Poet Anderson ...Of Nightmares by Tom DeLonge, Suzanne Young
Published by To the Stars
on October 6th 2015
From the critically acclaimed transmedia project Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker, comes one of the most anticipated collaborations in YA literature this year: a thrilling, edge of your seat story written by award-winning musician, producer and director Tom DeLonge and New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Young.
Poet Anderson...Of Nightmares follows the epic journey of two orphan brothers, Jonas and Alan, who are Lucid Dreamers. After a tragic car accident lands Alan in a coma, Jonas sets out into the Dream World in an attempt to find his brother and wake him up. What he discovers instead is an entire shared consciousness where fear comes to life as a snarling beast called a Night Terror, and a creature named REM is bent on destruction and misery, devouring the souls of the strongest dreamers to get closer to the Waking World. With the help of a Dream Walker—a guardian of the dreamscape, Jonas must face his fears, save his brother, and become who he was always meant to be: Poet Anderson.
from Chapter 11
by Tom DeLonge and Suzanne Young
Samantha laughed, watching him for a moment before dropping her shopping bags on the pavement. She stepped closer to Poet and reached out to take his tie, studying it as she let the fabric run through her fingers all the way to the very tip.
“I can only imagine,” she said, lifting her eyes to his. She was so close now, but Poet didn’t think he should touch her. Didn’t want to break the spell.
But he was reminded of Jarabec’s warning that the streets of Genesis weren’t entirely safe. There was a reason he came to Sam, he knew. He was here to protect her.
“We should go somewhere,” Poet told her, his voice low. “I can take us.”
Sam lifted her eyebrows as if she didn’t believe him.
“Close your eyes and think of a place,” he said. When Sam closed her eyes, Poet focused on an empty wall of a building behind her. He concentrated, tuning in to the heat of Samantha’s body, the sound of her breathing, the hum of her soul.
A sense of doubt crept over him. He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to tunnel without the fear of a monster or soldiers chasing him, but Jarabec had said that poet’s guided dreamers to safety. He couldn’t let anything happen to Sa- mantha. He’d do better than he had for Alan.
Concern and grief poured over Poet. There was a zap of electricity and the burn, his eyes going white with power. The air began to swirl, wind kicking up as a tunnel formed. Poet looked down at Sam, her face calm as she thought of a place. He smiled and put his palms on her upper arms, feeling her attach to another dream. And then he sent them both through the tunnel.
Samantha gasped, stepping out of Poet’s hands as she looked around, confused at the new surroundings. The tunnel sealed itself and Poet felt his body relax as the energy faded, his eyes returning to dark brown. He was getting good at tunneling, and his pride swelled.
Poet looked around the dream, and then burst out laughing. He and Sam were standing before a set of iron gates, a child’s carousel with tinkering music spinning slowly behind it. The crystal lights danced against the white and pink horses wearing red ceramic bows. Mirrors in the center reflected it all out again. It was pretty—if you were into haunted doll houses.
“This,” Poet asked, “was what you thought of?” He didn’t want to admit he’d been hoping for something a little cozier…like a bed.
Samantha grinned, scanning the place. “Okay,” she allowed. “Maybe not the best choice.” She took a step toward the gate, laying her hand on the iron fence as she looked over the scene. “God,” she said. “I haven’t been here in years.”
“Your parents willingly took you to a place like this?” Poet teased.
“Be quiet,” she replied. “My mother said my taste was ornate for a seven-year-old.” Samantha gripped the railing, leaning forward dreamily. “After my parents divorced,” she continued, “my father would still take me here sometimes. I can’t remember where it is. In fact, Poet Anderson,” she looked over her shoulder at him, “I forgot all about it until I met you.”
I was supposed to meet her, he thought suddenly. “You were lost,” Poet said, mostly to himself. He knew then that Samantha must have wandered into the Dream World, her existence there drawing him to her. And yet, even now, even here where she was safe, Poet’s attraction to her wasn’t the least bit lessened.
Samantha walked over to stop in front of him, gazing up. “How did you bring us here?” she asked. “Should I be scared?”
“Asks the girl who can make a creepy carnival,” Poet replied making her laugh. “Ax-wielding clowns aren’t going to pop out and chase me, are they? You’re sick, you know.”
Sam shook her head, her expression serious. “No way. Killer clowns are third date material.”
Poet adored every word she spoke. “We should just skip to going steady, then,” he said. “I fucking hate clowns.”
Samantha stared up at him, the lights from the carousel reflected and glittering in her eyes. “I recognize you,” she said, guilt crossing her features. “I know you’re the guy from my English class.”
Poet stiffened, feeling exposed. Embarrassed, even. He wanted her to think he was more. “Yeah,” he said, pressing his lips into a self-conscious smile. “That’s me.”
Sam pushed his shoulder playfully. “You jerk,” she said. “First you borrow my pen and then you chased me down on the street to flirt with me. Next day at school, you acted like I was crazy. What’s your deal?”
Poet winced. “It’s not you,” he said. “I can’t remember my dreams when I wake up. I haven’t been able to since my parents died.”
“Your parents? Oh, my God, Poet.” Sam put her hand on his forearm. “I’m so sorry.”
He looked down, not letting himself focus on the grief. “It was a while ago,” Poet said, quietly. “But now I’m trying to remember my dreams again. I have to.” His worry for Alan spiked again, and Poet closed his eyes.
“Poet,” Sam said, sounding alarmed. “Your hands.”
Poet looked down, surprised to find electricity zapping between his fingers. It didn’t hurt; it was a tingle, really. A hint of power, power he wanted to share.
He held out his hand and Sam looked between his face and the electricity. Poet nodded, and Sam slid her palm against his, her breath catching at the initial shock. She squeezed her fingers between his, and closed her eyes as the energy pulsed between them.
Poet watched her. He could feel her heartbeat, and see the rise and fall of her chest. She was so beautiful. “I want to kiss you,” he murmured.
Sam looked at him, the slight pink of nervousness rising on her cheeks. “That sounds like it could be fun,” she said.
Poet moved toward her, the anticipation nearly strangling him. His head was spinning with desire, possibilities. He didn’t think he’d ever wanted a girl so much as this.
Sam cursed suddenly and stepped out of his reach. Poet stumbled forward, his eyes widening. For a moment, the world around him shimmered, fading as if he was surrounded by ghosts, until it snapped back into focus.
“What’s wrong?” he asked Sam when he saw the stricken expression on her face. “I’m sorry. Did I—”
“No,” she said, reaching to take his hands. “It’s not you. You’re great. You’re…perfect.” She motioned behind him, and Poet turned to see the carousel flickering out until it was gone altogether. Erased. Sam was waking up.
Samantha stepped into Poet, wrapping her arms around his neck as she put her mouth next to his ear. “Remember me when you wake up,” she whispered, and kissed his cheek. Poet closed his eyes, but realized he couldn’t feel her lips on his skin.
When he looked again, Sam was gone.