A/N: I'm really not sure where this came from, but I'm going to run with it.
Andrew shrugged his shoulders and rolled them forward and backward a couple of times. It was always disconcerting emerging from the shadows to find the scenery different from where he stepped in. He stepped out under the light of the streetlamp and looked in both directions down the deserted street.
Were anyone around, they would have noticed nothing out of the ordinary. A man, in his early twenties perhaps with hair that could use a trim dressed in jeans and a thick sweatshirt emerging from a gap in the buildings trying to catch his bearings.
He turned right and walked north along the sidewalk, the silence of the night oppressive. There should have been the rustling of a hobo through a dumpster, the frantic muffled cries of a hapless woman who wandered into the wrong alley at the wrong time, the shouts of a couple from an apartment window high above as they argued about the man's drinking habit… again.
But the night was still as a woodland pond in winter and Andrew's shoes scuffing the pavement made the only sound to break the blanket of silence hanging over the world. He came to the next intersection of two streets and felt himself pulled to turn left. He trudged along the sidewalk until he found himself in front of a tenement that had to be a hundred years old and he felt himself stopped dead.
He turned to face the door nestled in an alcove of the brick building and tested the handle, already knowing it would be unlocked. A frantic burning in his chest drew him toward the stairs within, urging him upward. The old wood creaked under his weight and he jumped lightly, skipping as many stairs as he could until he reached the third landing.
314, 314, 314
The number called to him and he moved toward the old door, dark and brittle after two many years of hanging on rusted iron hinges.
Not straining for silence, but not loudly declaring his presence, he opened the door and stepped into the small room. There was a sink along one wall and the occupant lay curled in the corner under a pile of shabby blankets, gray and worn through in spots but his heartbeat was strong, healthy and fresh.
Andrew moved toward the sleeping man, the groaning of the floorboards having no impact on his deep sleep. Kneeling behind the man's head, Andrew placed his hands on either side of the temples.
The man's dreams flooded through Andrew's mind. A personal movie theater played the images on the screen of his brain. Andrew took a deep breath and concentrated. A flick of the wrist here, a nod of the head there, and the images of the dreams began to shift and change.
The man stirred and mumbled as the frames grew darker, the sun and the beach faded and the man walked deeper into a thicket of trees, day turning to night in an instant.
Andrew felt the man's unease rise through the cluster of dreams and he smiled. He continued his ministrations, dark thorny vines springing up across the path, phantom sounds echoing in the distance. The man began to sweat in his sleep, rolling over and worry lines creased his unconscious face.
A dark cabin appeared in the distance and the man continued toward it. The man was fighting him. He didn't want to know what was in the cabin. He wanted to go back to the beach where he had been before, watching his grandson playing with a boomerang.
The man had no grandson.
And there was no stopping Andrew's manipulations.
True fear sliced through the heart of the sleeping man and Andrew drank it in like sweet nectar. The man's feet moved faster through the dream despite his efforts to stop and turn around. A normal person could have been spared the climax of the nightmare by jolting awake, but the man was under Andrew's power and was forced ahead toward the door of the cabin.
When he reached it, the door swung open of its own accord and he moved across the threshold. The cabin was pitch black, the windows apparent from the outside cast no moonlight to the interior.
"Who's there?" The man called out in the dream and in reality he mumbled an indistinct grunt.
"Lawrence… Lawrence…" His name echoed in whispers around him, terror seizing his heart. Andrew kept his hands in place around the man's temples as his silver-blue eyes narrowed in concentration on bringing the man's worst fears into reality in his dream, all the while tapping the horror and terror for his own sick nourishment.
A face swooped out of the darkness and the man was powerless to move as it circled around him, tormenting him, reminding him of all the sins and crimes he had committed in his life.
Andrew felt the man's heart stutter and stop.
"Excellent," he thought.
He removed his hands from the man's temples and stood up, looking down at the still body for a moment before retreating the way he came.
When he arrived at the street, he stepped into the shadows between two buildings and vanished.