4: Up Late and Unable to Sleep

Nightmares were nothing new to Innes Kaufman, and she usually had one every other night. Beneath the cool, calm mask she wore to avoid letting the world know just how much it actually got to her, like most people in the world, she often quietly somewhat of a mess.


Making for a less than optimal picture of mental health. Mature, pragmatic and logical on her best days. Paranoid, anxious, and cynical on the worst days. But usually finding herself in an unhappy middle. The girl had once been described as a sixty-something year old neurotic in the body of a twelve year old.


Now she was a teenager in a whole other world, in a whole other dimension. She’d finally had her first menses a few weeks ago, after having all training she’d been doing forestall it for months and was finding the experience roughly as ugly, terrible and frightening as tv, the internet and her mother had always told her it would be.


To put things plainly, whether it was the things that she’d been through in her old world or the things she’d been through in her new one, she was one girl who was direly in need of someone to talk to.

There were some nights where she either didn’t sleep at all, or she’d sleep briefly, before snapping awake and sitting up all night, last whatever horrors had chased her into wakefulness find her again when she closed her eyes.


Tonight was one of those nights. She was, or at least she’d thought she was, sitting in a park that was few streets away from the boarding school she’d used to go to.


She’d been feeding the birds, something that used to give her a bit of a peace of mind when her mind got too hectic and full of unnecessary, and decidedly negative thoughts.

Then suddenly there was a hum, and that hum was followed by screaming and the sounds of explosions. Then suddenly she was on her back in a dirty alley way, inside an eerily quiet city.

Two boys in striped, red-brown, blazers stood over her laughing. She flailed trying to get up, and the boys turned into metal monsters standing gleaming chitinous tripods, their proboscis like graspers out and in her face ready to engulf her head.


Then she woke up, and she was in her bed. To her relief tonight wasn’t the few times that she’d wet herself. That used to happen on occasion, but maybe…hopefully…she’d grown out of it.


She sat up, feeling her heart beating a mile a minute. Pounding almost painfully. Painfully enough that she wondered if thirteen wasn’t too early for someone to have a heart-attack.


Her stomach lurched and burst of sour-sweet gas invaded her nasal passages for warning her of a gastric situation that was about to go down in T-Minus three…two….


She ran and this time, like most times, she made it to the bathroom. Praying at a porcelain altar while her stomach tried to empty itself of all that she’d ever eaten.


She vomited until she felt better and then once that was done she rinsed her mouth out repeatedly till she could no longer taste what she’d had for breakfast the day before.


With the Crisis averted other needs came to mind. She kind of wanted to tinkle now and since she was already in the restroom, she figured she might as well.


Somehow that led to her taking a shower, and it was only after all “that” was done that she meandered back to her room. Opening the door to find an undulating pink and black shadow extending out from under her bed, bathing in the moonlight that poured through her open window.


“What’s wrong kid? Did you have another one of those dreams?” said a voice, that was calm and sort of sly and sort of echoey. As if coming from far away and deep under water.


“….Un.” she grunted to the affirmative. Not wanting to talk about it right at that moment.


The owner of the voice,, the enigmatic Red Moon King that had till recently been dominating and terrorizing Eastern half of the Europan Wastes didn’t press the issue. Instead a smooth block of glass simply appeared from nowhere and from that glass came a projected screen.


It was a tv, a television projector that he’d either found somewhere or made from his memories of things that Agartha used to have.


The girl had been pleasantly surprised to find that Agarthans had once had tv. She was even more surprised to find that they still had computer technologies.

What’s more there were even a fair amount of channels still on the air.  They mostly played re-runs, but oddly enough the content was surprisingly similar to the kind of nonsense she’d watch and pretend to be to mature to like when she was back home. A mixture of reality tv, soap operas and cartoons.


Now that she was awake she’d probably watch television till the sun came up and it was time to go to class. Or till she fell asleep if by some miracle she could fall asleep and not remember why she’d been desperately trying to avoid going back to sleep hours before.


Tonight, it’d seem that both would come to pass, perhaps it was because today was a self-study day and there were no actual classes. She keeled over just as the first bits of sunlight started coming through her window.  

She nearly fell off the bed, but was caught in the strong but gentle grip of a pink-black tendril that nudged her in the opposite direction and then covered her with a blanket.


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