Psychonauts © Double Fine
In actuality, reality, and every sort of "ality," he was weak. He was a frightened, hideous boy without a sense of direction. He feigned his confident smirk, lashing out at others to try and prove that he was worthy of something, anything really. It was just to gain respect and bolster his once sense of failing arrogance.
But he knew the truth, and so did his nightmares. Nightmares picked and stabbed at his mind, consistently reminding him of the truth whenever he was by himself. They would trap him and terrorize him, and, for once, he could not respond. There was nothing he could say because he could not deny the truth no matter how hard he tried to block it out.
"Daddy" left when he was younger. A mere boy of nine when he was not always like this. He had friends, and his teeth were not in such a disarray as they would be three years later. He was happy, always smiling and joyful before "it" happened. He never spoke of "it" to the ones that used to be his friends that soon became prey for his developing bullying nature. He wanted "it" to leave his mind forever, but the nightmares always reminded him of "it." He could never tell anyone. They would think he was weak, wouldn't they? The nightmares always reminded him of that, always either whispering or shrieking that they would all leave him in the end, causing him to push them away before he got hurt. He continued to taunt and tease and torment, driving wedges between him and his former friends at camp until they could barely look at him without a disgusted scowl or a teary-eyed whimper.
The nightmares took this fuel and burned even brighter. He was still a scared boy, and they launched missiles with this. They would remind him of his own looks, how disgusting his teeth were, how atrocious his face was, and continued to prod him with insults. He vented his anger against the nightmares against people who tried to be nice to him in later years. Those kind cheerleaders without a mean bone in their bodies, his henchman who acted like he was his idol, the kid with the tin foil hat who had more power than anyone, and even the new kid who acted like everyone deserved a pat on the back and a smile sent their way.
If only he had realized what he was doing to himself. By driving others away, he was only hurting himself. He would be alone in the end with no one by his side. His mother was always at work at the divorce, after "it" happened, trying to work to pay the bills. She divorced "him" after "it" happened, "it" that left him with a large scar on his heart and mind and with those grotesque things in his mouth he could hardly refer to as teeth. He never saw "him" until the incident at Whispering Rock three years later, and "he" did not remember his own son in his fit of madness and hysteria.
The nightmares laughed at this. "How could a father not recognize his own son?" "Maybe it's because of those teeth!" "Can't your daddy fix you up?" "It's because he never loved you!" "You were just a guinea pig to him!" "Are you crying yet?" "Oh, we made him cry!" "Hah!" They were relentless with this, wrapping around the shaking, trembling boy who tried to hold in his tears. Cruel words were like daggers, stabbing and driving into him as he crossed his arms and lowered his head, defeated and disgusted with himself as the nightmares' shrill laughter ripped through his mind as he tried to fall asleep in his bunk during the aftermath of the coach's chaos.
"He" would never tell his son that "he" loved him. "He" would never re-marry his mother. "He" had completely forgotten about his son.
He hadn't realized he started crying in his bed when the quiet voice of Chloe, who was sleeping above him, peered down at him.
"Are you okay?"
Had he been so loud? When did he even start crying? Wiping his eyes, he sent a frantic look around the bunk. The cheerleaders were staring at him Crystal seeming like she pitied him in his wide, blue orbs. Chops and J.T. were equally concerned with the former stating he heard him sobbing in his bunk. They caught him.
"I-I'm fine," he lied, averting his gaze to the floor. "I'm…I'm fine."
He fell back to his bunk, not caring if they whispered anymore. He heard the sniggers of the nightmares hissing in the back of his mind, knowing this would just provide even more-
"You like her, don't her?" "She'll never like you!" "It's just like that note you found on the bulletin board." "She's using you." "She thinks you're an alien. It's the only reason why she's talking to you." "How could she like you?" "You're nothing more than a disfigured freak!" "And they're all laughing at you!" "Crying in your bed like a dork!" "Even those cheerleaders are mocking you!" "Hah! Loser!"
In his mind, he gripped his ears and collapsed to his knees. Shut up. He wanted them to shut up. He could tell anyone in the real world to "shut up" with a snarl and raised fist, and they might have more likely than not. Even in his own domain, trapped by the ever-growing circle of nightmares, he was like a lamb thrown into a lion's den.
"Why won't you all just die already?" he screamed, glaring at the growing, dancing nightmares.
"Leave?" "We'll never leave!" "We'll always be here." "You'll always remember us." "Your fears cannot be erased." "The past cannot simply be forgotten." "We won't be like Daddy." "We'll stay with you, Bobby." "We'll remind you of what you really are!" "A freak!" "Nerd!" "Loser!" "Ugly!" "Unsightly!" "Forever and ever and ever and ever…"
Weak, ugly, pathetic, good-for-nothing, and unlovable. That's what his subconscious knew he was. He would never become a Psychonaut. He would never get the girl he liked. He would always be the secret laughing stock of Whispering Rock.
He trembled, mouth slacking open as their long claws gripped at his body. Trapping, wrapping, and encircling him in his hidden truths. They squeezed around his bones, and the miserable bully flinched and cried out pitifully as they laughed. As all nightmares were different, his nightmares were created with the persona he construed, but they were far worse in their torment than he ever was to any cadet. Breathing was suddenly not an option as he felt his ribs begin to stab into his lungs. Each breath only could a hissing pain to clutch his chest, and as their laughs filled his ears, his eyes closed with the image of their mocking, laughing faces.
He shot up in bed, eyes wide with his lips tightly closed. Green and red eyes shot over to his left, finding Chloe adjusting her helmet. He stared at her uncertainly, not knowing of what she had heard or done to him as the nightmares controlled him.
"Once again, you were crying in your sleep. The other primates noticed this, but I volunteered to stay with you. When you began to writhe, I shook you awake," she explained, crossing her arms.
Swinging his legs over the side of the bed, he suddenly grabbed her shoulders, asking, "I didn't say anything in my sleep, did I?"
She paused then shook her head. "You were simply whimpering as if something was attacking you."
"That-that's fine. I c'n deal with that."
"Are you so sure?"
He hesitated and mustered what he knew was a trembling smirk. "Wh-whaddaya mean?"
"I've heard that recurrent nightmares can make earthlings go crazy. Maybe you need to talk to somebody about this. I'll listen."
"No, no, they won't-I mean, you won't…" He rubbed his temples, sighing. "This is comin' out all wrong. What time is it?"
She was holding her suitcase, making him realize camp was over today. "Nearly nine in the morning according the sun. The coach is asking for all cadets to come to campfire for one last meeting before we go home." She shook her head. "Though, I still find it hard to believe that Raz effectively stopped his madness. Sometimes, nightmares just don't leave so easily."
He froze in his bed, one hand reaching underneath to grab his worn, beat-up gym sack. Nightmares did not leave so easily. She was right. Looking up to Chloe, he hitched his bag over his back and stood, still looking down to her.
"What?" she inquired, cocking her head at him.
"Uh…" He reached out to her, his hand wavering. Would she really listen? No, the nightmares would just make fun of this, too. They always mocked his crush on her as she was the only one who bothered to spend time with him. Very slowly, he lowered his hand back to his side. "No, it's nothing. Let's go."
She stared at him briefly as he rubbed his eyes of any remaining wetness before nodding. "Affirmative. If you want to talk before we leave, the offer stands."
Bobby smiled lightly. "Thanks. I'll think about it."