• Night 3: The Big top and the Big Bad

    Morpheus suited up and readied to go. "You ready?" Morpheus asked L0cke.
    L0cke approached him saying. "I don't come with black-ops accessories. So yeah, I'm golden. Just press play and lets go." Morpheus put up his hood and pressed play on the boom box. Men At Work's Land Down Under began to play. L0cke took deep breathes as if he was inhaling the music for courage. "Okay. Let's do this." And the two left the house.
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    When the two arrived at the clinic they crouch behind a bush. A security guard came out of the entry of the west wing where Morpheus met for his Nightmare Sessions. They took a rope out of the bag. The two quietly began scaling the wall. When they reached the second story Morpheus looked in a window. The room was large and covered with book shelves and plotted plants. A desk was close to the window. It had a name plate that read "Dr. Dio Remy". "Lucky me." Morpheus had spoken too soon. He had forgotten to close the bag. The bat they packed began slipping out. At the last minute Morpheus caught it, but the momentum of the bats fall caused his arm to swing the bat and shatter the window. In a rush of panic the two dove into the window and peeked out to see what the guard was going to do. He turned and the two of them noticed he was wearing head phones and hadn't heard a thing over his music.
    With a sigh of relief Morpheus took out his flashlight and looked around.
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    Morpheus went straight for the drawers of the desk. He open three before finding a drawer full of bottles. They were all holding red pills. "I guess this is his recycling drawer. I should probably take all of these. Who knows if we'll when we'll run out." he filled the bag with the bottles and as he stood up something on the desk caught his eye. The notes from the meeting that day. Morpheus read them over. In terror he read it again. This time out loud so L0cke could hear it. "Morpheus didn't show up today. I don't have time to check his home so I'll try again. I've given Valda the pills. She seems very enthusiastic about overcoming her nightmares. She's told me of her recurring dream, and how it ends. I'd hate to be the one who walks in on her in the morning." The two looked at each other. "We have to stop her." The two ran back out the window and were in such a rush they left the rope hanging from the roof. It didn't matter. All that mattered now was keeping Valda from taking the pill. They ran and ran down the side of the road looking for her house. Finally they arrived. Morpheus side and smiled as he saw Valda in the window on the second story. "She's awake. She hasn't taken it yet." As Morpheus caught his breath he watched Valda take a drink of water from a glass in her hand. As soon as the glass left her lips she dropped it, and collapsed. "s**t!!!!!" Morpheus ran at the door and broke it down. He then ran as fast as he could up the stairs to Valda. "Wake up!" He said patting her face. "C'mon Valda! Wake up!" He slapped her.
    "She won't." L0cke said as he finally caught up to Morpheus. "It's the pill."
    "What do we do?" he asked. Tears forming in his eyes.
    "You have to pull her out."
    "What?" Morpheus was screaming now.
    "Go into her dream and pull her out."
    "You know how." With tears pouring from his face Morpheus released Valda and stood up. He wiped the tears away and L0cke began lift off the ground. "It's about time." Morpheus closed his eyes and L0cke began to shine as if his body was the purest light in the world. Morpheus' eyes suddenly shot open and he screamed.
    "EMBRACE THE NIGHTMARE!" The light vanished and the world turned black.

    When the lights came back on. Morpheus felt completely different. He felt powerful. He looked at himself and recognized what he had become. He was the new embodiment of Hypnos.
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    He was ready to do whatever it took to save Valda. The sound of an excited audience came from behind him. He turned. Somehow he had not noticed the large empty stands before. When he turned again he saw the set up of a big top circus. Valda was riding a tiger in the main ring.
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    She had on a beautiful outfit and none of her scars were on her. But what stunned Morpheus the most was that Valda wasn't hiding her face, and she was smiling. It was then that Morpheus realized he was in Valda's dream. "You almost missed it." Morpheus turned to the stands. They weren't empty any more. A small doll sat in the closest seat to Morpheus and sipped tea from a cup.
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    Morpheus looked at her, "Dream Guard?"
    "Yep." The doll replied, "You the Nightmare kid?"
    "Yep." He held out his hand. "I'm Morpheus." The doll stood up and curtsied.
    "Pepper-Tea." she then shook his hand.
    "What did you mean when you said I almost missed it?" He looked at Valda. Her smile melted his heart.
    "This is just the beginning. Just wait for it." She sipped her tea and eyed Valda. Valda screamed with joy to the invisible audience.
    "I am Valda the Marvelous. Friend to all the worlds cats."
    "Cue shoe." Pepper-Tea said calmly. A shoe came from nowhere and smacked the tiger in the head. It went berserk.
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    The tiger turned on Valda and attacked her. The wounds healed quick and formed her scars when the beast ran off.
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    The lights dimmed and Pepper-Tea began to shake. "He's coming." She trembled.
    "Who?" Morpheus asked quietly. He watched as a panicked Valda began to look around and rub the blood off her clothes.
    "It's the blood." Pepper-Tea whispered. "It's what draws him. He wants revenge."
    "Who?" Morpheus asked louder. His eyes fixed on Valda. Suddenly a roar erupted from the shadows. Morpheus couldn't believe what he was seeing. It was a tiger. Or he thought it was. What ever stepped from the shadows barely had a form. It had the stripes and face of a large tiger, but there was no body. Valda fell to the floor in terror.
    "Adamas!" She screamed. The ghost of the long dead tiger circled her as she stood up again.
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    "Do something!" Pepper-Tea yelled. "He's going to kill her!" Morpheus didn't have time to get to her. He called to her.
    She jumped and looked in his direction. "Morpheus?" She called back. "What are you doing here?"
    "That doesn't matter!" He screamed.
    "Get out of here! He'll kill us both!"
    "No he won't! This is your dream! Turn it around on him! Embrace it! Make this his Nightmare!"
    Valda returned her gaze to the spirit of the mighty jungle cat. He crouched down, ready to pounce. Valda closed her eyes and whispered. "Embrace the Nightmare." Adamas pounced but fell short after receiving a whiplash across the face. Valda was now holding two whips. She looked down at the cat and readied herself for his next attack. She smirked and said triumphantly, "Bad kitty."
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    Adamas pounced again. Valda was faster though. Her whips lashed out and entangled the tiger. He hit the dirt with a loud thud. His legs bound he knew he had lost the battle. Valda put her whips down and slowly approached Adamas. Morpheus took a step forward but Pepper-Tea cleared her throat in a way that said "wait a minute". Valda knelt next to Adamas and began to stroke his invisible fur.
    "I didn't hurt you." She whispered, "I'm sorry that they did. I'm sorry that it all happened. I'm so sorry." She fell on Adamas and began to cry. The whips that bound him disappeared. The mighty Adamas leaned into Valda and began to lick her face. With a smile and a wipe of her tears, Valda stood up. the lights turned back on and the invisible crowd cheered. Valda approached Morpheus with Adamas in tow. She looked him up and down. Pepper-Tea jumped off the sttands and approached Adamas. She wink and a large teacup, full of milk. appeared. Adamas began lapping it as if it was the most delicious thing he had ever tasted.
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    "Two things." Valda laughed to herself. "One, what are you doing here? Two, what are you wearing?"
    "I'll explain everything as soon as we get you out of here." Morpheus replied.
    "Just get on the Nightmare." Pepper-Tea said as she patted Adamas' nose.
    "Umm... Aren't we in the nightmare?"
    "Not the nightmare. The Nightmare!" Pepper-Tea pointed to the shadows. It was horse of Morpheus' own nightmares.
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    Morpheus stepped towards the mighty beast. It simply bowed and waited for Morpheus to mount. Morpheus climbed on and the Nightmare trotted over to Valda. Valda and Pepper-Tea hopped on. The Nightmare reared and whinnied. Morpheus and Valda hung on tight as the mighty beast came down and ran off into the shadows, taking them to the waking world.
    Adamas watched them disappear. Suddenly Adamas sensed something. It sent a chill up his spine. Adamas ran off and hid under the stands as a figure dressed in furs jumped down from the tight ropes.
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    "This may be a problem." The figure said. The dirt beside him began to move and shape. It formed another being. This one had the skin of stone and wore strange armor.
    "A problem indeed." The second agreed.
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    Valda opened her eyes and sat up. Morpheus was sitting on her bed next to her. He had moved her when he woke up and was waiting for her. "It's about time." He smiled.
    "What the hell?" She screamed and pushed him off the bed. "What the are you doing here?"
    "Woah!" Morpheus jumped. "Don't you remember?"
    "Remember? Remember what?"
    "The dream." Pepper-Tea sat in the corner of the room. She sipped her tea as usual.
    "Pepper-Tea? But you're... you're just... am I still dreaming?" Valda looked at Morpheus who sighed deeply and explained the whole thing.


    Dr. Dio Remy lay asleep at home. He dreamed of his life before the "Rise of the Graceful". Back when he drank from the vines of his father and sat by the ponds with the nymphs.
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    The sky turned to a dark purple and lightning came down from black clouds. "Dio." came a haunting voice. A door appeared behind him. "Step into your office."
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    Fearfully Dio turned the knob and walked through the door. He was standing in his office. He wasn't alone. Two others occupied his desk. A man in furs was examining the broken window, while another, younger looking man, sat in Dio's chair. "It seems we have stumbled upon an obstacle Dr. Remy." The younger man's voice was the same one that called Dio to the door.
    "Where are we?" Dio looked around and saw his plants. "Is this my office? What happened here?"
    "Morpheus." Said the one in furs.
    "Yes." Said the one in the chair. "It would seem our cousin has learned of our plans and discovered a weapon our ancestors spent their lives looking for."
    "Morpheus?" Dio was in shock. "He's your cousin?"
    "Yes." Said the one at the window. "Tell us Dio," Finally he turned from the window. "Did you know that your pill is working?"
    "It works?" Dio was excited.
    "Yes." The fur covered one was instantly behind Dio. He grabbed him by the back of the neck and slammed Dio's head against into the desk. "And this whole thing will have been for nothing if some little s**t wants to play hero!" Dio began to whimper.
    "What Phobetor is trying to say is," The one in the chair leaned in so Dio could hear him whisper, "What are you going to do to solve this problem?"
    Dio woke up in his bed. His body throbbing in pain. He needed to find a way to fix his problems before his masters truly destroyed him. As quick as he could he got dressed and ran down to the clinic. He hurriedly cleaned up the mess and called a window repair service. Then, after he tended to his plants, the doctor took several deep breaths and pulled a book off one of his shelves. The book was Alibaba and the Forty Thieves. Suddenly the bookshelf began to groan with the sound of machinery. The bookcase moved into the wall and slid to the side. On the other side was a sleeping boy. He was bound by chains and hooked up to a strange machine.
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    "I hope you're ready." Dr. Remy whispered to the boy as he shut off the machine. The boys eyes shot open and the doctor smiled an evil smile.
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    Valda sighed deeply as she took in everything that Morpheus had told her. She stared at the red pill in her hand. Pepper-Tea gave Valda a steaming cup of Chai to wash it down with. "You don't have to take it." Morpheus assured her. "But I could use your help." Valda smiled at him and took the tea.
    "Bottoms up." She said as she threw the pill into the back of her throat and sipped the tea. After she was positive the pill went down she looked at Morpheus and and chuckled, "We're gonna need all the help we can get."
    "Then we have to go back to the clinic." Morpheus whispered.
    "WHAT?" Pepper-Tea and Valda asked in unison.
    "We have to protect the others. Who knows when Remy will stop?"
    "Well then." L0cke said as he climbed the bed and began to bounce. "What's the plan?"
    "We attend the meetings as usual." Morpheus began. "We act like nothing happened. Like we don't know a thing. If Remy asks then we tell him we took the pill and watched our nightmares unfold. Maybe if he thinks the pill didn't work he'll stop giving them to people. If he doesn't then we'll know. We'll go into the dreams of others and save them."
    "By saving them we'll have to inform them of everything and drag them into this." Valda exclaimed.
    "Exactly!" Morpheus declared.
    L0cke stopped jumping and mulled Morpheus' plan over in his head. With a large grin he said, "You wanna build an army."
    "If that's what it takes." Morpheus continued, "And whether I like it or not it's my job to do whatever it takes."


    As the sun rose Morpheus and Valda began walking to the clinic. "Are you sure about this plan of yours?" Valda asked nervously.
    "Were you sure taking the red pill was a good idea?" Morpheus replied.
    "I had my doubts." She took his hand as they reached the steps of the clinic.
    "I'm having mine now." Morpheus opened the door and they stepped in. They followed the halls until they reached the doors to the meeting hall. With a deep breath they entered.
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    "Good morning!" Dr. Remy said to the two. "Please have a seat." The two sat down cautiously in the circle with the others. "It seems you two have started a new trend with your little dolls." Valda and Morpheus looked at each other curiously. Then they heard someone clear their throat. "Ah! Yes, this is our newest patient. Please, introduce yourself. A boy with silver hair and deep red eyes stood up.
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    Morpheus and Valda jumped in their seats when they saw he had a dream guard. "Hi." The boy said, "I'm Jake. Everyone calls me Bandit. I'd rather just sit down again if that's okay." Dr. Remy smiled and nodded. The boy sat back down. As soon as he did he shot a glance at Morpheus that sent shivers down his spine.
    After the meeting Dr. Remy asked Bandit into his office. Morpheus and Valda watched patiently to see if Bandit would leave with a bottle of pills.
    "Forget him." L0cke said quietly so that only Valda and Morpheus could hear him.
    "L0cke's right." Pepper-Tea agreed at the same volume. "We have to leave."
    Morpheus looked to Valda who asked, "Why? What's going on?" Just then, Bandit left the doctor's office with a bottle in his hand. Dr. Remy followed and looked to Morpheus and Valda. With a smile he casually waved them into his office. With their hearts in their throats the two entered. They sat in chairs in front of Dr. Remy's desk as he sat in the one behind it. Morpheus was shocked to see the window was repaired.
    "How did you two sleep?" The doctor asked taking out his notepad.
    "Great." They lied. The doctor smiled.
    "Wonderful." He jotted something down. "And the nightmares?"
    "Uhm..." Morpheus hadn't planned this part out well enough. "The nightmare?" He thought quickly. "It became a dream. The horse that charged me actually stopped beside me and I rode it."
    "Really?" The doctor seemed intrigued. "And you Valda?"
    "Oh?" Valda copied Morpheus. "Mine became a dream too! I was so scared that I thought the tiger was attacking me. Apparently he was just trying to get the cat treats in my pocket."
    "Interesting." Remy took more notes. "Well continue taking the pills and I'll check with you again in the future. He stood up and walked to the door. As Morpheus and Valda exited the office Morpheus glanced at the doctor's notepad. It was blank.
    As soon as they were outside Valda asked Pepper-Tea what was going on. L0cke spoke up. "Gem2niki." He said cautiously.
    "What?" Valda had never heard such a thing.
    "He's like us." Pepper-Tea added. "A dream guardian."
    "But he's different. He's dark. And he's got a thing for wolves."
    "What are you talking about?" Valda demanded.
    "That boy!" L0cke yelled. "Jake! He is the ward of Gem2niki. Just like you are to Pepper-Tea and Morpheus is to me."
    "If Gem2niki is with him," Pepper-Tea spoke in a sorrowful voice,"Then it's probably a trap."
    "No." Morpheus declared. "I have to risk it." As Morpheus spoke he saw jake turn the corner down the street. "I'm going to talk to him. You're either helping me or not." Morpheus ran down the street after Jake. Valda stood on the steps with L0cke and Pepper-Tea. They watched Morpheus run off. Valda looked at the two dolls who sighed and jumped on Valda's back as she chased after Morpheus.
    Valda turned the corner and spotted Morpheus running down an alley. She followed as fast as she could. When she rounded the corner to the alley she ran into Morpheus and knocked him down. When she looked up Jake was standing there looking at them. He was smiling. It wasn't a cheerful smile. Like the ones you see on friends. It was a wicked, twisted and evil grin. As if they had walked straight into a trap.