I had to save this as a text document so some of the punctuation and indents got messed up. For instance, you might notice that many of the dialogue does not end in periods. This was not intentional. Please just bear with me.

I woke to the dim light of a sky in twilight, color swathed across rumpled clouds and shadows flicking across my bare arms beneath the roar of a healthy fire. The dark outlines danced across my body in shapes that I did not recognize.
"Wh... Where am I?" I stammer. Typical cliché. Mouth dry, stuffed nose, ass itchy. Dirt and dying grass climbing up the seat of my shorts, inching further and further up. I pull at my underwear. Probably stained. I feel covered in cotton balls, like I am being suffocated in goddamn cotton balls. The feeling is tremendous. My mother used to dab cuts with alcohol that she poured on cotton balls in my youth. The sting was tremendous.
"Wherever you want to be." My thoughts are interrupted by a portly gentleman in a red flannel shirt. His beard is patchy, presumably recuperating from an early-morning hack job. A lumberjack, in its truest form. I am overwhelmed by a sense that his name is Jim. I have no reason to believe such; his face doesn't seem overly familiar. But that impression hits me with a rush that splashes over my body. He glares at me from a beneath a dark gray woolen cap. Yes, definitely a lumberjack. His eyes are small, focused. They lock with mine for just a moment before he abruptly turns to his left.
A woman stands there. Her bangs droop down her forehead, curtailing the edges of a slim, attractive face. The hair dangles lifelessly. "Don't listen to Jim." Her mouth parts into a half-smile at the sound of her voice. His name is Jim. She makes no mention of her own. The sense that I had with the man fails me here. "He's a little crazy." She blushes and looks down. My eyes don't leave her side. Her shoulders are narrow, sliding down to a thin waist and just over-sized hips. The kind that aren't necessarily attractive but aren't bad-looking either. Good for bearing children. They remind me of my mother's. She always told me she was made to birth me.
The woman's feet scuffle in place, kicking a lone stone into the leaping flames. Dust swirls in fluid clouds around her ankles. Jim moves from her; he plops his large frame on to a waiting log and rocks backward. His eyes close, only for a moment. The lids burst open, and he quickly stands back up. He walks to a body lying on the ground which I had not seen. He kicks at it, landing a blow directly on the unconscious body's ribcage. A dull thud. The body barely stirs. I can't tell if it's alive or not.
"You don't talk much, do you." Her voice is the kind that hardly distinguishes between a question and a statement. I don't know if she is talking to me or talking at me. You never really know with people. She moves toward me.
"Get up you goddamn..." Jim's voice trails away. The body moves, seem to shift its weight, but doesn't reply.
"Hello." Her hand is outstretched, just beyond my reach so I have to take a step forward to grasp it. She nods at me. "Go on." I take the hand, lightly. Her palm is smooth, very smooth, covered in a thin film of sweat. It caresses the deep creases of my hand. "I'm Allison," she says in an overly sweet voice. I get a mental image of a choir singing, that choir that used to play at church. I could never sit still. I would play games that I made up with the psalm book sitting in the back of the pew ahead of me, and my mother would frown down at me. Her pure soprano voice rang out over the entire congregation's. Time would slow as I slunk down in my seat.
My hands are sweating now. "Can I ask you a question?" My voice is barely audible, fragile words sitting languidly on the warm air. The final consonants fade into nothingness, murmurs that were never really there to begin with.
She smiles serenely. "Go ahead"
"What are we doing here?" The voice is stronger now, more assertive. I smile to myself, pleased at my show of confidence. But the words hang just as listlessly.
She does not answer for a moment. I think she is avoiding my eyes. "Well, there's a loaded question." She forces a laugh. Her eyes find mine, but it doesn't seem like she is really looking at me. Looking past me. Looking through me. I have no connection with her. I have no connection with anyone. Her smile is awkward; she shows too many teeth. They poke out at unnatural angles, splitting her delicate lips. I once had a smile like that. I unveiled it for junior high school yearbook pictures. Mother always picked a nice outfit and lectured me on brushing my hair and looking proper. I would simply smile that goofy smile and nod at her. I wish I would have listened.
"It's just that's the last thing I remember. Sitting in bed, I mean, staring at the ceiling, and now I'm out in front of some bonfire talking to you, a fat man," I look over at Jim at this but he is not listening, "and some body. And frankly, I can't tell if that thing is alive or not." She looks at the body uncomfortably. I look too. I can't make out any details of it; it just sits, a dim, bodiless blob in my blinded field of vision.
Her eyes dart back up. She looks at me pleadingly. She is beginning to tear up. She is nearly crying. "I don't know." A high whine. Her voice is mostly an incomprehensible whimper. I don't know what question she is answering. She clears her throat, tries again. "Honestly, all I can remember is saying good night to my husband and turning out the light. I find myself in much the same situation as yourself"
"Jim, I presume"
"Your husband"
"Oh, no, no." Her voice is distant, her brow furrowed. The tips of her eyebrows meet above her nose, squirm and wiggle as if trying to leap off her face. Jim looks up. He had not been listening until he heard the mention of his name. It was probably the mention of his name in association with Allison that caught his attention. He looks dirty. "I've never met Jim before"
"And I've never met you," he says flatly. His voice rises just above monotone. I assume him to be directing this comment toward Allison, but when I turn my head, his eyes are pointed directly at me. "I'm sure of it." Gruff voice. I get the sense that he is trying to put on a show. He need not; he already intimidates me.
"So." I can't tell if that was me or Allison. The voice is so far-off, disconnected, just pathetic, wretched. Seeping pity. Self-pity. Mindless blather to fill the space. "Three strangers trapped in a forest. Straight out of a horror movie, huh?" Mother had never allowed me to see scary movies. She said they would give me nightmares. But once, when I was 12, I snuck over to a neighbor's house to watch one late at night. When I got home, I ran to my mother's bedroom and snuck into bed next to her. My leg grazed hers, covered in stubble. It pricked me, but I felt comfortable, secure. The heat from her body emanated toward my bare skin. I didn't sleep for a week.
"Technically not trapped." My comment causes Allison to force that smile again. A speck of light from the fire glints off her front tooth. Her face appears almost menacing. That gleam is terrible. "There aren't any walls or fences or anything." The other two glance around, checking my allegation against some invisible audience.
"I suppose." She replies as nonchalantly as possible, but the tone of interest resonates firmly in her voice. Surely the remark needed no answer. I'm usually the one that's the terribly inept conversationalist. The whole field is completely silent for a moment. Even the wind halts. "So I suppose the real question is what are we all doing here"
"That's not much of a question." Jim is staring at me. Sizing me up for a fight. Five seconds and it would all be over. Maybe six if I tried running away.
"Why is that"
"Finding the answer to that gem won't do a damned thing." He snorts. "Why don't you ask something that we can actually resolve?" He kicks at a loose pebble beneath the toe of his boot. He seems anxious.
"Maybe if we can figure out why we're here or how we got here, we can find a way back out," I offer, but he only grunts. I had expected little else.
"Anyway, we've already told our last memories. What about you, Jim"
He smiles, almost menacingly. That is the smile of a psychopath. Deranged, but with a sparkle of hope, joy, complete disregard as well. "Well..." His voice is too sweet, dripping with sarcasm. "I was out doing big-boy things." He snorts again. "Now I'm here." He grins. Seeing our disgusted looks, he mutters, "I was at my job"
"And what job would that be?" Allison's voice remains down as she speaks. Lumberjack. I have clench the corners of my mouth to keep from laughing.
"Listen, don't hustle me lady." His meaty hand starts to raise. He takes a step forward but then settles back in his initial position so that the casual observer would notice it only as a subtle shift of weight. He takes a deep breath. "I'm a construction worker downtown." Construction worker. Mother said father was a construction worker before he left us. He left us. He left us a long time ago. "I was on a break and started to feel lightheaded. I felt like I was going to fall down, so I lied down on this bench. Next thing you know, I'm here." Just mother and I, living all alone. He left us.
"Well, that's interesting." Allison's voice is muted. She appears in a trance.
I look up, realizing I've been starting down for quite some time. "What is"
Her eyes meet mine but only for a second. A fraction of a second. She seems startled that I was looking at her. "All our stories are so similar." She conspicuously avoids my waiting eyes. "Everyone was asleep and ended up here. That has to mean something"
"I'll show you something..." Jim.
"I agree." I ignore Jim. "But what does it mean"
"I'm not sure yet." She wrings her hands. I can't imagine the drops of sweat seeping down.
"Do you always do that when you're nervous"
"What?" She looks up at me then looks back down at her hands. "Oh, this?" she asks, holding them up. I nod. "All the time. Bad habit." Mother used to wring her hands, too. "I feel less anxious when I'm moving around"
"I know what you mean." There is no real response needed, just something to break the unbearable silence. "So what are you suggesting?" My eyes drift back toward her. "That we were kidnapped"
"Kidnapped?" Jim cracks a half-smile. His lips are badly chapped. Blood ripples just beneath the surface of his skin, longing to escape. "I don't know anyone that could kidnap this." He pats his ample stomach.
"No, no," Allison rushes. "I was thinking more along the lines of a dream"
"A dream?" Jim chuckles to himself at my bewilderment. I ignore him. "You think we're all in a dream"
"Yes," she says dully. After a moment, "I think it seems logical"
"How do you figure? I don't know about you, but my dreams never seem this real"
Allison turns her whole frame toward me. "No, mine don't either. But are you one to say they can't?" Blood rushes the upper regions of my cheeks. "Perhaps our dreams only seem nonsensical in retrospect, disjointed in hindsight. In the moment, one could believe almost anything to be true. They must be pretty believable at the time to trick our brains into thinking we're out in some desolate forest talking to ridiculous strangers instead of tucked away at home, safe in an oversized bed"
Ridiculous. No retort comes to me. "I suppose that's true"
"That's all well and good." Jim's voice snaps, but his face lacks expression. It appears surprisingly blank. He is staring into the distance. "But what I want to know is, if we're in someone's damn dream, who's the bastard that dreamed us here"
"Actually, it's dreamt." I couldn't help it. Too many years of grammar school drilling. Mother always insisted I speak properly.
"What's that?" His eyes catch mine with a flash, a vicious blaze. I can see my reflection in them all the way across the clearing. I stare back at myself, bemused.
"Oh, nothing"
"I propose that this is my dream." Allison's voice cuts through the mindless blather, light and excited. I imagine the words skipping across invisible stones on their way to my ears, careful not to slip and wet their bottoms on the air swirling below. The words simply flutter off her tongue.
"And what makes you say that"
"I feel." I feel nothing. "I can feel the wind blowing my hair around, I feel the warmth of the fire drumming on my ribcage, I feel the chill running from the tip of my spine, down near the tailbone, all the way up through my neck to the base of my skull. It must be my dream"
I pinch myself. "I could feel that. That pinch. Your theory must be wrong"
She frowns, though not in a depressing way. Pensively. "Or you're lying"
"Or you're lying"
"I don't lie"
"I wouldn't know"
"You... Never mind. Let's stop this. This could take hours, and it won't get us anywhere anyway"
"If this is a dream, hours don't mean much"
"Stop." Her voice prickles in a way I have not heard yet. She is irate, and I know it. "Let's think of another way to figure this out"
"What if we think of the most outrageous things we can imagine"
Her face is stupefied. She seems lost in that comment, momentarily paralyzed. "What would that do"
"If it is a dream, we should be able to alter this environment. Normally in a dream, there's something noticeably odd that gives it away as a dream. Flying cars or unicorns or green aliens. If we can find something like that, or better yet create it, then the person that thought that up must obviously be the dreamer." I feel proud of myself.
"It's worth a shot"
"Alright. Start thinking. We'll see whose thought comes true"
There is a long pause. Silence. Nothing happening. An owl hoots in the distance. The fire dies down for a moment, then a log slips off the top of the pile and tumbles down, shooting up clouds of iridescent sparks and gleaming embers. Still nothing.
"Well, that idea went straight to shit"
"I don't see you coming up with too many alternatives." Jim's size no longer scares me. If he was going to make a move, he would have made it by now. I think I'd have a shot at him, anyhow. If I could get that first punch in, I'd have a shot. Or at least that's what I tell myself.
"This is my dream." I feel the words entering my lungs, feel the raspy breath escaping my parched throat, but I have no idea where the thought originates.
"What? Your dream"
"Yes. My dream. Or rather, my life"
"What? What makes you say that?" It all is coming back to me, in a wild dash to the finish. The terminal end looms.
"I knew your name was Jim before you told me. Or before she told me. Whichever it was. I don't really recall"
"Yeah, what about it, Mary Sue? Your ponytail in a knot? I look like a Jim. What about it?" He repeats himself. I doubt he has noticed.
"I've been following you for two weeks." Following. Silently stalking. Hiding behind trees, bushes, trash cans. Footsteps muffled on moist dirt, stealing across serene suburban sidewalks. Eyes focused in, trained to the dim light.
"That was you"
"Yes. It was"
"You damn son of a bitch." Allison recoils. "I knew there had been someone following me. Coming home from the construction yard. I'd hear all sorts of weird noises. Sounded like someone tripping." He sneers. "What kind of lunatic are you"
"And you. Allison. Yes, you. Don't shy away from me; you know I'm talking to you. I know you as well"
She stumbles backward, slipping on some pebble unseen. "Stay away from me." Her voice is filled with horror, disbelief.
"Yes, I know you well." She shakes her head, she wants it to be untrue, it can't be true, it could never have happened. "I assume you remember that party you went to last week." Her expression is blank. "Yes, that party. You had too much too drink. I was there. I hadn't had a single drink all night. You had too much. You passed out. Sprawled out on a bed of coats." Her chest rises and falls with each breath, gently. Mine is heaving. "I was there." Slipping the shoulder strap of the bra off. Her breast is cold in my hand, soft and pleasantly chilled. Cools my sweating hands. She lets out a soft stream of air, soft, serene. "I was there, too." Finger hooked around the string, panties sliding down. Thrusting in and out without hesitation, without remorse. No delay. In and out, in and out. Harder, harder. "In and out." Pushing harder and harder. I'm inside her, I am her. I push harder, deeper still. I am deeper than any man has ever been before, deep within her body. "Thrusting, thrusting, thrusting." The rhythm is established. I stray from it for a second, slightly faster. It is unnatural. I settle back into the beating, the pulsing thrusting. Driving deeper still.
"Why... How could you do that to me? I don't even know." She looks genuinely hurt, physically pained. As if I'd just smacked her across the face. "What kind of person are you"
"Not a good one"
"Well, then, why are we here?" Her voice is hurried, as if she is afraid that I will cut her off before she can finish her sentence. Or that I won't allow her to finish the sentence.
"You two are my accomplices"
"For what"
"Accomplices?" The voices melt together.
"Accomplices, assistants, aides, subordinates." It doesn't matter who says what, which voice is which, mine hers his. It will all amount to the same thing in a moment. "Or at least, that's what I'll tell the police." I walk toward the corpse.
"What are you doing?" The voice is worried, panicky.
I turn the body on its side, facing me. "You'll never get away with this. They won't trust you they won't believe you. You'll never get away with this"
"And you'll never get away from this." Breath escaping the nostrils slowly floats up a small cloud of dust. "Besides, what makes you think they'd take your word over mine? Especially if I'm confessing?" Mother's face stares back at mine.
"What are you doing?" The voice repeats, falters.
Mother's eyes pierce my own. I feel no connection. No connection to anything, anyone. My hand raises.
"Why should they believe you? Why would they believe you?" The voice is crying.
"Don't do this." The revolver's metal teems with power. The cool handle oozes power into my grasp. It surges throughout my body.
"Don't do this"
My finger squeezes gently. A shot rings out. The dust settles. The breathing stops.