For a while, Tim felt as though he were floating. His head was still resting on the journal, but his mind was somewhere far away. When Tim opened his eyes, he expected to be staring up at his bedroom ceiling, waiting for his mom to call him down for breakfast. He wasn't expecting to find a roller coaster racing overhead. Tim was standing in the middle of the coolest carnival he had ever seen. He heard the sound of screaming children. He thought someone was in trouble, but he realized they were shrieks of excitement. He was on the newly renovated boardwalk in Long Beach, a place that Tim knew very well. There were roller coasters zooming overhead and a long line of concessions. Suddenly, it hit him.
"This is the carnival from the end of July!"
For a while, Tim didn't see the harm in reliving the moment. "Maybe I can get Justin in the dunk tank again!" However, Tim had the strange feeling someone was watching him. He spun around. There stood a robed figure with a hood that masked his face. His robe was purple with white stars, but his eyes shone red in the darkness of his hood. In his hand was a small wooden chest with a keyhole and tiles that spelled out DREAM THIEF. The minute Tim saw the locked chest, everything clicked.
"Dream Thief? That's it! Whoever that guy is . . . he's got to be the one behind all of my dreamless nights," thought Tim. "Could my dreams be locked away in that box? I have to get that chest back!"
Tim lost sight of him. Tim sat on the boardwalk trying to figure out how to catch the thief. Tim thought, "He can't hide forever."
Tim suddenly felt a hand on his shoulder. Fearing it was the thief, he screamed. But it was actually his friends from the summer. "Where have you been? Come on, the rides are this way!" Justin said with excitement. He followed them for a while, until he saw the hooded figure approaching the Ferris wheel. Tim rushed toward the ride. Shoving his way past a line of kids, Tim leaped into the thief's passenger car just as it was starting. But as he reached the top, he realized it had been a trap: the Ferris wheel had stopped dead, and the thief had slipped away. No one else was left on the wheel, and the crowd began to clear out of the carnival.
The robed figure now stood below watching Tim as he was perched at the top screaming. Just when Tim thought that he would be stuck there forever, the Dream Thief hissed: "Time's up."
The Ferris wheel shook and Tim's car rocked violently. Tim jumped out of his car and plummeted to the boardwalk. The only thing louder than his screams were the echoing crashes as the Ferris wheel fell apart. As Tim braced for the impact of the hard surface. Tim's heart was beating so fast it was ready to burst. But suddenly, the noise stopped and he was no longer falling. After a few seconds of disbelief, he opened his eyes.
Chapter 3: Danger's Grasp (check back tomorrow)