Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chapter Fifteen - The Nightmare


"Hello there Alien Life Form, and how are we on this fine evening?"

Don't answer, just run. As fast as you possibly can. Don't look back.


Annabelle ran across town, not too sure if the monster she had just encountered was still following her or not. Her legs carried her faster than she ever thought possible. For a second she could have sworn that she teleported a few times, as it was merely two minutes and she was already home from all the way downtown.

Annabelle leaped up the stairs and into the doorway to her home, slamming it shut. When she turned around she saw Tom standing there, with a puzzled look on his face.


"Calm down, Annie. Tell me what happened!"


"Wait, what?" Tom was wondering what she was talking about, fearing that she was seeing things. "It blew up a house? Are you sure there wasn't a gas leak or something?"

"It was a unicorn! A killer unicorn like in that movie! It was black and red with like some skeleton look to it, and it had a blood-red horn and black eyes!" Annabelle replied. "Don't you believe me?!"

When Annabelle asked that question, Tom couldn't reply. After a few moments Annabelle stopped panicking, and Tom straight-faced said, "I'm sorry, Annabelle... I... I don't believe you. The idea of a killer unicorn is just... crazy, honestly. Is it possible you imagined the whole thing? You were pretty upset when Isobelle walked off."

"You... don't believe me?"Annabelle felt offended. Tom had been with her when the meteors hit Sunset Valley, he had been there with her when they encountered The Benefactor in the Library and the resulting explosion, and he even saved her when she was kidnapped by the villain. But even after all that, he didn't believe her? 

"I'm sorry." Tom said, sincerely. "But I don't."

"No... you're right... I understand."
"I perfectly understand that it sounds crazy." Annabelle scowled. "And you know what also sounded crazy? A super-villain with a device capable of summoning meteors. You know what else?! Another villain who wanted to take over the world! Or, or maybe, an alien, living in the SUBURBS, with someone who DOESN'T EVEN BELIEVE HER, is a crazy idea!..."

"...AND there's that little story when you told me that you were healed by the spirit of your long-dead father! Did I bat an eye at THAT? NO! But maybe I was wrong, maybe that IS crazy, THOMAS! DID YOU EVER THINK OF THAT!?!" 

"WHOA! Umm... Sorry, Keera and I couldn't help but overhear your little conversation, guys." Kelly said, trying to calm down Annabelle, "But I think Annabelle is right. Keera pointed out that the disappearance of that guy in the junkyard was surely because of a Unicorn. Annabelle is telling the truth."

Beside Kelly was Keera, who was visibly upset to see her "mother" get so angry. "We found out by looking at a picture on a wall."

"Well that may be." Tom said. "But I don't see proof."

"You want proof, Tom? Okay, just wait until that monster gets here and destroys our home and kills us all, then you'll have all the proof you need."

"She's telling the truth, Tom. Believe me, I know it SOUNDS crazy, but it's true." Kelly said. "Believe her."

Tom frowned. "...I don't. I am so, so sorry."
 "You'll see, when that monster comes back it will kill us all, then you'll believe me... Thomas." Annabelle said, more angry than she had ever been her entire life. With that, she turned around and walked back towards the front door to the house without any more words.

The next morning.

Annabelle spent the entire night awake, looking for any signs of the monster that she had met downtown, not sitting down or taking a break, just standing guard. Then, she thought, if the unicorn showed up she would be ready for it. When dawn approached, she heard Kelly's voice behind her.

"You know, I read somewhere that Unicorns only visit our plane of existence at night." Kelly said. "You should get some sleep now, Annie, if you're going to be awake all night again."

Wearily, Annabelle turned back to her. "So you do believe me, Kelly? I thought you just told Tom that to stop our argument." Annabelle enjoyed Kelly's presence, even more so than anyone else in the house. Kelly always knew what to say.

"Of course I believe you, Annie. You're my best friend... you have been for, like, ever... we gotta stick together you an I!"

"You're right, Kelly. Thanks for being here for me, and for not thinking I'm crazy about this whole Unicorn business."

"No problem. I'm always here for a friend." Kelly said. "Now get some sleep, you look like you need it."

Annabelle walked inside and, seeing a nice couch in a dark living room, decided to sleep on that instead of her room, simply because the couch was closer and her legs couldn't carry her any further.

Annabelle closed her eyes and fell asleep, but within an hour she started tossing and turning on the couch, the result of a nightmare that afflicted her so terribly.

 She dreamed of the darkest room in the darkest world, of fire and evil. A strange portal appeared to her, and she felt like she was actually in this hellish chamber. Then, she heard a voice, a female voice that had a tinge of the Unicorn's that she had heard the night before.

"Annie.... Annie... girl.... you cannot escape me, Annie. No matter what you do... nothing can stop this Nightmare. You can run to the ends of the Earth, you can run to the ends of the UNIVERSE and I will always be there, watching you. Give up... give up..." 


One Week Later....
Annabelle stood at the main window in the living room, staring off at a mansion off to the north for no real reason other than it's the only thing to focus on. After some time, Tom approached her, a worried look on his face.

"Annabelle... I'm worried about you. I know you haven't been sleeping as much lately, and that can affect anyone."

Annabelle continued looking out the window but replied to Tom. "I've not been getting any sleep at night. but I do get some during the day... my nightmares aren't as frequent when I sleep in a bright room. I may take to sleeping outside on the porch during the daylight hours." 

"I'm trying to help." Tom said, a genuinely saddened tone in his voice. Annabelle, however, turned around with an angered look in her eyes.

"Help? I asked you a week ago for help and when I did you you resisted the urge to laugh in my face!" Annabelle angrily said.

"I'm sorry, Annie. I just didn't think it was possible."

"I don't care what you think, Jameson." Annabelle said, "I will never care for anything you say again!"

Tom tried to come up with the right words, but couldn't, he didn't know what to reply to that with. He realized that she should have believed her, even if he didn't he should have SAID he believed her. Kicking himself in the head, Tom walked into his room.


A few hours later Annabelle was taking trash outside when a woman on the sidewalk approached her. She had never seen this woman before in her life, but there was a sense of familiarity about her.
"Yes, I'm looking for Annabelle Kethrin. I was told she lived here." The woman said. 
"You were told correctly, I am Annie." Annabelle said. "Who might you be?"
"My name is Mary Knight, I got an E-Mail from someone who knows you, Miss Kethrin, they say you encountered a unicorn. I just so happen to be an expert on them!" 
Annabelle became puzzled. "A 'unicorn expert'? I take you get loads of business! Must be a multinational corporation by now."
"I'm used to sarcasm, Miss Kethrin..." Mary said. "In any case, I happen to know a lot about them, I love those wonderful creatures!"
"Well then maybe you can go find a 'wonderful' unicorn that isn't a killing machine." Annabelle replied.
"Well," Mary said, "I don't know about that, Miss Kethrin, but I assure you, I will help you to confront whatever you saw."

"It was a unicorn, and I don't want to 'confront' it I want to kill it!" 

"Well we'll get to that then." Mary said.

 Some time later, Annabelle and Mary were in the office of Annabelle's home, overlooking things such as files and newspapers from when the unicorn first appeared way back when, apparently around the year 1947. After a while, Annabelle was sitting in a chair warding off sleep while Mary was using the computer looking up information about the explosion at the Frio house the week before. Suddenly, Mary searched for something and stood up to talk to Annabelle.
"Hey, Annabelle, I figured something out." Mary said. "The pattern of this creature's attacks in the past seemed to lead off from an old manor in the northern part of town, and the Frio house as well as the junk yard were the closest areas in town to the manor, so perhaps that old place is where this creature-"
"Unicorn" Annabelle interrupted her.
"...unicorn could have come from. The only problem is that while the manor is open for anyone, the hard-level locks are on some kind of timer and they don't open until dusk."

 "So, unless we want to get in trouble for breaking and entering, we have to go to the mansion after nightfall."
"ARE YOU KIDDING?! That monster comes out at night!"
"Annabelle, it's the only way." 
Annabelle calmed herself, thinking of the options. Perhaps they could stop this monster if they find out where it comes from, but it could find them anywhere, even inside. Eventually, she outweighed the benefits for going to the manor. "After nightfall, we go."
 "Well then, nightfall it is." Mary said.
While waiting for the night to come, Annabelle stood next to a picture of Tom that she took, lamenting the fact that he didn't believe her about the unicorn.
Annabelle: "He always makes jokes, like always and usually at my expense. I usually get angry because of them, but my anger subsides because I know he means well. But I swear if he keeps this up one day I'll... I'll... I don't know, destroy his car or something. Besides, he has numerous bouts with gravity, I always think it's because of some sort of karmic retribution, or he could just be very, very clumsy. Or there is a third possibility..."

"Maybe he falls and injures himself just to make me laugh, maybe he does everything just to make me feel better about myself. I always hear 'it's good to laugh at yourself sometimes' so maybe he's just trying to, I don't know, make me laugh at myself."
"Maybe what you hear is right," Mary said. "Maybe you need to laugh at yourself sometimes. I laugh at myself all the time, I mean come on... how many 'unicorn experts' do you know? I know me, and that's it. Getting people to take me seriously is usually a nightmare. But hey, if we can capture this monster of yours, maybe I can prove to the world their existence!"
 "Yeah." Annabelle replied. "Hey look, the sun's setting. Are you ready to go?"

"Yeah. Let me just collect some information and I'll be out the door. Hey, let's go get us a Unicorn!" 
Annabelle turned and walked out the door, but stopped when she saw Tom standing in front of it. "I don't understand, you just met this lady and you're going to go into a supposedly haunted mansion with her?!" 
 "Right now I trust her, Jameson." Annabelle angrily said as she walked by. "At least she believes me."
Tom turned around and saw her leave, then he turned back to Mary. "If anything happens to her... I will make sure you will never walk again, understand?" 
"Don't worry, Mr. Jameson." Mary replied with a bit of a smile on her face. "If that happens all you need to do is just search the stars for a different one!" With those odd words, she walked on by, creeping Tom out completely. 
It was a short drive to the manor lot, Mary parked her car across from the house, and both her and Annabelle climbed out of the car and walked across the street into the manor. As Mary had said, the doors were unlocked but no one was watching the place right now. Annabelle wondered if the place really was a public zone, and not abandoned to the small forest that grew around it. 
Annabelle wandered the halls of the manor as Mary searched the many bookshelves for clues. After some time, Annabelle heard Mary calling her name from upstairs, and a short walk up the spiral staircases brought Annabelle to a strange room with a giant purple anomaly in the center. Mary was reading off of a strange book that was sitting in front of the anomaly. 


 "So according to this text, the unicorn's domain is past this portal. I think we should step through and check it out, after all, the unicorn may be there, and if we can stop it at it's home, we may be able to make sure it never comes over to this realm again!" 
"Wait, I thought you said you wanted me to confront it, then you capture it, then... why do you keep changing your motives?" 
"Annabelle, I am going to level with you... I am actually a hunter of dangerous cryptids. You really think I was some 'unicorn expert'? I hunt down and kill all types of monsters! It just so happened I came across Mr. Jameson's email asking for Unicorn experts to make sure you were really telling the truth!"
"Tom sent that email out?!" Annabelle asked herself, "Maybe he wanted to believe me!"
"In any case, we're here. So let's hunt this monster!" Mary said. "Since I'm the professional hunter, I'll go in first. If I'm not back in a few minutes, come in after me, I may need help. Please promise me you'll do this, okay?"
Annabelle looked at the portal. "I promise." 
Mary smiled and jumped into the portal. After she left, Annabelle stood at the spell book, reading a few things over. 
 One of the spells on the text was called 'Animale Xeno-Morphis'. Annabelle thought these words over. 'Animale' was obviously 'animal', and 'xeno' could have meant 'alien', and 'morphis' obviously meant 'morph'. "Animal alien morph?" Annabelle asked herself. "Who wrote that." 
Annabelle realized that she was spending too much time thinking this over. A half an hour had passed since Mary jumped into the portal. Annabelle thought things over, took a deep breath, and decided to follow her. 
 "Here goes." She said, and throwing out all common sense to her own, she stepped into the portal...

 Annabelle emerged from the other side of the portal and suddenly found herself standing in the same room from her nightmares, the ones she'd been having since the night she encountered that unicorn. The same black void landscape, the same fire, the same vortex that was actually the portal to and from this dimension, and the same statues that terrified her. Annabelle turned around to leave, to get help, but she phased right though the portal this time, not finding herself back at the old mansion. 
"Waht the hell is going on?" Annabelle asked herself. 
"You're here, in Nightmare's domain." She heard Mary's voice say. "...and you will not leave until I say so." Mary emerged from the shadows with a different appearance than she had on before. Now her eyes were blood red, her skin was pale, and she wore a dark outfit that gave off the feeling of evil. 
"What is going on?" Annabelle asked. "Did the unicorn make you this way?!" 
Mary turned and pointed at a fiery chair that seemed to be a throne. "I like this chair. It gives off that vibe, you know? You may be wondering something, though. Why would a unicorn need a chair to sit in? Eh? It's not exactly a mystery, is it... alien life form?"

 "Took you that long to figure it out? You really are dense. I mean COME ON! Mary... Knight.... Knight... Mary... NIGHTMARE!" Mary chuckled.


"But then again, you've only been living on this planet for a few years. I've been here since 1947. And you know what? If you think me being the unicorn is messed up, just wait until you see... this."
 Suddenly, Mary's skin altered itself, shocking Annabelle beyond belief.
"You think you're the only alien on this planet? Think again."