Chapter 200

“Yeah. Okay.” Dyllan took a deep breath. Gruesome rat-based mental images aside, Cedric was right. “We can handle rats. Let’s go.” With that, Dyllan plunged into the orange and black plume before him, fell through the tunnel of smoke and electricity, and burst into Andie’s mindscape.
Yep, this was definitely Andie’s mindscape. Had there been any doubt, it was surely gone now. The terms “organized chaos” and “restless energy” came to mind. Large cyberpunk styled structures floated throughout the mindscape – made up of various commercial, industrial, and residential structures all cobbled together Frankenstein style. Dozens of neon lights and sounds blared out from the structures, and electronic billboards were scattered between them – flickering between ads for various things Andie liked and cheesy quotes paired with imagery that was clearly supposed to be inspiring.
Bullet trains ran between the structures – which Dyllan now identified as strange, mutant train stations. The trains’ rails vanished behind them as they rode, dissipating into sparkling light. As soon as the trains reached their destinations, new rails would appear with a flash of similar light, providing a constant cycle of new tracks replacing old ones. Whenever a train left a station, the station would teleport somewhere else and swiftly become the destination of a different train. Everything was always changing, always moving – but no matter how things shuffled around, the trains and the stations themselves stayed the same.
Small worker drones flew all about, maintaining the stations and trains, as well as supervising the transfer of lit up, metal crates between the two. A seemingly critical duty, since the trains never held still for long, so the crates had to move fast – shooting through the air between the trains and stations both ways, simultaneously.
The drones also seemed to have their work cut out for them when it came to repairs, many of the stations were smoking and sparking – half turned to rubble but still straining to operate at full capacity. Unsurprisingly, most of the damage seemed recent. Dyllan suspected it was the handiwork of Andie’s Nightmare, but there was a conspicuous lack of the shadowy hate-goo that a Nightmare’s tantrums almost always left behind, and Cedric’s speech still rang in his head. Maybe the problem wasn’t quite so straightforward as a rampaging beast.


A note from the author:

Nightmares propagate and grow through destruction.

Everything in a mindscape is a metaphor, and every happy thing a Nightmare breaks turns into more trauma.

Trauma that either erodes the things meant to keep Nightmares at bay, or that slowly feeds the fears and hatred that the Nightmare itself is made of.

This is why the attacks of Nightmares usually spread “shadowy hate-goo.”

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