Eve had accidently hit the side of the living room table while vacuuming one afternoon, it caused a few decorations placed there to get disturbed. A book fell off the edge, the TV's remote did nothing but shake and a picture face-planted.
Even though it was a simple task she could easily perform with the Nano-technology in her hair, Eve choose a more natural approach by resting the vacuum cleaner to reorganize. It made her feel more human per se; something that had taken years to develop.
Reaching down, she picked up the pseudonym Lewis Carroll's Novel and fixed the knocked over picture frame of the past.
She dwelled on the picture, recalling old memories as she looked at the frozen-in-time smiles of Sven, Train and her teen self. Rinslet had managed to catch the trio for lunch and wanted to try out her new 'social media' skills, or something around those lines.
Eve was simply glad to get a copy; it was nice to have something to look back on. The majority of stuff in her past typically strayed from cameras.
She had made an amazing sweeper, even if she was extremely young. It was the good times alright, her short-haired phase and crime-stopping days.
Ten years passed and she's back to her Rapunzel look and married with a little family to call her own, too bad Sven didn't last around long enough it see it...neither did Train.
The funeral was the last she saw of the Cat before he left without a trace...
...or a goodbye.
She often hoped to see him pop up at the Graveyard one day, It would be nice to have the old team sit and chat one last time, to share how her life had been and learn what he had been up to...but only her flowers sit by the former IBI officer's engraved stone.
After finally setting the frame back into its proper place upon the table, she faintly heard crying.
Standing, Eve turned to the source as her three year old daughter came rushing into the room, one of her own flesh and blood, Nano-tech and all.
With tears in the corner of her eyes, the child suddenly held up a grey bunny with a cute orange bowtie around one of its ears. Eve recognized it as her daughter's favorite stuffed animal.
"Sweetheart, what's wrong...?"
Taking the toy presented to her, Eve studied the bunny, believing something was amiss with it. Examining the toy animal from different angles, she found nothing to be wrong with it.
Turning back to her daughter, she found that the child disappeared. Eve looked around the room confused.
Suddenly, as if the lights were cut off, the whole living room seemed to vanished, leaving Eve to stand in the midst of nothingness. She looked down at the Bunny she was holding to see it dematerialize before her eyes.
It was strange but she wasn't too alarmed by it.
Apparently she was just having another distorted dream. With the vast imagination she gained through her library trips, they were pretty common for the twenty-four year old.
Eve did some walking. Miles of an off-set grey were laid out before her. A curious feeling for where this Lucid Dream was going to take her drew her in no particular direction, but it didn't stop her from placing one foot in front of the other.
An optimistic approach with eager steps, she set off to seek this hiding Wonderland she'd soon venture, and what would be found Through the Looking-Glass, if need be.
The visual world finally returned and placed Eve back in her house, this time upstairs.
Paintings suddenly swayed in disturbance as they gently tapped the wall behind them, seemingly laughing at the carpet as it gained wrinkles. Eve reached out to stop the moving artwork but she fazed right through them. She seemed not to be able to interact with this environment.
The distinct pitter-patter echoed in a crescendo across the floor board before it halted near the edge of the stairway and the vacant bathroom in which people rarely used. Eve decided to be a wall flower to watch what was going to play out in front of her.
In the corners, Dark values swirled and inched towards the small hands struggling in deep concentration, reaching desperately for the door-handle with a broken lock.
Moonlight leaked off the window's curtain, capturing Eve's daughter insufficiently in a dim-setting. Lifting her foot back in an acute angle, the child reached upward hoping some impetus would bring the handle lower. With her tongue lightly visible in the corner of her mouth, she also wished for her legs to be longer.
There was a click followed by a soft placement noise, then the door began creaking open as if it were stretching out a yawn from its disturbed slumber.
Hesitation sprang as the child softly held the edge of the outstretched door; she could hear the shadows crawling behind her, drawing tears to her eyes. Soon the pressure became too much.
With great haste and leg reminiscent of a greyhound, the girl flew towards the bed where a figure laid buried underneath two pillows and a disarranged blanket, completely unaffected by the child's presence. She stopped midway looking back to see the darkness dwelling in the doorway.
This room seemed to be an impediment for the fear-evoking mist, it hover in place and gradually overlapped itself to build up in the complete doorframe.
Eve took the shortcut of walking through the wall to enter the bedroom to continue watching. Her daughter was apparently afraid of this dark substance so of course it set off a warning sign for Eve. Something told her that just because she wasn't tangible to everything around her, didn't always mean everything. She didn't want to find out if it worked with the darkness or not.
Cautiously whispering, the youth continued into the unknown-at night-territory of the bedroom, unlike her latest movement, she slowly crept toward the mattress and coverings afraid any sudden movement would shatter the seemingly intangible barrier protecting her from the shadows.
Upon reaching the fortress of rest with small tip-toes she again questioned the air, this time louder.
Again she received no response and worry inched at her back, there wasn't even a snore.
Had the darkness already got to him...? Eve pondered from the oblivion, clearly already understanding the concept of this scene.
To make matters worse, the dark values finally broke through the hindrance of the doorway and began to slowly flood into the room.
Reaching her small hand up, the child harshly tugged at the dangling blanket secretly hoping her father would wake soon...the shadows creeping into the room were growing, only increasing her wariness.
An odd grumbled finally erupted from the sheets. This was followed by the bed-dweller to roll on their side. As if it were an achievement the child continued pulling and calling...raising her voice and defining her tugs each time, sounding like a broken record until mumbles under the blanket cut her off.
In accomplishment the girl struggled to climb up as a familiar form appeared from the undergrowth of sheets. The adult grumbled and yawned before attempting to speak, he couldn't quite make out the red numbers glowing from the alarm clock but was aware that the sun was absent.
A moment of relief brushed over the child and Eve as his awake-ness seemed to push the growing shadows back.
Yawning and tempted to fall right back down to sleep, the young-man hunched forward fighting off sleep-reminiscent from his face. It took a few stretches to adjust his mind back towards reality than to counting sheep and what-not. After sapling his tongue to get the strange sleeping-taste out of his mouth he was more or less conscious.
"Daddy...there's a monster...under...bed"
The girl furiously pulled her father's arm gesturing for him to investigate and quickly. The young-man stared at nothing in particular as if in a daze.
In some catatonic state, he evidently was trying to register what was being said to him. Finally after blinking several times he hung his head downward in a comical act; clearly defeated.
"Not this again..."
Sucking his teeth and feeling very disgruntled from sleep, he gently sighed in annoyance. The father comfortingly patted the child's head, as Eve momentarily eyed the surprisingly still shadows. The man's consciousness seemed to immobilize the darkness.
A swift movement later, the young-man was back under the blanket ignoring his daughter's pleading eyes. The girl whined, practically sobbing out tears whichever way for him to get up.
"There is no monster in your closet...Now get back to bed"
"No, under bed..!"
"There isn't one there either..."
Just when Eve thought the young-man was about to fall back asleep, her husband soon found himself stomping through the shadows in his doorway and down the hallway, carrying his daughter towards her bedroom. It was written all over his face that it took him a few steps to remember just how the child got him up...
The three-year old had to threaten sleeping next to him because she was too afraid of some imaginary monster, that didn't exist; the young-man wordlessly spoke to himself through the twenty-four year old wall flower's interruption.
Eve let out a soft chuckle, inaudible to the Father-Daughter pair. It was as if she could read the Youngman's mind; she found the two's interactions to be quite cute.
She undoubtedly followed them through a familiar yet distorted hallway of her home. It seemed to be a mixture of her current house and of some of the apartments she stayed at in her childhood.
Dreams had a funny way of doing that, so Eve let the details slide.
After successfully dodging the folds in the carpet and managing to have the hanging pictures slam against the wall for a second round, the girl's father carried his child back the way she came.
Surprisingly enough, a challenging smile was painted on the girl's features while she boldly hugged his neck, mockingly eyeing the shadows.
Eve found this interesting. An Internal as well as an External battle with the Darkness; what a dangerous game her daughter was playing.
Upon reaching the bedroom the young-man broadly stepped on the misplaced toys laying in his way before reaching the unmade bed, one being the bunny from earlier. Once released, the youth rushed under the covers rather quickly, pulling them up to her chin eyeing her father nimbly.
"Don't let them get me...Daddy..."
She pleaded awhile waiting for him, in which he merely sighed. After a contemplating minute, he gradually got down on one knee. Soon after setting his ear to the floor he glanced under her bed into the seemingly nothingness.
Then he stood. Outstretching his arms and shrugging his shoulders, he gave a reply.
Satisfied the child nodded and eventually rolled on to her side mumbling a 'thank you' before exhaustion finally took over. With one last deep look, the shadows surrounding her room laid still in place, shattering her fear. Then the child fell into her own dreams.
The scene froze before Eve, as if she mentally pressed paused. She studied the suspended sight of her faceless husband standing over the bed side about to leave and their daughter sound asleep.
Something was wrong, something was very wrong.
Slowly approaching the bed, Eve reached down to gently brush her daughter's hair out of her face. She now gained the ability to interact with what was before her.
Seeing the innocent features of her child; everything seemed to be just...except the man before her.
He was nothing more than a familiar figure with neither a face nor a name.
It wasn't him. He wasn't her husband.
Eyeing the unknown man before her, Eve immediately scooped up her daughter from under the covers and took several quick steps back. How she ever saw this man as her husband, she did not know; something in her mind seemed to register him as such.
In a protective notion, she slightly turned her upper body to the side, positioning her sleeping child away from being directly in the sight of the paused man.
After a few moments, Eve began to look around the room. Subconsciously keeping an eye on her fake husband, she could sense the darkness returning to the corners of the room. The same sensations that had invoked fear to her daughter gradually began to inch towards both of them.
The shadows continued to approach, so she activated the Nano-techs to raise her waist-long hair. Slighting encircling the blond locks around her person, Eve held tightly onto her daughter as the shadows suddenly raced forward. They swallowed up everything in their path trapping the mother and daughter from all angles.
The frozen man still standing by the bed had been swallowed up and it his place, laid her daughter's toy bunny. The stuff animal leaned on its side from being top-heavy. Its dull eyes watching the scene lay out like a performance.
Forming blades, her hair tried to slice the darkness. In vain, the attack was render useless as the tresses merely cut nothing.
The shadows had no form; they were simply a blinding impetus of fear. Realizing this, Eve found she could do nothing.
No matter what she did, the darkness would enclose her. Soon it had and Eve immediately cowered to the ground which she protectively shielded her daughter with her own body.
Once the darkness consumed her form, her Nano-techs emitted heats, making her feel as if she were on fire. It was a feeling similar to many years ago, something about a werewolf or something.
"Mama it hurts..."
For within her arms, she could hear her daughter crying, the burning pain must have awakened her. Eve knew she had to do something so she stood up and ran through the darkness.
Along with the heat, she also felt extremely heavy; the shadows must have been weighing down on her. Nonetheless she continued to run. Glancing back towards the motionless bunny, she noticed the color of its bowtie had changed. It was purple now, instead of orange.
Finally she phased through the blinding values, only to enter her basement. A giant wall of shadows hung behind her, continuing to reach for her retreating form.
The growing darkness devoured the entire side of the room, including the only escape route; being the wooden stairs.
Eve raced towards the unused furniture in a means to hide. The burning sensation seemed to fade after being separated from the darkness.
Reaching a desk, she jumped behind it and pulled her daughter close. Looking in the reflection of the mirror in front of her, Eve could see over the desk at the constantly approaching shadows.
Hiding was useless.
For a moment, she glanced down at the child in her arms and then forward to the mirror. Looking into her own ruby eyes, Eve saw nothing but a cornered animal; a useless cornered rabbit. It's kind of ironic that they're being chased by the shadows with some supervising stuffed bunny...that seemed to have a macabre sense of humor.
What kind of mother is she? Being scared of dark...that is for children...isn't it?
The heat returned yet she continued to stare into her reflection. If she didn't overcome this Nyctophobia soon, who knows what'll happen.
As she continued looking into the mirror, she found the image was changing. It was no longer a reflection but window into the past.
Eve was standing, as if looking at her present, cowardly self. She was pregnant, only admiring the baby-bump she had.
The unborn baby would constantly kick and sometimes you could see the full imprint of the foot. Eve was about seven months in and looked frightened, rivaling her present state.
"What are you so afraid of...?"
Someone was standing next to her, out of view from the mirror. Eve continued to look into her supposed reflection, from the two-side mirror.
"...it's the Nano-technology..." She spoke, rubbing her stomach, "W-what if... the baby..." Eve stopped and looked to the side, towards the person next to her, a silent plea in her eyes.
"You have those Nano things; the baby has Nano things...what's the problem?"
The voice tried to reassure her but his tone sounded annoyed. It had been a conversation they had multiple times.
"When I was younger I didn't have a clue as to what I was doing, forming objects with my hands..." Eve looked down at her hands, reminiscing in painful memories. "...I'm afraid to wake up one morning with a blade cutting through me from the inside..."
The young man sucked his teeth, "The baby doesn't even know what a knife is, let alone a sharp object... You'll be the fine and the baby will be fine. Stop adding unnecessary stress to yourself."
The mirror's image froze and soon it was replaced with her current reflection again.
What is she so afraid of...?
The darkness was inching closer and she was recalling her former pregnancy fears? It didn't make sense. Nothing made sense.
This dream confused her. She knew she was missing something, some key element. The dream's puzzle didn't have all its pieces.
What is she missing...?
Attacking the darkness was useless so Eve had to think of a way around it, and around it, she did.
Sending two hair blades rapidly over the desk, they almost instantly hit their target; the bunny, tearing the stuffed animal to shreds. All that remained was a now red bowtie; the color of blood, much like her eyes.
The shadows halted and Eve stood up, examining her handy work. The dark values didn't disappear; they seemed to simply freeze in time. Like the persistent morning mist, always hanging around despite the sun's rising.
It was strange that the child's voice seemed to be coming from across the room rather than in her arms. Eve gently stroked her daughter's head, comfortingly.
Was it over...?
The stuffed animal was gone, so why was the darkness still lingering? Eve slowly approached the wall formed by the shadows. She stopped after feeling the burning sensation of being to close.
She solved the puzzle...didn't she...? Was beating the bunny not enough?
Apparently it wasn't. The darkness suddenly lurched forward, again trapping them in a void of sweltering Nano-techs.
No matter what she did, she couldn't win. The dark values were just too much for her. On the verge of surrendering, Eve realized something. It was her responsibility to protect her daughter but she wasn't alone.
He was also responsible.
Eve ran out of the darkness. She grabbed the side of the desk as she jumped over it, flipping it to make a barricade.
A very powerful and destructive wave of air suddenly ripped throughout the room. Eve protectively shielded her daughter until the wind died down.
Once the room fell quiet, the child jumped out of Eve's arms and towards the stairs, running passed a few puffs of smoke, seemingly the remains of the shadows.
"Mama, Mama, Mama!"
Eve followed her daughter's voice up the stairs that only got louder the further the child ran until a blinding light suddenly poured in. Eve could see a figure holding her excited 3 year old.
"Mama, Mama, Wake up...!"
Her daughter's voice got louder as the world began to fade. Then Eve felt a weight jump on her.
Her ruby eyes slowly opened to find her daughter laying flat across her chest with a giant smile on her features.
Eve yawned out a good morning, lightly moving the blanket only to witness the youth start hysterically laughing while rolling to sit up.
"Mama, Mama...you won't not believe it!"
"...'Won't not believe'...? Now what kind of language is that?" She yawned again before patting her daughter on the head smiling at the child's random attempt at new words.
She wiped her eyes and struggled with the weight of her daughter to sit up.
Eve let on a surprised expression at the new information but simply smiled at it.
The child jumped off the bed then raced down the hallway as Eve rescued her legs from the remaining blanket.
The twenty-four year old crawled to the edge of the bed before stretching her stiff muscles, causing miles of blonde hair to rush down her shoulders and curl over her knees.
At least he's back...took him long enough.
She just fixed her bed before a loud crash was heard echoing from down stairs.
The voice came quickly after the crash, It as the same one from her dream.
She made her way towards where the noise to find her husband on the floor holding their daughter in one hand and a broken lamp in the other.
"Now, we have to hide this from your mother so we don't get in trouble, alright?"
He told the child in an innocent voice wearing a sympathetic expression, but it only fell on deaf ears.
The three year old continued snuggling in his embrace too focused on the fact that he had returned rather than that he was talking to her. Eve's smile only grew.
"Oi, are you even listening to-"
"Welcome home..." Eve suddenly said.
The young man immediately threw the lamp over his shoulder in a response to get it out of sight. Staring up at his wife with a surprised expression, his face quickly winced the moment the lamp collided with the floor; breaking into even more pieces than when the child caused him to break it.
The 3 year old only laughed in her father's arms before excitingly snitching, "Daddy did it, Daddy did it!"
The child then proceeded to randomly poke his cheek for no given reason as she continued to sing.
"Oi, Oi, Oi...you knocked it over first!" He stated quickly in his defense, only causing Eve to chuckle in reassurance at the scene playing out in-front of her.
The child wasn't just hers but theirs
It was their Responsibility...
Eve's and Leon's