When Good Dreams Go Bad

Seth has a terrible nightmare. Ariel blunders into it and is forced to help him resolve it.

Date: 2016-10-22
Pose Count: 23
Seth Locke 2016-10-22 21:20:35 58544

Dispite the fact that Tokyo is a beacon in the night, the fact remains that in the dead of night, many people find themselves sleeping in the comfort of their beds. Such is the case of Seth, who after some good fifteen minutes after having lied down, he finally clsoed his eyes.

And began to dream.

It's a slow start, really; having just woken up on a sunny morning - one might even think he just woke up to another life entirely -, he finds himself listening to the playful laughters of children. He smiles, and changes into his casual dress, proceeding outside the room, and into the hallway, and the kitchen. The sound of a woman, singing, in the yard.
Ariel Theodore 2016-10-22 21:39:18 58546
    Those who are born of dreams can wander them as easily as walking down a city street. The issue with that is, sometimes, that it can be a little too easy. Wandering can lead to strange places, and strange places might not always be as nice as they appear.
    It's a sunny morning, the grass smells freshly clipped and children are playing outside. And there is a unicorn in the kitchen. Or, that is to say, there is a small, horned, girl there with her utterly massive dog. Lucky is already nosing curiously inside the fridge swishing his tail, but Ariel herself stands stock still, floppy goat-like ears perked right up and listening to that singing.
Seth Locke 2016-10-22 22:17:02 58548
Now, Seth enters the kitchen, and he finds the Unicorn girl. He stops as he looks at her, eyes lingering upon her for a moment; something is wrong here, something he can't quite put his finger on. He's in a dream, dictated by his subconscious mind; is it any wonder that Ariel and her dog are viewed as a foreign element, the rogue line that messes up the painting so perfectly weaved by his mind?

However, the pull of this dream is greater than his will to linger in the aspects of the painting, for the message to be conveyed is strong. The sound of the woman singing is heard again, where through the window to the yard, you can see her: beautiful, graceful, the concept of 'ideal' and 'love' are personified in that feamale form, which hangs the matresses and laundry to dry in the sun.

He steps into the yard, where two children come into view, playing. They stop when they see their daddy coming into view, and run to him. Hugs all around, and they ask him to play with them. He says he'll join them shortly, and walks to his wife. There are smiles when and a gentle hug from behind takes place, and trivial family matters get exchanged.

Seems like a nice dream so far, right?
Ariel Theodore 2016-10-22 22:26:07 58549
    Enter the dreamer. Lucky is masssive, the hound easily up to a grown man's waist or higher. Which means once he sets his mind to something, it's not quite Easy for a tiny girl like Ariel to deter him, if he feels like doing it anyway. This is why when Seth enters the kitchen, the little unicorn is bleating, tugging Lucky by scruffy fur to try and keep him OUT of the fridge he has somehow managed to open.
    When Seth does enter, the two go as silent as a stone, stock still and staring like a pair of deer caught in headlights. Maybe, if they stand perfectly still, he just might not see them? Sadly this attempt at lampshading their presence fails miserably. There's no way they could not have been noticed.
    Pale lips tug into an awkward little smile as Ariel finally manages to tug her hound back and close the fridge, returning to trying to be as unovtrusive as possible and not stick out like the pair of sore thumbs they are.
    It is the events outside the window that do draw her next. Though Ariel sighs a heavy sigh of relief when Seth just goes to the yard, the pair make for the window. She has to climb on Lucky's back to see through it properly, watching raptly.
Seth Locke 2016-10-22 22:58:57 58553
As husband and wife embrace, they spin on their feet, like two dancesr dancing to a slow song. And this leaves the husband - Seth - facing a shrine, unnoticed until that moment because it was covered with vines and grass. It's dusty, and the details can't be made out.

"Wait...", he says. "What's that?"

The wife turns he head to see it, but doesn't otherside say anything.

He approaches, curious, "Was this even here...?"

The wife has stopped moving, just staring at the exchange between husband and object.

"Who does this belong to...?", he asks. But something tells him he might already know.

"If you're so interested in finding out, maybe you should clean it", the wife suggests. Now, shes joined by their sons, who all stare at him in a silent unison.

The husband does so; first, the grass and moss, which comes off slowly, dirtying the man's clothes and hands, and feet. Then faster, the vines, which bite into his flesh.

Perhaps an hour later by dream-time standards, the shrine is revealed; it is a burial shrine, with dedications and honors to a person, a man. The husband falls to the ground, dragging himself away from the shrine in disbelief, all the warning signs flaring out in his head as he reads the message dedicated:

To the memory of:


who died too young to leave his mark on the world

The man - now, not a man, but a young man on his way into adulthood - simply can't take it! He screams in panic. And all round, the setting changes to a decayed red. The images of his wife and children darken and fade into shadows and then nothing.

And the tornado-like winds of nightmares blow in full force!!
Ariel Theodore 2016-10-22 23:16:47 58554
    The girl and dog watch in silence. Staring as the events unfold before them like a painfully bad drama. But Ariel doesn't watch enough television to see the reveal coming. The shift in atmosphere is pointed, like a thorn painfully embedding in the heart as a happy embrace turns into curious horror. She bites on her lip, suddenly unsure, herself, if she wants to know what is inscribed on the overgrown shrine.
    Curiosity wins over caution as the tiny girl gives her canine steed a gentle nudge of one heel and Lucky pads away fro mthe window and out through the door, int othe yard. Though they keep their distance, still, as Seth works away at the years of aged growth. And is hit with that dark reveal.
    It is not Ariel's nightmare. But from the way she cringes, and how the dog's hackles rise, the two know their way around nightmares well enough, as the family figures fade and the atmosphere changes with an emotional viciousness.
    Her voice is like a tiny silver bell in the darkness; as a small hand reaches to tug on Seth by the shirt. "Who is that?"
    She means the name.
Seth Locke 2016-10-22 23:34:54 58555
"I-It... It's me...", Seth replies, as his conscious mind faces the realization.

The earth splits open where the shrine is, and this one is engulfed, in turn rising a coffin from the ground. This one splits open, to reveal nothing but emptiness inside...

And a gusp of wind that starts sucking away objects in his nearby vicinity - namely, the american boy.

"HEEEEELLLLLP!!", he screams.
Ariel Theodore 2016-10-22 23:51:44 58557
    It's him.
    That explains the horror in one succinct, enlightening statement. Seth says everything he needs to, then and there, before the nightare worsens. The coffin rises, and seeks to suck him in--
    "Hold on!"
    Taht voice, still so very small and tiny in the gale calls out anyway. Ariel's horn shimmers; flickering with a butterfly light as her desire to protect kicks in. In her hands the beginnings of a rope starts to form. Woven from the very gossamer stuff dreams are made of and rapidly extending. She hops off her dog, giving him one end, and Lucky plants his paws in the ground, using his weight was an anchor.
    The other end, she throws to Seth.
    "Th- this is your dream." She explains amid the terror. "I'll do what I can, but you're the only one who can really help yourself."
Seth Locke 2016-10-23 00:13:30 58560
The boy grabs onto the rope, and as a result he goes hanging mid-air, just a couple of yards from being sucked away into the nothingness of the open coffin.

Even worse, out of this nothingness, a form creeps out, a woman, her face pale and demonic, not unlike a youma, the eyes with glowing slitted irises. Wails and roars can be heard coming from it, but when it speaks, it's like a sweet motherly voice.

"Seth... Come to me, sweetie!"

The strength of the pull deepens, and the very figure of Seth, it's like he's going back further and further in age.

"Just... a... dream...?", he wonders as he looks at the unicorn girl. He's now looking like he's 6 years old - back when it all started for him. "Just... a dream..."

And maybe it's this realization that allows him to bring back something he couldn't before, or maybe this is something entirely new, even for him. But, a light materializes over his back, and grows. First just a light, then a humanoid figure, then a female form, then the reverse of that figure coming out of the coffin - an angelic figure, made of light. It grabs hold to young Seth, and takes him into her arms.
Ariel Theodore 2016-10-23 00:35:39 58562
    The new figure emerging from the coffin earns a bleat. The terrible nightmare figure shaking the smalle girl; she nearly loses her grip on the rope. But a sharp tug from Lucky bolsters Ariel's resolve. She can't let this Nightmare have Seth.
    What she would give right now to have Seishi or Yuzuki here; but right now she has to handle this on her own. And she can only do so little.
    "Don't go to her!" Ariel squeaks, digging her heels into the ground and tugging in unison with her canine steed. "Yes! It's just a dream... It's playing on what you're afraid of and you need to fight it." She answers to the now child-like youth. "--Like that!" Confirmed at the angelic figure spawned by his subconcious. "If you believe she can save you, then she will."
    In the meantime, Ariel and Lucky are going to hold onto that rope. But at this rate, they will lose ground. Badly.
Seth Locke 2016-10-23 00:47:32 58563
The angelic figure, now having grabbed hold onto Seth, like a mother grabs her child, she just glides on over to the ground, back turned towards the monster, as if to shield him from being sucked, or from any lashing out the coffin-creature might engage on. She looks at Ariel, offering her a sort of nod, and stretching up.

Seth looks at the angelic figure in white, and an immediate hug is given to her, "MOMMY!"

He looks at the strange element hin his nightmare, the unicorn girl, "W-Who are you?"
Ariel Theodore 2016-10-23 01:09:06 58565
    Even with this new figure holding Seth and keeping the darkness at bay, Ariel and Lucky hold on to their rope. But Ariel falters. There is a cringe- a slight jolt when Seth calls out to his mother, a strange pang shaking the small girl. But she rallies. And while the angelic mother keeps Seth safe, the unicorn's horn glows again.
    Once again she weaves the gossamer dreamstuff all around her into a large shovel- a massive one really- one that tries to slam the coffin shut; and start heaping dirt on it, if it works. It is a temporary solution. To try and bury the Nightmare; little more than a stopgap until it and its source can be eliminated. But it is the fastest thing she can think of while heaving a heavy breath. "Ah..."
    Who is she?
    Ariel stares at Seth almost owlishly for a beat. "U-um! Aheh... Heh..." This is a little awkward, but that doesn't dampen her overlymuch. "I'm Ariel. And this is Lucky."
    'This', being the golden glowing dog the size of a small pony.
Seth Locke 2016-10-23 01:35:01 58568
The coffin-creature sees that shovel coming down to dig dirt on it, and it fights on to avoid being buried, by starting to float in mid air. Then, all of a sudden, the wood that its made of cracks and splits, and desintegrates, revealing the full form of the Dark Mother. It hisses at Ariel's attempt to bury it, and fights back by swinging her arm, creating a jetstream strong enough to wipe away the house, and possibly even the giant sword. <<I WANT MY CHILD! YOU CANNOT KEEP MY CHILD FROM ME!>>

"And I am my son's dream", the angelic mother makes her introduction. "I live in my own son, and I come to him when he's upset."

She kneels before him, his face looking at her like deer in headlights. "I know it's scary, but you must be strong." She directs him towards the coffin-creature. "Look at her. Don't be afraid."

Seth looks on, biting back the fear that goes through his mind.

"Good", the Light Mother smiles. "Now, go to her. Be strong; I know you are strong, I know you can defeat her. Just believe in yourself, and face your fear."

And the child begins to walk - yes, walk, not dragged in the direction of the creature -, extending arms out to the fiendish creature.
Ariel Theodore 2016-10-23 01:53:25 58570
    Bleat bleat bleat!
    It's a definite sound of panic as the coffin resists burial, forcing Ariel to retreat VERY fast. Now SHE's the one desperately holding onto the rope to not be blown away and not the other way around.
    But it seemed all she had to do was plant that seed. The dream can now play out on its own as she hastily ties her end of the rope around her waist.
    "Listen to her." She calls to Seth. "Just believe it. It's your dream. It will come true." Stated gentle, but urgingly in the chaos and winds.
Seth Locke 2016-10-23 02:26:01 58574
As young Seth approaches the Dark Mother, she lowers herself off to the ground, and with a gesture from her hand, he's being raised up to meet her face-to-face.

Pale, beautiful, with a hair that looks like tar, and fuming a black miasma, this creature smiles a hiss with a forked black tongue, which she vibrates in front of him - as if she's tasting something. Seth squints his eyes in disgust.

She clenches onto one of his shoulders with a hand and, with the other, she jabs a long claw into his chest, making him shudder and squirm in pain. <<We'll be together, my son.>>, she says in antecipation. <<Forever, and ever.>>

All seems lost as the boy's body stops squirming. But then...

Seth's hands relax, while calm washes over him. Tears are streaming down his face, but they're not of pain. No, they're of /love/. A young child's love for her mother.

Collecting his strength, the boy reaches both hands to touch the creature's face, which seems surprised by the peace of mind the child is immersed in.

"I love you, mommy."

'I love you, mommy'. That has a devastating effect upon the creature, who staggers back, dropping the child free-falling towards the ground. No, not the child, but the young man.

The creature acts violently, as if in pain, as if something inside tears it apart...
Ariel Theodore 2016-10-23 02:44:16 58577
    There it is. Ariel told him all he had to do was believe. Seth performs admirably. Where many would flee and cower and run from their worst nightmares, he approaches it. He faces her. He says those all too powerful words that no evil and no pain can defeat.
    There is little for Ariel to do here, now putting her arms around Lucky; holding on in the even of any further backlash from the nightmare after Seth strikes a blow more powerful than any weapon.
    "... Tell her again." The unicorn prompts, quietly.
Seth Locke 2016-10-23 03:09:01 58579
The creature falls to the ground and tries to drag itself away from its would-be poisoner. As it does this, the signs that it's form is starting to crumble become evident.

He looks at Ariel, the same look he gave her originally, "No... I'll do more than that."

Walking towards the creature, who frantically tries to push him away, he lifts it up, and gives it one big hug. "I never hated you, mom. Not for one second."

The creature stops, as if what he just said had nullified its reason for being. There's a gasp from it, as it finally collapses into a heap of dissolving miasma.

The nightmarish landscape fades; all is back to normal, except for the extra characters in the dream, who were just a figment of his mind - it seems like Seth will awake soon...
Ariel Theodore 2016-10-23 03:19:24 58581
    Do more?
    Topaz eyes look on. Though there is no overt violence occurring, the Nightmare's reactions to such simple words make Ariel cringe amyway. But she knows it's for the best. She doesn't interfere. No, if anything, once she hears what weapon Seth chooses next, the tiny unicorn is smiling by the time it is rendered to nothing more than fading gossamer and the nightmare... Turns back into a dream.
    Ariel is once again on Lucky's back now. It's getting close to time for the two to leave.
    "Better?" She asks very simply once the ordeal is over.
Seth Locke 2016-10-24 13:26:22 58679
Seth looks to the Unicorn girl, eyes looking around at the setting. "I would believe so, yes." He glances around some more; the Light Mother has faded, and the sound of a background, you can hear the happy laughter of children, and faint silhouettes of a mother playing with their children. "This is all a dream..."
Ariel Theodore 2016-10-24 13:28:54 58680
    Ariel's shoulders sag as she heaves a small sigh of relief. With the battle of dark and light drawn to a close and the nightmare fended off, she starts to relax. But wow that was harrowing.
    "Yes," She replies after a beat, tail flicking behind her. "It's a dream, and you're probably going to wake up soon." Added to the explanation fairly simply.
Seth Locke 2016-10-24 14:03:49 58681
Seth Locke looks at the setting that's changing, the 'life' he was living now nothing more than a backdrop. He huhs, "Interesting..." He extends his hand out to the setting, now looking like a screen where some movie is played out. "Makes sense. In your own mind, you're the projectionist of your own movie, edited out of thoughts, desires, and concerns. You just can never be sure what's going to be in exhibition." His lips quirk upwards in a faint smile...

...And the setting changes to a deserted beach in late afternoon. He towards the horizon, and takes a deep breath. And, as if to count the seconds, the sound of a beating heart is heard, like clockwork.
Ariel Theodore 2016-10-24 14:34:09 58682
    Once the whole... Issue is resolved, that just leaves Seth to wake up on his own time. Until then, Ariel takes a step back, folding her hands behind her back, while Lucky plops down on his hind quarters. "Something like that." she replies "Dreams can be a lot of things and mean even more, but your dreams are your own, so."
    So she should probably be taking her exit.
    "If you'd like, I could come back, in case this keeps happening. Um. I know someone else who can help too, but I'll just let you enjoy the rest of this dream, now." A little bow from the unicorn girl, and a lift of one paw from the dog seems to be their goodbye, attempting to be as unobtrusive as possible as Seth wanders towards the horizon.
Seth Locke 2016-10-24 14:50:00 58683
"How will I...?"

The dream fades there and then.

"...reach you?", finishes the young man, now back in the physical world. He rises on his bed, examining his surroundings. Nothing, with the exception of his bedroom.

He looks down, towards his chest, the place where a scar of corrupted love was left, ten years ago. And a whisper escapes his lips:

"Was this real...?"