Madeline's life shattered long ago, now Gerard has to deal with listening to her screams of terror at night. Can he show her a way to shut off the nightmares?
"Don't worry sugar. You'll be my princess soon enough." His whispered words hung as a threat.
"Don't touch me! Get away!" With surprise he let go, stepping back. "Mom! Dad! Derek!" They had to be somewhere... Where were they? They were supposed to be home!
Blood, everywhere. Blood stained the walls, the carpet... How could such small people bleed so much? The blood was everywhere, as if someone had decided to paint with it.
And then the words... the words forever written in their blood: -I love you.-
(End of Dream)
Sweat clung to Madeline Keegan's body as she tossed and turned, a scream clinging to her lips. As the words appeared for the millionth time in her nightmare she let the high-pitched scream pass her lips, bringing her awake.
Nearly four years had passed since the dark haired man plaguing Madeline's dreams had killed her entire family. She didn't know him but he had become obsessed with her. Far too unstable to be allowed near her... All it took was one hug from her older brother Derek and he was sent over the edge, ending with each of her family member's violent untimely deaths. If a neighbour hadn't heard her screams then she'd be dead as well.
As much as the mystery man loved her in his own way, he also hated the way she made him feel. One more rejection was too much. He'd plunged the knife in to her stomach, twisting with each pain filled tear he shed over her. Madeline still had the scar across her stomach, reminding her of what had happened every single day... as if she'd ever forget.
Suddenly a knock sounded through out her apartment, causing more fear to shoot through out her body. It didn’t matter that the knocking probably had nothing to do with her dream... She still connected the two.
The knocking continued and she slowly lifted herself from bed, inching towards the door. She listened, unsure as to what she expected to hear.
She peered through the peak hole to find a man she’d never seen before waiting patiently outside. Despite her growing dread she unlocked her door, glancing out. “What?”
The man awkwardly shifted, intently looking at her. “I heard a scream.”
“That was me.” He had to be new. Madison screamed quite frequently, every single night actually. Every single time she had that goddamn nightmare. She’d tried pills. They didn’t help. The nightmares still haunted her.
“Are you okay?” The man asked, eyes inspecting her.
She let her door open a bit more, to show him that she was fine. “I had a nightmare. I’m sorry if I woke you.”
“You didn’t.” The man said, still watching her. “I’m just unpacking. I moved in this morning.” That made sense as to why he had never before heard her scream. As she’d thought, he was new. “Would you like me to come check under your bed?” The man’s smile was teasing, along with his tone.
“Um...” Madeline licked her lips, wondering if he was making fun of her. It wasn’t uncommon. The nightmares were one reason as to why she couldn’t hold down a relationship. Any man who slept with her found the nightmares annoying. They didn’t get why she couldn’t just be fixed, or cured. They didn’t realize that she’d forever be broken.
The man’s smile slipped, “I apologize. I don’t mean to be rude. It’s just- my younger brother Mikey used to have me check under his bed every time he had a nightmare. It made him feel a little more at ease.”
Madeline couldn’t help but smile, “It’s sweet that you did that for him.”
“The offer stands; I’m pretty good at scaring the boogeyman away.”
Madeline wasn’t one to invite strangers in. She’d never really actually taken a risk in life since her family had been brutally slaughtered. In the back of her mind her guilt festered and she just knew; she had to have done something. There was something she did, something that brought that man in to their lives. Something she’d simply overlooked... and that small oversight led to her family’s death.
She had nothing left to lose however so she opened the door, “That actually sounds... nice.”
The man walked past her, in to her apartment. The walls held paintings of dark eyes, and nothing else. It was all Madeline could think of. Dark eyes. She drew them. They were the eyes of the man that had stabbed her. They were the eye’s that haunted her dreams, turning them in to nightmares.
The man gestured to her bedroom door, which was slightly ajar. “May I?”
“Please do.” She responded, trailing behind him.
“I’m Gerard, by the way.” The man said, pulling the sheets from Madeline’s bed up so that he could see underneath. “And it looks like the boogeyman has left the building.”
Madeline smiled, finding amusement in his words. “I’m Madeline.” She awkwardly shifted, as Gerard straightened her sheets. “Thank you.”
He shrugged, “I’m actually right down the hallway so you know, feel free to call me over whenever you get scared.”
Whenever you get scared...
“Actually, about that...” Madeline looked away, embarrassed to have to explain herself. No one else had ever actually come to see what was wrong. Gerard would be the first one who seemed to actually even care. “I scream a lot when I sleep... The nightmares, they are frequent. I just figured that you should know... It won’t be the last time you hear it.” She apologetically glanced at him, “I’m sorry... I really am.”
“Why are you apologizing?”
“I don’t want to disrupt your sleep and I know I’m going to...”
“I’m more worried about you than I am about my sleep schedule.” The words touched Madeline and she wasn’t sure as to what she should say.
Finally she shrugged, “I’ll try to be a little more quiet.”
Gerard just frowned but the frown quickly slipped away, “Are you going to be heading back to sleep?”
“I don’t think so.” Madeline always had trouble going back to sleep after the nightmares. That was the cause of the dark spots under her eyes, a show of how little sleep she actually got.
“Wanna come over and check out my place?” The offer was friendly but Madeline hadn’t been over to another person’s house since high school. She didn’t usually feel comfortable enough to go somewhere with another individual. Then again Gerard was already alone with her in her apartment…
“Sure, did you need help unpacking?” The idea of having a little company was actually appealing. It’d been far too long that Madeline had hidden behind her apartment door, filtering everything. The thing was… when you didn’t let any bad in; you had a tendency of making sure good didn’t get in either.
The balance in her life had been off for a very, very long time.
Gerard smiled, everything about him coming off as friendly. “I’d appreciate that. I could probably use a touch of girl-style.”