Fear is the Thief of Dreams


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Scene Title Fear is the Thief of Dreams
Synopsis An intruder disturbs a house at rest.
Date March 12, 2011

Bay House

Fear has a large shadow, but he himself is small. ~Ruth Gendler

In a house with as many souls in it as the Bay House, it's a given that at some point in the night, someone is awake, tossing or turning, going to the restroom, getting a cup of water, or even in rare cases maybe reading with a flashlight under the covers a comic book or Goosebumps novel. Things go bump in the night on a fairly ordinary basis. It's no cause for alarm, unless someone is crying or something sounds like it's being broken.

Or unless it's the sound of coughing.

A thin and weak sounding cough isn't loud enough to wake anyone deep in the recesses of slumber, but for those who are closer to the surface, the sound may as well be the high-pitched wail of a siren, or the deeper voice of a klaxon for all the alarm it brings. The sound is as dangerous to those in this house as the tinkle of a breaking window at the hand of an intruder.

It comes again — not from the children's room, but down the hall, followed by the soft thud of the bathroom door closing.

Waking would mean sleeping in the first place. Sleep hasn't come easily these last few weeks for one particular resident of the Bay House— not even in its noir unsettled way in which her dreams so often take shape. She dozes, but consciousness is never full left behind. The slightest noise, the faintest movement are capable of drawing her from her slumber. And the sound of coughing? It's enough. Just enough. Solidified further by the thud of the bathroom door.

The blanket is peeled back slowly as Sam's feet touch the wooden floor. A distinct shiver trails down her spine, evidenced in building goosebumps along her arms and legs. The chill in the air is more than it ought to be thanks to the open window in her bedroom. Of course, sleeping in one of Brian's hoodies and a pair of flannel pyjama pants she'd worn in her teen years should, theoretically keep her warm. But some just have a general disposition towards chills.

The cold against her feet is noted as she shuts the window and carefully treads towards her own door. It creaks eerily as she opens it, causing her to cringe. There's little use in waking up the rest of the household. Another step carries her to the hall. Creak. Eerie and disjointed.

She rubs her eyes as she cranes her neck down the hall. Nothing seems too amiss…

It isn't necessarily the flu. It could just be a cold. Or someone who was crying and choked up on mucus. It could be any number of more innocent things. That doesn't mean it doesn't bring Doyle from the depths of sleep to wakefulness in a sudden sharp moment, jerking up from the armchair that he'd fallen asleep in the night before.

"Wh…" then there's another cough, and Eric's hand braces to the arm of the chair, shoving the blanket someone'd thrown over his body off to tumble to the floor as he struggles up to his feet. A sudden dread dawning in the pit of his gut, he steps along out into the hall, glancing over towards Samara as he sees her emerge from the bedroom with a creak of the door's hinges. He tips his head in a serious nod, and then makes his way down the hallway, pausing by the bathroom.

He brings up his hand, rapping against the door lightly with his knuckles. "H-hey," he offers, "Everything okay in there?"

Already awake and looking as though she's without plans for sleeping soon, Koshka has been sitting cross-legged upon her sleeping bag. Cell phone in hand, the resident teenager flips through received calls and texts. A furrowing to her brow displays disagreement for what she's seeing, as though her own musings and theories should be answered and abated on the glowing screen.

Her head comes up in an absent gesture at the sound of coughing. Not quite unusual enough to Koshka to warrant much notice. And almost her attention is returned to the phone when the bathroom door closes. That thud solidifies the sound in her mind, brings about the worry and fears that drew the other Lighthouse kids, and eventually her here. That is not a good sound.

The phone is set upon her pillow before the teenager stands. Still dressed from earlier in the day, sans shoes, she crosses the floor of her room and sticks her head out into the hall. Koshka's eyes find Sam and Doyle in the dark, already attending to the odd noise, and she emerges further, hanging back but watching the two adults.

From behind the bathroom door comes the sound of the medicine cabinet and drawers being pulled open and rummaged through, though the sound stops at the knock.


It's broken a few moments later by the sound of the faucet running and then another cough, clearly stifled and muffled, perhaps by a shirt sleeve.

It's within a matter of moments that Sam is by Doyle's side. Her head turns to face him as she arches an eyebrow. Her teeth toy at her bottom lip as she leans a little closer towards the door. The next cough leaves her more concerned. "Sweetie, are you sick?" it's an assumption easily made as she leans against the door.

A sharp jerk brings Doyle back a half-step from the door, his lower lip worried between his teeth as he stares at the door in open concern - and maybe a little bit of fear. He looks to Samara, then the door, asking a little louder, "Who is it in there…?"

A couple of steps carry Koshka closer to the door. Still not near enough to truly be underfoot and in the way. The further coughing draws a more worried look, brows drawing upward with concern.

"Go away!" is hissed toward the door by the bathroom's occupant, and the water is turned off a moment later. The rustle of plastic wrap can be heard, and then a small gasp of pain followed by a wet and tragic little sniffle.

So close to the bathroom door, Doyle will notice a slight smear of blood on the door jam, and another on the door knob.

"I'm not sick!" is added in a defiant tone. It doesn't sound like any of "their" kids, but it's hard to tell, given the hiss and whisper through the door.

Like Doyle, Sami's emotions shift from concern to something different. The goosebumps that had been caused by cold reform. This time as a very different response. She shudders again, that pang of unsettledness turning into something more disconcerting. "We want to help— " her voice falters, squeaking around the last word.

"Uh." Eric stares at the door for a moment, then slants a look to Samara and hisses, "Sami, that's… I don't think that's one of oru kids…" A pause, and he waves at the wall near the door, "Can you— can you do your, you know, thing?"

That extra step closer is given serious reconsideration, Koshka's concern being replaced with a markedly guarded expression. Something isn't right, she can tell that, too. Her arms fold defensively over her chest and instead of Sam and Doyle, she watches the door.

"Don't come in here! Go back to bed!" the small voice gets louder, but it's followed by a coughing fit from the sudden increase in effort and air. There is more rattling, more drawers being opened and closed, and then small footfalls across the few feet of tile, descending in volume as they flee from the door.

A moment later, there is a tiny grunt and a rattle of glass. The window latch is frozen in place from rust and want of use — there's no way out for their visitor.

"Right… I'll be a minute…" Sam glances to the door and then back to Doyle. Quite thoughtlessly, she takes a deep breath before transforming into a million little pieces, becoming incorporeal, and enabling her to walk through the door, turning whole on the other side.

There's a tentativeness in her demeanour as she reappears, her hands held out openly in front of her, showing she means no harm. "Hi… " it's equally tentative.

"Stay back, Kosh," Eric says in quiet cautioning, one hand lifting a bit to ward the girl off, regarding the door with an expression of worry as Samara phases through it.

"Who's in there," Koshka asks in equally quiet tones. She makes no move to get further, still watching the door. She might well be waiting for it to explode, or worse. The worried wariness increases when Sam phases through the door and a whispered, "Be careful," is offered.

At the window is the forlorn little figure that Samara has seen just glimpses of — back turned, it's still hard to tell if it's a boy or a girl. The jeans are dirty, the shoes worn and caked in mud from the wet outside; a nondescript and grimy gray hoodie covers the child's head, that comes just to the ledge of the window he or she is desperately trying to open.

Gauze trails down from the child's hand, interrupted in his or her efforts to self-administer some kind of first aid. The counter is covered with gauze, a bottle of Bactine, bandaids, and a bottle of cough medicine. Blood smears the handle of the faucet and there are some drops of blood near the commode by the door.

The child turns, wide blue eyes staring up at Samara. "I told you to leave me alone," he or she says, another sniffle and a swipe of sleeve across a grimy pale face. "You don't want me near you anyway. I just came to wash."

"Eric— I think it's okay if…" Slowly, Sami twists around to open the door for those outside. Following which, Sam takes a slow single step towards the child. Her eyebrows knit together tightly with concern as she looks to the faucet. "Let me help you… I can.. bandage it better.." she offers quietly as she grasps the gauze.

There's slow caution in her approach while her hands remain easily in front of her. "I know you don't think so, but I want to help you." There's a pause as she glances at the cough syrup, "Are you… okay? What happened to your hand?"

Once the door's been pushed open, Eric takes hold of it to pull it further open - although he's keeping his bulk between the stranger and Koshka as he steps just into view, lingering in the doorway as he regards the stranger with a furrowing of his brow. "Are you… sick?" It's a hesitant question, his hand upraised a bit as if uncertain if he should use his power.

Now that the door's been opened, Koshka shakes her head to slog beyond whatever unpleasantness has made her not want to approach further. Against the advice of her elders, she does take a couple of steps closer to the door, stretching onto her toes for a better, still cautious look around Eric.

The child backs up as much as possible, to the corner by the window, blue eyes huge in its face as it stares at the three bigger people. "I cut it on a fence," he or she whispers, glancing down at the injured hand, the blood seeping through the thin layer of gauze, the rest trailing down to the floor, getting muddy where a muddy boot steps on it.

Those pale eyes flicker to Eric's raised hand and the child's lips press together, brows furrowing. "Don't hurt me. I didn't do anything to you! You came and took my place. I just came for some bandaids and stuff." The husky whisper is fierce in tone though the fearful expression doesn't do much to back it up.

The fear that the three Ferrymen feel surging within them does, however.

"I don't need your help!" the child says to Samara. "Just let me go and I won't bother you anymore. No one wants me around anyway."

The fear leaves a hollow feeling in the pit of Samara's stomach. A single hand trails to her midsection, holding it as she takes a deep breath. Her eyes tear slightly against the growing fear— a distinct feeling that's easily grown. But not crippling. Not yet, anyways. "I know you don't need it," she replies quietly as she blinks fiercely amidst a flutter of eyelashes lining her hazel eyes.

"We're not keeping you here," she almost soothes— with the exception of another squeak at the end of the sentence. "But we want to help you…" she reiterates quietly. "Let me… let me wash your clothes. We can get you a fresh change.. and have a shower… and we'll bandage your hand. Please.. we want.." the fear washes anew again, causing her hand to clamp tighter against her stomach. "The candy. You took the candy. We want to be friends."

"We're not going to hurt you," Eric says — edging back a little bit, ending up nudging into Koshka. He slants a look back to her, frowning, and then he looks back to the kid that's snuck into the house. He lowers his hand a bit, grimacing, "We protect kids here, uh… kid. Look, we're just as much alone as you are, aside from each other. Relax."

Swallowing against the fear doesn't do much to alleviate it, though Koshka tries anyway. She lets out a breath and takes another step or two forward, enough to allow for her head to poke into the bathroom behind Doyle. Her own anxiety at getting closer, going against instinct is plain, though she tries to cover it with a hopeful grin, something that hopefully shows that she's just a kid too. "What… um… I'm Koshka."

The child looks at Samara, looking almost tempted by her offer, but then those blue eyes snap over to Doyle and its head shakes again, dirty dark hair falling out from the hood across the pale and grimy face. "You'll just leave me like everyone else," he or she whispers.

A step is taken forward and then another. The hand not wrapped in gauze snakes out to grab the bandaids and the cough syrup bottle on the counter, before another tentative step is taken. The closer the child nears them, the stronger the feelings of suspicion and fear grow in each.

Giving Samara a wide berth, the little figure suddenly darts forward, ducking to try to escape through the small space between Koshka and the door frame.

"We won't leave, we don't do that.. you can stay…" Sami's blinking worsens. Her hand presses tighter around her stomach as that uneasy feeling takes root inside her. "Please. We're not— we're not— " the suspicion and uneasiness are too easy to give into. With the events of the last few weeks, and the uneasy feeling she's had in her own skin, she begins to sink downwards. "You can't leave while it's still bleeding— " she objects quietly. A single tear cuts down her cheek.

Her sleeve is tugged across her face, leaving nothing but traces of salt and the tight feeling along her face. "I'm Sam…" she squeaks behind her sleeve again.

Oh, yeah, that's not happening. Let a possibly sick person in contact with one of his wards? Not over Eric's dead body. The puppet-master's hand raises again as the kid begins to approach them, jaw clenching against the dread that in any other situation would have him getting the hell out of dodge, lifting to twine the unseen strings of his ability around the dirty street kid's limbs in a jerk to bring him up short - and, more importantly, trying to find the part of his mind that controls whatever emotive projection ability he has to turn it off.

"Stop," he says, flatly, "You're not going anyway just yet, kiddo."

Make that two people reacting. Koshka's no stranger to fear, but she's no stranger to quick movements and dodgey people either. An abused childhood and her own time on the streets has made her quick on her feet and when the kid moves to escape through the doorway, so she moves to block the doorway. It comes with a cringe and a flailing akin to don't hit me. "Just… wait. I… there's more candy!"

The child comes short of colliding with Koshka due to Doyle's ability; the grimy face contorts with both fury and fear. "I don't want any candy, I just want to leave!" he or she rasps out, twin tears running down cheeks smudged with both blood and dirt. Small hands ball into fists of helplessness and the blue eyes turn to focus on Doyle.

The items picked up from the bathroom counter are dropped. "There's your stuff. I'm s-sorry I took it. You can let me go now." The last is lilted up into a question — as if they're keeping the child there because of petty theft.

"Please… just.." Sam turns to face Doyle, the pained expression wearing heavier than she intends. Her gaze returns to the child. "Just… please.. take a breath. I don't care about the stuff. I'm worried about you. Please. Clean clothes. Shower. Food. We'll— we'll—" the emotions are distracting enough to interrupt her thoughts.

The utter and complete hopelessness that filters through her consciousness actually has Sami leaning against the opposite wall to slide down to a sit on the bathroom floor. She sniffles loudly while the tears cut down her cheeks. Again, the sleeves are raised, rubbing frantically at her paling skin.

And then, recognizing a means to put her feelings away, she clears her throat. The song is broken, cracked, and dry along her lips, but it's there just the same, "You are my sunshine~ My only sunshine~ You make me happy when skies are grey~ You'll never know dear how much I love you~ Please don't take my sunshine away~"

Once the kid seems about to back off, Doyle releases him; he's not trying to scare him (or her) but he's probably failing at that task right about now. Still, he's succeeded in keeping Koshka safe for the moment, and that's the primary goal. "Just… just relax," he says, hands raising a little, "Look, we're all— we're all evolved here, right?" A faint smile, "Nobody wants to hurt anybody."

Still keeping herself in the doorway, Koshka sinks into a crouch. Her arms come around her chest once again, half hugging, half defending herself. She watches the kid, concern and anxiety both writ throughout her features. "We… we're a family here and… the other kids here are… we could use another one in the house. Another kid to play with."

Blue eyes dart from one face to another, and the child coughs weakly. There isn't the deep congestion that would suggest a flu, nor any blood that comes up. Samara's singing gets a wide-eyed look, and he shakes his head. "You don't want me," the child says fiercely again to Koshka when she suggests another friend to play with. "No one does. Everyone leaves. I'm not someone people want. Not in their family, 'specially."

Another tear slides down the grimy cheek. "I don't make nobody happy," is whispered, and arms come up to wrap around the too-thin frame.

Koshka is actually given a weak smile from Sam amongst her now drying tears, but the child's tears have their effect. Palms press into the floor, bringing Sam to a stand position. As the feelings permeate, the smile fades, weakening into something forced, pained, broken, even. "We want you here," she whispers as yet another tear rolls down her face. "Please. Stay." Her barefooted steps drive her towards the child, her arms opening towards him or her to envelope him or her into a hug if he or she will have it.

The realization that the child doesn't have the flu goes a long way towards relieving Doyle's worries, and he brings his hand up to rub over the nape of his neck. "Most've us weren't wanted by anyone, kiddo," he says quietly, "God knows I wasn't. That's why we're here. Just… give us a chance, huh? I mean—" A wry half-smile, "I don't want to see you running around out there bleeding or anything…"

"You are kind've ugly," Koshka puts in. It's meant to be teasing, the uneasy feelings making the jest a little strained. "But so are the other kids. And we like them just fine. And…" She pauses to shrug slightly, trying to allay any bad feelings. "I wasn't wanted either, 'til I met Sam and… everyone here."

Feet the child didn't know were freed suddenly take a step back when Samara moves forward. "You don't understand," is whispered. "Bad things happen because of me. People say things, promise things, like they love you and that it doesn't matter but it does, it does matter."

More fat tears roll down dirty cheeks and another step is taken, this one forward, ducking between Koshka and Samara and making for the hallway and the trapdoor. "I don't want you to die," gets thrown over the child's shoulder, "even if you took my place."

The door in the floor is pulled up and down into the hole the child disappears again.

Koshka flinches when the kid suddenly bolts her direction, a startled cry escaping. But when he, or she, passes without incident the teenager turns to make a grab for a fleeing ankle. Only too late, her hands grab nothing but air.

Pushing off the floor, the girl takes off after the younger kid. The ladder leading into the tunnel is passed up for simply dropping onto the tunnel flooring. Unconcerned for her lack of coat or shoes, Koshka keeps up the chase, calling after the kid and pleading for him, or her, to come back. "Wait! Please… it… we want you to stay! Really!"

"Koshka— " Sami calls as she traipses after the teen. She was settled on letting the poor kid retreat. But as Koshka takes to the trapdoor, the phaser takes a much quicker route. Her hands are crossed over her chest and her eyes are closed like some kid about to trail down a waterslide. With the thought, she becomes incorporeal, shifting through the floor and becoming solid again inside the cellar.

"Whoa— Koshka, wait— !" Doyle turns as the pair dart past him, his hand half-raising but he doesn't actually reach out with his power at all, "Hey! It's dangerous!"

The kid is fast despite the injury and illness, and scurrying just out of Koshka's reach when she jumps rather than climbs down the ladder. "Go away! Leave me alone!"

Small feet pound the stone underfoot as the child tries to put more distance between himself and his pursuers, but it's just a matter of time — shorter legs, no matter how speedy, can't outrun Koshka's or Samara's, and there's no where really to hide in the long stretch of tunnel.

The fear in both Koshka and Samara swells until it is overwhelming; Doyle's shout from above that it's "dangerous" seems only too sage of advice. The dark tunnel seems darker and more foreboding than it ever has, every shadow cast more ominous, the aperture down at the far end a place that should be avoided at all costs. The light from the trapdoor above seems warm and welcoming, a beacon of refuge.

There are monsters enough in the world without chasing one down by choice.

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