It started as it always did with the absolute panic of flight from an unknown assailant. Never before seen, but you can picture that dripping maw, those horrendous claws scratching the floor easily enough. You know it will catch you. You almost wish it would so you could get this over with…the fear is worse then anything, anything else you've ever experienced. You keep running through those familiar halls-turned strange labyrinth, the light slowly fading out. Or maybe the lightbulbs burst in a blaze of light, and everything's dark except for that inner eye which still sees ahead, and almost sees behind. And now you try to call out to the one person who could save you…your mother, your father, your older sibling, that one teacher who seemed godlike to your young self. And you don't fail…not exactly. But all that will emerge from your lips is a choked whisper, a parody of your voice. You try to scream louder, but an invisible fist closes around your throat, and you CAN'T, simply CAN'T no matter how hard you try. Now there's a light up ahead, a sickly yellow, like that seen between the leaves of trees in the dusk just before a thunderstorm. There lurks the wind, waiting to pull you up with a thousand fingers and cast you into the night. But even that phantasmagoric torture is better than what lurks behind. You know that you will rise forever into the sky…it cannot be helped. You leave the corridor, and immediately the fingers of some invisible flyer [one of H.P Lovecraft's pitch-black Night-Gaunts perhaps] and you begin to rise into the air. Slowly, so slowly, which is part of the horror…there is nothing you can grab. Trees circle around you like hungry spectators, but you cannot reach out and take a limb. You resign yourself to your fate.
And then a hand grabs your wrist. You look down, expecting to see a skeletal talon, maggots squirming onto your bare flesh. But instead…a child's hand, wrist still puffed with baby-fat. You look up and into her face [you just know it's going to be the Grudge…or some eyeless, faceless thing] and see an honest desire to help you…to comfort you and save you from this horrorscape of a world. She is just a child, but she's something more…you don't know quite what….but she's anchoring you here, keeping the wind away, and you think the BEAST chasing you has retreated. You are safe.
And then your arm drops off at the shoulder, leaving the bewildered child with a limb that writhes hideously like a lizard's severed tail. The winds swoop in and you are borne upward and upward, towards the void of space and….
Somniac awoke with a start, a muffled cry escaping his lips. He was drenched in what he thought was a cold sweat, but was actually congealing blood. Shuddering, he disentangled himself from the crimson clotted sheets and walked over to the coffeemaker that perpetually burbled on the counter. A thick sludge of old grounds coated the bottom, but Somniac didn't really care. He poured himself a cup and downed it in a swallow…a motion that would make a hardened whiskey-drinker proud. Feeling slightly revived (though he knew that was deceiving…many a time he had found himself asleep half on the counter at a moment just like this). He pondered his dream. Most of it was familiar. But the child? That was unique. He could only visit the world of nightmare, and that little angel had no place there. Frowning, he tried to ponder further, but the details of the dream had already begun to slip through his fingers like sand.
The next while was a blank. This was not unusual. The somnambulant Somniac often found himself in situations he had no recollection of. He was in the center of a pentacle. Around him at the points were five other individuals. He noted deep circles under their eyes….dreamers all. Or insomniacs, who were often plagued with the worst dreams of all: the waking nightmare known as life. Even as he thought this his head dropped onto his chest and he pulled them all deep into the realm of Nightmare...