Issue #22: I Can't Sleep

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"Wake up, Dr. (L,N). We have an appointment that's far overdue."

I started to stir a little bit. I was a little disoriented as I slowly opened up my eyes. At first everything was blurry before I started to focus realizing I was in a bed in a room I had never been in before. To one side was a lamp, a fuzzy chair against a wall, one of those dumb renaissance paintings of angels (knowing this place it might actually be the original painting), and on the other-

"AH!" I screamed as I fell out of the bed and standing up to make sure what I was seeing was real.

"Shhhhhhhhhh, we don't want to wake up your little whore do we?" The Crimson Ghost cackled as he held his scythe to Tara's neck as she slept, oblivious to the situation. Not only was he currently threatening Tara but he had his other arm wrapped around Komi's neck, squeezing on her throat.

"Help..." She whispered.

"Y-you're not doing this! Y-You're merely a v-voice in my head!"

"If you'd like I could add some terrifying probabilities for this situation. Like how in your current level of REM Sleep you could be sleepwalking while and I could be in control of your feeble body, hacking away at your friends as we speak. Don't even try waking yourself up. You aren't leaving until I say so. So let's make this session quick, yes?"

"W-what the fuck do you want with me!?"

"All sleep and no play makes The Ghost a dull boy, my good doctor. You've felt the signs and still won't let me out. And why? To protect these two? I thought we've gotten over your silly beliefs in companionship in our last few sessions."

"Are you insane!? Did you not see how much Komand'r has been hitting on me and I've been ignoring her because I knew this would happen!?"

"You can't lie to someone who lives in the deepest, darkest confines of your mind. Even so, do you see how you now cower from me? I thought we had an understanding, a friendship blossom over the course of the year. A camaraderie. Yet you're afraid I'm going to do something. I know the scent of your fear all too well. You're afraid that I am going to hurt your... friends." He spat out the last word. "I thought we agreed the only real friend you have or need is me. And let us not forget how you currently rest in Ms. Markov's room after a series of intimate kisses." He looked down at her and his rubber skeleton face actually morphed into a smile as he ran the tip of the scythe across the chin of Tara. "I wonder, if only one person resides in the floor above us, what do they store in the other rooms? Weapons? Replacement furniture in case of  damage to the various decorations in the hotel?" He hit the ceiling a couple times before it collapsed on top of Tara.

"NO!" I shouted. Debris and rocks buried Tara and crushed the bed.

"Why who would've expected boulders? All placed in such a way to slowly suffocate one, completely burying them until their last breath, no need to dig them up and rebury them. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" He was now at my side still with his death grip on Komi. He cackled that awful cackle like a the son of a witch and a hellhound. Almost a demonic joker. "You know, I do wonder, good doctor, if I too, much like Freddie Krueger, could murder another person in their sleep. Don't you?"

"L-leave her alone you fucking bastard! W-why are you doing t-this!?"

"I WANT OUT!" He shouted. "It is one thing to watch you wallow in a cell, sometimes offering me sadistic sacrifices in the form of psychiatrists, but I will not be disrespected and see you impersonate me while killing others! Those should be MY LIVES TO TORTURE! Not to mention I can feel you getting... soft. Regaining your idiotic remorse for the living, care for those of the human race. Us Gods of fear have no use for the glee of the zombies that roam this dirt rock with us. I will not let us be raped of our future by the acts of these WHORES." He tightened his grip on Komi and I could her bones in her neck breaking as he added pressure. "And if I can't bring an agonizing end to the weak and unsuspecting, I will bring it to those you call friends, much like I did last Halloween. You will let me out whether you want to or not. And we will continue on our road to immortality and the euphoria to be found on said road. And I will once again purge you of your fears and emotions to avoid any future set backs. No more attraction to Ms. Markov. No more pity for Komand'r. Oh, and especially no more affection for her." The Ghost said before nudging over to something behind him. I moved past him and saw a foot sticking out behind multiple rocks. I slowly looked over the pile and saw Cleo's body laying headless in a pool of blood.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" I shouted before sitting up covered in sweat.

"Hey! Hey! It's okay! I'm here!" I looked over to my side and saw Tara who was breathing heavily like she was also dealing with the panic of waking up from a nightmare. I grabbed her in a hug and she quickly hugged me back and held me tightly.

"I-I had a horrible dream about-" I said before looking past her and seeing the Ghost standing there. Once more I screamed this time I pushed Tara away and fell off the bed again. "WHEN DID HE GET HERE!?" I shouted.

"When did who...? Your mask? Wait, when the hell did it get in here?" Tara asked now confused as well. "It's just a mask though, okay? You had a bad dream and I think you gave me one too."

"What? How?"

"I had a dream too... your mask was in it, and it was being worn by... you can probably guess. He caused a bunch of debris to collapse on top of me and I woke up to see you with smoke coming out of your mouth and you started screaming about leaving 'her' alone. What the hell was that about?"

"I knew he would do this! H-he's coming for you and Komi! I knew I couldn't have friends again! He's fighting for control now. He's never done that before... I- I'm going to sleep on the couch or something so I don't hurt you anymore." I said getting up and beginning to walk towards the door.

"(Y,N), wait! I know you're creeped out right now but I'm reeling too. Stay with me. Please. I need you to be here for me."

"I... you aren't safe with me around. You just said it yourself I'm spewing fear gas in my sleep, I'm actively giving you night terrors."

"I won't feel safe without you around. Don't make me fucking say please twice. I need someone to hold me and tell me he can't hurt me anymore." She said.

"You do realize I can't-"

"Promise he won't try to kill me or some shit? Yeah, I get it I just need this tonight, okay?" Tara said. I finally relented and once more got into bed with her and she immediately clung onto me.

As I said, Good Doctor, you've become weak again...

We were now seated so that I was holding Tara in front of me and lightly stroking her hair as she calmed down.

"Promise me if you ever see me put on the mask you'll run as far away from me as possible."

"Yeah... I promise." I felt like she was lying but I was too tired and scared of the devil inside of me to argue. I don't remember how long we stayed like this but eventually we both ended up falling asleep.

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