This was his favorite – preferred – part of his recurring dreams – nightmares. It was before that pressure in his chest would start throbbing accelerating his pulse with a terror that remained unknown – anonymous. All he knew that it terrified him to the point he needed to force himself awake from the dream within a dream. He would scream until his throat was raw and hoarse even then he wasn’t sure if he was still awake.
But before the trepidation, the calm before the storm, his mind gave him a reprieve.
He had to travel through a dilapidated house that was waterlogged. Wolfsbane provided the decorations. Sometimes he thought the house represented the Hale House eradicated by Kate Argent. Since the start of all of the supernatural problems seemed to pinpoint back to that one event since it was because of Peter’s vendetta that made him bite Scott. Though sometimes Stiles just blamed the Argents in general for not following their code as Gerard’s ruthless caused Deucalion to become the power hungry Demon Wolf. He still didn’t even know what that meant then again the Hales were still a mystery to the pack as no one knew the exact of their knowledge or power as Peter wasn’t exactly a reliable source.
Sometimes the house seemed to be his and the emptiness reminded him of his mother. How his home had never been the same – it was void. Some days the furniture seemed to resemble his mother’s rocking chair or their living room couch. The house wasn’t cluttered with case files or on the darkest days scattered empty liquor bottles. Sometimes he wondered what his house – life – would have been like if his mother was still physically alive. Would his life have been plagued with paranormal dilemmas or would he still be trying to get on first line on the lacrosse team.
He never ventured far into the open space of the house on those days.
Then sometimes the house was nothing. It was just a lonely house abandoned by its occupants – neglected. He didn’t know the symbolism surrounding those days. Well he believed he didn’t. He knew all his dreams were manifested by his subconscious about his fears. His greatest fear that could go along with this setting was his fear of abandonment from everyone he loved.
In the dark on those days, sometimes he believed he saw the faint glow of yellow seep through the black.
His mind was starting to become a labyrinth. After each door, it was just horror and terror. No break just more confusion to what the exit led to.
Sometimes he wondered if he, Scott, and Allison didn’t seriously question what they were doing when being surrogate sacrifices for their parents. The chain of events that they probably triggered whose debris affected all of Beacon Hills. He also had thoughts that Jennifer knew they would sacrifice themselves triggering the Nemeton. Giving her either more power or she made sure she wasn’t the only one going to suffer their twisted fate. With every adversary they have faced, Stiles felt they were always missing something from the picture. Everyone else always had a plan B to take down the pack. Just when they thought one war was over another started and Stiles realized their mistake. They weren’t fighting wars they were still fighting battles. They weren’t any closer to a victory especially now since they jumpstarted the Nemeton drawing all the supernatural creatures back to the beacon.
Now, he was a casualty to this war.
If demented nightmares was the preamble what was going to come after this?
Still he would become relieved when his mind allowed the house to form.
He welcomed the feeling of the cold water soaking the end of his flannel pajama pants. How his feet meshed with the soggy wood until he reached the end of the hallway where the lone wooden crooked door stood unwelcoming – uninviting.
He remembered the first time he opened the door. The room was white – blindingly white like the lights in a hospital, but no matter how many times he blinked his eyes never could adjust. Besides the hue of the room, it seemed to never end like a black hole because when he turned around the door would be gone. The only other object to fill the room besides him was a sink and mirror. When he saw the mirror for the first time, he wanted to throw up it was the closest reaction that would have happened in reality. The mirror reflected just him with blood smeared over his face and hands. He couldn’t recall if blood ever coated him like this. He remembered a paralytic substance coating him and bruises with a split lip, but never blood in an amount like this and it wasn’t his blood. He didn’t know if it was a premonition or this site of him covered in plasma manifested from some latent fear or memory of him being – turning – into a killer. Despite all the attacks to the pack none of them ever had to draw blood even when it would be justifiable – self-defense, but it was an unsaid by-law that they didn’t kill no matter what not even when the Alpha’s killed Erica not even when they killed Boyd. It was just one day one of them were going to be covered in blood and he was the frail pale defenseless human – an easy target something Gerard reminded him of.
He knew it was just a dream, but he could feel the stickiness on his palms the metallic scent was fresh on his tongue. He felt the fluid seeping through his shirt as his movement smeared the blood to a new spot. He remembered turning on the sink only for his hands to be clean – no trace of blood - not even under his fingernails. His clothes were clean – spotless – not even a rust looking stain to show its proof.
That was when he saw the metal bathtub out of place with the white of the room. The same type of metal bathtub that he submerged himself in to save his dad, he died in that tub. He still felt the chill of the water hitting his toes before it inundated his whole being before it made his heart stop.
He walked over to the tub where water was spilling out of its confines a puddle of liquid mixed with mistletoe surrounded it rippling as it touched his feet. The water was ice cold. As he tiptoed to the circular object, he expected to only see his reflection in the water. He didn’t expect there to be a body of a female girl to be seemingly sleeping – or dead – in the bin.
As soon as he put his hand in the water and made contact with the girl’s body she sprung to life rising out of the tub causing the metal tub to break bringing them both down on the cold ceramic floor. Water coated them both as she gasped for oxygen to fill her lungs and he gasped out of shock.
That was when he met Gabriella or Gabi as he nicknamed her, she seemed to not mind when he called her that. They both determined very quickly they were dreaming or sharing a dream.
Gabriella was shorter than him maybe around 5’ 4’’. She had long brown hair and the most unique blue eyes that seared him. They were so clear – so bright – well he imagined as now they seemed to be dull there was no luminescence in them. He had a feeling he seen those eyes before. If they weren’t inside his mind and darkness wasn’t surrounding his heart he would call her beautiful. It was funny to him because he hasn’t called or considered another girl beautiful since Lydia Martin. He was a guy and of course recognized a pretty girl in his wake, but none charred him as Lydia did well until Gabi, but considering the situation he didn’t let those thoughts fester. There was something familiar about Gabi but it seemed his mind turned hazy if he pondered it – her - for too long.
It took a week after dreaming together for her to begin speaking to him despite him telling her his name and where he was from – his current predicament with the side effects of him sacrificing himself. He also told her about the supernatural world because with this how could she not believe him. She didn’t give any verbal cues she was listening, but he knew she was by her subtle ticks of her head as she explored the terrain of his dream. They learned very quickly it was benign to stay in the white room. She still didn’t give him any information she only confirmed she was from Beacon Hills too born and currently raised.
After he insisted that they could find each other in actual reality she immediately shot him down declaring where she was at she would never leave. That was when he took notice of her attire. It was the same every night consisting of a muted blue shirt and gray sweatpants. He never brought it up and researching a Gabriella in Beacon Hills turned out to be futile as he could barely read half the time. He knew he could ask Scott or his dad about any Gabriellas that could inhabit Beacon Hills, but he wasn’t really ready to share her – his side effect – with them. He knew despite all the supernatural issues that would make a random girl be his counterpart in dreams would be palpable there was just something off with this.
Since then they settled into this white room, like now. She called it Purgatory. Since it wasn’t cleansing or purifying them they agreed it was the Roman Catholic doctrine of what Purgatory was: a place or state of suffering. He learned very quickly Gabriella was very smart and knowledgeable although just because she did give him the detailed synopsis of Dante’s Divine Comedy could be bias to judge her IQ score. Although he did find the epic poem fitting as his sin that was performed out of love caused them to be in this Purgatory.
Because that was what it was. They were both suffering from night terrors – his night terrors - that left them both screaming themselves awake to the point he thought their vocal cords would become strain or leave their throats bloody.
It was the place where he would watch an invisible force drag Gabriella away screaming for him – for help - while the same force dragged him away from her. The darkness clouded his vision and the pressure on his chest increased as he would end up in another section of his mind in a nightmare or he would wake up in his bed tangled in his sheets or in his dad’s concerned embrace.
Today was no different except she didn’t emerge from the metal tub sometimes she would already be there or she would come through the door sometime frazzled or sometimes she would be eerily calm as she would give him a smile as she would sit next to him on the floor. He would usual start the conversation describing a newfound symptom of his ailment or when he wasn’t particularly in the mood to discuss the supernatural he would talk about random things random facts about his life. Nothing too deep though.
When she did talk, she would try to decipher his dreams and meanings.
“You know my favorite holiday is Halloween.” Gabriella causally mentioned breaking the lull of silence as they sat in their usual position of Indian style.
When she did talk it was about what she drew sometimes he caught her saying how she would show it to him, but other than that she never shared anything personal he did get her to reveal her favorite color which was orange. So he thought having the favorite holiday of Halloween seemed fitting. Although she did mention she only had one friend and her name was Meredith. Therefore, he was surprised she would mention something as trivial as her favorite holiday.
Stiles looked at her curiously today her eyes didn’t seem that cloudy, “Really?”
Gabriella gave him a timid smile as she traced on the floor with her finger, “Yeah…I mean now I wouldn’t exactly say it is still my favorite, but when I was little I loved it.”
“I think Halloween would be my least favorite holiday,” Stiles muttered looking down at his hand with the extra finger, as it seemed to be Halloween every day in Beacon Hills. His favorite holiday was starting to be Cyber Monday because what could go wrong or come alive from shopping on the internet. Although knowing him he might actually buy some type of monster book like from Harry Potter the binding waiting to munch on his fingers.
“So your mind won’t conjure up a bowl of candy to munch on?” Gabriella asked jokingly as she let out a laugh.
Stiles actually smiled for the first time in his dream as her laugh filled the room. He couldn’t remember the last time he made someone laugh instead of them looking at him with worry. “You sure you want to take the risk of eating candy there might be razors in it.”
He watched Gabriella shrug her shoulders at his morbid comment before she spoke again her eyes that uncharacteristically bright clear blue observing him, “You know eventually this is going to stop.”
He did know that. Every night – every second – the pressure in his chest increased. He felt that darkness tug on his heart. He knew whatever this Purgatory was, was only a prelude to something else - something else more sinister. He knew why this was happening to him. He just couldn’t figure out how or why Gabriella was involved.
Stiles also noticed her voice sounded sad and he heard her shuffle closer to him before she spoke up again, “Stiles I have a feeling it is going to come to a point one of us isn’t going to wake up from these dreams.”
Stiles wanted to ask her did she have a hard time distinguishing if she was awake, but he didn’t because he already knew: she didn’t. It was only him them that struggled with what was conscious. She told him she woke up screaming and from the scared look on his face he didn’t ask her again about it.
Stiles suspected Gabriella was some sort of supernatural creature – she was something, but if she wasn’t going to tell him her last name he knew getting her to tell him her supernatural identity wasn’t going to happen. He sometimes saw her get a faraway look in her eyes or she would look around the room as if she was hearing something, but their only other occasional sound was of the faucet that dripped murky water. Just her behavior it reminded him of Lydia when she would hear things.
Stiles looked at her. Her eyes and face full of worry and fear, “You mean I won’t wake up.”
“I didn’t say that.” She refutes.
“But you implied it.” She didn’t answer back because he was right. “Why won’t you tell me your full name?” He asked he knew his voice came off harsh, but she did bring up a point with one of them not waking up and it would be a smart move to find each other to figure out what exactly is happening.
“You know who I am Stiles.” Gabriella answered him deflecting from his question, “but finding me isn’t going to help me or you. Where I am at…everything echoes…”
Stiles looked at her confused, but then he felt the pressure building where his lungs fought for oxygen as panic sieged his veins. They both knew what was coming next as he gasped for air and the lights that illuminated the place grew dimmer and trees vines sprouted from the floor. They both looked at each other horrified, as this was a new development in his dreams. He watched as the Nemeton sprouted from the floor, the dust from the tiles coated them.
The tendrils from the bark latched around his ankle as they both tried to make a run. They both knew it was pointless as Gabriella grabbed his hands to delay the inevitable; the vines quickly dragged her down to the ceramic floor her chin collided with the floor. Stiles thought she knocked herself out, but her grip on his hand never lessoned instead she spitted out blood onto the white floor.
She bit through her tongue.
He knew it was only seconds before the force would become too strong for them to overcome. “Pl-please…y-y-your na-name,” Stiles forced out as his gripped her hand not caring if he left a bruise or broken bones.
Stiles watched as blood leaked out of her mouth as a running faucet as she answered him, “Martin. Gabriella Martin.” He heard before their hands separated. He felt that terror seize him bringing him awake causing him to scream until his throat was raw and to he was aware he was awake in his room.
His body was clammy from sweat that caused his clothes to stick to him as a second skin. Stiles was glad his dad was working the late shift this night and his sleep wasn’t disturbed by him.
He got up from his bed and removed his soiled shirt. He grabbed another plain t-shirt to wear while his mind tried to decrypt another dream, as he knew sleep wasn’t going to come back to him easily tonight. Just to make sure he was awake he counted his fingers as he sat down at his desk and remembered a pivotal detail from this night’s dream.
He got her name.
Gabriella lurched up from the bed screaming, but she didn’t get far as the restraints on the bed kept her body flat on the thin mattress of her bed. This screaming wasn’t the screaming that took a break this was one of her long screams that cracked windows or would burst pipes. This was the scream where the voices would get their messages across – their warnings. She hated this scream. But it cleared her head – the thoughts – their meanings.
When the duration of the scream was over she then realized the orderlies rushing into the room trying to get her arm still to find a vein.
That’s when the panic seeped in and she began screaming for a different reason. She knew it was pointless but she tried to move away from them. She didn’t want to sleep. She didn’t want to go back to that place – that nightmare – inside another boy’s mind. The same boy’s mind since late September where she emerged from that metal tub confused and scared out of her mind she couldn’t handle another night of watching the bags under his eyes become darker.
Ever since that night, she heard things. The echoes in this place became louder – they were screaming. In return, she started screaming more and she had to go to the close unit and they had to sedate her, but then it brought dormant memories back to the surface of the crash, yellow, and riddles.
“Pl-please d-do-don’t, I don’t want to sleep anymore,” Gabriella choked out in broken sobs. She knew her wrists were going to become irritated from her trying to pull them out to get away from them. She fleetingly thought maybe telling Stiles her name maybe he could help her – find her.
“Hey sweetheart, you know I love it when you struggle.” Calvin Adams said, Brunski’s new best friend. Calvin was young she estimated to be around 26 with a sinewy frame with blonde hair cut in a buzz cut. His other partner Aaron Davis was holding her arm still as Calvin taunted her with the needle containing Haldol.
“Please, no…I w-won’t s-scream, please.” Gabriella begged as the needle came closer. Her blue eyes wide with fear.
“We know sweetie you will be asleep.” Aaron told her pushing her hair back from her face.
Salty tears poured out of Gabriella’s eyes as she felt the needle prick her skin her struggle to fight gone. She felt the tears dampen her pillow as her body began to lose its fight to stay awake. She blamed her grandmother for this – for her predicament.
She wished she never told her grandmother about what would happen to her father or what was going to happen to her because it started the experiments. The music, the water drops, the poking the prodding and her throat sore from the multiple screaming matches. It began that start of her indefinite stay at Eichen House.
As her eyes fluttered close to enter the badland of dreams that was when she heard that voice along with the scraping of chalk on the wall.
“In your future and in your past
I come and go so senseless and fast
My purpose is unknown to all
Remembrance seems to drift then fall
I travel by night and fade by day
Because that is my common way
What am I?”