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I'll Stay Awake Tonight

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Oh, how times were simpler when Hatchetfield had been considered a tiny town. When there had just been Hatchetfield High, Sycamore, and when The Starlight Theatre had been hosting the current run of Mamma Mia! How, to many, CCRP were just letters that held no true significance. It had been three years since then. Three years since Emma Perkins first started having these nightmares, where she’d be plagued by an evil blue fog that choked her insides and forced her out of control of her own body. It was some sick, twisted, torturous game a mastermind liked to play and unfortunately, she was the queen.

Then came the green swirling fog sometime 2 years ago. The dream always started with her driving over to her brother-in-law’s house to babysit her nephew, Tim. The dream always ended with a television broadcast announcing that America was going to war with Russia. The dream faded into a nightmare when she grabbed her Tim out of his chair and sat in the backseat as Paul drove full speed over to the Lakeside Mall, where she’d tell Tim to stay there so that she could go and find dad, not him.

Then, it was a dream of some woman at her professor’s house as she studied the figure of Theodore Spankoffski, who Emma was only able to recognise due to him having come into her work with Paul a couple of times and he had pointed him out to her. Ted posed as the supposed Hatchetfield Ape Man, and, in the dream, Hidgens would shoot the woman’s fiancé, and, in a final effort to take her fortune, would chase her through the woods and chase her until her final effort to survive was to climb a tree. In the end, Hidgens would always die, and she would always wake up.

In the summer, all throughout the three months, she’d sleep and end up at Watcher World, watching front row as Bill and Alice Woodward attempted to repair their relationship post-divorce. There, she’d watch as Blinky, Watcher World’s sick and twisted mascot, tried to fuck everything up in their plans by getting into their minds, uncovering their true, deepest horrors and using it against them until they were holding each other in a fight, and it was one against all. The dream ended when a mirror smashed, and Emma’s reflection flattened.

Then there’d be two of her. One of her at her wedding, marrying Paul, and another somewhere else on the island. One was the real Emma Perkins, and the other was someone posing as her. But they were all after the same Paul. A barfight, a stabbing and a crime later and it was Paul holding them both at knifepoint. She could only beg as she watched as his sleeve rolled up and she noticed a 23 inked underneath. “Weird tattoo,” she’d often think to herself as she felt a coldness drag against her neck. The dream would fade out and she wouldn’t need to think about it anymore.

Then she was watching as Ted Spankoffski’s life got ripped from him and put in The Bastards Box, provided by T’Noy Karaxis. She watched as Ted, at her and Paul’s wedding, was sent to go and get Paul’s files, but would instead be treated by Jenny and Tinky. She’d watch as he went forward in time where CCRP had been planning to make androids of her for their own benefit and profit, and how they were making clones of Paul Matthews.

She thought, for a moment, the nightmares had subsided but as she usually got to see, they hadn’t. She was in Tom Houston’s 1986 Foxbody Mustang, the car he oh so loved back in high school when she’d hear the all too familiar voice of her sister. She’d watch as Jane Perkins took control of Tom’s car, but not really, because she was the car. She watched as Jane would choose a new body for her to live in, chase after her, but then would become unsuccessful…until she ended up chasing Becky Barnes through the Witchwood and Emma would always wake up feeling helpless.

Lately, the nightmares were more abstract than not. She got to see some very strange people in the Starlight Theatre, particularly a man wearing triple denim with greasy, black hair and a woman in double denim, big hair, and huge earrings who looked like she’d been pulled straight out of the eighties. There was a young girl involved as well, someone in a yellow flannel and overalls. She couldn’t decipher what was going on. She couldn’t decipher how The Starlight Theatre dragged her to the Honey Queen Festival, to the exterior, watching the same woman sing her heart out on stage, to the Rollerama where she got to see some kids go up against some…thing.

But always, she woke in a cold sweat. Tonight had been one of those nights.

She sat bolt upright, flicking on the light as she ran a hand through her hair. She opened her bottle of water, took a swig, and felt Paul shift beside her uneasily. She could see from the corner of her eyes as he sat up as well, and it wasn’t long before she felt the arms of her boyfriend wrapped around her, holding her to his chest. He’d tell her it was okay, and that he’d be there for her. But, with these nightmares, she found it hard to admit it to herself.

But always, in Paul’s arms, when she drifted off to sleep, she wouldn’t be disturbed by her nightmare time again. She’d be peaceful. She’d have an undisturbed dream that actually was a dream…but only in Paul’s arms. And, if that meant she’d have to fall asleep in the arms of Paul Matthews for the rest of her life, then she struggled to see a negative.