Darkness and evil took Eric as he slept. These two beasts took him and raped his mind with nightmares of death and demonic presences. The Anderson boy tossed and turned in the hospital bed that he had been laid down in. He moaned and sobbed in his torment, a nurse rushed into his room as he began thrashing. The sheets had pinned his arms to his body and he twisted and writhed in his dreams trying to get out of his bonds. The nurse quickly unwrapped Eric's body, sustaining several slaps from his whipping arms, and calmed him by stroking his hair. He murmured in his sleep, "Mommy", and the nurse felt sorry for his hardships. She had already been told of what had happened to the Anderson's family by the boys sister, who was in the room across the hall. Nurse Whipfler ran her hands through Eric's hair until he lay still. Two beasts left Eric's young, yet tortured mind and the boy slept peacefully.

-Dark shapes. Evil shapes. Undefined, yet sharply contrasting shapes, flicking too and fro. Coming ever closer, yet somehow never moving. Mouths uttering words of truthful lies. Mouths that spoke but never made a sound. Lips that revealed and covered dangerously sharp teeth. Clearly there were thousands, but at the same time there were two. Yes, only two shapes, one darker and the other more evil, but both sharing these attributes. Twisting, undulating, never halting and never moving in the same moment. Madness. Sheer madness shakes the very air. Order is chaos but shapes were defined. Two shapes, which were thousands, are now joined by a third. The third being not evil or dark, nor good or bright, and yet it was all these things. The largest mouth and sharpest teeth are gifted to this shape. Now shrinking, now enlarging, but not moving like its partners. Three shapes, two like beasts, one like shining sanity. Existing but not all together real. Concepts they might call themselves, and indeed they hissed that word with the many others they silently yelled. Screaming now, lack of sanity drains the senses. Madness fills every pore, every orifice. Suffocating, choking insanity clouds the mind and rips screams from the throat. Yet the throat lacks the air to let loose such screams. Impossibilities mate with the possible, truths with fictions. Oxymoronic existence overwhelms, yet the third shape shines ever bright with sanity and less madness then the others. Three shapes blend, the third mourned more then the others, yet is not missed entirely. Stephani awakes sweating coldly, tears running down her cheeks. She feels the grip of insanity, and she shakes it off. Her dream fades and reality returns once again. Colors are Real, scents and the feel of the hospital sheets are Real. The lump in her dry throat is overwhelmingly so. She feels a sense of reality she has never felt before, she turns over the bedside and pukes. Sanity seeps back to her mind and her hitching breaths slow to normal rates. Sweat dries and her tears follow suit. Only a fear of sleep keeps her awake. She remembers the dream and the thought of it brings back a sense of false reality, she hates the feeling but is more afraid of the stark reality she must return to. And so she shakes off unreality slowly and carefully, so as to dam the Realness. Still, she feels nauseous, but that soon leaves and she lies calmly, thinking…-

The children were released from the hospital (where they had been treated for smoke inhalation) four days after Christmas. December 29, 2005 found the children in their aunt and uncle's home, where they were to live. Their two remaining family members had finally got the money to support the children they so desperately wanted to help. Surprisingly, even to Stephani, Eric reacted to his mother's death as a normal child or adult would. He didn't become cold and antisocial as he did when his father had died. Stephani was happy to see this but didn't ask her brother why it was, she had enough on her mind even besides recovering from her mother's death. School was coming again and she had homework to finish. Thankfully her horrible dreams had stopped, at least for a while. But the dream she had while in the hospital still troubled her greatly. What did it mean? She didn't mention the dream to her brother as she normally would have, and she didn't exactly know why. Perhaps it was just that she didn't want to pile more anxiety onto her brother's shoulders, or perhaps not.

Days passed, the moon danced through its phases, and the cold bite of winter became all but a nibble. Months flashed by as spring came, once again bringing its promise of new life. The children flew through the rest of the school year and winter passed into spring. Once again they had become accustomed to their new life. Their two remaining family members could not have been more nurturing and supportive. Possessing no children of their own, Fred and Matilda Anderson took in John's son and daughter as their own. School was now almost out, summer was approaching again.

Throughout the winter and spring months Stephani had no nightmares to report to Eric. She could see he wanted her help in something, something that had to be in the future. Eric wanted Stephani to look into the future for him and see something, but he wouldn't tell her what. Every time Eric asked her if she had seen anything about him, he blushed slightly. When she inquired what he was so anxious to know, he blushed more furiously and declined speech. It was a puzzlement for her to be sure, but she knew she would know soon enough, something that important to him would certainly be revealed to her in dreams or a vision.

The process of interpreting dreams is a slow and tedious thing to do for even the best dream scholars. It takes time to learn the art and then even more to make sure you have it right. And then even the most trained and experienced interpreters are only right little more than ½ the time. Dreams, for most people, are simply those, figments of their sleeping mind's imagination. Though perhaps many more people than you would think do actually believe that dreams can have real meanings and applications to their lives. Even still, most decide it's easier to leave dreams and nightmares where they belong: in their subconscious. None of this, however, was true for Stephani Anderson. She always knew her dreams had great meaning, and more often then not she was able to quickly and precisely pin down their meaning. Though most of the time her dreams were very straightforward and nothing more than views of things to come, some were more confusing, complex, and more symbolic. Even the meanings of these dreams usually came to Steph quite easily. There were few times when she received a vision or dream that Stephani could not interpret quite easily. Sometimes, though, she had to be patient and wait a few days, weeks, or even years for a meaning of a dream to come to her. The dream she had on that night in the hospital those few months ago, was one of those dreams. She waited and waited patiently for it's meaning to be revealed to her, but now it was summer again and that particular dream had eluded her understanding. This fact continued to plague her well into June and then even up to her birthday in early July. Still, she had had no more dreams to tell her brother of, and still she had not told him of that one dream. Eric could tell something was going on, but he, like her, decided it would be best just to wait and see what would come of things.

Eric's birthday came in April as it had every year. While this year was different, he would be turning thirteen and becoming a teenager, his birthday seemed to pass without much of a disturbance. For some reason, everything seemed to look to his sister's birthday. Some strange child's sense had triggered this idea in Eric's mind. That whole year was leading up to Stephani's birthday, but this didn't bother Eric much, he preferred his birthdays to be more low-key anyway. April the 3rd came and went and so did Eric's last year as a non-teenager. As is usually the case with newly teenaged boys, Eric didn't feel much of a difference at all.

July came quickly that year. It came with festivities and celebration for Stephani's rapidly approaching 12th birthday. The pre-adolescent young girl's aunt Matilda wasted no time in giving her "the talk". Though exasperated, Stephani was wise enough to take all of her well-experienced beloved Aunt. Learning of how her body would soon, and might already, be changing intrigued her. The poor girl wondered if growing up might be the reason she was seemingly losing her endowed ability to see into the future. Even Eric noticed how unreasonably stressed his sister was becoming as she neared her birthday. He became concerned and questioned his sister about her preoccupation. Stephani told her brother she would be all right, she just had to cope with the fact that she was starting to grow up.

The 10th came in a blaze of heat and sun. Temperatures soared to around 112 degrees. Thankfully, Stephani's party took place in the shaded pool of her aunt and uncle's backyard. The family and a few of Stephani's friends (and even some of Eric's) celebrated for most of the day. Slightly sun-burned, full of good food, and exhausted, the two Anderson children retired to bed at 9:00 PM.