Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chapter Twenty-Three - A Sleepless Night

Annabelle stood on the beach near her house in Hidden Springs, adorned in a white dress. Numerous thoughts were going through her head as she looked out into the water. Standing in front of her was Tom, who also wore a white outfit.

"Tom?" She asked. But he looked ahead, not at her. Suddenly Annabelle heard a whistling noise, a very distinct and familiar sound that she heard once before as a child. Annabelle looked back ahead towards the lake and saw a meteor flying across the sky. "Tom, we have to warn everyone! Please, we have to run!"

Tom acknowledged her presence and said "I don't want to talk to you. You're an alien, a monster from outer space. Why would I want to talk to you?"

"Please, Tom! Please do this!"

Suddenly Tom turned around, scaring Annabelle. His eyes were empty, gray, and cold. He had a blank expression on his face. "No. You're an alien monster. You're getting what you deserve."


Seconds later the meteor hit the beach, enveloping Tom and Annabelle in a massive explosion.

Annabelle woke up in her bed, trying to wrap her head around that nightmare. It took her a few seconds to realize where she was after what happened in her dream. After a few seconds Annabelle stood up and walked over to her dresser, grunting a bit from the itchiness on her back. Annabelle briefly thought about her new tattoos, which were more of a pain than she thought they would be.

She thought back to the day before, with Scarlett approaching her and saying "Hey Annie, how about we go to the spa and get some tattoos to get your mind off the argument with Tom. My treat!" Yeah, being seared with a laser gun creating permanent marks on her skin sure did take her mind off of things.

Not wanting to get dressed for the day at 2:00 AM, she put on a robe and walked outside her room. Annabelle's first instinctive reaction was to talk to Tom, as she always did when a nightmare affected her, but considering they hadn't talked for two days since having a massive argument, she settled on getting something to eat, maybe to put her mind off the nightmare thing so she could get back to sleep.

'After all', Annabelle thought angrily as she walked over to the staircase, 'wouldn't want to tear Tom away from his precious new girlfriend or whatever the hell she is.' 

As Annabelle descended the stairs she heard a noise, an familiar and unmistakable voice that was talking to itself. She finished walking down the stairs and into the living room where the voice was coming from.

"Couldn't sleep either?" Annabelle asked when she saw Keera in the living room. The teen was pacing back and forth, and Annabelle could tell that she was trying to make herself tired enough to go to bed.

"No." Keera replied, "I had a nightmare."

"Really?" Annabelle asked. "I did too, a bad one. What was your nightmare about?"

Keera stopped pacing the floor. "I don't want to talk about it." she said. "Let's just say it was a bad, bad dream and the more I forget about it the more I can be happy. As happy as I've been for the past month. Yeah, I've been a cheerful little teen, with... lovely skin and a lovely personality. Yeah, I'll go back to being that."

"Please tell me?" Annie asked. "I really want to know what your dream was about, Keera. I-I could tell you about my nightmare if you want? You share I share kind of thing?"  

 "If it means that much to you." Keera said as she walked over to her mother. Annabelle could see that tears were starting to form and fall across her face. "I was singing in front of a group of people in the middle of the day, some kind of festival or whatever. It started out so nice. I was enjoying my day, having so much fun. Then it became about... what else? What other nightmares have I had since the day of the explosion? Since I had this eye patch?"

Keera looked off to the distance it seemed, and continued talking. "Fire. I started to dream that the stage caught fire and I was trapped by a wooden beam. In the dream, no one bothered to help me out. Everyone just looked at me like they were judging me. I felt their eyes on me, snickering and poking fun and laughing like madmen. I wondered why, why... why they would laugh and play and dance and poke fun at me while I was dying under a burning piece of rubble. I then realized I had a scar, just like this one. Then I-" Keera then started crying, and began wiping tears from the only eye that could produce them. "Then I wished it was a still a better dream, like it was." 

"Keera, I-" Annabelle tried to say.

"You know Mom, I wish this ALL was a better dream! In my pleasant dreams I didn't have my scar! In my 'pleasant' dreams, I had both eyes..." Suddenly her face became angered, and sad at the same time. "...why aren't I living in a pleasant dream, mom? Why do I have to wake up to reality, look in the mirror, and see... this staring me in the face? I... hate it. I hate this whole damn situation." Keera then took her eye patch off, showing Annabelle her glass eye.

"I HATE THIS! I HATE HAVING THIS SCAR, HAVING TO WEAR AN  EYE PATCH! I HATE EVERYTHING!!!" Finally she fell into Annabelle's arms and began to cry.

"I am so sorry for everything that's happened to you." Annabelle said. "If I could turn back the clock and have it happen to me instead, I would gladly do it, but I am afraid there are some things that we can't change." Annabelle knew this would happen, Keera finally breaking down after a month of acting cynical and repressive, failing to understand the gravity of the situation. It was only a matter of time, and she knew her daughter would need someone to be there to help her through it.

"I am so sorry for losing my temper, mom. I just feel so angry! I'm hurt, and sad, and I don't know what to do! Please tell me what to do!"

"Everything's okay, Keera, you don't need to do anything. Just be here right now."


Kelly stood on a patio overlooking the beach on top of the house. The night wind was breezy and chilly, but she managed to keep herself from being too cold. After all, she had to be outside, in the open, after what she had just dreamed about. With not much else to do, Kelly walked over to a massage chair and sat on it, looking out to the scenery of Hidden Springs. "I hate this." She said out loud, but to herself.

"You hate what?" Suddenly Kelly heard Annabelle's voice coming from inside the adjacent room, but when she turned to see her it was actually Mirabelle who was standing in the doorway.

"Oh, hey." Kelly said, "I didn't think anyone else was awake." Kelly hadn't really spoken all that much to Mirabelle since she was created in the teleporter accident. She thought to herself how awkward things were between her and Annabelle from the start that to throw another Annabelle into the mix would make the situation skyrocket out of control. "I uh, want to maybe be alone up here." she said.

"Oh, okay." Mirabelle said. "I guess I should go back in then. You want to come inside and get out of the cold, Kelly?"

"No. Not inside, in that box. No I want to be here outside in this, uh, 'loveliness'." Kelly looked around. "Loveliness indeed."

"What's wrong?" Miabelle asked. "Did you have another nightmare regarding your claustrophobia?"
 Kelly was going to ask her how she knew that. But after a few seconds she realized, again, that this woman was Annabelle, and had all of her memories to the moment they split. In this respect, Mirabelle had all the emotions and feelings that Annabelle had recently obtained from certain moments in time. After thinking it over, Kelly turned back to Mirabelle, standing up out of the chair. "Yes. I dreamt I was trapped in an elevator, just like I have been since I was younger. You know that, don't you 'Mirabelle'?"

"I recall finding out recently, but I never actually heard why you are so afraid of enclosed spaces? You never told anyone, let alone Annabelle."

"Well I never wanted to tell anyone." Kelly said, "When we moved to Bridgeport as children, the first thing I wanted to do was ride an elevator. So I convinced my mom and dad to take me to this building in the middle of the city, and first thing I did was run to the elevator and push the button to get to the top floor. Mom and dad didn't get to the elevator in time to get in with me. Halfway to the top, I heard a grinding noise and the elevator stopped dead. It took an hour for the crew of the building to get me out of the elevator, and seconds after they did, 'boom'. The elevator crashed to the ground." Kelly looked off into the distance. "I was three seconds away from being crushed inside a giant tin can."

"That's why you don't like elevators or small spaces." Mirabelle replied, "Kelly, how come you never told anyone about this? You could have obtained some kind of help before this got out of hand!"      

"I didn't want to make anyone think less of me. I didn't want to tell people that I was afraid of small spaces! Hell, you know for a fact that this truth only came to light a few nights ago to one person... two now. I needed to be strong for everyone. I needed to be the person who, at eleven years old, figured out that a meteor shower which wiped out half a town was caused by someone here on this planet! I needed to be THAT strong, intelligent person for... for Annabelle. That's why I never told her- YOU, that I cried at the same time as she did when Keera was involved in that accident. I hid myself away. Now look at me, I'm almost crying again!"

"You don't need to worry about hiding your fears, Kelly." Mirabelle said. "When Annabelle was younger she didn't hide her fears about evil unicorns, despite the fact that being afraid of evil unicorns is very... silly from a certain standpoint. But hey, we're still not hiding our fears! Even grown up, Annabelle and I are still afraid of those freaky horned creatures! But there is something else I personally am afraid of, and to tell you the truth, it's the reason I'm awake at this moment."

"What do you mean?" Kelly asked. "Did you have a nightmare too?"

"Yeah!" Mirabelle responded with an exasperated tone. "I was standing in the living room talking to John and Annabelle when suddenly they just, forgot about me. They started talking to one another acting like I didn't exist, and that's what made me think things over. Before the teleporter incident, I didn't exist! I was Annabelle, and then I wasn't! I was my own person! My own flesh and blood. Then I got to thinking, what if this is temporary?! What if I vanish into thin air? Every damn day I live could be my last! I don't want that to happen! I am afraid of not existing, Kelly. Not just 'dying', per se, but not existing at all. No one in the world can share this same fear on the same level as me."

"Well, maybe that's a sign that you should live your life like every day was your last. Have fun with yourself! Do something spontaneous! Like-"

"Like kissing a woman after telling her you love her?" Mirabelle chuckled, "Or what happened that same day?"

"Uh, exactly! I guess! I don't know!"

"Annabelle didn't have a chance to tell you, Kelly. But that day was the last thing she thought of before she used the teleporter which resulted in my creation. So technically, that was one of my first thoughts, and I tell you, I don't regret those thoughts in the least bit." With those words, Mirabelle smiled and walked into the house.


"Tom... I wanted to tell you something." Andy and Tom were in the latter's bedroom, with Tom looking at a picture on a wall. Andy was still upset from the other night when she encountered Aurora Dawn, her twisted "other part of the whole Nightmare", and constantly questioned to herself if Tom would kick her out of the house and out of his life if he knew what or who she was. Despite this, she decided to bite the bullet and confess. "Tom, I am sorry to tell you this, but I'm the human form of split entity called Nightmare. I'm sure you never want to see me again, and I'm sorry."

"Sorry doesn't cut it, witch." Tom said, turning around. Andy started crying when Tom walked up to her. "You're evil. Nightmare's a monster! She tried to kill my best friend! YOU ARE A MONSTER! GET OUT OF MY HOUSE! GET OUT! GET OUT!"


Andy woke up, terrified. She was laying on a couch Tom had in his room, having chosen not to sleep next to him due to reasons even she had not known. "It was a nightmare.", she said to herself. "A nightmare... me."

"Everything alright?" Tom woke up after hearing Andy scream and walked over to her. "I heard you tossing and turning all night."

Andy stood up and said "Yeah I had a nightmare. I've had them for a while, what about you? Were you sleeping okay?"

"Yeah, no bad dreams or anything." Tom said. "I'm sorry you had one, nightmares are a terrible thing to go through. Aside from tonight I've been having them for nearly a week."

"What?" Andy asked, intrigued. "What could Tom Jameson possibly be afraid of? You're strong, capable of doing anything, what do you fear?"

Tom closed his eyes and turned around. "Losing people I care for. Ever since I went to that other dimension I was worried about losing Annabelle, and now with what I did I've gone and lost her myself. But you're here, and you are all I need at the moment. There is nothing anyone can say that will want me to leave you behind, Andy."

"That's good to know, Tom, because I..." Andy stopped herself. Out the window she could have sworn she saw something, she could have sworn she saw Nightmare herself, but then realized it was just her own reflection. "...I don't want to leave you either." She said, still not wanting to tell Tom the truth about herself.

 After a few moments, Tom walked over to the bed and sat on it, patting the empty side. "Maybe if you sleep in a comfortable place, you won't worry about nightmares tonight.

With no more words, Andy walked over to the bed and lied down on it. Before Tom could say anything, she  started to kiss him, the two sharing their first.


John woke up nearly depressed from what he had just dreamed about. He looked around the room and saw Scarlett looking something up on her computer. "Red? Are you okay?"

"No." Scarlett responded flatly. "I had that dream again, I dreamed that you left me, that everyone left me behind and alone because of my anger issues. I don't want anyone to leave me, so I'm researching anger management therapies. There has to be one around here somewhere. Anywhere that will take me that I haven't already been to!"

"Scarlett, why do you do this to yourself? You know for a fact I will never leave you. I will never abandon you. I love you too much! In fact, I just had a dream of my own where you left me because... you didn't love me anymore. You just, didn't love me and left me behind."

"Then what do we do about this? I can't fall asleep again. I don't want to lose you in my dreams or in reality. I don't want to lose you like I lost my parents. I don't want to forget your face like I did them."

After a few seconds, John thought of something. He was going to give something to Scarlett as a wedding present to her but decided she needed to see it tonight, maybe it would cheer her up... hopefully. "Scarlett, come with me. We need to go to the basement where the old DVD player is set up."

Scarlett silently stood up and walked with John. It was a short trip down to the basement, where John asked his fiance to sit on the couch. "I found this old recorded DVD in a box down here. I watched a few seconds of it to see what it was about. Red, you need to watch this."

John sat down next to Scarlett on the couch and pushed play. A few seconds of graininess faded away to show a woman standing in a hallway holding a little toddler. The woman had bright orange hair, and her daughter had hair that was blood red. "Come on Kathy, show her to the camera! Show little Red to the whole world!" A man's voice said. The woman turned around and smiled.

"Set that camera down Michael! I want you to be in the shot too!" The woman, Kathy, turned around and Scarlett's heart swelled.

The girl she was holding was Scarlett herself as a toddler. "That's... that's ME! John! That's me! Those are my parents! This is a video of me and my parents! John!" Scarlett said excitedly and smiled brightly as she watched the footage. "Their faces! Mom! Dad! It's them!"

"Did you set the camera to take a picture?" Kathy asked.

"No, we don't need a picture. Her face is all we need, we'll remember Scarlett forever!" Michael said, smiling. "Forever and ever and ever until the end of time!"

The footage changed to a different scene. A quieter scene at night. "Shhh.... She's getting tired Michael. Let's sit her in the crib." The footage then cut again, showing Kathy and Michael standing looking right at the camera, which was presumably set on a shelf.

 "Scarlett. This is your mom and dad." Kathy said. "We are filming this and putting it in a safe in case something were to happen to us. Just in case. We wanted to keep this safe for future viewings. Listen, Scarlett, if something were to ever happen to us, I want you to know that we love you. We will always love you. And we will always watch over you, even if we aren't there. Remember to keep yourself wearing red, it's your favorite color and looks best on you. And if you happen to inherit my slight anger issues, then-"

"Then tell everyone around you to find a place of safety." Michael said, amusing himself but not exactly bringing a smile to his wife's face. "I meant to say: yes dear. I will do anything you want."      

"We love you, Scarlett. We will always love you until the end of time." 

The footage stopped. Scarlett was nearly crying from what she saw, but John cuddled up next to her and she regained herself. "That was the best thing you've ever done for me, John. I love you."

"How long will you love me for?" John asked.

Taking a line from the footage, Scarlett smiled and said "Forever and ever and ever, until the end of time."

The two kissed on the couch, then John pressed play again. John and Scarlett watched the footage over and over that night, until finally they fell asleep.

At the same time, Annabelle slept next to Keera who was napping on the couch. Tom and Andy were asleep in his bed, and Kelly slept soundly on the massage chair outside while Mirabelle was napping on the bench nearby.