Ronald was almost giddy as bedtime approached. He'd had to wait two whole days, but his mom and dad gave him the thumbs up for tonight. Finally his brand-new waterbed was warm enough to sleep on.
He'd been on boats of all sizes with his dad, in all different types of weather. The rocking never made him sick, only comforted him. For this reason, his parents decided a waterbed would be best.
Sleep rarely came easy for Ronald. Most nights were a combination of him struggling to fall under the Sandman's spell and being jolted awake by nightmares and horrible dreamscapes. But the thoughts of the soothing rocking and nowhere for the underbed phantom creatures to hide meant restful nights ahead.
It worked at first. Ronald drifted off into a nice slumber minutes after his mother tucked him in. The dreams that did invade his sleep were nice, comforting epics.
Something pushed into his back. His eyes stayed shut, but he felt something else brush past underneath him. It was like a fish dancing about inside the liquid mattress. That thought brought out a smile. Fish in there would actually be pretty cool. He wouldn't just be sleeping on a waterbed; he'd be sleeping on a lake or the ocean.
As he waited for the fish to come near again, he noticed the scent in the air. It reminded him of the deep sea fishing expeditions he'd gone on with his dad. In addition, warmth bathed over him. The salty air, warm sun, and rocking of the waves pulled him back down into sleep.
Ronald awoke refreshed, though he kept his eyes shut. Morning could start in a few minutes. He stretched, feeling the rolling water beneath him. When was the last time he'd slept so peacefully? He imagined his grades improving, and he wouldn't be so quick to lash out at others when they annoyed him. Why hadn't he insisted on a waterbed long ago?
Wait. He could still smell the sea air and feel the sun beating down on him. His eyes flashed open and he found himself on a raft in the middle of the ocean. To make matters worse, two dorsal fins circled around him, not ten feet away.
Shoot. The waterbed hadn't worked after all. True, he'd fallen asleep easy enough, but he was still plagued by nightmares. He looked in every direction, but could see nothing but the sky meeting the bluish-green waters. And now those dorsal fins were less than five feet from his raft.
This would be an excellent time to wake up. Why wasn't he waking up?
He wasn't waking up.