The hum of the car, and the sound of rain against the windshield was beginning to lull Daniel into a sleepy haze. His mother had been oddly quiet since she had picked him up from the therapist's office. The silence was strange at first, but he was beginning to enjoy the unusually quiet ride. His head began to bob slightly as he fought to stay awake.

A flickering light swayed slowly overhead as a scream reverberated around the room.

"Such filth-"

Daniel suddenly jerked forward in his seat. His mother's face stared across the car at him in concern. Her hand was gently gripping his shoulder.

"We're home."

Bleary eyes gazed blankly for a few seconds out the window before he slowly unbuckled his seatbelt. His heart was still racing from the memory of the dream. He could only remember fragments of it, but it managed to make his skin crawl.

"So, how did your appointment go with, Doctor Keller?"

"Same old, same old," he drawled, as he walked up the sidewalk to the house.

She frowned at his back as he meandered into the kitchen. She was trying to be understanding, but he made it difficult when he refused to talk to her.

"Did you talk to him about these nightmares you keep having?"

Daniel sighed, "Haven't you heard about doctor- patient confidentiality, mom? The whole point of therapy is to have someone to talk to that can't blab to everyone that wants to know your business."

His mother's face pinched in irritation as she crossed her arms across her chest. " I'm your mother, Daniel, I'm supposed to be worried about these sort of things. You should be able to talk to me about your problems."

Daniel grunted in frustration, and glared back at her. "Who's the one that decided I needed a therapist in the first place? You've been forcing me to go to these stupid appointments to talk about 'my feelings' for two years now. If you really wanted me to talk to you about my problems you would have tried talking to me years ago instead of handing me off to a shrink."

She seemed stunned at his sudden outburst. Her face was frozen in shock; her mouth partially open as if she was about to say something, but couldn't get it out. He took her stunned silence as a chance to get away, and swiftly turned on his heel. He shouted over his shoulder, "I've got a headache. I'm going to lay down." Taking the stairs a few steps at a time he quickly made it to his room and shut the door.

Leaning back against the closed door he felt exhaustion fully set in. His shoulders sagged, and he rubbed tiredly at his eyes. He slowly slid down the door until he was sitting on the beige carpet. Dull green eyes stared resentfully at the bed a few feet away. The urge to lay down and sleep was tempting, but he could still hear echoes of screams in the back of his mind.

….

Blood soaked hands shakily turn on a sink in a rundown bathroom, and began attempting to clean the gore off with little success. A cracked mirror show snippets of a man with red hair in the reflection.

"Filthy. So filthy." He muttered, as he rubbed his hands raw under the steaming water.

"Must get rid of the filth."

The sound of crying seemed to startle him out of his frenzied attempt at cleaning his hands. He gazed at the broken mirror for a moment before calmly shutting off the water.

" Yes, must get rid of the filth."

The sound of his heavy footsteps on the floorboards caused the crying to increase for a few seconds before a screech rang the hallway. A loud thud, and his heavy breathing the only sound in the otherwise quiet house.

A few hours had passed when Daniel finally awoke. His fatigue had caused him to fall asleep on the floor. The sun had set, and a sliver of moonlight shining through the curtains was the only light in the room.

"Ow." His muscles seemed to scream in protest as he moved to a sitting position. He carefully stretched out his neck as he stood up. A quick jerk left and right helped him pop his sore back. Glancing at the time on his phone he sighed.

"12:20. Fantastic, another long night."

With practiced ease he moved silently through the dark room to turn on the lamp next to his bed. The sudden light burned his eyes slightly, but he ignored it in favor of grabbing the book off his nightstand.

"Hopefully I can finish this tonight. It's due back tomorrow." Laying down on the bed he began reading the large novel. His eyes wanting to close in favor of more sleep, but he was determined not to fall asleep again.

It took a few minutes, but he began to immerse himself in the novel. The book managed to take his mind off more gruesome subjects, and he could feel himself relax slightly. The hours slipped away as he read about a happier place. A place full of dragons and adventure. Not mutilated women, and psychotic, red-haired men.