The Nightmare Plague: Confrontation

Barnabus had grown weary of listening to his “passengers” incessant chatter.  He had only intended to leave with Pug, but encountered so many pleading voices along the way that he could not leave them to be destroyed.  Many of them had been turned to things of fear by people’s beliefs and not began their existence as such.  Their presence in his mind had made navigating through the dreamscape difficult and time-consuming, but he finally arrived at his destination.

“Alright,” he grunted, “get out!”

A mass of figures began to materialize around him.  It had not occurred to the bear how many creatures he had spirited away.  There appeared to be hundreds.  Barnabus took some time looking them over, making guesses on what they would require for an environment to be their new home.  He turned and stared at the void surrounding the patch of seeming earth they stood upon, his face tightening in concentration.  Violet light began to seep through his eyelids, similarly colored smoke escaping his nostrils and through clenched teeth.  

The creatures surrounding the bear stepped away from him, fearful of what he might do.  The empty void began to crack and tearing sounds could be heard as dream material was rend asunder, reshaping before them.  It was some time before the noise died away.  All that could be seen was an ornately carved door.  Slowly, the portal began to open revealing a corridor beyond.  The spirits drifted into the corridor, entering the doors which felt compelling to them.  Pug was the last, pausing just a moment to look at Barnabas.  With the bear’s nod, the small creature entered his door and disappeared.

“Welcome home,” Barnabus said with satisfaction in his voice.

“Just like that, the mighty Barnabus saves a horde of nightmares from destruction.”  The tone was a snarl, the words forced between clenched teeth.  Baranabus did not turn when he replied.

“Are you following me, Teddy?”  He could feel the rage emanating from the bear.  It was almost a physical presence.

“Why did you save them?”

“They did not form out of fear, but were made into such.  Reshaped by the minds of people into what they are now, Teddy.  They have long inhabited the worlds of existence just the same as humans, but were forced into what you see today.”  

“Yet what they are today are nightmares that would have simply drifted into oblivion had you not brought them here.  How did you create an entire plane of existence for them?”  Teddy demanded answers, but Barnabus had spent many long years avoiding questions like these, and remained reluctant to answer them.

“Teddy, you know there are no answers here for you,” the bear started, adding quickly, “but there will be one day.”

The last line was parodied by the other bear in a sing-song voice.

“Barnabas, I could start other voices asking the same questions if I choose to do so.  You have always said that I was the first teddy bear, but you existed before my eyes ever opened.  One day soon you will begin answering questions.”

Barnabus opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted.

“Marley is becoming like you and I sense something familiar in that young bear Bilal.  I don’t know what you are, but, if it comes to it, I will turn every bear against you.  You won’t give me answers now, but they will be forthcoming soon enough.”

Teddy stepped backward, disappearing as he did so, leaving Barnabus alone.

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