The ground of Nowhere, trembled in a fury that was unknown to all living creatures. The dog unfortunate dog that was trapped in the canter of the quaking rage was Courage the cowardly dog. He watched in horror as the ground tore open in a flow of magma. A massive reptilian creature rose from the fiery depths roaring in an earth-shattering scream of torment.

This massive creature looked down upon the small creature, sniffing the air. His body was rippled with muscle and his hunched back held three massive shafts of muscle. These were necks that held the other three heads. Dragon heads, each with a different expression. One was angered at the disgusting world around him, the second had a look of disgust for all living creatures, and the third had an open mouth. Like the laughing from a madman who silence was disturbing enough.

This creature lashed his heads back, and roared once more. The magnificent creature was the last thing Courage saw before being impaled by the massive claws. It was beautiful agony. You didn't want to look, but couldn't look away.

Courage the cowardly dog woke up to the shining sun once more, breathing heavily. It was all a nightmare. A graphic depiction of his buried inner- conscience. He shook as he climbed out of his cot. He looked in on his sleeping masters then went downstairs. He was beginning to like the peaceful atmosphere lately. He went out to dig for his misplaced yo-yo like always. He had nothing better to do.

He got down on his knees in a good spot, and proceeded to dig. As he sifted through the warm, soft dirt, his claws hit something hard making him yelp. He looked down in the newly dug hole, and saw a shining black jewel like a big Emerald. He slowly pulled it out and examined it, wondering what it was, who buried it, and just how long it has been there. He held it up to the sun and examined it with a jewel scope he happened to have in his pocket. It looked like it was worth a small fortune and it was very shiny and new for something that could have possibly been there for centuries.

Just then, as he put his scope away, he saw a cloudy image in it. He breathed on it and tried to wipe away what he thought was dust, but the cloud remained. He looked at it more intently and noticed something forming within the cloud. A face, dragon like but humanoid, appeared, with three massive dragonheads coming out of its back. The same creature from his nightmare!

Courage screamed louder than he had ever in his life. The kind of scream that someone would do if they had woke from a horrible nightmare. His lungs felt as if they would burst, and his throat went dry and raspy, almost losing his voice. But he had to stop to breathe. He threw the horrible thing away from himself and swallowed, trying to lubricate his sore throat. He took a deep breath, exhaled, and picked up the thing again. He didn't want to, but he didn't want anyone getting hurt, and to make sure that anyone that didn't need it couldn't get hold of it.

He looked at it again, but nothing happened. Maybe it was the sun, or the heat. Or both made that horrible apparition appear. He remembered when the sun made him see a reflection of Eustace's truck in the asphalt.

But then again, this image was too orderly and horrible to be imagination. After what Courage had been through though, his imagination was anything but normal. Was his nightmare a projection of what was to come?

He pocketed the thing and went back inside. He went up to the attic and turned on the computer. The soft musical chime signaled it was ready.

"What do you want this early?" it asked sarcastically. Courage scanned a picture of the emerald into the computer and waited.

"OH MY!" it said with a surprised tone, which meant it was not good.

"What you have here is a Dark Emerald, one of sixteen actually." A picture shows fifteen emeralds surrounding a sixteenth that was larger in size.

"They were Chaos Emeralds that became prisons for Hell's most powerful demons, each one representing a different element of the world."

The computer began saying the elements, showing a sketch from an ancient book for each one. Each looked more horrible and twisted than the last.

"There was Fire the demonic master of beautiful destruction,

"Metal who was the master of weapons,

"Ice whose heart was colder than his body,

"Star who commanded the black holes and super-novas,

"Rock who had magma for veins, and commanded earth like no other,

"Moon who commanded the tides,

"Sky who commanded the weather and all objects natural and man-made in the sky,

"Air who could crush or suffocate at will,

"Blood who was spawned from the carnage of the battlefield,

"Bone who created and commanded the Reapers. He symbolizes the Horseman of Death,

"Steel represents the industrial revolution that lead to more wars being fought,

"Lava is the liquid flame, consuming all in his path with silent death,

"Wind who commanded the tornadoes, hurricanes, cyclones, and windstorms,

"Darkness who conjured our darkest desires and actions. The dark side of our souls and the shadows we should fear more than what is hiding in them,

"And, finally, technology who created the technological revolution, allowing us to hold mass destruction in the palm of our hand.

"These fifteen were sealed away in a tomb where they were later founded by Armadillo Rex, insane inventor and evil ruler."

A picture of Rex giving the peace sign at the camera appears.

"They were accidentally infused into a clone of America's hero Sonic the hedgehog."

A picture of Sonic appears.

"I know him, and his friends." Courage said to himself scratching his head.

"But this Dark Emerald here was the little known sixteenth." The computer continued, showing the same picture of the sixteen, but the one in the middle was now highlighted.

"This one contains the demon of elemental Nightmare. It is four demons in one because of all it embodies."

A picture of a massive figure with three heads from its back, eerily resembling the fright Courage saw earlier, appeared onscreen.

"The main head is the brains behind the operation and general of the other fifteen. The three dragonheads protruding from its back represent the three major elements of all nightmares. Going from left to right are Anger, Hatred, and Insanity."

The computer continued, highlighting each head as it talked.
Courage howled lightly. He knew this wasn't going to get any better. He watched the slideshow, with a growing sense of dread.

"If this one was to reunite with the other fifteen within Dark Sonic," an animation appeared, showing the fifteen swirling and going inside the one in the middle, followed by a picture of a Sonic looking figure that was all black and had blood red eyes. "the clone that I spoke of earlier, then all Hell would literally break loose." The computer finished with a flame that engulfed an image of Earth.

Courage screamed, but was cut off by his flaring throat. As he went for some water, he noticed the Emerald glowing, and then it settled down to a steady pulse. Demonic laughing seemed distant but loud.

"One more thing fraidy dog." The computer said, making Courage look over his shoulder. "It feeds off fear. The more it gets, the stronger it becomes. It even goes as far as to induce nightmares of horrific proportions to those around it, in an attempt to get enough power to break free."

Courage wanted to scream again, but couldn't because of his throat and of the new responsibility bestowed upon him. He took several deep breaths to calm his nerves, and looked as the Emerald stopped glowing all together. Courage sighed in relief with the new knowledge that if it couldn't sense his fear it couldn't grow any stronger. He smiled and walked off to the kitchen for some water.

Elsewhere, Sonic the hedgehog and Miles "Tails" Prower, were sitting around chatting when their phone rang. Sonic answered and herd a voice. It sounded panic stricken and unable to make sentences. Then the voice calmed down to an intelligible level.

"Hello, Sonic?" a familiar voice asked.

"Hey Courage! What's up?"

Sonic asked, glad to here a friends voice.

"I have to control my fear, but I'm scared as hell, literally! But I can't show it or it will get stronger!" Courage said, looking over his shoulder at Muriel and Eustace in the kitchen.

"What will get stronger?" Sonic asked, noticing Tails was looking at him with a worried look.

"This thing inside a Dark Emerald I found." Courage said, calming down and getting his breath.

There was a dead silence, and all that could be herd was Courage panting.

"I thought there was only fifteen, and Dark Sonic had them all." Sonic finally spoke up.

"What happened Tails? You're the Chosen One, did you know of this?" Sonic asked, looking over at his two tailed friend. Tails had a sick look on his face. This didn't sound good at all.

Tails only shrugged feeling bad that he couldn't help. It wasn't his fault that Athair didn't tell him of another Dark Emerald, or if anymore even existed.

"We'll be right over!" and Sonic hung up. They got ready and walked out the door, not noticing that someone was watching them. He looked like Sonic, but far more sinister.

Later at the farm house in Nowhere, a knock at the door was heard. Muriel answered.

"Oh, we have guests!" Muriel said happily as Sonic and Tails walked in and took a seat.

"Would ye like some tea?"

"Sure Mrs. Uhhh....." Tails said, not knowing her name.

"Call me Muriel dear." She said shaking Tails hand.

Courage signaled to the duo from the stairs. He was at the top, looking through the banister.

"Excuse us." Sonic said standing up, "Courage wants us to play."

"Okay, have fun!" Muriel said waving as they left to the upstairs.

"Freaks!" Eustace mumbled from behind his paper.

Upstairs, Courage showed Sonic and Tails the same slide show he saw, about the Emerald and the evil within.

"We can't let Dark Sonic get that Emerald!" Sonic said hitting his palm.

"We got to stop him, but how?" Tails asked.

"We can't destroy it or him, but we can prevent the two from coming together." Sonic said. He looked over to Courage.

"Courage, you stay here and we'll go find out more. If we come up with something, we'll let you know! And whatever you do, don't feed it any fear!" Courage gulped and nodded as the two left in a flash of Sonic speed.

Later that night, Courage was trapped in a maze, full of horrible creatures resembling those on the computer. Zombies, headless creatures with sharp limbs, and evil spirits ran about. He ran down dark hallways and through twisting areas. All lead back to the same place. There was a carnival looking place. Complete with rides and clowns. But there was a sinister feeling about the place in general.

A ghostly mist appeared out of nowhere and everything began tearing Courage apart, limb from limb. Blood sprayed everywhere and his screams echoed throughout the carnival atmosphere.

Courage awoke in a cold sweat. His heart was slamming in his chest as he gasped for breath, getting a grip back onto reality. It was those nightmares he was warned about. Fueling the beast within the gem in the attic. Courage knew it felt his fear as he dreamed, but now he calmed down enough to show no signs. The emerald faded and stopped glowing. The laughter was louder this time, but still distant enough to not be a threat right now. Courage looked up at the ceiling of his masters' bedroom, hearing a glass-like clanking hitting the wooden floor of the attic. It was a good idea to sleep with them tonight, as he was less apt to scream.