V If I Die Before I Wake…

Klarion

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Following his first encounter with Freddy from [V] [M] “A Recurring Dream…”

Klarion burst awake with a wretched, gasping breath, a cold sweat upon his brow and his heart beating like a mad thing inside his chest. The witch boy lurched upright in a frenzy, fingers clawing at the tattered blankets that had been piled atop his sleeping, huddled form, and promptly tore his shirt open in a hail of buttons and shredded fabric.

Panting hard, he stared in disbelief at the slightly-raised series of scratches scoring down his chest. The marks were faded and only faintly red, but they might as well have been fresh, weeping gashes covered with neon glitter for all he cared!

Biting his lip in concentration, the witch boy carefully prodded at the wounds with one claw-tipped finger, letting out a peeved hiss of displeasure when he discovered that they were surprisingly tender.

“Ow!” Klarion complained, face darkening with his frown. Then, comprehension dawned. “Wait. Owww?!”

That ugly fucker had hurt him! The dark-headed sorcerer positively fumed, crossing his arms over his chest with a scowl. And inside a dream, no less! Oh, this so wasn’t good. Not good at all!

Feeling a twinge of some ragged, desperate emotion swelling uncomfortably at the back of his throat, Klarion warily scanned his surroundings. Normally, resting in total darkness was comforting. The Uncanny Valley had plenty of cozy pools of shadow to curl up inside, after all, most of them perfectly sized for a witch boy and his cat. Now, however, the sketchy, ever-shifting landscape of eternal monochrome brought with it a disturbing uncertainty. Was he truly awake? Was he still trapped inside a dream? These questions only magnified Klarion’s rising outrage (and okay, maybe a little bit of panic) at the indignity of being bullied by some… some… two-bit bogeyman!

Suddenly, only one name was on his mind, and it certainly wasn’t that of his dream-weaving attacker.

”TEEEEEEEEEEKL!”

There was a moment of silence, his voice echoing and twisting as it spread throughout his little corner of the valley, and then a small blur of orange and brown streaked out from the darkness. With an answering yowl, the boy’s familiar leapt into his waiting arms.

Klarion immediately hugged the warm bundle of limbs and purring to his chest, burying his face in Teekl’s fur. He didn’t do something totally pathetic like cry, because like, no, but he couldn’t deny that he was feeling rather frustrated about this whole situation. It just wasn’t fair! He could have turned that guy to shreds in the waking world, but dream magic? That was an entirely different ballgame. He’d need to prepare and stuff for that. Maybe put in ACTUAL effort. Gross!

“Mrow?” asked Teekl, obviously sensing his heightened distress. She pressed her cold little button nose to his throat, butting her head up under his chin with great insistence.

He looked down at his tabby familiar with a pout. “What do you mean, I’m looking paler than usual? I call you here to comfort me after I’ve been… brutalized, attacked, shredded to bits in my own mindscape, and you have the NERVE to pick on me? Really, Teekl, you’re being very inconsiderate of my delicate mental state!”

“Mrrrrr,” said Teekl, quite intelligently. Her tail frisked about, wrapping loosely around his wrist, as she stared up at him with her glittering crimson eyes. “Row?”

The witch boy sighed. She was always so contrary, but usually frustratingly right about things— serves him right for picking a cat as his familiar, he supposed. “Well, now that you mention it, I guess I do feel a bit better about it already, since you’ve taken my mind off things by acting so incredibly rude, but— yowww!”

Klarion yelped as her paws pricked uncomfortably on his chest, aggravating his new scars. Teekl immediately stopped making biscuits on him, her paws stilling in their repetitive kneading motions, and gave a concerned chirrup.

Fair enough, Klarion supposed, a bit baffled himself. He’d never really had the chance to get injured, so he supposed it was as much a shock for her as it was for him when he began to carry on so. All the more reason to want his attacker dead, in his book.

“That rat bastard in my dream cut me up, Teekl,” Klarion informed her by way of explanation, lazily waving his hand in the air. His clothes magically repaired themselves, stitching back together so she could resume her feline ministrations without causing him undue discomfort. “I don’t… remember much about what happened other than that, come to think of it…” his voice trailed off, brows knitting together as he struggled to remember.

All he could recall was burning flame and a series of blades filleting him like a fish. Terrifying and remarkable imagery, but not helpful at all for summoning up smaller, more important details!

The witch boy fell into a ponderous silence, thinking it over. Almost as if in response to his morose mood, the ink-like quality of their surroundings seemed to deepen, long shadows dripping from the branches of the gnarled, skeletal trees that grew all over the place in these parts. Ah, one could always rely on the valley to create the best environment for a big ol’ sulk.

“I’m going to kill that creature,” Klarion told Teekl, releasing her at last. She watched sedately as he began to rebuild his little ‘nest’ of blankets, tucking them around his hips and legs as he made ready for sleep. “I’ll make him wish he’d never crossed me. Hah! Even if it takes me a million years to do it… well. I’ve got the time, don’t I?”
 
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