The university dorm room had a clear line of demarcation down the centre.

On one side, Thom sprawled naked across his unkempt bed, snoring loudly and drooling into his filthy sheets. Dirty clothes, pizza boxes, sporting gear, and mystery liquids obscured the floor, presumably a beige carpet. Underwear was draped across Thom’s laptop screen, used only for porn and youtube football videos.

The other side of the dorm room was pristine. Anderson did not identify as having OCD, but he did have a stick to push back the tide of filth from Thom’s half of the room which threatened his space. Anderson was sitting on his bed, back to the wall, arms wrapped around his knees. His bed was crisply made, and he struggled not to let his rocking wrinkle the sheets.

The two students were best friends.

“Thom,” Anderson hissed. “Wake up!”

Thom’s snoring halted, then continued even louder. Just a mild apnea.

Anderson picked up his pillow and stroked it gently. “I’m sorry,” he whispered to the pillow, then flung it as hard as he could at Thom’s head.

“What’s going on, bro?” Thom croaked, cracking one eye open. He rolled onto his back and stretched.

“For God’s sake, cover up!” Anderson averted his gaze from Thom’s nudity.

Thom looked confused for a moment, then glanced down at his morning erection. It bobbed around happily, free from social constraints and clothing. He smiled as he covered it with Anderson’s pillow, then said, “You can look now.”

Anderson turned his intense, slightly scared gaze back to Thom, then uttered a small, horrified gurgling sound as he spotted the desecration of his pillow. “Keep it. It’s yours.”

“Thanks man!” Thom smiled his goofy grin. “Why the early wake up?”

“I had one of my dreams,” Anderson softly said.

Thom forced himself to get up, tread across pizza boxes and dirty laundry, and flop down on Anderson’s bed. He put his arm around his mate. “Are you OK?”

“I was until you left a trail of filth across my half of the room and soiled my bed,” Anderson replied, testily. “You know I’m a precog, right? It was one of those dreams.”

“You mean your dreams that you think come true?” Thom asked.

“Like my dream of falling,” Anderson nodded.

“But you chose to go bungee jumping that day,” Thom pointed out.

“That dream still came true,” Anderson argued. “What about my dream of public nudity?”

“You chose to streak across the stage naked as the Dean addressed the entire student body.”

“Only because you stripped me backstage and threatened to spray me with urine from a water pistol if I didn’t do it,” Anderson countered. “And that dream came true, too.”

“Oh, that’s right.” Thom smiled at the memory. He had forewarned the Dean of his intention to push Anderson outside his comfort zone, so the Dean completely ignored the frantic student behind him. “But tell me about this dream. Why are you so freaked out by it?”

“Because everyone disappeared in it! I was all alone!”

“I can see why that would freak you out a little.” Thom nodded his head slowly. “But surely you can see that’s not going to happen. This is not one of those dreams. It’s just your OCD expressing its desire to rid the world of filthy humans.”

“I’m telling you, it’s real. And I don’t have OCD.” Anderson relaxed a little into Thom’s arms. “I’m a little scared.”

“Let’s go grab some breakfast,” Thom suggested. “You’ll be surrounded by people.”

Anderson nodded, then gasped. Thom was not quite solid. Anderson could almost make out the pile of refuse on Thom’s bed through his room-mate.

“It’s happening,” Anderson whispered.

Thom held up his hand, then leapt to his feet. “What the fuck?!” He looked down in shock as his body continued to fade. “Help me, Andy.”

Anderson just stared at his disappearing friend, a confused look on his face. He scurried away in shock, but slowly reached out his hand. Thom grasped it, desperate for the touch; however, there was little pressure in the contact. As the two buddies stared at their clutching hands, Thom’s body lost all cohesion. Anderson watched helplessly as his best friend dissipated into tendrils of nothing.

Reeling from the shock, Anderson staggered to the door and flung it open. “Hello,” he called out. “Is anyone there?”

Author: Brett Holzhauser

Speculative fiction to die for

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