2010-07-19: Your Nightmare



Date: July 19th, 2010


Can't wake up in sweat, 'cause it ain't over yet…
Beyond the will to fight, where all that's wrong is right…
Your tragic fate is looking so clear, it's your nightmare…

"Your Nightmare"

Daphne's Apartment

The heavy rain tears at the windows, lashing at the panes of glass, desperate to drench the room inside the building. Lightning flashes over the city as thunder screams and roars overhead, the heavens crashing and unleashing a furious storm over the city unlike anything it has ever seen. Buildings shake, feeling as if they are about to crumble under the fury of the rain and thunder. The lightning twists and distorts the surrounding view of the apartment, giving buildings dark and unsettling appearances as rain washes over them.

The room is lit up through the two windows by the rapid flashes of lightning outside, revealing the contents inside to those who pay close enough attention. A single bed rests against the northern wall of the room, placed directly in the middle of it so as to be an even distance from either wall. A nightstand is next to it, a small lamp resting atop it, accompanied by a digital clock which currently reads 11:53. The soft glow of the digital numbers reveals a nearby window AC unit as it clicks on, the soft whirrrrr of the compressor filling the otherwise silent room. A soft rustle of sheets comes from the bed, the headboard scraping slightly against the paneled wood. A small, petite woman rests in it, covered from chin to tie in sheets, stirring from time to time as the sheets continue to get further tangled and wrapped around her. A pile of clothes lays in the corner of the apartment, obviously having been shed before the woman crashed into her bed to sleep after an exhausting day. There is only one door to the bedroom, which currently remains shut; beyond it is the hallway to the living area, kitchen, and bathroom of the apartment.

The thunder masks the footsteps of the man who looms over the bed, his shadow disfigured by the eerie light coming in from the streetlamps outside. When lightning flashes, his features are revealed— he has none. He is nothing but a dark, foreboding shape, standing against the backdrop of the apartment… noticable only for the fact he casts a far darker shadow where he stands than the dark room around him. He breathes heavily, standing over the bed as he watches the woman sleep, a hand reaching out and pulling the sheet down slowly, revealing the woman's light skin as the sheet is pulled lower and lower to expose her throat… until a violent flash of lightning is accompanied by the crash of thunder, and the dark figure is simply gone.

Small little disturbances play across the woman's face, disturbing something that was dreaming and putting lines around her eyes, a twitch in her lip. Thin fingers curl and uncurl around the emptiness as the comforting blanket begins to shrink away inch by inch by… with a jolt of movement simultaneous to that last blast of rolling thunder, her whole body flies straight forward. Blanket tumbles every which way, clinging and smothering her legs like great arms, and she wrestles them out with a few shuddering movements of panic before her heart beat catches up to the fact that there's… no one there.

Wide eyes search the surroundings; are they familiar, or are they just strange in the dark… Trying to ease off of her initial reaction, she curls bare legs closer to her, tugging almost self-consciously on a night-shirt that's barely a piece of fabric, a pair of bikini-cut panties that expose her body to the wrathful night. Shutters are smacking together… and she can't even remember having shutters.

Her breaths start to come easier and she inwardly scolds, pulling hands against her forehead and sweeping them through the messy lay of her blond hair. A few fingers tangle in the unnaturally bright strands as she props elbows to raised knees and spares glances left and right. Something's missing. Those uneven spaces around the bed make it feel like a boat on the ocean. But she crawls her way to the edge anyway and swings feet over. Tests the floor.

Something's missing. And it compels her to get to her feet and take a step away from the comfort of the bed that, really, wasn't so comforting after all.

As if it were watching, waiting for the young woman to wake, the storm unleashes the full wrath of its anger, the building shaking slightly in the howling wind as the rain begins to pour even harder. It's a loud roar, slamming against the roof of the complex, the noise traveling through the roof, rafters, and ceiling, the bedroom of the woman seemingly filling with the noise. Lightning strikes all around the city, a vicious bolt slamming into the adjacent building across the street, a peal of thunder roaring out overhead as the room fills with white, blinding light.

Whispers, soft and raspy, fill the room, echoing around the woman. Snippets can be heard, but never understood— voices that sound human, yet twisted and distorted by the atmosphere of the room, slowly dying out until nothing else can be heard but the roaring rain. Shutters continue to slam against the windows, threatening to shatter the glass and allow the rain inside. A fork of lightning streaks across the sky, once again filling the room with a bright, white light, revealing the shadow of the man standing in the corner until the light fades. Another flash of lightning; this time, the shadow is gone. Nothing remains but the stained paneled wood, the blemishes and traces of the tree's rings from which it was made twisted in the darkness, resembling faces peeking out at her from within the wall itself.

Rain continues to lash at the apartment from all angles. It's as if the heavens themselves want to wash it away. The floorboard creeks, sounding out behind the woman as a pair of fingers slowly, softly tracing their way up her lower back, until two hands finally come to rest on her shoulders, a body pressed up against hers from behind, accompanied by the loudest whisper of them all, his breath brushing her ear as he speaks. "I have you…"

Then- whoever, whatever it is… gone.

That vindictive strike of the storm was enough for her to squeal a bit, the noise turning into a giggle from her own sheepishness. Who's there to see her behavior? But she still feels watched, and it colors her cheeks and her actions. Whispering that plagues her — heightened by tenseness — hearing and causes a shudder down her small, barely clothed body. A hand reaches behind, fingers curling and grasping blindly for some touch of comfort from the covers she left on the bed.

… But she touches… something else. And then — the sensation of something touching back… almost intimately — and then oppressive as it locks down on her shoulders. Yet somehow that intimacy hasn't gone; not when there's the heat of breath against her ear, and the capturing of her whole body to someone else's — when she shudders this time, it's like he's taking it from her —

She doesn't scream, exactly. There's just a shrill inhale as she whirls around in place, spinning on bare feet that stick to the wooden flooring. Stumbling bumps one ankle against the other, trapping either from making a firm bid for her weight before it's tipped right over. With a spinning of arms, she lands quite squarely on her butt and, for a long moment, she stays there.

Breathing… listening. If there are whispers now, maybe it's because of the fierce pounding of rain against the structure that sounds like it's attacking all sides of the apartment. Her hands find her hair again, pushing away bangs as she inhales and exhales, puffing out one more annoyed breath to end. "Get a hold of yourself…"

The room is empty, still but for the soft stirring breeze coming from the air conditioning unit that ruffles the sheets, the ends of them blowing softly around the edges of the bed. A moment later, there's a soft click and the whir of the compressor is no longer heard as the apartment loses power. The entire block, if not city, seems to have lost it, stemming from the fact there is no longer any light from the streetlamps outside making its way into the room. The clock's face is dead, the digital green glow of the numbers no longer providing the comfort they once may have. The apartment is cast into pure blackness, save for the few brief moments of respite whenever the lightning flashes.

A soft creaking fills the room, and the shift in light from the hallway, lit up by another jagged fork of lightning tearing across and splitting the sky in two reveals that the creak came from the door. Somehow it has opened itself, revealing the hallway beyond… but it is not the familiar hallway the young woman would be accustomed to. It's twisted and distorted, just like everything else in the world: a long, seemingly endless hallway lined with windows down either side, the rain lashing and throwing itself against them with a terrible fury. Thunder cracks overhead, the rumble shaking the apartment building again, this time actually causing one of the windows to crack and blow out from the sheer force of it, littering the floor and woman with glass. Rain begins to collect on the carpet as the sound of the wind roaring outside fills the room, a damp spot quickly spreading over the floor as the water pours in.

Lightning flashes again, revealing a black, shadowy figure in the room opposite the woman, leaning up against the wall. As the jagged bolt of electricity dies out, a crash of thunder is heard— almost immediately, another bright flash of light fills the room, revealing the figure has taken a few steps forward. A series of rapid flashes, almost as if they were meant to reveal the figure, clearly shows his quick movement across the floor, a flash of evil eyes, dark, thick eyebrows constricting together with sadism and joy, his steps echoing off the walls, and as soon as he's on the young woman, ready to pounce on her scantily-clad body, ready to tear her to pieces, ready to kill, he vanishes.

The footsteps somehow continue, however, eerily echoing off the walls without a source for their sound, until they eventually make their way out of the apartment and into the hallway, echoing all the way down to the other end— which, should the young woman follow with her eyes, reveals a sight: Peter Petrelli. A flash of lightning, and he's gone. The wind begins to pick up, echoing and howling throughout the house.

A rough whisper that sounds eerily similar to Peter's echoes down the hallway, carried by the howling wind. "Help… me…"

The darkness is inconveniencing but tolerable until it reveals its true purpose — that figure so familiar in its monstrosity. Her arms still raised from the shriek and cover as the glass blew its way to her, the woman's palms move from protecting her head to plant behind her. Palms even dig into fragments, skin breaking further, but she presses down in order to perform a desperate crab-walk backwards as each lightning strike puts him closer and closer — too close — there's only a sucked in breath, the knowledge of complete helplessness as her back thumps against the wall. Nowhere to go. She wants to run. Oh God, why can't she run?!

Tiny arms whip about her head a second time, face burying against her legs as she seeks to drive the inevitable attack away simply by not seeing it —

T-Thump. Thump. T-Thump thump.

Her heart?

Or the footsteps?

Are they getting further away?!



Something, something more terrible in its hurt than even was the sight of a monster at her throat — it compels her to crack her fingers apart and peer down that awful, distorted hallway. And when she does, though her overwrought heart tumbles into her stomach, there vanishes all other choice but to abandon the curled comfort of this position.

It's hard to focus when all she can hear is her own frantic heartbeat, but it's also the sound of her frantic aliveness, and that in itself encourages her to slowly unfurl, carefully digging toes into the floor between glass pieces to get a solid footing. A hand clamps coolly against the wall, then the other, and she inches her way, working herself onto her legs.

"Peter…" Daphne's voice is weak at first, suspicious, but even with her doubts, the chance of any of this being true means she has to chance the repeated deception. "Peter — just — just tell me where you are." A step. Another.

She's reached the door. A glance over her shoulder, tearing eyes from the wrongness of the hallway, has her staring at that growing pool on the floor of the bedroom. For a long moment, the water there reflects in her frightened eyes. Then fright narrows to determination. It isn't safe there either.

A bare foot slides forward; she steps into the hall.

The door, having slowly creaked open, slams with a noise that seems louder than the thunder itself behind Daphne, forcing her into the hallway. A rough wind tears itself down the hallway, ruffling the curtains that are placed above each and every window as the windows themselves open and slam shut repeatedly, a cacophany of noise filling the hallway. With a sudden, unexpected hush, the hallway falls silent, curtains coming to rest over the windows. Even as the rain and thunder continues outside, it seems unable to penetrate the walls of the hallway, as if it were disconnected from the world.

A voice rings out. A whisper, the owner indiscernible, but not from the hallway — it's as if the whisper comes from inside Daphne herself. "Only a little further now."

A flash of lightning, and a crack of thunder. From behind, another set of fingers traces its way down the curve of Daphne's spine, coming to rest just above the bikini line of her panties, soft, sensual. Whatever it is, it's back — the shadowy figure from before, behind Daphne, the hand leaving her lower torso as the figure reaches up to grab her roughly by the shoulder and spin her around, pulling her body tightly against his. The embrace is rough, full of lust, the person unable to get Daphne any closer to him, his own skin filled with a fiery heat at her touch. "Daphne?" the voice says, low, soft — Peter's voice. His features are cast into light by a flash of lightning outside — no twisted, shadowy features, no dark eyes, just normal, regular Peter. "Daphne!" he says, sliding both of his arms around her and pulling her into an even tighter embrace. "What's… going on?"


"Nnnnghh," the wordless noise of discomfort slides out from between gritted teeth as the violent orchestra of the hallway stunts Daphne's progress, slowing each foot's stuttered progress. It's almost like feeling crippled again, as her legs dumb to the commands her mind gives. Forward, forward. Only a little further now.

Once again she's stilled by this cool touch basically against her skin as it seems to reach right through the thin fabric of her shirt, certainly passing below it to that suggestive line before more private arenas. And once again, a war in her demands she rebel against the thought of being snuck up upon — flee, run, Daphne, get the advantage again! — every fiber of her being hating the thought — well… can't be every fiber.

Some of them, traitorous them, shiver in a wholly different manner at the suggestion that touch brings.

But the roughness of the next has her bringing her hands up between the two bodies, trying to form fists and create a barrier between herself and that desire more thunderous than the storm outside. But the desire seems to be winning, crushing her against that body. A body… that she fits into so naturally when she stops fighting. "Peter!" A sharp exhale through her nose as those fists become tight grips on the fabric of his shirt. But even as she wants to surrender into an embrace, the back of her mind protests. She pushes slightly away to look into his face calculatingly. "What's going on? — You were calling…"

There's a small tussle as Daphne tries to put her hands in between them, and the shifting movement of body against body makes it difficult at first — but when she stops, clinging to his shirt, his arms keep her in the embrace, pulling her body tightly against his. "I don't know," he says, his voice rough, a whisper, yet somehow retaining a soothing quality against the harshness of the night outside. "I think it might be some kind of nightmare, one that you can be trapped inside of…" He shakes his head slightly, pulling just the slightest amount of distance away from Daphne to look around.

"I could see you," he says as he speaks, seeing if he can perhaps find out a way to break out of this, or perhaps end the nightmare. All he can see is an endless city of ravaging weather, jagged, broken lightning tearing across the sky, thunder crying out across the heavens, and rain tearing itself at the building. "I was watching what was happening," he finally says as he watches the world outside, "I was watching him. I wanted to get to you, rescue you, save you from him, but I didn't think I could, then… somehow, there you were. I was here. With you." When he stops speaking, he finally tears his eyes away from the storm outside and returns them to Daphne's hazel gaze. A smile pulls at the corner of his lips, a hand moving up to brush at Daphne's cheek, tucking a stray strand of hair back behind her ear. "We'll get out of here," he says, leaning forward as he does. "I promise…"

His lips meet Daphne's, softly, pulling her body tighter against his. The kiss is soft at first, loving, but soon it becomes hungry, full of desire, Peter wanting to shut the world out around them, fingers tracing and caressing her bare skin as he tries to forget this nightmare landscape, forget the horror, get lost in the woman he loves.

"Nightmare…?" Daphne echoes, the very essence of the word seeming to echo away down the hallway, past the curtains and into the destruction of the lightning. "But I thought our abilities — are yours?" She's standing on her own two legs, though Peter's embrace on her means she wouldn't even have to be, but her mind can't seem to recall. How long has it been? They're not… where we they last?

As her head starts to turn away to get herself to think clearer, she's wrapped even tighter, virtually lifted into Peter's kiss. Hesitant at first, tense in the wrong way, and uneasy, Daphne fights the idea of getting caught in something so defenseless, so distracting.

But the passion begins to work at her. Most of her body is bare skin right now, but his hands know where they're going, and she, in turn, knows what those touches mean. It's been… she just wants to feel safe… and in Peter she does, has to. But says some part of her mind that she banishes with a tilt of her head that does not put her looking away but instead molding her mouth tighter to his. She has to get on tip-toe to truly reach him the way she wants, and his arms bolster her in doing so.

Her own hands started between them spread between the innocence of his cheek to one trailing still along that chest. Picking at his shirt. She'll be that place he needs, because she needs it just as well.

Skin against skin, Peter's fingers tracing little symbols at random over Daphne's bare flesh, a hand moving up to the back of her head to hold her closer as they embrace, shutting out the world around them. The sound of the roaring wind begins to fade, the thunder abates, lightning no longer tearing across the jagged sky…

Until the horrifying truth becomes clear.

As the two embrace, Daphne would feel a shift against her body as Peter's own form twists and turns, body morphing into something else right in front of the young woman, even as their lips remain connected. His height increases slightly, hair growing out a few inches, dark thick eyebrows forming over evil eyes which open and stare into the woman. Bodymass shifting and turning against her, so that she no longer fits naturally up against him — this is no longer the body of Peter, the features of Peter, the comfort of Peter.

It is none other than Sylar.

He rips her from his body, both hands coming up to her bare upperarms and gripping there, forcing her away from his body with a small shove. Even as he does, a terrible streak of lightning tears across the sky, slamming into the tower resting atop the building next door. Thunder announces its presence, the sound literally slamming into the building and blowing out every single window in the long hallway in an instant, glass shattering and pouring down on both Sylar and Daphne, mixing in with the unfathomable fury of the storm outside. Sylar seems unaffected — in fact, the rain doesn't even look like it's touching him — and even as the curtains begin to paint themselves dark red, thick, dark blood dripping out of the ceiling and running down the walls and fabric, Sylar's whisper whirls about them, seeming to emanate from the world itself, breathing into Daphne's ear and down her neck even though he remains a few feet away.

"Miss me?"


It'd be nice to melt forever into what they're doing then, making contact in all the right places… but that shifting already rings the alarms in Daphne's head even as she strives to ignore them, pushes herself up against Peter as though her mere weight can keep him grounded in himself.

But to no avail.

Daphne's yelp is small and needy when she's yanked apart, even from that unfamiliar shape. She just doesn't want to face the reality, but there it is, clutching at her and then she's stumbling backwards, toes stubbing on floor and knees twisting slightly. Again, that dumb feeling in time for the sky to break. As the windows shatter, once more Daphne's arms around flung up to her head, covering her hair and face as she shrieks with the onslaught of tiny shiny cutting. The noise outside drowns everything out for a moment as she only seeks to make her already tiny body into as small a target as possible, arms wrapped and knees knocked together.

When she lifts her head, her stomach drops, instantly making her wish she hadn't. Red comes at her worse than the rain, and the thick liquid threatens between her toes as she tries one way and then balks, stepping left instead of right to retreat from the worst of the dripping.

"Don't." It could be a command about a myriad of things, but Daphne leaves it as a blanket protest when her jaw snaps shut around other words. Slowly, carefully, her heel slides backwards. Everything in her brain is screaming to run, but all she can do is just take faster and faster steps backwards.

Lifting himself up to his full height, the psychotic killer known as Sylar stands over Daphne, his features watching her even as she tries to make a smaller target of herself. He says nothing, only stands there, a dark shadow against the backdrop that is the thunderous sky, lightning flashing and cracking across the city as it slams a little too close to home, a vicious peal of thunder once again rocking the building.

It's as if the world were ending.

The blood, thick, dark, and red, seems to take on a life of its own, twisting and coursing its way down the hallway in pursuit of the now moving Daphne. Standing in the blood as it twists its way around his feet, Sylar begins to advance forward, slowly following the woman, blood dripping from the soles of his shoes, the sound of it hitting the large pool on the floor echoing loudly and perversely off of the walls, only adding to the cacophony of dreaded sounds. A grin slowly crosses his face, lightning flashing outside as shadows twist across his face.

The wind begins to pick up, searing its way down the hallway at Daphne's back — hands, imaginary, or perhaps the hands of Sylar himself, claw and scrape at her back, desperate to get a grip on the few threads of shirt she wears and tear at it, bring her down to the ground so Sylar can advance on his prey. For whatever reason, they can't seem to get a grip, but even Sylar knows that's not their true purpose — they are there to do nothing more than inspire even greater fear in the woman.

Even as the shadow hands continue to grasp and grab at Daphne, the wind carries a harsh whisper on it, as if the wind were the voice of Sylar himself. The whisper, hot and breathy against the back of Daphne's neck, breathing into her ear, is only one word: "Run."

Back back back back back — fumbling, stumbling, failing steps that threaten to send her to the blood-soaked floor from her own power, but Daphne's inability to tear her eyes away from the sight of Sylar keeps her awkward momentum. More than anything, from her legs to her heartbeat now, she feels the pulsing need to run run run but she can't even dare blink and miss an instant of what he's doing. Every second of that grin she catches, every twitch.

But then the wind, vicious through the broken windows and beyond, betrays even her one terrible comfort. At first, the attack from behind causes her to slow, legs indecisively staggering forward to escape this invisible new enemy, and she instinctively throws her arms out to fend off some entity. But they're everywhere — he's everywhere — and now keeping him in sight is nothing against the violence. Every tug and tear pulls her skinny body in another direction and she veers off the path of retreat. Shrieking is more like many gasping yelps to the onslaught that seeks to rip away even that small bit of clothing shielding her.

Then there it is — on her neck. Run. Her wild eyes find him there, Sylar. Do you do it… what a killer says you should…?

She can't. She's not strong.

To the command from a psycho, himself, Daphne spins on her blood-stained feet, putting her nearly naked back now more exposed to him. And she runs.

It's struggling at first, like she's forgotten how, but stride in front of stride she begins to regain some of that sprinter's push, even if not the form. But still it isn't fast and beyond hope, beyond fear, beyond coherent thought of any kind, there's only one word blazing in Daphne's mind, one truth: RUN.

She won't have far to go.

The killer continues to advance, even as the woman begins to run away from him, following the command he's just given her. This is his world, not hers, and he will do every last thing to torture her until he finally claims her life for his own.

At the end of the hall, a shadowy figure different than that of Sylar — and this figure seems to be floating a few inches from the ground. As the woman nears, the horrifying truth of what's in front of her will be revealed with a terrible streak of lightning that slams into the room itself, drowning out all noise and vision, blinding the area with blue-white. When the blinding light fades, the floating figure is revealed in the fading light — Peter Petrelli.

This is not the comforting Peter one might expect. He hangs grotesquely from the ceiling, a thick noose tied around his neck. Eyes bulge out slightly, his face a dark purple-white, the noose still tightening around his neck as his dead weight floats above the ground.

No matter where the woman runs, whether towards the dead Peter or away, Sylar is somehow directly behind her every step of the way, hot breath down her neck, hands still grasping at clothing and skin. He could very much easily grab her by the shoulders, spin her around, and end this right now — but quite honestly, what's the fun in that? A soft whisper in the woman's ear, tickling her flesh, his breath carrying the words, fingers curving along the spine of her back… these touches and whispers aren't meant to frighten, but something that may be far worse for the woman. "Don't you want me, Daphne? Don't you want my love? I can give you so much more than Peter ever did… I can take you to new heights… show you things you never thought you would see… make you feel things you never thought you would feel… we could be great together, you and I…"

Daphne doesn't want any figures — none — she wants to just be herself and be running and never ever ever have to stop. But the flash of lightning disorients her and, as it fades, she's caught up in the grotesque truth more firmly than ever. Twitching, shaking hands come up to her sides. Perhaps they meant to reach out to that dangling, lifeless form but they never get close to that destination. Watery… wobbly… her legs begin to turn into nothing. The same is happening to her insides; even that heartbeat pounding too fast for a speedster feels like it's suddenly working through miles of thick, murky substance. Beating dully and mutely.

"N-No… Peter… not… Peter…" Not him. It isn't just a plea for it not to be real — it's disbelief. Not when the corpse supposedly floating morbidly in front of her has accomplished so many other impossible things. Rescued her even — cared for her — from the monstrosity that stalks her now.

It's a clone, it's temporary. It's a thousand different things.

But she believes in him.

Yet no belief can stop the horror that seduces. That touches her. That — the worst truth of all — knows her. Those fingers and whispers, they aren't discovering anything new, only retracing old paths, setting invisible bondage. The really nauseous part… is that the caresses do not go without natural reaction. Mind catching up to body, Daphne pushes at what she cannot see, backing up willingly towards that dreaded image of Peter. "Y-You're not— no. This isn't right. You were only pretending to be him, that's all a lie! You're— a lie!" From some secret part of her previously buried by fear rages a confidence powered by the same desperation. "So you're just going to kill me — just do it!"

As soon as they all started, the touches, the whispers, the horrors, they stop.

The storm's rage finally breaks, the rain suddenly letting up, thunder no longer heard, lightning no longer tearing the sky in two. The blood seeps through the carpet, disappearing, and a peaceful calm overtakes the city and the hallway they stand in.

The killer, the object of her nightmares, however, still remains. He looks down at Daphne, both of his feet planted on ground, arms at his sides, a grin slowly forming across his lips. "Kill you?" he says, and for the first time, his voice sounds normal, actually coming from him this time, rather than whispers surrounding the woman. "I don't want to kill you… I never did," he says, followed by the smallest of sighs — it's as if he's disappointed in her. Killing wasn't his aim… but it is satisfying, nonetheless. The day can still be saved. "You were just the innocent victim, in the way of the one thing I wanted most…" Eyes flicker up to the spot where Peter hung only moments before — shortly after that, the killer's gaze returns to Daphne's. "The death of Peter Petrelli. Once he was out of the way, it was going to be just us…" A shrug.

The sociopath moves forward, yet when he moves, there's something quite off about it. It's as if he floats, his body moving forward, feet leaving the ground yet still firmly planted to the spot. He moves down and towards Daphne, eyes glowing malevolently, a soft whisper of a hiss rushing through the room as he comes just mere inches from the woman's face, eyes boring into hers as he kneels directly in front of her. "… but if this is the way you want it."

A sharp jerk from the killer's body, and his hand snaps up, gripping Daphne by the nape of the neck. A finger trails its way up her knee, thigh, torso, across her bare midriff and up her side, before slowly tracing a sensual line across her neck and to her forehead — after which the soft trace becomes a jarring, horrendous pain, telekinetic powers slicing jaggedly into her skull as the sounds of ripping flesh and popping bone fill the hallway, echoing off the walls and becoming a sick symphony of music to accompany the woman's death.

And that other fate, the creepy intimate desire — that killer's affection — really worse than death? The one that comes painfully — and slowly enough that she has time to open her mouth and —

— no screams. Ripped from her throat, the breath vanishes like the breeze — which is exactly how fast Daphne is moving the split instant after she wakes up, jolting straight out of bed and out of the state. Run run run run run run is all her brain can process besides the shocking stinging pain in her forehead that, even fading and untrue, she fears. As she fights for motor control over her own body, she manages to get a hand to that forehead, press where there is no scar, not even the tiniest suggestion of a wound.

As her heartbeat begins to slow to something less than dangerous, so does her body until she's quite suddenly just somewhere else. Exactly in the fashion to which she'd become accustomed. And then unaccustomed. A stale breeze whips up, chasing dust and the edges of her night-shirt as she clings to it, pulling the end of the fabric down further than it should be to try and cover her stomach, separate her exposed flesh from the random outdoors she's found herself in. Tears and sweat make a gross mixture on her face as she hurriedly rubs her arms across her cheeks, spinning round and round and round for any sign or indication of where she is or how she got there. Well… how… is only half as obvious as it should be.

Run run… r… Her brain's echo dies when, after a few flimsy strides, it's clear that getting out here was a fluke and it isn't going to happen again. Eyes focus in the distance once she blinks away the moisture to find — Next rest-stop 5 miles.

Even though her legs are shaking, and she startles violently at every stray wind… Daphne begins to walk. Five miles is going to be a long time to be afraid. She tries not to think about how reaching that destination doesn't mean reaching the end of the fear.

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