Author's Note: Some changes have been made to the story due to new ideas I incorporated into it. Thanks for you patience and I hope you can enjoy the story.


You really couldn't have found a better place to fight the Boogeyman than a crowed forest, right before nightfall Red? Was a frantic, random thought from a red-hooded girl as she kept attacking and dodging Pitch Black. Oh, right, she answered herself. Because he was going as fast as he could to where the Guardians, the last child that believed in them, and Frosty were, so he could flat-out crush them. That's a little important.

Springing out from behind a tree, Red swung her ax at Pitch, and he gave a satisfying yelp as he got out of the way. She smirked. It was a small victory, but one she could build on.

She tried a backhanded swing at his knees, but he caught the strike with the staff of his curved blade.

"Why are you even helping the Guardians?" he asked as though he hadn't sounded like a little girl a moment before. "It's not like you're one of them." His snide comment was accompanied by a small gesture of his hand.

Red was suddenly knocked to the side and onto the ground as a nightmare ran into her. Cheater, she hissed to herself as she got back to her knees, her ax coming down on the stallion before whirling back to Pitch. "Because there're as close to a family as I've got. And I'm going to help them," she shot back with some heat.

The shadowy figure chuckled as she jumped to the side as to not get cleaved in two. "Seems to me you must've failed to do that in the past. Seeing you're here that is." He looked around briefly, looking somewhat surprised. "I'm impressed you've held out this long. Of course whatever things that are in the forest don't like me much, and I guess at least some of them must have a soft spot for you to hold back my nightmares."

Red paused, confused. "What are you talking about?" You must've failed to do that in the past?- What's all that supposed to mean? And that something in the forest is helping me again? Red launched herself at the Nightmare King, but her moment of pause was one too many, as he slipped into the shadows before she got there. She whirled back around, not sure if she was more frustrated at herself or him. He was probably long gone by now-

"So you really don't know..." His voice surprised Red. He was still hear?

He started to chuckle before it turned into a laugh. The circling, shadowed copies of himself seemed to look up at the moon. "Seems like you set yourself up some trouble with whatever stunt you pulled and Frost and her." The shadows gestured to Red with a sigh of pleasure. "Seems like she'll end up the same way as him i'd wager. Not letting them know."

Red's heart clenched, shaken by whatever it was he was talking about. "What do you mean 'not letting us know'? And what did you do to Jack Pitch?!" She never stopped moving, trying to find Pitch's face.

"Oh, I didn't do anything. It was your precious Man in the Moon who did it. Do you want to tell her old friend or should I?!" The circle of shadows kept going without pause. "Were you never curious about how you were just there all of sudden? How finding or reaching out to anyone in belief or not was almost impossible? It was because he took you away from all you once loved, your memories, and turned into the puppet you are now."

"No, no he wouldn't do something like that." Red said, but now she was a little unsure. Would he? He'd been there for the past three-hundred years almost, always lighting some way to go by. But then again, I had asked those questions. More than once too, begging him to tell me why. He'd never answered them.

"You had a life ahead of you." His voice echoed almost softly, thought it was gradually getting louder. "You can't be older the fourteen, you're merely a child. He robbed you of your childhood and life to become what? A figment of everyone's imagination, unable to do anything. He destroyed your life. A Guardian is supposed to prevent those kind of things, not cause them. So why should you even trust the Guardians at all?!"

"Shut. Up!" Red hurled her ax in the direction where she thought she'd seen his hand. It would've lodged into his shoulder, if he hadn't turned into shadows and hid like a coward. Red ran toward back for the ax as hard as she could. Leaving herself defenseless to Pitch was the last thing she wanted to do.

Ripping it out of the tree, she turned...just in time for her right hand to meet the black arrow Pitch shot.

Biting back a cry, Red dropped the ax and clutched her injured wrist. As she watched and before she could think to do anything, the arrow melted into her hand; warping it into a nightmarish black. Something seemed to pulse out of it, negative and dark, and Red felt like it was draining her. Another pulse, the world swayed, and she found herself on her knees, just able to keep herself steady.

Echoes and whispers started teasing at her ears. Screwing her eyes shut and shaking her head, Red tried to make them go away. That was the wrong thing to do, because she then found herself on the ground, on her elbows and barley holding her head up

"What's happening to me?" Her voice surprised her at how empty and defeated it sounded. What did you do?

Pitch languidly strolled out to where Red could see him, an amused smile on his face. He knelt down, and cupped her face in his hand. Red flinched. It was so cold it burned.

"Don't you know?" He smiled, like he was explaining something to child who didn't hear the first time. "You're turning into a nightmare yourself." He let go, and stood up, straightening himself.

The black of Red's hand had gone past her wrist, and quickly twisted up her arm like a living thing and she forced the bile and horror that rose up her throat back down.

"Don't worry about that though, you'll come to terms about who and what the Guardians really are once it's done. Besides, they will all gone by then," he purred as he stepped away.

No, no you can't let that happen Red, come on! She tried to force herself to get up, to do something, Pitch chuckling at her attempts as he faded away. There were blurs of green from the forest, and a vague image of something large and dark looming over her. But it just turned into blackness. The darkness closed in all around her, and she fell prey to the nightmares.