seth sorenson does not have any problems with sleeping.
nope. no. absolutely not. he does not close his eyes and see the abhorrent face of the revenant in front of him, features distorting and pulling and being ripped apart from the inside out until it isn't the revenant but some horrifying combination of both it and graulas as it laughs and reaches for him, spittle flying from its unhinged jaw. he does not see coulter's body staring up at him blankly, mouth moving like a ventriloquist’s dummy to scream the words you did this, you did this, you did this over and over like a sick mantra, until it's all he hears, and suddenly he's trapped in the belly of olloch again but there's no safe cocoon surrounding him and parts of his limbs are shifting back into the mutated walrus he once was as his body contracts tighter and tighter and tighter and there's suddenly incoherent whisperings and manic laughter that he feels being ripped from his throat and filling his head as the cold arms of the spirits at blackwell pull him down, down, down into their hole saying how well they'll serve him, o great lord of the shadows and-
and he wakes up with tears burning at his eyes, barely keeping his throat from making a very undignified noise when his sister is right there sleeping soundly in her bed and nope, he can't let her potentially wake up and see him like this , so he slowly pulls on his shoes and quietly creeps down the stairs, trying to make the wetness in his line of vision go away .
he opens the front door and slips outside, initially planning to sit on the porch before the dumb irrational part of his brain that probably hasn't gotten more than three hours of sleep in the past five days says hey, you should sit in the grass and so he listens because he has nothing better to do and the cloudy sky above him looks pretty neat anyways so he sits (he does not fall face-first) on the grass and doesn't bother to move, or itch his suddenly scratchy nose, or breathe (until his burning lungs decide to remind him that they exist) and honestly, he's very content with the world right now, himself (the most trusted member of the sorenson family, obviously) and his body (which is definitely not failing him, because that would be very traitorous of it) and the twisting clouds in his line of sight (he’s breathing in and looking at dirt, who was he kidding).
the air is sticky with humidity, and his pajamas cling to him uncomfortably against the grass. how long has he been asleep? an hour? less than that? probably less. an even fifty-seven minutes, if he does say so himself. he knows he’s going to have to go back inside sooner or later, because if grandpa or grandma or anyone found him out here they would freak out and he'd get a lecture on being more responsible that his tired mind wouldn't even grasp a word of and seth is beginning to think that he might have a teensy little problem. he’s not admitting to anything, though. not if kendra doesn’t admit to something first; which, knowing her, she won’t because she’s getting her full eight hours and being as cheerful and content and normal as can be while waiting each day for her unicorn sweetheart to come sweep her off her feet. and here seth is, lying face-down in the front yard like someone hoping to get run over in the street. or something.
if he didn't know better, he would say that he’s been having nightmares and he’s scared , but he did know better because he is seth michael sorenson and seth michael sorenson does not get scared; no, he jumps off of roofs with trash bags so he can parachute and sticks snake heads in his mouth on dares and ventures into the woods after being told it's dangerous because he's an irresponsible thrill-seeker who doesn’t know when to quit and he catches fairies and removes evil nails from evil mummies and talks with demons and wraiths and he breaks into centaur houses and steals unicorn horns from their kids or something because he's a big bad shadow charmer that's probably destined to turn evil. so. yeah. there's that going for him. he's not scared and he'll never be scared and if his stupid body would just cooperate with him that'd be fantastic because he wants to roll over and breathe properly but his brain is apparently broken because no matter how hard he wills himself to turn, he can't bring himself to actually do it.
guess you'll die here , some snarky part of his brain whispers.
shut up , the rest of him says, equally snarky.
this isn't fair. how come kendra gets to sleep normally? she was kidnapped! and a bunch of other things! that his mind was not piecing together properly right now!
don't think about the fake kendra killing herself don't think about the funeral don't think about her body don't think don't think
kendra. he should go check on kendra.
he sees himself slowly getting to his feet more than anything, the sweat trailing down his back only barely registering itself in the back of his head. it was like watching a movie, and instead he’s watching himself stumble with feet like a drunken man's back to their room where his sister lay peacefully under her blankets, her soft breathing the only sound he could focus on as he leaned heavily against the wall.
why are you doing this? stop staring at your sister and go to bed , something spoke up again.
shut up , he told it. again. what do you know, anyways? you're just a voice.
eventually, he crept into his own bed, not bothering to take his shoes off. so what if he'd forgotten they were on? it was no one's business except his own and the five thousand adults grounding him tomorrow morning. maybe. possibly.
thunder began to rumble outside. that was good, probably. it means he came inside at the right time and didn’t get soaked, which means one less lecture.
his eyes began to flutter shut, and that's when the smallest part of his heart, the happiest part where he kept all of his childhood memories and sappy family moments that made him feel all warm and fuzzy that he’d never admit to, quietly wished that he'd have no dreams.
either that, or he just didn't wake up at all.
yeah, he thought, as blackness filled his vision, that’d be nice too.