Guys, I am a horrible person, and I am profusely sorry for taking so long to update. This story isn't coming to me as easily as it first was, and I made the mistake of posting before I even made a dent into the idea. Sorry! I'll definitely keep updating, but I'm sorry if it takes a while. I don't think there'll be any updates this month (again, really sorry) because I'm participating in NaNoWriMo this year and developing an original story. :) Okay, well, anyway, I need to get back to that. So thank you to all who's still reading this, and thank you for the reviews asking me to update. See you all later!
Chapter 4: Inside
"Nightmares?" Bunny repeated. "Whaddya mean nightmares?"
North's gaze remained fixed on Jack as he replied. "They are not dreams. They are nightmares."
"But nightmares don't hurt people either," Tooth added.
The Guardian of Dreams silently agreed. Nightmares were psychological; they didn't cause pain. Even the worst nightmares. Sometimes people woke up in a cold sweat yelling as if they were in pain, but they didn't provoke the continuing agony that was written all over Jack's face.
But Sandy already had an idea.
He hovered over to the bed again, eyes focusing on the familiar substance that had leaked out of his friend's ear once he had pulled back his dreamsand. And when he reached it and properly saw what it was, a golden lips parted with surprise and his eyes filled with horror.
The Sandman turned to his friends, threading his fingers through the ebony sand and lifting his hand before the grains fell through his fingers. The reactions from the other's were much the same: Tooth flew backwards a foot, the same terrified surprise lighting her eyes, North's lips parted with his breath, and Bunny stood taller, as if a cold wind had ruffled his fur.
"I thought we were done with Pitch," Bunny deadpanned.
North gritted his teeth. "Apparently not." And, to Sandy: "So, what? Pitch... infected him with sand?"
The Sandman nodded.
"And that's what's causing the nightmares?"
This time, however, the guardian shook his head. Because the boy wasn't dreaming, nor was he having nightmares. It all came together in his head. No, Jack was remembering. These weren't just terrors that came in through his dreams-they were memories.
Tooth seemed to catch on too. "Oh! You mean-?" Sandy nodded at her.
"What?" Bunny asked.
"They're memories," she explained. "They're not nightmares."
"What?" North exclaimed. "But how could Pitch pull memories? How did he infect Jack?"
"And when?" Bunny added icily.
Baby Tooth squeaked, sitting beside Jack's ear. Her wings fluttered nervously at the traces of black dust there.
"How do we help him?" Tooth translated.
Everyone looked towards Sandy, whomofwhich had his brow furrowed in thought.
The Sandman looked up at them, eyebrow quirked and lips thin. A golden cloud appeared above his head as well as four smaller ones. The foursome combined and entered the largest cloud.
Sandy's hands pointed towards each of them, and then to each of the smaller clouds. He pointed towards Jack and then towards the larger clouds, reanimating the dreamsand. The four smaller ones once more entered the largest one.
"We must enter Jack's dream?" North questioned.
Nodding vigorously, Sandy smiled.
"H-how do we do that?" Bunnymund asked.
Thinking quickly, the Guardian of Dreams cast out five threads of dreamsand, connecting each of them to the clouds above his head.
Tooth cocked her head. "The dreamsand can connect us?" Sandy nodded again. "But what do we do once we enter his dreams?"
A snowflake appeared within the largest cloud, and as the four tendrils reached inside the cloud, they latched onto the flake and pulled it out of the golden mass.
"We've got to get Jack out of his dreams, erm, memories?" Bunny asked.
Tooth glanced between Jack and the others. "That should be easy enough, right?"
"Memories are complicated things, Tooth," North commented. "We do not know what we will find once we are in there. We would be at mercy of Jack's imagination, as well as his nightmares. They will be real to him. You saw what happened to Jack when Sandy used his dreamsand. If Jack believes he is being injured-he will be injured."
"But we have to try!"
"We will, Tooth," Bunny placated. "But we still have to know what we could face."
Sandy nodded with agreement.
"We'll be facing whatever danger Jack thinks he is in," Bunny added.
"What about Baby Tooth?"
As if on cue, the little fairy flew towards Tooth, hovering by her head.
A telescope then appeared above the Sandman's head.
Baby Tooth squeaked with protest, but settled once Sandy explained, through Tooth, that supporting four entering Jack's dream would be pushing it, five going would just overwhelm Jack's mind.
Bunny straightened up glancing between Jack and Sandy. "Well it's now or never."
Silently, they all found a comfortable place to sit in the room. North, the largest of them all, took the oversized rocking chair, Tooth took a smaller table chair in the corner, Bunny curled up on an old couch against the wall, and Sandman floated in the center of the room, distributing dreamsand evenly among the five of them.
It wasn't long before they were each lulled to sleep, Baby Tooth huddling on the bed post and watching with eager eyes as their eyes closed and their breaths slowed.
As for the dreamers themselves, the world slowly faded from colorful, to grey, to black. The sound of sparkling dreamsand ebbed away, and their bodies relaxed. All feeling was gone as their minds faded away... to Jack's.
And then the world snapped back with sudden clarity.
Light flooded Bunny's eyes as he blinked them open. The air felt chilly and crisp, and it smelled of pine. When his eyes finally adjusted, he saw that he was in a pine forest. Distantly, birds chirped and axes bit into the trees.
"North?" he called. "Tooth? Sandy?"
Sandy didn't answer, obviously, but appeared from behind another pine, just as the others did.
"Mates, where are we?"
A young girl's voice echoed around the clearing. "Jaaaaackkkk!"
North was the one who finally answered after a moment of awed silence. "We're inside Jack's memories."
Nothing to say down here other than g'night, guys! I hope you enjoyed it. :)