12.7 What Other Men Fear

by Matt P.

A long emptiness waited for them as they walked, swirling out in front of them. A slow wind blew, rustling their clothing. After what was probably a few minutes of walking, Morgan reached out and snapped her fingers. A glowing blue light appeared, bobbing along merrily next to her and illuminating the two of them softly.

Good to know I still have some power here,” Morgan said in amusement, before she looked down at herself and sighed again. “Dammit…” she cursed. She was still wearing a blue linen dress, and barefoot. “Going to be truly cross if I somehow get…de-aged by this.

It’ll probably pass once we’re out,” Walter offered, although there was a definite note of hope in his voice.

Those boots weren’t cheap,” Morgan griped, although it did seem to be more to complain rather than out of any real anger. She still sounded sad, sorrow teasing at the edges of her words, but given what she had just re-lived it wasn’t much of a surprise.

The armor was priceless?” Walter pointed out. “Wasn’t it actual Roman armor? I hear they aren’t making those any more, except for people with TARDIS access,” Walter said, before pausing. “Or if you go to a Renfaire, I guess.”

I would fit in right now,” Morgan shrugged a little bit. “That’s a career I hadn’t considered, probably because I lived it. It’s been a number of years but I am an apothecary by training. I did briefly consider an e-commerce business selling homeopathic cures to yuppies, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Walter nodded slowly at that. “Still…Renfaire, it’s a possibility. As long as you don’t look like a runaway. Also…” he trailed off, looking around as they continued down the dark and shadowy nothingness, “Why aren’t we watching someone being eaten or swallowed or flayed right now?”

Morgan paused, looking around and blinking a little bit. “A very good question, and a better one then why I haven’t changed my look. Or you yours, for that matter,” she motioned to his clothes. Walter hadn’t even noticed, but he was wearing a simple t-shirt and jeans for some reason—the kind of thing that he might wear about the house.

Maybe we’ll…” Walter began, before they began to hear the screaming. With a shared look the both of them began to run toward it. But once again they found themselves getting no closer for all their efforts, moving toward whatever nightmare awaited them.

Ryan Aquino ran by, terror etched on his face. He was somehow well illuminated in the blackness, which highlighted the fact that he was both very fit and incredibly naked all at once. “I am seeing way too much of his ass lately,” Morgan commented with a sigh.

“GET AWAY FROM ME!” Ryan cried out as he ran by, swatting his hands desperately about him. “BEES! GIANT BEES!” As he ran past, Walter could see that he was in fact being chased by abnormally large bees, their wingspans probably close to a foot and their yellowness shocking against the darkness. The buzzing seemed unnaturally loud even for how large they were, more akin to a large plane than a large bee.

Bees?” Morgan asked, stunned. “I have to relive the death of my mother, ad I was on the second loop by the time you got me—and he gets chased by slightly larger bees?”

Walter shrugged a little bit. “To be fair he is super freaked out by bees. Has been as long as I’ve known him.” Walter watched the naked man running about, slapping at the air desperately as the bees get too close to him. He didn’t seem to be getting stung too often, but they were running him ragged—like they were purposefully keeping from stinging him so that his terror didn’t turn to anger.

Ryan!” Walter’s voice was sharp and, when combined with the resonance it had in other people’s nightmares, cracked like a whip in the darkness. Ryan tried to stop while still running at the same time, which ended with his legs over his head and his body rolling to a stop. With a groan, he worked his way up to his feet.

“Major,” he murmured, rubbing his head. “What…wait. We’re in Nightmare aren’t we?” At the nods from Walter and Morgan, he sighed. “I forgot how much this place sucks.”

Morgan shook her head now, running a hand back through her hair. “I still…bees? Really? After everything?”

“Not your nightmare, I get to be terrified by what I’m terrified by,” Ryan responded with a shrug of his shoulders. “There’s a difference between terror and regret. Walter saw something about failing his children, because that’s what terrifies him the most. Right?” Ryan asked. Walter nodded, although he didn’t volunteer what else he saw. “So I have regrets, and I have fears. And some of them are the same, and some of them aren’t. And high upon the hill of the things that will make me scream and run, are bees. And I’m comfortable with that. Now,” he offered as he looked down at his body. “How do I get not naked, and who’s the 12 year old?”

Walter shrugged as Morgan scowled. “We don’t know how to change our clothing. Also, that’s Morgan,” Walter offered with a grin. “She’s trying out a new look.” Ryan blinked, and then considered Morgan for a long moment.

“Your new looks missing a couple of things, boss,” Ryan offered helpfully. “So what now?” He looked back to where the large bees were hovering almost forlornly, and shuddered.

We have to find Gabriel,” Walter pointed out. “I’m more than a little terrified by the prospect of seeing what nightmares he has.

Morgan sighed. “And we should probably find Tennyson, so that he doesn’t wreck anything else too badly. I mean we don’t have to look too hard, if it gets too strenuous. Or at all,” Morgan said, as she began to put action to word and walk further into Nightmare.