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The Nightmare glowered down at its prey, basking in the existential terror he was sure the pitiful bit of life and magic had to be feeling. It swayed before his infernally-lit eyes, too overwhelmed by his awful majesty to so much as scream.

Or maybe it was because it was a blade of grass. A particularly succulent-looking blade of grass, infused with the same demonic energy as the rest of Alcor the Dreambender’s realm, but in the end blade of grass was still a blade of grass no matter what else you did to it. It was unfortunate, but grass, in the Nightmares’ experience, never screamed.

After a moment of looming over at his bite-sized ‘victim’, the cosmic-fleeced ram shuffled backwards slightly and crouched down low in a motion that was half lioness-about-to-pounce, half ram-about-to-headbutt-an-extremely-expensive-family-heirloom. His hindquarters might have wiggled, or perhaps they shifted, tiny tendrils of stardust and void drifting free of the curling wool, tight and oily tentacles one moment, insubstantial and acrid smoke the next. He dug his forehooves into the dirt and lunged at the tantalizing bit of green, mouth opening—

Presence. struck him, struck all of the Nightmares, catching their attention as surely as the strands of a thrice-blessed unicorn-hair dreamcatcher. For what familiar could miss the sudden arrival of their Master? Caught off-guard, the ram found himself flailing mid-pounce, and landed muzzle-first just to the left of his would-be snack.

He opened his eyes and glowered at he grass, still innocently swaying in the wind. No matter. He was hardly even a muzzle-length away from it now, and if he just stretched out his neck a tiny bit more he could

"̨Y̸̷̧o͠u̷!" Something hooked around the Nightmare’s woolly midsection, hoisting him into the air even as he desperately snapped at the grass, blowing it backwards slightly with his breath but otherwise having no effect whatsoever. "C̢̀o҉m̸҉e҉ ̢ó̷͝n̕,͠ ͏̵̕ỳǫ̕u̢͞'͡r̕e̕͞ c҉͜͏om̸͞í̵̴n̵̕g̸̢ ̧̀w҉̢ìt͝h ̧̀m͏͟҉e͘.҉"̧

Heedless of his familiar’s desperate flailing, Alcor the Dreambender reached out. As his fingers grew closer, his quarry seemed to shrink, until the demon could gently — but firmly — grasp the eldritch sheep in one hand and tossed it into his floating top hat, pulling himself in as well and, defying several natural laws, flung out a hand to grab the brim of the hat and pull it into itself after them both. 

All the while Alcor hardly bothered to cast so much as a glance at the Nightmare, his frantic golden gaze instead darting again and again towards something none of the Flock could see or sense, beyond the boundaries of their home.

Before a mortal’s heart could have so much as thought of beating, the unlucky Nightmare found himself tumbling across a flat surface of smooth, shining squares. He scrabbled to his hooves — or rather, tried to, but the surface was much more slippery than he’d expected and his legs almost immediately splayed back out, sending the ram flailing all the way back down to the tiled floor with an unhappy "͜b̀aa͏͘!̡"҉͜͏

Alcor the Dreambender bobbed in the air, taking a moment to compose himself before he swept his hat back into it’s favored spot two inches above — and slightly behind — his head. The frantic light was gone from his eyes, but there was still an undeniable edge of impatience in the gleam — and although the Nightmare could feel that it wasn’t aimed at him, he still treated his Master with his most baleful glower in return.

"̨Th̀ęr͝e̸'͘s̶ th̨is͜ se͏r̀i҉o̢u͜sly̧ ͞annoýin̛g summon̷er ̨ẁh͏o caņ'͠t̕ t͡a̶k͟e a̕ ͟hi͡nt҉ " The Dreambender pointed at something behind his familiar. “Last t̵im̡e͡ ͟I͢ left h͟er ̛al҉o̵ne w͠hile͞ she was ͢on̛ ͝a Şm͜ile Dip͠ ́t̕rip̨ ̨sh̵e҉ ǵơt̶ p̷osse̶şs̸,͟ s͡o͟ k̸eep ̡an ̢ey҉e̕ ̛o͡n̛ ḩeŕ w̡h̶i̡le̶ I d̸̫̼̩͙é̺̪͓̞͓͕̻̻͕̀á͏͙̝̱̦̹̗̬̤l͙̳̭̭̫̞͎͠ͅ ҉̦͍͔̠̜ͅw̛̯̳͇i̶̭̞̰̭͈̟̤͘t̤̜̯̳̦̀̕ẖ̩̜̀͠ ̷̴̜̘̞͇̳̪͎h̵̯̣̯̮̦͘i̢̧̪m̷͇̰͎̘ ok̢ay?҉"̵ 

Not bothering to wait for an answer, Alcor vanished with another flourish of his hat. The ram turned around to see what, or rather, who, he had been charged with watching over, and suddenly found a set of human fingers in his face. He jerked back,  "̶̧b̛aá!̨"-ing in shock, and the fingers brushed against his wooly shoulder as opposed to jamming themselves into his nostrils.

The human — Master’s sister, his other half, his fellow star — gasped. A pink substance hissed and fizzed as it bubbled down her chin from one corner of her mouth. Her pupils — shining with a manic energy not unlike that which had lurked in Alcor’s eyes when he had manifested among the Flock mere minutes before--had grown so large as to encompass almost her entire eye. She seemed hyper-focused on him and him alone even as he was convinced she was looking right through him. 

The Nightmare took a step back.The human — was she even still human?took a step forward. He backed further away, only to watch as the girl advanced in turn. He knew in his bones that he could never fight off the terrifying being before him, as it would go against the orders of his Master, so with fight ruled out, the only option he had left was flight, but she matched him step-for-step.

His woolly hindquarters bumped against the wall yet Mizar.



It was too much for the Nightmare, who, as the true horror advanced, could only do that which so many creatures do in the face of true fear: he screwed his eyes shut and screamed. "̨̪̦̓ͤ͜B̳͇̼͈̮̖̒͗́͆̎ͩ͑͞a̪ͫ̈́̓a̱͔̦̣̥̅̅̀a̴̡̨̦̬͔̪ͪ̏̓ͫ̍̓͌ͤͬa̸̠̝̰̥͇̰̳̻̮͗ͩ͒̈́͋͆̽͠A̶̮̰̰̞̩̯͖̓̾͜͢Ȁ̶͍͆ͬ̉ͬͫA̠̗͓͓̤͉͍̮͊̅̿͌ͬͫ̑̈́ͩ̕̕̕A̷̘͉ͬ̋ͯͦ͆̀̀Aͫ̒ͣ̾̒͗ͩͯ͡͏̱̜̬̝́Ą̛̯̠̥͖̮̤̟̿̿A̶͗̉̌̀ͤ̌̂̀҉̣̬̖̻̬̝̗A̢̪̮̳̯̰̔͊̾͠A̢͇̯ͥͦ̀̊—̵̴̡̙̥̹̣̩̱͗̒͋̓ͥ̑̈!"

The wail, as impressive as it was, was cut off — along with the supply of air to the ram's probably-nonexistent lungs — two small arms latched around his neck. The human’s eyes filled his vision as she shoved her forehead right up against his. Her breath smelled like rancid sugar and he tried desperately to squirm away, which only drove her to cling to her captive tighter.

“Fluffernutter!” She squealed, and he flattened his ears at the high pitched, slightly-slurred noise. “You’re not peanut butter flavor after all, you big, thing-illy!” She pressed her hands against either side of his head, keeping the startled sheep from looking away.

The ram, stared up at his captor, confused and terrified and slightly headachy thanks to the strength of her hands on his head. Yet at the same time, deep within, beyond the fleece that swirled with dying stars and living stories, beyond the memories of the human horrors that had spawned him, beyond even the magic of the demons he had served... something bright unfurled. 

The ram, stared up at his captor, confused and terrified and slightly headachy thanks to the strength of her hands on his head. Yet at the same time, deep within, beyond the fleece that swirled with dying stars and living stories, beyond the memories of the human horrors that had spawned him, beyond even the magic of the demons he had served... something bright unfurled. 

Fluffernutter. It didn’t feel terrifying, when he thought about the word, when he let it drift through his mind, yet in the voice of Mizar... 

Oh, yes, in the voice of Mizar, it sounded terrifying. Nightmarish, even.

Fluffernutter. Fluffernutter.

“You...” Mabel’s breathy voice jarred the Nightmare from his growing epiphany. The reek of expired sugar slammed, like the horns of a rival, against the nose of the eldritch abomination that would forever-after be known as Fluffernutter. “YOU’RE SOFT AND FLUFFY FLAVOR!”

And then she lunged, and Fluffernutter learned the the true meaning of terror: overzealous hugging. Although eventually, as the human came down from her Smile Dip-induced insanity and returned to her normal levels of madness, overzealous hugging became more synonymous with grumpy-but-also-somehow-content-feeling-and-ooooooh-belly-rubs-yes-please.

Not that he would admit it to his Master, though, especially given the way that a slightly-bloody Alcor the Dreambender had returned, taken one look at his sister with the demonic ram looking reluctantly comfortable in his sister's iron grip, and had immediately vanished again—this time to hunt down a camera.