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The Seven vs the Sleep Demon

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The Seven vs the Sleep Demon

Post by racesgirl2000 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 3:57 pm

It was so dark. All Stacey McCabe could make out through the darkness was the network of copper pipes as she ran down the catwalks of some old boiler room. She had no idea where she was, or even how she got there; all she knew was that she needed to get away. But get away from what exactly? If only she could find her way through this labyrinth of pipes. Behind her came a sharp screeching sound like something sharp scratching against metal sounding like nails on a chalkboard. She quickened her pace and ran and ran until she came to a dead end.


She spun around as she heard a voice calling her name, so distant it sounded like a whisper but saw no one there.

"Stacey." the voice whispered now right beside her head.

A hand grabbed her shoulder and her eyes finally opened awakening to the sight of being back in Maison Andre. It seemed the smell of nail polish had put her to sleep once again.

Every other one of her co-workers were rising from their seats and leaving; class had already ended. Stacey looked over to see that the hand on her shoulder belonged to her friend and mentor Vicki Welch.

"You fell asleep again." Vicki told Stacey with a small smile on her face, one that showed him trying her best not to laugh at her.

"Thank you, Captain Obvious," she responded rolling her eyes at his continued ability to point out the obvious. "I'm just glad I get to see Joe and you get to see Oz later," she then said as she pulled the strap of her backpack over her shoulder. "Not to mention the last day of the week."

"Oh Stacey." Vicki chucked.

Stacey scooped her leather jacket and backpack up from the coat rack and joined Vicki as they both exited the salon. Most people knew Stacey was always a rather introverted kind of girl always letting her long curly red fall over her face hiding her from view. She wasn't the sort of girl who avoided being around people and did her best to just blend in. For some reason, men the same age as her older brother Jason just made her really nervous but her boyfriend of 2 years Joe Barton was the only exception.

Joe was a genuinely great guy as sweet as they come, a regular boy-next-door to her tough girl. He was also as geeky as they come too. Every day, he would dress in preppy pastel-colored polo shirts he always had tucked into his cargo pants and loafers on his feet, his socks always folded neatly over his ankles, his short dark hair always gelled and combed nice and neat and a an American varsity jacket originally from his cousin Ben.

As good as he was with keeping a neat wardrobe, he was even better with his schoolwork. This, came in handy for Stacey during class since she was hardly an A-student herself. Because of this and because of his non-threatening good natured personality, they both ended up becoming good friends over the school year. As she finally saw Joe, Stacey's mouth involuntarily widened in a yawn.

"Was work really that boring today?" asked Joe buttoning his jacket up.

"Aye, man," Stacey answered in an almost matter-of-fact tone as they both made their way home. "But it doesn't help that I've already got trouble sleeping at night. Nightmares."

"Boogeyman trying to get you?" Joe teased tickling her ear. Stacey rolled her eyes and brushed his hand away.

"No," she said shrugging her shoulders. "I don't know."

The two walked away fro the building site which was due to become a shopping centre with the herd of a thousand or so other construction workers bustling through all eager to leave so they could get to their weekend festivities. Stacey was luck that her house was actually only about a ten block distance from the site which made a bike ride of only a couple minutes to and from it. When she arrived, the garage door was wide open as it usually was when Stacey came home with Jason's Porsche parked inside it next to their stepfather Eddie McCabe's grey Volvo which he owned since before he met their mother Dr Rose McCabe and refused to have traded in.

As Stacey cruised up the driveway and rolled her bike into the garage, she could hear her brother and stepfather's voices shouting angrily from inside.

Oh no, what is it now? she wondered.

She quietly stepped into the house closing the door behind her and tip-toed into the kitchen from where she heard her brother and stepfather's voices.

"Don't you give me that bollocks! We agreed that you'd be taking your sister on weekends!" shouted Eddie.

Stacey peeked around the door frame and saw Eddie and Jason. Eddie's back was turned to her as he continued to shout at Jason slamming his fist against the counter.

"You're the stepparent, you've got responsibilities!" Jason shouted back.

Even from her distance, Stacey could hear Eddie yelling back "Stacey's your sister, Jason! You owe it to me and you owe it to her after everything she was put through!"

It was then that Jason finally growled through snarled teeth "I hope you burn in hell, you selfish bastard!"

Jason then stormed upstairs barging past Stacey and her friend Leonard 'Oz' Osborne. He then looked up and saw Stacey and Oz standing there, a look of concern in their eyes and his color cooled.

"Sorry about that, sis," Jason sighed. "That wasn't something that I wanted you to hear."

"What was that all about?" Stacey asked.

"Eddie's claiming that I'ma bad older brother," Jason grumbled through his teeth. "Apparently," he spat. "You and Lisa aren't going to be able to go stay with me this weekend."

Stacey rolled her eyes let out an irritated sigh and tossed her backpack down, the bag sliding across the tile floor until it hit one of the chairs pushed against the dining table. It wasn't the first time this had happened. Jason walked up to her and pulled her into a hug.

"I'm sorry, Jason man." Oz said as Jason pulled back so he and Stacey were arm's length apart and looked down at her with a sympathetic smile. He started to push a stray hair out of her face but she shook her head away.

"Oz," Stacey protested. "You know and I know I hate that!"

"You've got such a pretty face though," Jason said as their mother entered the house. "I don't understand why you don't let people see it more often."

Stacey merely shrugged and both brother and sister shared a light laugh. At that moment, the phone rang and Rose answered it while Stacey went over to the fridge and looked inside for something to eat. She reached into the cardboard box of leftover Hawaiian pizza and bit into a cold slice when her brother walked back in.

"Bad news," Jason said. "Barbara Roman just called. Her poodle's sick and I need to go out there. I may be gone for a while. Will you be okay with the others tonight?"

Stacey nodded her head. "Aye, Jase."

Jason typically was off vet duty by the time school was out for both his sisters though most times, he would have to stay on patrol or go back out when crime struck again. Times like now.

"Do you remember the security code?" asked Oz for Jason.

"Aye, Oz man," she answered rolling her eyes. "Like the back of my hand."

Her mother was so paranoid over her safety ever since meeting her biological father Ally Fraser. As both she and Jason grew up with their mother, Dr McCabe had a deadbolt and chain lock put in both the front and back door plus a security system. To make the house even more secure, she had iron bars installed on every window on both floors making the house into a suburban fortress.

"Alright," Jason said walking up to her and kissing her on the forehead. "I love you, sis."

"I love you too, bro. Bye, Oz."

With that, both Oz and Jason walked out the front door, Jason locking it behind him. Stacey secured the deadbolt and chain from habit before she typed in the security code into the keypad by the door. The device sounded a beep with each digit then a series of multiple beeps signaling it was secure.

As both Rose and Eddie went out for the evening, both she and Lisa walked into the living room and parked on the couch turning on the TV and flipping through channels while munching on their pizza. Stacey and Lisa both spent the next half-hour or so watching TV feeling bored out of their skulls. Stacey couldn't believe she was stuck with Lisa for who knows how long. She then walked over to the phone and dialed a number. Her foot tapped impatiently against the leg of the coffee table as it rang. Her thumb of her free hand picked at the remainder of the nail polish on her fingers. It was time for a fresh layer.

After about four rings, the line finally picked up.

"Hello?" that friendly voice answered.

"Hey, Joe." Stacey sighed.

"Hey, Stacey," Joe said, his voice going a pitch higher. "What's going on?"

"Nothing. Nothing at all. I was supposed to be round Jason's this weekend and both me mam and stepdad are gone probably for, like, the next few hours. I'm just sitting here watching TV with Lisa bored as hell." Stacey told her boyfriend of 2 years.

"Well, that doesn't sound fun. But I thought you stayed weekends with Jason." said Joe.

"I do," Stacey said bitterly. "But he can't take me this weekend. So I was calling 'cause..." She took in a deep breath and sighed. "You want to come over and hang out or something? I could really use some company."

"Sure," he answered, his voice sounding elated. "I'll just have to tell my mam then I'll come over."

"Alrighty. See you soon." said Stacey.

"See ya." said Joe.

Stacey heard the click from the other line signaling the line ended and she hung up the phone and sent Lisa to bed. It was another half hour after Stacey called that Joe finally arrived. When the doorbell rang, she looked in the peephole glad to see Joe there. She undid the lock and opened the door wide greeting him with a smile.

His mouth widened in a grin. "I brought snacks," he said raising his hands level with his head. "And movies." In one hand was a six-pack of Pepsi cans, in the other a bags of crisps, popcorn and the Terminator on video.

"Way Aye," Nancy said holding her arm out towards the inside of her home. "Come on in."

Joe then entered with Oz and the other lads and walked into the living room to set the snacks down on the coffee table. Stacey shut the door and locked it before joining Joe in the living room who dumped the snacks on the coffee table. She plopped down on the couch as Joe started taking out the video.

"So what'll it be, lads?" Dennis Patterson asked his team. "Action, horror or comedy?"

"Action," answered Oz, Barry Taylor and Albert Moxey as Brian 'Bomber' Busridge nodded. Joe put the Terminator on and sat beside Stacey on the couch with Oz and Bomber in the chairs, Neville, Moxey and Barry on the couch and Wayne and Dennis on the arms of the couch who popped open a can of Pepsi and began slurping it down.

"Your stepdad's real big on security, isn't he?" Moxey remarked as he looked at the barred windows.

"Aye, man," Stacey replied with a gulp of her soda. "I guess so. Just wants to keep us safe, I suppose."

"I think 'caged up' would be a better term." stated Wayne.

Stacey just shrugged and ripped open a bag of crisps and popped one in her mouth. As she leaned back, Joe leaned back as well. Halfway through the movie, his arm was fell over her shoulder. She raised an eyebrow and slid out from under his arm to sit a cushion further away.

"What?" Joe asked innocently. "What's wrong?"

"You're getting a little bit too close there, Joe." Barry answered for Stacey.

"I was just putting my arm around her." said Joe as the Seven laughed.

"Just keep your hands to yourself, okay?" Dennis reminded Joe.

"Okay then." Joe grumbled tossing a crisp in his mouth.

Stacey, wanting to lighten the suddenly tensed mood, held her thumb and forefinger out, each hand making an 'L' shape and held the thumbs together, making a football goal in front of her open mouth. Joe held a crisp between his fingers and flicked it sending it flying towards Stacey's face. It missed and hit her hand.

"What was that?" asked Stacey picking up the crisp and holding it between her fingers.

Joe held a goal in front of his face. Stacey flicked it out from between her fingers and the chip flew directly into Joe's mouth.

"Score!" Stacey shouted triumphantly.

"Beginner's luck." Bomber said as Joe was munching on his crisp.

"We'll see." Oz and Stacey both chuckled.

They shot crisps back and forth to each other half of them landing on the couch and the floor. After Stacey had won, sinking in twelve shots versus Joe's five and after they cleaned up the mess they had left all over the sofa and floor, they laid out across the floor as they watched Back to the Future. As Joe reached back to grab another soda, he noticed Stacey's Bon Jovi T-shirt was raised a little showing a bit of skin of the small of her back. On that slip of skin, he could see what looked like scars, four parallel thick white lines.

"Is that from our last encounter with Ally Fraser?" Dennis asked noticing Stacey's scars. Stacey shuddered at the feel of the men in the room staring at her back. She reached behind her and pulled down her shirt back down.

"What the hell?" Joe said. "It's not nice to stare at other people's scars." Stacey grabbed herself a soda and took a brooding drink. A full six-pack of soda and two bags of popcorn and three films later, they both finally saw how late it had gotten.

"Bollocks, it's almost eleven," Joe groaned getting up to his feet. "My mam's gonna be ticked off."

"You're just lucky my mam and stepdad haven't shown up yet," Stacey remarked. "They'd have a heart attack if they found youse lot here."

"We better hurry then," said Oz and Joe and the Magnificent Seven collected their things then made their way for the door. "See you on Monday."

"See ya." said Joe as he and the Seven were off to return home to face the inevitable chew-out from his mother. Sure enough barely ten minutes later, Rose and Eddie came in from the garage returning home at last. Their arrival was met with "Welcome back" from Stacey as she lied on the living room floor.

"I know, we're late," Rose huffed as she and Eddie got their coats off. "The film was a wee bit longer than expected. It took us over 5 minutes to finally get to the car. Then sure enough, on the way back, Eddie was mistaken a drunk driver and I told the police that Eddie wasn't drunk."

"Thank Christ it's Friday, huh?" Stacey remarked before turning back to the TV.

"Good point," Eddie chuckled mirthlessly as he and Rose made their way up the stairs. "We're going to bed. Try not to make too much noise if you're gonna be up late, okay?"

"You got it." said Stacey.

"Goodnight." both Rose and Eddie called out to Stacey from the second floor.

"Goodnight." Stacey hollered back.

Then came the sound of Rose and Eddie's bedroom door closing as the man got ready for bed. Stacey, however, was not ready at all to retire to her bed yet. Like all normal kids, Stacey liked to take advantage of the weekends by staying up as late as possible sometimes all night long or even not at all if possible though she would get in trouble with her mother and stepfather for doing so but a late night wasn't in the cards for her. She indulged in an episode of the Young Ones before turning in. Stacey shut off the TV and all the lights then walked upstairs into her room. There, she changed out into a pair of leggings and a Rolling Stones T-shirt for bed.

After she finished changing, Stacey turned out the lights and crawled under the blankets staring out the windows as she laid on her pillow. The full moon's light was casting eerie-looking shadows of the branches from the tree in the backyard against the curtains. As her eyes slowly fell shut, the branches appeared to morph into clawed hands scratching at the glass trying to reach her as she drifted into sleep.
Last edited by racesgirl2000 on Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Auf Wiedersehen, Ally

Post by racesgirl2000 » Sun Dec 15, 2019 3:11 pm

She was in the boiler room again. Once again, she had no idea what she was running from. All she knew was that she had a desperate need to run as quickly as her feet could carry her. Stacey ran down the catwalks, ducking under steaming pipes, looking throughout the dark, dungeon-like boiler.

Then she heard a scream. It was a pained, frightened scream that echoed throughout the boiler. Following the scream came a man's laughter, dark and cruel.

Stacey walked down a set of spiral steps into a narrow hallway. At the end was a room illuminated by flickering yellow light. Once she entered, she saw in the center of the floor was a mattress and the light was coming from a furnace in the far corner.

"What the hell?" Stacey gasped.

Dennis was tied down to the mattress, both his wrists chained together above his head, his clothes shredded to ribbons. A large male figure was crouched over Dennis. The fingers of his right hand were long and curved with razor edges, gleaming under the fire's light. The man's body blocked the furnace, causing him to appear as a dark silhouette making him look even more like a monster.

With his razor-claws, the man slowly and systematically sliced Dennis's shirt off cutting through his flesh in the process. The more he cried out, the more he laughed. Dennis whimpered helplessly and turned his head away looking straight in Nancy's direction.

"Stacey?" Dennis whispered.

The man raised his head and looked towards Stacey. His face remained obscured, but Nancy could still see the demented grin spreading across his face.

"Stacey." he hissed, his voice hoarse and raspy, smoke seeping out from between his lips.

He then grabbed Dennis's thigh in his claws and ran it up to his stomach. Dennis's eyes widened and he started yelping. Smoke began to rise from the man's hand as dark red blotches blossomed through the whites of his eyes. Drops of blood beaded from the corners and ran down his trouser leg, his whole body beginning to quake as he suffocated squirming to break free. All too soon, her thigh began to sizzle melting as blisters bubbled forth and burst open until finally, that leg almost exploded into flame. The flames licked at his body, not catching onto his clothing but only passing across him.

Stacey almost shot right out of her bed gasping for breath. She looked out her window. The morning sunlight shone through it. She sighed and wiped the sweat off her forehead with the back of her hand still shaking from the nightmare she just had. It was the worst one she ever experienced thus far. With a groan, she crawled out of bed and headed straight downstairs. Just as expected, her stepfather was gone already out on duty. After going to the bathroom to use the toilet and un-tangle her hair, Stacey went straight for the kitchen hoping that there would still be some coffee left. Just her luck, there wasn't.

She filled the pot with water and poured it into the maker before putting the grounds in the filter and sticking it in and flipping the red switch. While she waited for pot to fill, she put a couple toaster strudels into the toaster. Once there was enough coffee inside the pot, Stacey poured herself a piping cup with a couple scoops of sugar. After the strudels popped up, she drizzled on the icing and sat at the table to eat her breakfast, though she more or less picked at it than ate it.

She just couldn't get the memory of last night's dream out of her head. It all seemed so real; the boiler, Dennis almost burning, the "boogeyman" with the claws. She could still feel the heat from the fire. Just thinking about him, and the sound of his voice when he said her name, sent a shiver through her back causing her scars to tingle. The whole thing made her feel too ill to eat. She was only able to force herself to eat half of one strudel before she placed the plate inside the freezer to finish later.

"They're always better frozen anyway." she muttered to herself.

Stacey returned to her seat, staring into space resting her chin in her hand, her eyes drooping as she stared on. Her vision drifted onto the coffeepot which was still lightly dripping. As she did, the dripping seemed to grow slower and slower. Her head snapped back up when a fly buzzed by right in front of her. Stacey shook her head to jar herself, her hand waving through the air to swat away the bug, then gulped down her coffee hoping the shot of caffeine would help her fully wake.

When she brought the cup back down, her gaze fell to the bracelet around the wrist of her right arm. It was one made of brown leather braided into a band. Two years ago, Oz gave it to her for her birthday to match one her best friend Donna Ellington wore. The sentiment was that both of them wearing it would "keep them close". Worn on that same arm was her wristwatch. According to its face, it was near a quarter until eleven. Her mother was certainly awake by now. Stacey crossed the room to reach the phone and dialed in her brother's number. She knew that it was dumb but after the dream she had, she just needed to make sure that Jason was alright. She waited and waited as the line rang and ran and rang but the only answer came to the answering machine. Stacey didn't leave a message, instead hanging up and redialing. Still, nothing.

This did not repeal any of Stacey's worries. Her next act was automatic, her instincts taking control. Stacey went straight from the kitchen to the garage and wheeled out her bicycle.

Her older brother's flat was Oz's old flat and a few streets away so it was an easy trip but one that she knew she needed to make. In about thirty-odd minutes, she arrived at the block of flats only there was something seriously wrong with this picture. Parked by the curb outside was ambulance, a trio of squad cars and a fire truck. Police officers were busy keeping the mob of curious bystanders clear of the entrance. One of the windows on the third floor was open and a cloud of smoke was seeping out.

Stacey threw her bicycle aside letting it topple and fall to the pavement and dashed towards the building. She shoved and cut through the thick crowd of people. When she tried to get inside the building, one of the cops pushed her back. She persisted to get past him, but he kept a hold of her shoulders keeping her pushed back.

"Sorry, lass," he told her. "You can't go in."

"What happened?" she asked him trying to look past him to get a peak at what could have been the source of all this commotion.

"A man almost died here last night," he answered her. "Now if you would step back please."

No, please don't let it be Jason. Stacey's mind pleaded.

She tried even harder to get past the officer begging him "Please just let me in. My older brother's in there please!"

But no matter how much she persisted, he still refused to let her pass telling her again and again "You cannot go in. Please stay back."

He started pushing her back into the crowd when a voice called out to her, "Stacey?"

The man who called out to her came out from inside the building. Oz. He and the rest of the Seven moved aside the officer who was pushing Stacey back.

"Stacey, what are you doing here?" Moxey asked.

"I wanted to see my olderr brother Jason," Stacey answered. "What happened here, Oz man?"

Oz's jaw tightened as if containing himself. His voice came out strained as he said "You should go home, bonny lass. We need to talk but not here, not now."

"Why, Oz? What's going on?" Stacey asked concerned.

"Oz said not now. Later." Bomber told Stacey and as the Scene walked off with Stacey, the paramedics were carrying a gurney out from inside the building. On the bed was what appeared to be a human body, the tenant who had died, covered by a white sheet so that nobody could see who it was underneath. As they made their way through the doors, the paramedic carrying the head hit his foot against the frame causing his grip on the gurney to loosen. It fell for a brief second but he caught it again before the corpse could fall to the ground for all to see.

However, the dead person's arm fell out from under the sheet dangling over the edge of the cot but something about that person's arm caused Stacey's breath to catch in her throat. The limb was merely blackened bone, all flesh and muscle burned away but there was a paramedic speaking to a man with curly hair nearby. Stacey shoved Oz away and ran through the crowd. When the officers tried to apprehend her, she elbowed them, knocking them down on their butts and ran up to her brother hugging him.
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Re: The Seven vs the Sleep Demon

Post by racesgirl2000 » Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:20 pm

Even though Stacey had seen it with her own eyes, she still couldn't believe it. She hoped and prayed that it wasn't true, that it was just another nightmare like last night. But this wasn't so. This was no dream. Her brother almost died. She sat Indian-style in the center of her bed, changed out into a long sleeved white shirt with her thumbs hooked through the holes she slit into the ends of the sleeves and grey jogging bottoms staring vacantly with wet eyes at the dozen crumpled used tissues scattered in front of her all over the bed.

Dennis getting his thigh burned happened in his sleep according to Oz. Joe had a feeling that this was like a Nightmare on Elm Street which he had seen with Jason and Stacey a few weeks previously and much like in Stacey's dream. It was probably just a coincidence, but it was a rather peculiar one. That image was glued into her brain. Dennis Patterson being held captive in that dark boiler and that man or boogeyman for lack of a better term, on top of her, touching his thigh in the most disgusting ways then watching his leg getting burnt. It was all positively mortifying. She just couldn't put it out of her mind.

Stacey wiped the last few tears from her eyes and blew her nose one last time then picked up the rest of the tissue wads off her bed. She balled them all up together and dumped the heap of tissues into the bin then stepped out of her bedroom into the bathroom across the hall. When she entered, she saw herself in the medicine cabinet mirror. Her eyes were bloodshot and puffy and her nose was as red and puffy as her eyes were, all tell-tale signs of someone who's been spending their time crying their eyes out.

Stacey suddenly winced and pressed her fingers against her forehead. A sudden sharp ache rang through her cranium. She opened the medicine cabinet and fished out a bottle of Advil, unscrewed the cap and popped two of the little blue pills into her mouth. She washed the pills down with water straight from the tap, then exited back out into the hallway.

She was just at her door but stopped when she noticed a light coming from downstairs. She leaned forward over the handrail of the stairs in an effort to get a look at where the light was coming from. It was coming from the kitchen. From where she was standing she could see her father sitting at the table, his back facing her and speaking to Jason, Joe and the Seven. It looked like he's had trouble sleeping himself. thought Stacey.

Stacey walked down the stairs and through the living room into the kitchen coming up to her stepfather from behind. He didn't finally take notice of her presence until she gently placed her hand on his shoulder. His head lazily turned up to face her. His eyes were as red and puffy as hers. "Oh hello, Stacey," Eddie said his voice groggy. "What are you doing up?"

"Couldn't sleep." Stacey replied. She then noticed the half empty glass of vodka in Oz's hand and the frosty bottle sitting in front of him.

"Me either." Joe sighed, his eyes looking morosely at the remainder of the clear liquid in Jason's glass. The rim of the glass came to his lips and the remaining alcohol was gulped down in a single deep swig.

"I thought you quit, Edmund." said Rose as she entered the kitchen.

"I did." Eddie sniffed, his head hung down to hide the wetness in his eyes. His thumb stroked along the rim of his empty glass. He reached for the bottle to give himself a refill but Rose took the bottle out of his hand before he could.

"I think you've had enough." she said to him as she screwed the cap back on.

Eddie sighed and pressed his fingers into his eyeballs. He then got to his feet and walked over to the sink to rinse out his glass. Once it was rinsed enough, he set the wet glass in the dish rack beside the sink. The water droplets ran down its smooth surface and dripped off of the rim.

Rose and Stacey both looked at the ten men in the room as Eddie stood with his hands propped against the edge of the sink. Stacey could see the muscles in his shoulders and arms tense as he fought back a sob. She wanted to say something, to give some words of comfort but she didn't know what to say. She had never seen her stepfather like this before, hurting and vulnerable. She was so used to seeing her stepfather being the strong protector that he was.

So instead she walked up to him and draped her arm around his shoulder pulling him into a one-armed hug. Finally, she felt his body relax under her arm as he released the breath that he had been holding in. His hand raised to wipe away the tear that rolled freely down his cheek with his knuckle then patted his daughter's hand that rested on his shoulder.

"I'll be fine," he sighed, squeezing Stacey's hand. "Everything'll be fine."

Whether he was trying to himself or his stepdaughter, Stacey wasn't sure but she nodded anyway hoping that her stepfather was right.

"Well," Dennis sighed. "It's plate, we should be off home and you lot should really be in bed." Eddie removed Stacey's hand from his shoulder and started to walk through the living room towards the stairs. Stacey, however, stayed where she was, standing in the kitchen with her arms crossed over her chest.

"Aren't you going to bed?" Rose asked from the foot of the stairs.

Stacey stepped into the door frame and called back "Maybe in a little while. I'm just gonna fix myself a little snack to eat then I'll be right up."

"Alright." she heard her mother say. Both Rose and Eddie wished Stacey good night then walked up the stairs into their bedroom.

Once she heard her father's bedroom door click shut, she released her breath and walked over to the refrigerator, opening the freezer and taking out the toaster strudels she had left in their that morning. As Nancy took a bite out of her strudel, her eyes rolled down to the bottle that was left on the table. Her palm rested on the cap as she looked down at the condensation-soaked label in disdain.

Nancy heaved a sigh, feeling a sense of disappointment. Her fingertips glided down wet glass surface of the bottle, wiping away the layer of condensation. Nancy released another sigh and walked into the living room, leaving the bottle where it was.

Once in the living room, she sat back comfortably onto the middle cushion of the couch in front of the TV, then reached for the remote and started flipping through channels. At this late hour, the only thing on was news, sports and Adult Swim. It was either that or "Halloween". She wasn't exactly a big fan of horror so she settled on Red Dwarf. Stacey dropped the remote onto the table and sat back comfortably munching down on her strudel and watching the show. Her eyelids drooped shut a couple times, but she snapped her head back up at attention. She was so tired but she was just not feeling up to dealing with any nightmares at the moment. The day has been hard enough already.

Stacey shook her head trying to shake off her sleepiness and sat up, straight and erect, not wanting to get too cozy and accidentally doze off. She brought her strudel up to her mouth to take another bite but stopped when she noticed the surface wriggle. The slices twitched, like there was something living caught inside trying to escape. Then the edges of the bite marks split open and suddenly, out sprouted... a fly. A little black fly about the size of Lisa's pinky nail.

The fly's six black legs crawled over the edges of the bite marks and onto the roof of the strudel traveling over the frozen strips of icing. Stacey only stared at the little fly as it shook its head and rubbed its legs together cleaning off its tiny insect body. She almost couldn't believe it; it seemed impossible, or at least highly improbable. There had actually been a fly caught inside of her toaster strudel.

The fly then crawled its way onto Stacey's index finger. Stacey lifted her hand and shook her hand back and forth loosely shaking the fly off of her hand. It buzzed around in circles under the ceiling before landing on the television screen. Stacey looked down at her strudel, thinking how there was a fly in it. Needless to say, it grossed her out.

"Ugh, gross." Stacey groaned sickened. She then stood up from the couch and went into the kitchen hanging half-eaten strudel between her thumb and forefinger and dropped it into the bin.

That fly had apparently followed her and was now buzzing in rapid circles just inches in front of her face. It flew right in her face hitting her nose again and again. She tried to swat at it, but it dodged her hand at every attempt and continued to attack her nose. She clapped her hands together hoping to squish the annoying insect but it still continued to evade her.

"Shoo, man!" Stacey hissed at the irritating insect. She then made her way towards the kitchen door that led out into the back garden. While her right hand was still trying to swat the fly away, her other hand reached back to undo the chain and deadbolt on the door. She used this same hand to turn the knob and pull the door open and used her swatting hand to shoo the fly out. Stacey let out a sigh of relief as she watched the fly buzz into the sky, out of sight and out of mind.

Outside, it was dead silent. The nighttime darkness made everything appear grey and lifeless. As she looked about, the rosebush that was in the far corner of the white picket fence lining the perimeter of the yard shook its leaves and rosebuds rustling against each other. It was probably just a stray cat or dog or something, yet something in her was telling her to move forward.

And so she did, stepping down the porch steps. Step by step she made her way across the yard, the cold stiff grass blades crunching under the soles of her bare feet. As she got closer, the bush rustled more and more anxiously like it wanted her to come closer. Once she was just inches away from it, she saw the soil underneath was shifting. It was rising up like something was trying to push its way up through the dirt from beneath the surface.

Stacey got down to her knees in the grass then reached forward and used her fingers to rake away the soil that was bubbling up. She then heard the faint noise of a wailing cry of a child. She looked around seeing no one else around then she realized that the sound was coming from the ground. Through some sudden earnestness that came over her almost out of nowhere, she rolled her sleeves up past her elbows and began sinking her hands into the dirt and was frantically shoveling it out like a dog that was trying to unearth some bone it had buried long ago. Whatever was under there, she knew had to dig it out.

Deeper and deeper into the ground she went, shoveling away fistful after fistful of soil. She was getting closer. In the middle of her digging, when she had dug a hole about two feet deep, something shoved its way through the surface and grabbed Stacey by her wrist on her right arm. A hand, about the size of a five-year-old's, its pale-white skin caked with dirt. The little grey fingernails were torn and dirty like it had been trying to dig its way out. Its weeping grew loud and wheezy and desperate, so loud it nearly ruptured Stacey's eardrum and gave her a horrible headache.

With her free hand, Stacey worked at prying off the fingers clasped around her wrists. After a few straining tugs, she succeeded, and was able to pull her arm free from the hand's bruising grip. Stacey got to her feet and turned on her heels to sprint towards the open door that led into the sanctuary of her home but when her right foot pushed against the ground to propel herself forward, it actually sank into the ground up to her ankle. She put her left foot forward to keep herself grounded as she pulled her foot back up for air. Unfortunately when she did this, her left foot plunged into the earth up past her ankle. She attempted her previous move again using her right foot but that foot too became submerged almost up to her calf. She pulled and pulled on her legs trying to break free but her feet were sinking deeper and deeper into the ground, as if the ground were quicksand. In a matter of seconds, her legs were submerged up to her calves. Stacey tried grabbing fistfuls of grass to help pull herself out but the blades just slipped between her fingers like wax and she was sucked deeper and deeper down.

It wasn't long until her legs, hips and waist had sunk into the earth. She continued to try and grab the grass to dig her fingers into the soil to try and pull herself out but to no avail. Soon, the ground had come up to her chest creating a nearly unbearable pressure around her ribcage. She opened her mouth to scream for help, but the pressure of the earth crushing her ribs cut off her breath, leaving her unable to breathe so that all that came out was a pathetic weak hiss of air. She tried pushing against the ground to push herself up and out and free herself, but that only caused her arms to sink below the surface and be sucked under along with the rest of her body.

By now she was buried up to her clavicles. Her body below was encased in soil leaving her completely immobile. Tears began to well up in Stacey's eyes, both out of frustration and panic. The door to safety was just a couple yards ahead of her. Through her clouded, teary vision she could see a small figure standing just inside the doorway. The kitchen light made their body appear as nothing more than a dark silhouette but Stacey could still tell by their short stature that whoever that was, they were a young child, the size of a four or five-year-old. Stacey uttered weak strangled pleas for help, praying that whoever that was who was standing there would come to her rescue. Her time was running out. She was already sunken up to her neck and was almost up to her jaw. She only had a few seconds before the ground swallowed her whole.

"Oh God please, HELP ME!" she tried to scream at that person just standing there watching her sinking into the earth, but when she opened her mouth, it became filled with dirt. Her mouth, nose, and ears had sunk into the ground leaving her unable to even breath now. Only the top of her head and her eyes remained above the surface. It wouldn't be long until those were gone too and she would be sucked under the ground buried alive.

While her eyes still remained above the surface, she was able to see the figure finally step through the door, down the steps, and onto the grass allowing Stacey to see them in perfect clarity. It was a little girl, an adorable five-year-old dressed in a grungy pair of white flannel pajamas that hung loose over her frail body making her appear even tinier than she already was. The girl's stringy dark brown clung to her tear-soaked cheeks. Dangling from her hand was a doll, held by its ankle, its plastic flesh charred to a charcoal black and crackled in a spider web-like pattern looking as if it was just rescued from an unrelenting fire. The long sleeves of her pajamas were rolled up, revealing bracelets of purple bruises around both of her wrists. Stacey then noticed the little girl's hands were caked with dirt, her fingernails torn and the skin of her fingers bloody and raw as if she had been spending a whole day feverishly digging with her bare hands. Her hands reminded Nancy of the hand that had just a few moments ago reached up from under the ground to grab her.

The little girl then walked across the yard, her feet remaining above the ground, stopping just a foot short of Stacey's head. "Please, for God's sake," she wanted to scream. "Please help me, I can't breathe please!" But the little girl just stood over her looking down at Stacey with wet sorrowful eyes.

Then suddenly, wrapping around the small girl's right shoulder came a hand with long curved shining claws on its four fingers. From behind her rose the large figure of a man, his height colossal and imposing especially from Stacey's point of view. On his head was a hat, its brim casting a shadow that covered his face like a mask. Even though she couldn't make out the details of his face, she could still see his mouth curling up into a grin. His claws tightened their grip on the girl's shoulder and more tears rolled down her cheeks though her face remained stoic. Her round blue eyes were the last thing Stacey saw before the earth finally gulped her down.

With heaving, gasping breaths, Stacey shot straight up from the couch kicking her feet madly. Her body rolled and toppled over the cushion landing on a solid surface. Under the skin of her cheek, she could feel the scratchy texture of wool carpet. Her eyelids drew open to the sight of her living room floor. Her gaze lowered relieved to see her body free again. Stacey rolled over onto her back and sat upright. She was back in her own living room. The TV remained on with TV:AM now playing on the screen. Her half-eaten PB&J sandwich was still on the coffee table just as she left it when she had put it down earlier. It was like none of the events that just occurred had ever really happened.

Stacey wiped the beads of sweat from her forehead and breathed a relaxed sigh. It was all just a dream. Stacey's ear turned towards the stairs to listen out for any noises coming from her mother and stepfather's bedroom showing that her fall off the sofa had woken them and Lisa. The other rooms in the house remained silent; they were still sleeping soundly.

Stacey's lips smacked together dryly. The bitter gristly taste of dirt still remained on her tongue. She reached over and plucked her toaster strudel off the table surface and brought it to her mouth but her hand froze before it could get between her teeth. Even though she knew the fly inside it was just part of her dream, the thought of that buzzing little insect in her food kind of killed her appetite.

So, Stacey rose to her feet and walked into the kitchen to toss out her strudel and get something to get this taste out of her mouth. She opened the fridge to find herself something to drink. There was milk, orange juice and three cans of Coca Cola. She took out one of the cans, popped open the tab and took a good, long sip. She let the liquid slosh around the inside of her mouth, over her tongue, between her teeth then gulped it all down at once flushing that nasty taste along with it.

Coke can in hand, Stacey walked back into the living room to sit back on the sofa, this time sitting on the edge, leaned forward with her elbows propped up against her knees. Nancy continued sitting in this manner, leaned forward and sipping her Coke, remaining focused on the TV. After what had just happened, Stacey wasn't exactly ready to go back to sleep anytime soon.
Oi oi, what's the word then

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Re: The Seven vs the Sleep Demon

Post by racesgirl2000 » Sun Dec 22, 2019 2:04 pm

Stacey had added the sixth and last pancake to the stack when her stepfather walked into the kitchen fully dressed in his uniform. His eyes were half-lidded from sleepiness and bloodshot, the whites of his eyeballs containing a deep pinkish hue.

"Morning." Stacey and Lisa said to their stepfather as Rose started scrubbing out the pan under the sink.

"Morning," Eddie echoed, his drowsy eyes gazing down at her curiously. "It's seven in the morning. What are you doing up so early?"

Stacey and Lisa shrugged as Rose set the cleaned pan aside in the dish rack to dry then moved the tower of pancakes onto the dining table which had the plates and utensils already arranged.

"I'm glad to see that you've made breakfast, Stacey." Rose answered setting out the bottle of maple syrup.

Eddie poured himself a glass of orange juice and pulled out a chair and sat down. He stuck the prongs of his fork through the top two pancakes on the stack and dropped them on his plate. He then took the bottle and drowned his plate in syrup and started cutting up his pancakes and shoveled them into his mouth. Stacey followed suit and slapped herself a cake onto her own plate and began feeding herself syrup-soaked bites.

"Howay, these are really good, Stacey," Eddie mumbled between chews before he swallowed. "Thank you."

Stacey couldn't help but smile at her stepfather's complimenting of her cooking.

"What time did you get up?" Rose asked her older daughter.

Stacey just shrugged. "Pretty early." she answered simply. Her voice seemed to give away her facade to her mother and stepfather because his fork with a syrupy-soaked morsel impaled onto it froze hovering just in front of his mouth.

Eddie then asked her "You didn't get any sleep at all, did you?" He said this in a very flat tone spoken as more of a matter-of-fact statement than a question.

Stacey couldn't answer that to her stepfather. She just couldn't bring herself to explain to him the dread of sleep she had felt after her nightmare about sinking into the ground in their backyard like she was caught in quicksand incapable of pulling herself free. She had just felt so weak and helpless, a feeling that she did not like, not at all. Not to mention that spooky little girl with the burned doll and sad blue eyes. Saying it all aloud would make her sound nuts and that was not the way she wanted her own stepfather to think of her so Stacey just stared down at her plate and meekly shook her head 'no'. She heard her mother sigh her name heavily in the way many parents do when they are disappointed by their child's actions.

"I'm sorry, I just..." Stacey tried to explain pressing her fork down on her pancake so the syrup it absorbed was squeezed out like a sponge. "I just couldn't go to sleep."

Eddie sighed again looking somberly down at his plate as he shoveled down the rest of his breakfast washing his pancakes down with the rest of his juice. "I know how ya feel," he said. "I didn't sleep to soundly either. Nightmares."

Hearing her stepfather use that word "nightmares" sent an icy chill down Stacey and Lisa's spines. He had nightmares too?

"Well, what did you dream about?" Lisa asked trying not to let her fright show through her voice.

"Well, it was about your brother," he told the two girls running his thumb along the rim of his glass. "It was Friday when I kept yelling at him how selfish she was and how I wished he would go and die and then he just up and vanished right before my eyes. I kept looking all over for him, calling out for him but I couldn't find her anywhere. He was gone before I ever got the chance to tell him I was sorry."

The hand gripping his glass began shaking despite how firm he tried to keep it. It was looking like the dam was about to break. Rose extended her hand to touch her second husband's but he pulled back and collected his dishes and rinsed them off in the sink before she could make contact.

"I gotta go to work now." he sighed raising his fist to wipe his eyes then reaching out to grab his gun belt hanging on the hook by the door and fastened the strap around his waist. Stacey felt a hindrance of a smile as he did this; she suddenly remembered how as a child, she had thought of her stepfather's friend Oz as like a "superhero" because of how he took down bad guys and even had a "cool utility belt".

Eddie took a thermos from one of the cupboards and emptied the pot of coffee inside. "You think you girls'll be okay holding down the fort?" he asked Lisa, Rose and Stacey as he screwed the thermos back shut. Stacey nodded as she bit off another forkful of pancake.

"You could come down to the station with me, ya know." Eddie suggested to Stacey with a humored smirk.

But Stacey just laughed half-heartedly and rolled her eyes with a "Thanks, Eddie but I think I'd rather spend a whole day doing housework with Mam and Lisa."

When she was little, she would often spend the day with Eddie at the station. Back in those days being a little kid, she had always found ways of amusing herself, but after a while she got rather bored with making then eating donut castles and playing cards with herself. It was in fact on those days that she learned how to play Solitaire which she often still played whenever she otherwise had nothing better to occupy her time with.

Her stepfather then bid his farewell by telling her, her mother and her sister "Try and get some chores done today" before giving each of them a quick kiss on the head. He then walked out the front door to his squad car leaving Stacey, Rose and Lisa in the house to themselves.

By the time she heard Eddie's car roaring away down the street, Stacey finished off her plate then proceeded to lock the house back up the way she always had to if ever she were left alone in the house with her mother and sister. As it was her day off, Stacey then spent the next few minutes scrubbing, rinsing and drying dishes. After she had put the now clean plates and silverware back into their designated places, Stacey paused to rub her right wrist. Her arm was still sore after last night. It had been ever since she had woken up from that nightmare and had practically flown off the couch like a lunatic. The dull pain in her arm made her think of her dream, of the hand that sprang out from the ground and grabbed her but she knew when she had hit the floor she landed on her arm so she thought nothing more of it. Still, Stacey wasn't sure she was ready for any more dreams like that any time soon. She then took a mug out from the cupboard and decided to give herself a dose of caffeine. When she reached for the coffee pot though, it was empty.

Stacey scoffed to herself "Huh, thanks for nothing, Eddie" and went to work on making a fresh pot. As soon as the pot was full, Stacey poured herself a cupful promptly taking a sip drinking it straight black. She didn't care if it tasted good or not; all she wanted was the caffeine. She winced when the piping hot liquid singed her tongue, but she recovered quickly and blew onto her coffee to help cool it down before she took another more careful sip.

Through the window came in the bright yellow shine of the arriving morning. Stacey gazed out through the Venetian blinds at the sky now devoid of the nighttime's stars. As she was looking out, her eyes drifted down to the row of rosebushes that ran along the white fence until coming to an end against the white tool shed standing in the corner. Her arm began to throb at the memory of the little hand's vice-like grip on her wrist. Stacey took a few more deep sips of her coffee at the thought of it.

Leaving her mug by the sink, Stacey went upstairs to the bathroom and made her way over to the toilet. Once her bladder was emptied and flushed, she walked back over to the sink. She scrubbed her hands clean with the cold spray then splashed some on her face, the sharp icy chill of the water helping to snap her out of any sleepiness she had left. She wiped her face off with her wet hands then reached for a towel to dry herself on.

As she did, she noticed something peculiar about her arm. Around the wrist of her right arm were what looked to be a bracelet of bruises forming under her skin. She gently tapped them with her fingers hissing at their sensitivity. Once again, she was reminded of her nightmare. She had to admit, it was rather coincidental that her arm should be bruised in the exact same place which she had been grabbed in her dream but coincidence was all she allowed herself to believe it to be.

She then winced again as she felt a sudden pain surge through her cranium. Stacey pushed it from her thoughts and moved on to brushing her teeth then taking a good long shower hoping it would pass on its own but it didn't. After she was finished showering, she got out the bottle of aspirin from the medicine cabinet and swallowed a couple of the little blue pills, chasing them down with water drunken from the tap, letting them dissolve in her stomach and waiting for them to work their magic on her head.

After drying and dressing herself, Stacey did what her stepfather suggested she do: chores. First she briskly fixed and straightened her bed sheets then moved on to laundry. Nancy gathered up all of her unclean clothes into a basket, then carried them downstairs into the laundry room and dumped them into the washing machine. In the time she waited for her clothes to get done getting tossed around in the washer, she picked up her somewhat messy room and vacuumed the carpeted floor. Then after she dumped her damp clothes into the dryer, she went upstairs to do what she really wanted: download music.

The room that was next door to her dad's was made into an office with a computer to be used by both her and her father for work that either of them had to do. Plugging her MP3 into the USB, Nancy pulled up her iTunes and began searching for new albums for her to listen to.

She loved music, it's power to help take her mind off of things she would otherwise rather not dwell on and helped her days pass by so much more smoothly. She tried to learn how to play herself, but she didn't have the patience, and being tone deaf prevented her from ever singing, but she didn't mind; listening did it enough for her.

After getting some more works by Nirvana and Joan Jett, Nancy went back down into the laundry room to fetch her freshly cleaned clothes. She then brought them back up to her room and went to putting them all up into her closet, listening to her newly acquired music and singing along with the lyrics while she did so. After she was done, she vacuumed up her floor.

All of this took up all of her morning hours. By the time she was done, it was shortly past noon. She was getting a little hungry, so she figured it was time to fix herself some lunch.

In the refrigerator, there was still several slices left of that pizza from a couple nights before. She stacked them onto a plate and nuked them in the microwave until they were good and hot. She took her plate into the living room and ate while watching TV. On one channel was the Maury show. It was a heated confrontation about a woman accusing her ex-husband of molesting their daughter. The movie "Gladiator" was playing on another. Then there was "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", a documentary about Mesopotamia, CNN, and kids' shows. She settled on the latter.

When her dad came home a few hours later, Nancy was on the couch still, now painting a fresh coat of neon green on her fingernails.

"Hi, Dad," she said while she blew her nails dry as Donald came into the living room.

"Hey, princess," said Donald, "How have you been?"

"Fine," she answered plainly with a shrug, continuing her nail-blowing.

"Have you eaten dinner yet?" he then inquired.

"I had some Ramen noodles," she answered, "Does that count?"

"Good, 'cause Roman invited me and you for dinner at his house," Donald informed her.

"Awesome," said Nancy as she got up to her feet.

Donald changed out of his uniform while Nancy put on her shoes and a jacket, and they were off. After a short drive, they were parked by the curb in front of the home of Roman Campbell, Donald's partner on the police force.

When they knocked, Roman's wife, Candice, answered.

"Hi, you guys," she greeted them, then standing aside, "Come on in."

In went Donald with Nancy in tow. Candice closed the door, then they all went into the dining room.

"Go ahead and grab a seat," Candice told them, pointing to the rectangular table.

The meal was already prepared and laid out. There was a plate with a pile of pork loins stacked on it, along with servings of beans, potato salad, and a bowl of salad. Nancy was glad to see that Candice remembered that Nancy was a vegetarian.

Then in came Roman from a room in the main hallway.

"Hey, you guys made it," he said upon seeing Donald and Nancy present, "Now we can eat."

Roman immediately took his seat at the table. Candice, Donald, and Nancy followed suit, ending with Roman and Candice on one side of the table sitting side by side and Donald and Nancy on the opposite.

"Were you able to get Timothy to go to sleep?" asked Candice as she scooped herself a helping of potato salad, then passed it along to her husband.

"Yeah," Roman sighed, taking the bowl and giving himself a helping from it, "Finally. It took me forever to find his pacifier, but I did. Kid went out like a light."

Everyone at the table soon filled their plates. They ate in silence for the first couple minutes, until Roman broke the quiet.

"What time did you say the funeral was again?" he asked.

After swallowing his bite of pork, washing it down with a gulp of water, Donald answered, "At eleven, tomorrow morning."

Nancy was a little taken back by this information. Marge had only died just yesterday and she was already getting buried in no time flat.

"Is it going to be a, you know, casket funeral?" then asked Candice.

"Yes," answered Donald, "It wouldn't feel right to… to cremate her."

"I get it," nodded Roman. Then he asked to both Donald and Nancy, "How have you guys been holding up?"

"Doing well," answered Donald, "Considering."

He then turned to Nancy, waiting for her to answer as well.

What she wanted to say was, 'I just saw my mother's roasted fucking corpse the other day, and tomorrow I get to watch her get dumped into the dirt. How the hell do you think I'm doing?!'

But she bit her tongue and gave the proper response, "I'm fine," and continued eating mute.

Then came a moment of awkward silence, one interrupted by Candice telling Roman and Donald about an apparently amusing something that had happened with her and Roman's sixteen-month-old son, Timothy, but Nancy wasn't paying attention to a single word. She tuned out everything else around her and focused solely on finishing her meal. It was perfectly delicious, but each morsel was like swallowing wet cement which hardened as it fell into the pit of her stomach.

After the dinner was over, Donald decided that it was time for him and Nancy to return home. Goodbyes were exchanged, and even a store-bought chocolate pie was given to Donald and Nancy, before they went on their way.

"What happened to your arm?" Donald asked Nancy as he was staring up the car. She had pulled up her sleeve to scratch an itch on her elbow, causing the bruise on her arm to be revealed.

"Oh, I dozed off on the couch and rolled off," answered Nancy as she poked at the spotting on her skin, "I fell and hit my arm somehow."

Donald merely responded with, "Try and be more careful, 'kay?" before they drove home.
Oi oi, what's the word then

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