"Welcome back, Keeper of the Chaos Heart."
I look around, adjusting my green cap so the brim does not obstruct my view. Blank whiteness everywhere. As far as the eye can see. It looks like the very end of a world as my brother described it.
There is nothing here. Not a single stone or a blade of grass. Not a house or a street or a road. It is the purest form of emptiness one can achieve, save one thing: a being floating a short distance in front of me.
He is rather short, no taller than my brother. His attire consists of a rather flamboyant jester's outfit colored yellow and purple. His hands and feet are completely black and he is wearing what looks like a theatrical mask. I know who this is.
"Hello, Dimentio," I say, staring him straight in the eye.
"My, my..." the demented jester continues, "Luigi? You're a sight for sore eyes. How long has it been? A year?..."
"Twenty-four hours," I correct, my gaze turning ice cold, "you have been doing this every night for a year now."
"Well, how time flies when you try to reminisce," he replies, casually looking at his fingernails, "so, how have you been holding up?"
"You know darn well how I've been holding up," I answer, seething with contempt, "I'm suffering from insomnia, Mario fears for my sanity, Daisy is scared to come near me anymore..."
I hang my head in shame here in a pitiful attempt to add humor to the next line.
"... And Waluigi is successfully pulling off more grade school pranks on me than I care to admit."
"You should get more sleep then," he suggests, "that seems to be the source of all your problems, methinks."
My head shoots up and I point an accusing finger at him.
"You are the source of all my problems, Dimentio!" I shout, "Ever since we stopped you from destroying all worlds, you've been haunting my dreams every night! Why!?"
"Why, that is a simple question to answer, my green-clad friend," he chuckles, "we were both servants to the Chaos Heart at one point. We are like brothers-in-arms in that way. In fact, I've often been wondering when Count Bleck will join us..."
"Blumiere is in a better place, far away from the likes of you," I sneer, being sure to use his true name, "we can't find him so neither can you."
"Aw, that's a shame... We could have a real party here if he was around."
"Yeah, I'd hold you down and he'd punch you in the face. Now that would be a party."
I snicker at my own joke. It's the least I can do in this God-forsaken place.
"You know, you never really answered my question," I remind, "how can you still be here? We ended your game!"
"I already told you, my connection to the Chaos Heart keeps my spirit alive!" he answers, "Man, you must be really dense!"
"The Chaos Heart no longer exists!" I retort, "Blumiere and Timpani's love destroyed it!"
"Wrong-o!" he counters, "Their pathetic actions only stopped the Chaos Heart! It's still alive and well, and guess who's got it?"
My eyes shift away from Dimentio. I look around at the white space, the white ground... anything but Dimentio.
"M... M... Me..." I murmur.
"Exactly! You are the Keeper of the Chaos Heart, just as the Dark Prognosticus says! So long as you are around, so am I! Convenient, no?"
I make no response. What can I say? He is right.
"Aw, don't look so down! We can have a lot of fun together, if you'd just let me! I am a master of dimensions, after all. Just give me the word, and I could take you anywhere you wish!"
"Oh yeah? Where?" I ask. I am not truly interested in his offer, but I have nothing better to do but humor him.
"Oh, many places... I've seen hedgehogs that smash robots, a hero that can turn into a wolf, a kid who fights with a giant key... There are tons of dimensions out there, and I can take you to every last one! Think of the adventures we could have!"
"You are a terrible liar," I bluntly state, building up the nerve to stare at him again, "you just want to use me to destroy all those worlds."
Dimentio's perpetual smile finally goes away. It's about freakin' time.
"There's no fooling you, is there?" he sneers, "Very well, turn down my offer... What do you plan to do, then? Put up with me every night? No man can do that forever and keep their sanity. Maybe your brother is right..."
I simply continue to stare at him. There was one thing I had considered, but I could never picture myself doing it, and I sure as heck am not going to tell him.
"Of course..." Dimentio continues, "I am reliant on the Chaos Heart. If it goes, I go."
Silence. He doesn't know it as well, does he?
"That, in turn, though, cannot happen easily. The Chaos Heart can only be destroyed if its bearer's game is ended. Isn't that what your precious Light Prognosticus says?"
More silence. He knows what I am thinking.
"Think about your friends, Luigi. They don't care about you. It's always 'Mario this' and 'Mario that'... They wouldn't even notice if you were gone."
My hands clutches reflexively. My anger is starting to boil.
"Ending your own game to end mine, the man who tried to destroy all worlds... I'm sure if you mention that to Jaydes, she'll let you into the Overthere without a second thought."
The white surrounding me is changing to red. I am reaching my breaking point. I hate you, Dimentio. I hate you with every fiber of my body.
"Of course, she would have to take that whole 'Mr. L' thing into consideration. I mean, you did try to hurt your friends..."
That does it. My arms shoot out on either side, one engulfed in green flame and the other crackling with electricity.
"Get out," I hiss, "get out of my body, get out of my dreams, get out of my life."
"You can't get rid of me," Dimentio reminds, "I am part of you now. I am you."
I throw both my projectiles at him. The combination of fire and electricity has to be lethal, but he simply dispels them with a wave of his hand. I hate his magic. I hate his stupid jester outfit. I hate everything about him.
"Well, I believe I must be going now," he sighs, pretending to glance at his non-existing watch, "I guess we can pick this up tomorrow. Until then... Ciao!"
With that, he snaps his fingers and disappears in a bright light. This light soon engulfs me until I am completely blinded. And then... darkness.
My eyes shoot open. I am in bed, in my room, in my house. I glance to my left. Mario is there, sleeping peacefully in his own bed. I glance to my right. The clock says 10:30. Has it really only been half-an-hour? Of course it has: It always lasts half-an-hour. After that, I am awake the rest of the night.
I get up and walk into the bathroom. Once there, I stare at myself in the mirror. My eyes are haggard from a year of restless nights. My complexion is deathly pale. My hair hasn't been combed in months. This is all Dimentio's doing. That dang jester.
Suddenly, the mirror flashes. Am I hallucinating? No. Now, Dimentio is staring at me, smirking all the while. That stupid smirk, how I hate it.
I cannot take it any more. I clench my hand into a fist, wind it back, and throw it into the mirror. It shatters into a million pieces, all of them scattering onto the floor.
I hear Mario in the other room. He snorts a little, turns over in his bed and goes back to sleep. I always knew he was a deep sleeper. He never notices, he never did. He knew I was losing it, but he doesn't know why.
I look at the pieces on the floor. Now, there are a million mirrors, all of them staring back at me with Dimentio's sinister glare. The glare of the man who we destroyed, but is still now destroying my life.
Curse you, Dimentio.