Mandarin arose from his sleep in a cold sweat, the room silent except for the short, quick breaths that escaped through his quivering lips. He instantly quieted himself, still shaking from...

Oh, Daylight... Please. Come in and flood the room with... w-with your glorious light. He squeezed his eyes shut, slowly bringing his legs closer to his chest. Yes, He thought, accepting his pathetic fear bitterly. I... I am afraid.... Afraid... of... the... He opened his eyes, shaking, feeling nothing but the cold, vast, black emptiness.... Darkness.

He knew he could never tell anyone about this weakness. He was the strongest; he was the leader. He had no time for the embarrassing burden of pity and sympathy from his teammates. No. He would overcome it... soon enough.

The orange simian narrowed his eyes, concentrating on the wall, the wall that was supposed to be bright with the silver moonlight. But no. The wretched moon betrayed him; leaving the sky dark and cloudy for him to suffer in agonizing fear. His breath came out shaken once more, making him redden with humiliation. He... He just could not do this. The pressure of this outrageous phobia was far too much for him to conquer. He tore the sheets off his body, slipped off his bed, and slid his feet across the floor, feeling the walls and objects in his room, and switched on the light.

The small glow in his room brought him to heave a huge sigh of relief and comfort. He slid down against the wall, his heart returning to it usual, relaxed rhythm.

Why? He asked himself, lowering his head to his knees. Why am I so afraid?

Mandarin immediately regretted the question as an image flashed against his memory; the cold, dead feeling of being captured in the corrupt blackness, the expeditiously swarming shadows eagerly and greedily feeding off him entirely...

He brought his hands slowly to his mouth, covering it while he remembered what he had done in this spine-tingling nightmare.

He had laughed- insanely. He had utterly enjoyed this unnerving, apathetic bloody horror.

Mandarin shielded his arms around his head, squeezing his eyes shut, suddenly and finally realizing two painful truths that stubbornly refused to be ignored as that illustration preformed mischievously over and over, and over and over again...

One: In order to conquer the darkness, to win against the war he had battled after all these years, he had to do the unspeakable. It was obvious but excruciating. He had to become his fear; embrace it. He had to be the darkness.

And... Dreams.... are keys that open up the locks within the deep, deep desires and pasts trapped in the corners of the heart. They will reveal secrets to you.

Even secrets you never wanted to know.

*UPDATE* I don't understand why; my story just keeps getting deleted. I changed a couple things after rereading the guidelines, but I still wonder why. If you know the answer, could you please PM me? I worked hard on this story and I'm tired of seeing it thrown out of the site.

Phobia= Fear. Malady= Sickness. Phobia Malady= Fear Sickness.

WOW!! I've been gone a decent amount of time, right?

Oh, yeah, and I WROTE THIS FOR ARTISAN BROWN!! I wanted to apologize for not replying to his/her message sooner; my computer broke down and I haven't the time.

Mandarin, why are you so much fun to work with?