"Yep, back in my day, we used to use the whole eagle," she declared, and started to giggle. It wasn't long before she lapsed into uncontrollable laughter, flicking the bone into the fire and wiping the tears from her face as she gasped for breath. She looked across the fire at her companions, who were clearly not amused. If anything, their expressions were of a yet deeper disapproval than before.
"Sheesh, lighten up, dorks! You're always looking for signs and crap like that, but I think I know a real sign when I see one. That stupid bird was pretty much wearing a sign that said 'KFC', know what I mean? We gotta eat."
"You're pathetic," Kopczik muttered. "Do you even care that we lost Rachael?"
"Oh yeah, like you care about her!" Stoner snorted disdainfully. "You're just sore because you lost your precious 'annoy-o-mancer'."
Brown Lizzy looked startled. "You talkin' like you don' b'lieve in Rache. I thought you even said--"
"I was joking!" Stoner laughed. "You think I really thought that someone's dream was the 'real' world? Come on! If nothing else, if it was the real world, wouldn't we all dream about it? You've certainly never mentioned dreaming about it, Liz ol' gal." She picked up one of the chunks of wood they had gathered, and tossed it on the fire. "See, in the dream world, these pieces of wood are the Allens, and instead of having to fight them, we toss them in a pile and make s'mores!"
Stoner paused, and a look of seriousness passed over her face. Kopczik wondered for a moment if she was done with her sarcastic harangue, when she spoke again. "Damn, I'd just about kill for some chocolate."
She kicked a small pile of feathers into the fire. "I don't even remember my dreams, most of the time. When I do, I don't find them particularly enlightening. Last dream I remember, I was eating at a Chuck E. Cheese, and they had the best pizza in the world, which I'm pretty sure isn't true in any world.
"Look, I don't understand why we struggle so hard to get by in this horrible place, just because some dream told us this is where we had to be. There's got to be some way to get back someplace civilized, right? Why don't we just leave?"
Kopczik and Brown Lizzy looked at each other in surprise, exchanging something wordless. Finally, Kopczik spoke.
"You really don't understand, do you, Stoner?"
The elevator came to a stop as the indicator reached nine, and the doors opened. A breeze wafted in that carried more of the self-contradicting sensations Rachael had experienced before. The odor was somehow both sweet and acrid at once, and while the was something smoky in the air as well that suggested warmth, cool goosebumps were immediately raised on her arms.
Her mother motioned to her to follow out of the elevator into the office space before them.
The office was strange, but not nearly as disorienting as much of what Rachael had seen before in this realm. The floor, although solid (and cool) enough to the touch, appeared to be a shifting mass of lava, which stretched across the office from one wall of fire to another. Despite such an appearance, like many like many offices in our world, the office was decorated with small potted ferns sitting in the corners and pictures of abstract art hanging from the walls. The only furniture in the room was a large desk with a swivel chair on either side, apparently made of glass.
Rachael's mother moved to the chair behind the desk and indicated the other one. "Come, sit. Are you hungry? I see someone has brought us some snacks!"
Rachael stepped forward and sat in the chair, which she realized was made not of glass, but ice. It seemed like something out of a dream as she looked on the desk and saw plate of, well, they were...
"S'mores?" her mother asked, as she pushed the plate towards Rachael.