Even in a very deep sleep, there are still dreams. Scotty dreamt of his birthday party. His friends all came into the room and sat down in a circle facing his chair. There was no one there that he did not want to be there, none of his mother’s friends’ children, not stupid Anthony, not crybaby Steph, and not Steven, who bullied him when nobody was looking. Everybody was looking at Scotty now. They were sitting on the floor with their legs crossed, holding their presents in their laps. Everybody’s presents were wrapped in shiny green foil, except for Jonathan’s present, which was wrapped in a duller orange paper. In the middle of the circle, Slug padded around. Her tail was hung between her legs. She was sad because nobody would play with her.
In clockwise order, each of Scotty’s friends stood up and gave their presents to him. His favorite present was from Jonathan, who had gotten him every Bionicle toy ever. His least favorite present was from Sara, who presented him with a stuffed lion, a stuffed alligator, and a stuffed hippo. He accepted with a gracious smile and nod, but he did not like stuffed animals. Stuffed animals were for girls and babies. After each of his friends gave their present, they would leave the room silently. Once Caitlin had given him her present and left, there was nobody else in the room. Scotty felt a little scared about this. The door opened up and Spiderman stepped in.
“I am Spiderman,” he said in a perfect voice. “I have a birthday present for you, Scotty. It is outside. Come with me and I will show you.” Scotty followed Spiderman outside. The sky was a pure white and the light off the asphalt of the street made Scotty squint. Except for Spiderman, there was nobody else around. “Look, Scotty,” said Spiderman. “I got you a rocketship.” In the middle of the street there was a big, silver rocketship standing upright on its tailfins. It did not look like any of the cartoon rocketships on the posters and pillowcases in Scotty’s room. It was sleek and pointed. There was an open doorway just above the base of it. “Do you like it?” asked Spiderman. Scotty nodded. “I will take you inside.”
Spiderman grabbed Scotty and launched a strand of webbing at the rocketship, using it to jump and swing to the doorway. He set Scotty down. The metal floor was cold to Scotty’s bare feet. Inside it was dark and cool. It smelled like a cave Scotty had been to on a field trip. He could hear a very low sound coming from everywhere. Spiderman told him to climb up the ladder to the cockpit. He did. He climbed for kind of a long time. He didn’t see anything but the ladder. He started to ache, but then he reached the top. He pushed himself up over the edge of the hole and found that there was nothing in the cockpit except for a beat-up old leather recliner. The recliner was bolted to the floor.
He turned around to ask something of Spiderman, but then he saw that Spiderman’s costume was now black. Pieces of it ripped, showing skin underneath. Spiderman looked rotten. Scotty could see through his skin in some places to his bones and muscles. Spiderman grabbed him roughly and threw him into the chair. Scotty was very afraid. Spiderman used his webs to tie him down very tightly. He could just barely breathe. He closed his eyes.
He opened them again. It was dim. He moved his eyes around. He heard his mother and father talking, and tried to look at them. He saw their faces leaning over him. Someone grabbed his hand and squeezed it. His mother kissed his forehead like she was tucking him in for the night. He looked at his father. Standing behind his father, he saw Spiderman, most of his flesh now rotting away. He closed his eyes very tightly and screamed. Suddenly, he remembered what he felt like on his first ever day of school.