That night, Edd couldn't sleep. He thought he heard noises outside. Some seemed distant. Others seemed to be very close. He closed his blinds and tried to clear his mind. But there was something about that night that....didn't feel right. The noises ranged from distant murmurings to a low, dull humming sound.
He could finally feel the oncoming of sleeps cool caress, when all of sudden, he was jolted out of his bed by a loud banging coming from his window. He got up and opened the blind. What he saw terrified him.
It was Ed. He gazed upon his friend's face through his window. His eyes, once full of life and color were now plain white voids. He could see no emotion at all. His face was dull and sullen, and he lacked any notion of expression.
"Ed, are you alright?" Edd asked him.
He was given no reply. Ed just stood there, as if in a trance. He then walked away slowly, shambling slowly out of Edd's yard and back out into the street, disappearing into darkness. That's when Edd finally figured something out.
Edd gathered a warm sweater, a flashlight and some tools and walked out into the night to find Eddy. The noises were louder once he was outside, and continued to intensify as he navigated the path to Eddy's house. Along the way, he could sense eyes watching him. Underneath the dull glow of the streetlights, he thought he could see figures following him, stalking him, but nobody appeared to be around.
He approached Eddy's house and looked into his window. Eddy wasn't there. He then asked himself: "Where else could he possibly be? If I find him misusing that machine, I'm not going to be very pleased with him. After all, it was an experimental prototype based on the hypnosis process we've already experimented with. It's a highly unstable device and I fear that Eddy can cause irreversible damage." He listened more closely to the noise. He followed the humming noise until it led him into the forest beyond the cult-de-sac.
The noise grew and grew as he walked deeper and deeper into the forest. It began to put strain on Edd's ears as he drew closer still to the source. He heard more murmuring in a small clearing and witnessed firsthand the source of the evening's strange occurrences.
All the other children, including Ed, were stalking about, zombie-like. Wandering in circles, drool dripping from their mouths, and eyes as pale as Ed's were. Eddy stood in the center of the clearing, laughing hysterically. Edd walked out to meet him and issued his disgust.
"There you are, Eddy! I trusted you with that device's safe keeping, and not only do you completely and totally lie to me, but you have also failed to heed my warning about the reckless abuse of the Dream Machine! Do you have any idea of what the ramifications are for this? Any at all?"
"What's that Double D? I can't hear you, I'm making too much money! We're going to be eating jawbreakers forever! I'm rich! I'm finally rich!" Eddy held out his jar again, this time filled to the brim with quarters, change, and dollar bills.
"You've been using the Dream Machine to hypnotize the others into gathering money for you?" Edd asked, distraught. He began to panic.
"Relax, Sockhead! I got it all figured out!" Eddy stated proudly. He addressed the others.
"At the snap of my fingers, you will all awake." He snapped his fingers. Nothing happened. The hypnotized children continued to shift about randomly.
"Why didn't it work?" Eddy asked aloud.
"I knew this would happen! I knew that prolonged and indefinite exposure to the Dream Machine would cause unexpected and dangerous hypnotic effects. You've turned everyone, including our friend, into mindless money zombies! Who knows how long this will last, they may never awake! I hope you're proud of yourself!" Edd shouted.
"There's gotta be another way", Eddy thought aloud. "I know, can't we take this headgear, slap it on somebody and try to bring them back the same way I brought em' in?"
"You mean, reverse the process?" Edd caught on.
"You're the genius." Eddy said sarcastically. He grabbed the hypnotized Jimmy and set him down.
"Hurry up and put it back on him, Sockhead, he's squirming like a leech!"
Edd placed the helmet on Jimmy's head and adjusted the settings. He took his tools and adjusted the inner mechanism to spin the wheel the reverse direction. He started up the device.
The Dream Machine began to work as planned, vibrating and making noise as it activated. The wheel began to spin. Jimmy looked into the wheel and his eyes began to return to color.
"It's working!" Edd exclaimed.
"Am I a genius or what?" Eddy boasted.
But then something happened they didn't count on.
Jimmy began shaking uncontrollably as the machine seemed to go into overdrive. He fell over on the ground and continued to shake and writhe on the ground. The machine began to emit smoke and shake much more violently. Soon Jimmy's mouth began to foam and his eyes went white once more. Then he stopped moving.
"What the---?" Eddy tried to ask, but before he could finish, the machine continued to shake until it burst from the strain.
A large shock wave of blue energy shout of the wreckage and seemed to have an adverse effect on the children. They began to run around wildly, scream violently and riot uncontrollably. They soon turned their attention to the other Eds and began to run at them, screeching like creatures looking for a meal.
"What the heck!? Double D, what do we do?" Eddy asked, afraid.
"Run. We need to run." Edd replied.
They ran out of the clearing and through the thick forest. They could hear the children running behind them, getting closer and closer. They ran as hard as they could, but it was of no use. They tripped on a stray root and found themselves at the foot of a large tree. They were soon surrounded by the others, and hoisted up in the air by Ed's large, strong hands.
"I'm a minor, stop!" Eddy yelled, crying.
"Fate has conspired against us, Eddy." Edd replied. "It's time we reap what we have sown and pay for your lifetime of greed."
Loud screams were heard into the night.
In the days that followed, the parents of Peach Creek reported their children as missing. Police officers and personal searched the area for days, and eventually found and rounded up the missing children. They were dirty and starved and irreversibly mentally damaged. The officials also recovered the wreckage of the Dream Machine, and sent it off to be investigated by professionals. They also found two bodies, but their identities were never made available to the public.
To this day, nobody speaks of the terrible tragedy, and many are still confused by the circumstances revolving around the disaster. What was the mysterious device they recovered? Did it have anything to do with their children's disappearance? They would take these questions to their graves.
Meanwhile, in a governmental facility, the US military began conducting tests.
Codenamed: Operation Peach Creek, volunteers were exposed to a larger version of the Dream Machine found at the site and were observed. It was hoped that the device could make people into better soldiers, and they were trying to develop a function that can cripple enemy forces in battle.
The results of the tests remain classified.
To Ed or Not to Ed: The Dream Machine series
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