Disclaimer: They're not mine. I forget who owns them, but it's definitely not me. Something to do with some kind of Reptile, I think...

Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
(Dylan Thomas)


Chapter One: Close Of Day

Night Terrors - the official psychiatric name for waking up in the middle of the night, screaming as though the world around you is crashing down and there's not a damn thing you can do to stop it.

Ever since I was little I've suffered from Night Terrors. As a child I would be jolted awake by my mother shaking me, desperately trying to stop the piercing screams coming from my throat. She always knew exactly what to say; what to do to make the nightmares go away.

After she died, the dreams came back. Stronger, more intense than they had ever been before. My father suggested seeing a councillor but in my adolescent mind I came to the conclusion that he just had no idea how to cope with me. So, as rebellious as I could be, I refused professional help.

After a time they went away again. Much the same as when I was a child. One night I went to bed, and I slept well. They didn't come back. Perhaps my subconscious mind had forgiven my father long before my conscious, perhaps I had at last found peace with my mother's ghost, I doubt I will ever really know. All I do know for sure is that whatever the reason, I was just grateful they were gone.

No, not gone. Dormant is probably a more accurate way to describe where they lay, and now, after over fifteen years of mostly pleasant dreams, they've returned to haunt me.

One night last week I went to bed at ten - unusual for me as I normally work well into the witching hour. In my defence I was feeling unusually tired as we had only just returned from offworld.

Leaving the base I noticed with some measure of surprise that the night was a lot darker and more oppressive than normal. The base's exterior is always lit up like a Christmas Tree twenty-four hours a day, so at first it felt like nothing out of the ordinary. I was lost deep in thought as I drove out of the complex and headed for the freeway. So much so that I didn't notice the car in front of me had slammed his brakes on suddenly and I came within a Hare's breath of shooting right into his rear fender.

After the initial shock and a few measured, deep breaths I completed my journey, shaky and somewhat more alert, but uninjured.

The minute I turned off the engine I noticed how eerie the night sky looked. Despite the darkness, it was easy to see the grey clouds overhead, covering the stars like a blanket. I shivered involuntarily before returning my attention to securing the wheel lock. Stepping out of the car I locked the door behind me and began walking up the pathway to my front door.

For the entirety of the short walk from my vehicle to the security of my home, I was convinced someone was watching me. Years of self-defence lessons taught me never to look back when you think you're being followed, instead it is a much safer idea to watch for shadows around you. That way you can (allegedly) prepare yourself for an attack from behind.

The trouble with this theory is that due to the cloud cover, the moon was well hidden and therefore casting no shadows over anything. Surreptitiously, I placed my door key between the knuckles of my index and forefinger, and steadied myself for impact.

Let them come, I thought. Determinedly trying to convince myself I was braver than I felt, whilst simultaneously wishing for an MP5. There was no way in hell I was going down without a fight.

But no one came. Quickening my pace I reached my front door, unlocked it and went inside, never once looking behind me. As soon as I was safely ensconced within my home I switched on the exterior security lights and peered through the net curtains.


Mildly surprised, but somewhat relieved that I was more than likely being paranoid, I shook my head and dumped my bag on the sofa before setting about making coffee.

The rest of my evening passed without further incident, but for some inexplicable reason, I just couldn't relax. Despite the constant reassuring noises coming from the television, I still felt ill at ease. Over the course of three hours I rang Janet, Daniel and even the Colonel, hoping that some form of human conversation would still my fluttering nerves, but it didn't work.

Daniel and the Colonel were ignorant to my irrational fear, and chatted amiably with me for a while until I ran out of conversation topics and ended the call, but Janet, who knows me way too well, realised immediately that something was wrong.

After a forced confession she offered immediately to come over and keep me company, leaving Cassandra to her own devices...a plan that the teenager was quick to approve seeing as she was constantly trying to show she was trustworthy. But after gossiping about inconsequential nonsense for over an hour I was feeling more than a little foolish about my insecurities and politely refused.

I hung up the receiver and went straight to bed. Less than an hour later I was beginning to regret making such a rash decision.


More to come dependant on people's responses...