Chapter 203

Andie’s Nightmare stared down at Dyllan. It was a strange four-limbed beast, its basic frame somewhere between a Sphynx cat and a malnourished monkey. It clambered around on four bony, taloned hand-paws, and a jagged plastic toy crown rested lopsidedly on its head. Draped over its back and tied around its neck like a superhero cape there was a giant muddy tarp, and on its face it wore a toothy Cheshire Cat grin. In its hollow eye sockets there glowed a dim, industrial orange light, flickering with an inscrutable emotion, alongside just a hint of mischief.
Cautiously, Dyllan shifted himself into a battle stance – bringing out a curious head tilt and childish giggles from the Nightmare. The giggles were static-y and overlapped with each other, echoing out from behind the monster’s unmoving teeth – as though played from a recording. Slowly, the Nightmare leaned in closer – drawing out the motion as though savoring it. “Stupid. Moron. Idiot.” The words echoed and overlapped, the same as the creature’s laugh – but instead of static and generic childishness, the words played in a crude, crackling imitation of Andie’s voice.
For a moment, the Nightmare just let the insults hang in the air, but then it suddenly snapped its attention over toward Cedric. “Weak. Coward. Lo-o-oser.”
Seemingly pleased by the way Cedric and Dyllan recoiled from its words, the Nightmare leaned back and let loose a cacophony of its horrible giggles – far louder and more discordant than last time.
“Stop laughing!” Dyllan snapped at the Nightmare, infuriated by its mockery of his friend’s voice. “You -” Dyllan stopped mid sentence. The Nightmare’s laughter had halted completely, cut out with a jarring suddenness that resembled the way audio cut out when your headphones came unplugged.
…did Dyllan’s protest actually work? No, the Nightmare was staring at something, something behind Dyllan. And… was that sound… thrusters?


A note from the author:

Maybe Andie’s Nightmare isn’t the only thing causing problems in her mindscape.

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