Strange, lucid dreams last night (never more welcome than after this eternity of stressful slumber). In one, Tanim believed he was suffering from horrific, relentless night terrors. Daren knew better, however. He stood at the foot of Tanim’s bed one night and watched as the man twisted beneath sweaty sheets, fingers digging into the mattress and jaw clenched against a scream he could only unleash in his nightmare. Daren did not wake Tanim from his private madness, but instead said only in his calm, careful voice, “who are you?” He knew Tanim did not suffer from mere night terrors. No, Tanim’s delusions had grown far beyond intangible torments; they had developed into a completely separate and autonomous persona of which Tanim could not be aware. A split personality, of a sort, but far more malevolent than its host and bound to the panicked trance which made its very existence possible. It was almost akin to a demonic possession, Daren thought as he watched Tanim writhe in agony. Whatever darker, Mr-Hyde self had temporarily consumed Tanim’s consciousness did not answer Daren’s questioning, however. The sleeper only moaned in miserable response, tears pooling beneath his eyelashes. Daren moved to Tanim’s side and placed one hand over Tanim’s trembling, clenched fingers, murmuring “hush, Tanim; the first night is always the most painful, but this will become easier”. He was lying, of course. It would only grow worse.

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