he sat there, damp stagnant water puddled on the cement soaking into his pants.
Shuddering, Zim finally calmed down off the adrenaline enough to look down at Dib and direct his attention into him, thinking on more then where he was going and 'escaping' for once.
"Human-thing, you had better be grateful for this." The conqueror hissed, mostly talking just to calm himself down.
"I will have you do things for me... I will force you to be my slave for a while... Have you pay me compliments... Yes, you'd better be worth this..."
Zim got up, after several minutes, once the sirens seemed to be fading, almost dry-heaving when he felt the water dripping off his pants. Dirty, dirty GERMY FILTH! Ew! He'd have to remember to watch where he say down more. Cursed puddle. He didn't wanna know what that was from.
He was cramped, cold, wet, and getting tired. Was it possible the almighty Zim might just be... Getting out of shape? NEVER... Or... Maybe...
Zim barely spent several minutes peering out of the ally and looking around before starting back down the sidewalk at an anxious, but slightly more relaxed pace.
Once he thought about it, the Irken doubted those police cars he heard were over what he'd done. If the mental institution hadn't bothered to feed Dib, why would they call the law-enforcers when he was stolen? Maybe someone would lose their job if they lost patients. Maybe the boy's father called. Who knew? Who cared?
The alien managed a darkly victorious smile, and started to chuckle.
Fools, all of them!
Dib was Zim's. He had always been Zim's.
No one else had ever even wanted him. His father thought he owned him, being his parent unit? Pish! He took Dib for granted. If he didn't give a crap about his offspring until they were abducted, then tough luck.
Look who owned him now!
Look who WON.
Dib was Zim's now. The man should have cared more. Going, going gone. Never know what you've got until you don't have it anymore.
Zim was on the opposite side of things. Zim knew what he was so close to gaining, and refused to let it be taken away.
'clip, clip, clip' the military boots made a dignified noise against the hard, grey sidewalk, the snow shoveled off of it or melted, but no one looked.
Glancing down at the earth-child, Zim frowned. The alien was too far from his base, and he was starting to almost panic over how... deep of a sleep Dib was in. It was almost like he was brain-dead.
They seemed to have escaped all pursuers but... Zim was still a little jumpy.
This was NOT what he'd planned for today when the sun had been coming up. Oh well.
He needed a faster means of getting to his base then walking, especially with the law enforcers possibly looking for him in their shiny cars with the blinky, hypnotic lights.
After mere moments, his eyes settled on a sign and a grin crossed his face, exposing sharp teeth. Perfect.
Sitting down on the bench, Zim pulled his human slave into his lap, so the limp body leaned into him, shifting Dib until the boy's chin rested on one of Zim's shoulder guards; pauldrons or whatever humans called them.
The sign, standing tall, gleaming with the heartless light of winter, beside the metal bench, read; 'bus stop'
Zim really hoped this wouldn't turn out as badly as his first bus ride, and he checked his pockets ahead of time for change.
A few minutes ticked by and the green creature began to wonder about possible flaws in his magnificent plan- like when exactly did this bus come?
Perhaps it was just cause he was in a hurry, but it already felt that he'd been waiting for five to ten minutes, on a very hard and very cold metal bench.
He was wasting time! He needed to get to his base ASAP! Dib, his Dib, could be dying.
What was wrong with him anyway?
"You are... Broken..." The alien mumbled, reaching one arm around him better and petting Dib's hair. He loved stroking the curved scythe lock and watching it bob back up when he pushed it down.
"You know... if you give in Zim will happily fix you. What do you say Dib-ling?"
Of course Dib said nothing, remaining practically dead. Frowning, Zim growled and looked away, pouting, quickly getting back to his former thoughts.
Was he wasting time while Dib's life force drained? Zim swallowed, still feeling the affects of panicked running, and really wishing he had something... Refreshing, but not too cold, to drink. Another minute and Dib didn't move. He seemed so far away.
No no no no no! He couldn't ALLOW Dib to die this way...
When the familiar screech of tires and rusty metal, and the rumbling motor sounded at last, Zim let out a long, heavy breath. He stood up, still holding the human to himself.
Dib still lay there, slumped against his 'owner' like a sack of flour, heart beating, breathing, but completely unresponsive.
The Irken felt like screaming at the fat lady in the driver's seat, that her taking her sweet time while one of Zim's ... beings... he owned... subject, slave, whatever, was possibly DYING; that it was unacceptable, an she would die for it.
Instead he simply slapped money in the change box with a weird snarl and hurried for the back of the near-empty vehicle.
Zim had had Gir rocket him to the mental institution since it was so far away. He would have Gir rocket him back to the base, but there was no physical way Gir could carry both Zim AND Dib.
The Irken sighed as he sat down in one of the seats, insistently pulling his prisoner onto his lap, a place of, perhaps submission, or being owned? It was a human culture thing. Zim didn't understand it. All he knew was humans sometimes had others sit on their laps, and it SEEMED to him that they were usually in some sort of superior-inferior, or protecting-property sort of relationship, maybe? He just wanted to send a clear message that anyone who got too close to his territory would be torn open, and maybe he'd eat their guts to see what they tasted like and frighten everyone else.
Several people were staring at the green skinned person missing facial features, and the unconscious boy he held, who was in a restraining straitjacket, like one might expect the people too. Zim's animalistic growls and glares got them to turn awkwardly away like it was nothing though. Easy. Humans were so dumb.
All humans but one.
The limp boy practically melted into the form holding him, and then, surprisingly gave a soft little groaning sigh. Dib frowned, and then shifted.
Zim jerked his head to look down, startled. Breaking out in a wide, sharp toothed, cheshire cat grin, Zim poked the boy's little nose, willing him to finally wake up.
Of course he would never admit he'd been frightened, but, he had.
The idea of losing Dib filled him with a terrible fear as if his own life was in danger. Dib had seemed so far away.
There was just some sensation Zim got while holding him, that Dib was... Somewhere else, somewhere Zim couldn't reach him.
Now he could interrogate his human and figure out what was wrong; fix him.
Just as soon as they got back to his base.