WebNovel: CONQUEST – Chapter Four: Strange Dreams

To celebrate the success of GameLit Expansion Pack on Amazon as the #1 Bestseller in Virtual Reality, one of our bestselling authors R. M. Mulder decided to post chapters from his popular GameLit story Conquest for your entertainment. If you can’t wait to read the full story while we post daily chapters, you can also pick it up for only 99 cents on Amazon or from other major ebook retailers!


GameLit Expansion Pack includes the first sequel to Conquest, which is the first of a LitRPG mini-series called DarkForce: Expansion 1. This box set is an exclusive collection of expansion stories by some of the best sci-fi GameLit and LitRPG writers available on Amazon that will leave you craving for more! Get your #GameLitXP on and go buy this #1 Bestseller in Virtual Reality for only $3.99 or read it FREE via Kindle Unlimited!


Chapter Four

Strange Dreams

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to prevent the darkness of the Leviathan from taking its desired hold upon the earth…
– Methuselah 3:4 –

Allan Young awoke with a loud gasp. Cold sweat glistened from his forehead and the silver light emanating from his wide eyes dimmed. The nightmare had been so real. He clenched his fists to fight off the swarming visions from the night.

Laying his head in his hands, he took several deep breaths. Multiple nights in a row he had woken up from similar overwhelming dreams. The only thing he could attribute them to was stress.

Sitting on his dresser was a picture of Lily. He gave a deep sigh and tipped the photo face-down. His thoughts turned to the big event last night when he got down on one knee in the middle of the restaurant and proposed marriage to her.

What went wrong?

Every single scenario he had envisioned over the past few weeks couldn’t have prepared him for last night’s disaster. A pain throbbed from his core as he stared at the empty sheets next to him, and his mind couldn’t help but imagine running his fingers through her gorgeous red hair. He took several more deep breaths in an attempt to fill the emptiness he felt inside.

He squinted at the digits ‘5:16’ mocking him from the clock atop his dresser as he fumbled for the aspirin in his nightstand. With a large swig of the leftover stale wine, he downed four pills and tossed the empty bottle aside. His head continued to throb as he climbed out of bed and switched off the alarm that had been set for 6:00 AM. He stretched his arms high into the air, in the process knocking an empty pizza box onto the floor. He was tempted to call in sick today, but considering his precarious situation at work he knew it would be unwise.

Stripping off his undershirt, he kicked aside several empty cans of beer and entered the bathroom. He absently applied shaving cream to his face even though it was still smooth from the night before.

His mind was preoccupied by the disturbing dreams he had been having. Each one was different in nature, but all of them had a recurring theme. Trapped inside the head of one person or another, a dark voice directed and controlled his every action. Every time he woke it felt like he had just had an out-of-body experience. The dark voice echoed in his mind as if from an old memory…

Allan studied himself in the mirror as he cupped his hands under the faucet and he rinsed the remains of shaving cream from his face. His nerves were shot. These strange dreams were beginning to get the better of him. He worried they were even affecting him at work.

Wanting to check the news, he pressed on his right temple.

Nothing happened. Confused, he pressed again. Still nothing.

“Not again!” he bellowed .

Fortunately CyberBolt offered a lifetime guarantee on their microchips. However, all the microchips he’d gotten surgically installed over the years seemed to go faulty within a few months at most. Though their customer service department insisted that they never install refurbished units, he wasn’t convinced.

He considered skipping work today and heading to CyberBolt’s Chicago Arena where he could escape reality and play DarkForce to his heart’s content… but now that his microchip had fried again, he would need to undergo another non-invasive surgery to replace it.

This is not my day.

***

As Allan made the trip to his office at Beckster & Lewis Law Firm, he followed his standard routine by instructing his car’s A.I. unit to play the previous evening’s messages over his speakers. He always silenced his virtual phone after five o’clock each evening as he left the office so as to maintain a separation between his work life and personal life. There were seven messages in all.

The first message was from his secretary, “…and you have a meeting with Mr. Jenner this morning at 8:00 AM, followed by your meeting with Mr. Demyan at 9:00 AM to sign the securities contract…”

Everything hinges on that contract getting signed today. Nothing else matters.

The next message began, “Allan, it’s Jeff. What ever happened to your promise that you would finish filing the Jerry case today? I’m very disappointed in you. Meet me upstairs in my office tomorrow morning. We need to have a chat.”

How did I forget that again?

Allan moaned as a sinking feeling hit the pit of his stomach. He absently pressed his right temple again with the intent to access his virtual calendar, forgetting his microchip had shorted out. He made a mental note to add this task to the top of his priority list. He gripped the steering wheel tighter as he waited second-in-line at the excruciatingly long stoplight. He didn’t hesitate to slam on his horn when the car ahead of him continued to sit for a few seconds after the light turned green.

The next message began, “Ha! I knew you’d flake out again! Jeff just handed me the Jerry case. Sucker!”

“Arrg!” Allan slammed his fist on his horn at the taxi driver who had just cut him off.

Of course he gave it to Brad! He’s been gunning for my promotion ever since he got here. That partnership is rightfully mine!

The next message began, “This is a message for Mr. Allan Young. My name is Greg, and I’m calling from the Pre-Legal Department of Asset Portfolio Solutions regarding a personal business matter of yours that requires your immediate attention. Please contact me as soon as possible at 1-800-293-7600. This is an attempt to collect a debt by a debt collector, and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Allan scoffed as he slammed on the gas pedal and flew through a red light. “It’s in their Pre-Legal Department already? I’m only three months behind!”

The next message began. “Hey Allan, it’s Megan. I just heard about the Jerry case. Is everything okay at home? You seem to be slipping from your game.” Megan paused and cooed. “Do you need to talk? Maybe we can meet for lunch today? You know I’m always here for you.”

Allan smirked at the thought.

She’s such a little flirt. Maybe I should…

He stared incredulously at the two cars ahead of him that were puttering along in tandem. He pounded on his horn multiple times until one of them pulled off onto the shoulder. He screeched past them, feeling guilty when he realized the driver must be in his late sixties.

The next message: “This is a message for Mr. Allan Young. My name is Jennifer, and I’m calling from the Loss Mitigation Department of Suburban Home Loans in regards to an important personal business matter of yours. I can be reached directly at (773) 429-8143. This is an attempt to collect a debt…”

“Not the mortgage too!” Allan slammed on his brakes as another taxi driver cut him off.

I thought the bank would clear that check. I’ve gotta get that contract signed today!

As the last message began, Allan stared at the car’s display screen, willing it to make more sense. The voice on the other end shouldn’t have been there.

“…I know we haven’t spoken in a long time, but I need your help. I’ve stumbled across some disturbing information…”

He shook his head in disbelief as he recognized the voice of his long-forsaken best friend. He hadn’t spoken to Jason in over ten years, nor had he any intention of contacting him ever again. Though he and Jason had practically been brothers during their many years together at Harvard, they suffered a nasty falling-out over the same girl only weeks before graduation. They hadn’t spoken to each other since.

Allan jolted at the sound of a loud horn from behind. He had gotten so distracted by the disturbing message, he hadn’t noticed the light had turned green.

The automated system continued to play. “…To hear the message header information, press five…” Intrigued, he pressed the number 5 on the display. It felt strange to feel the glass of the display when he pressed it, accustomed as he was to using virtual displays. “…Message from phone number (630) 543-2534, received today, August third at 4:46 AM.”

Why would Jason call me after all these years, and at such an early hour?

Troubled, Allan stewed over his options. Buckingham Fountain wasn’t far from his office. He dreaded the idea of facing Jeff’s wrath anyway, so taking a slight detour through Grant Park might be a good way to de-stress before he had to stand before the chopping block.

This had better be important.


The Audiobook edition of Conquest is read by bestselling narrator Andrea Emmes. Pick up your copy today!

http://goo.gl/yDnkCY

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