A/N: Hey all! Thanks for reading. I had started cooking this thing up to celebrate JTHM's 20th anniversary and the Zim comics but then it became… well… something a bit more mad than I expected. Everything has already been written, so I'm planning to update twice a week: short, Dreamtime chapters on Fridays, full chapters on Monday. Though the fic is finished, I will still absolutely take critiques into mind during editing (there is still so much editing to be done). Feedback is always appreciated! Thanks for reading and please enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Invader Zim, Squee, JTHM or any related franchises. But I do own a mug that has a little ceramic kitten perched on the handle. Isn't that neat?
I stood in a concrete room with no windows, waiting for a show that would never begin. A bare bulb hung from the ceiling, swaying back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, like an empty swing.
Between glimpses of light, I saw The Wall.
It rose from the splintered floorboards to the cracked ceiling, looming above me like a forgotten monument. Brownish-red spirals and strokes covered the concrete and it took all of my willpower not to dig through the crusted layers with my fingernails to see what was behind them. I was afraid. I was afraid that there was nothing behind The Wall but a starless void and I would fall inside the way some people died- slipping away, without a sound.
My footsteps didn't make any noise as I approached The Wall. I reached out to touch it, my breath caught in my throat, my hand shaking...
"Run!" cried a voice.
There was a little boy behind me. He was dressed in striped pajamas, with black hair smeared all over his head. He hugged a stuffed bear that was covered in stitches, it's white eyes wide with anticipation.
"It's going to get you!" The boy said.
The room began to shake and I spun around. A single crack streaked down The Wall as something pushed through the concrete like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. I caught a glimpse of the creature, just for a second.
And everything went dark.
I didn't scream when I woke up.
I just watched the fan above me, spinning in lazy circles, as I tried to calm my racing heart. Get a grip, Dib! I scolded myself. It's that weird nightmare again...
The nightmares had started several months ago. They came once a month at first, then twice a week and now they haunted me every night- sometimes several times a day, if I made the mistake of letting my eyes droop shut during class. No matter when they happened, they always followed the same script- I stood before a large wall, a little boy would shout a warning and The Wall would crack. A creature would emerge but it looked different every time- a monster with matted black fur and white, shining teeth. A skeleton with decaying organs dripping from it's chest, like wax melting off a burning candle. A man with no face, the skin over his mouth stretching with each muffled scream…
Once I could breathe again, I kicked off the tangled blankets and hopped out of bed. A chill ran up my feet as I ran across the wooden floor and jumped into the chair at my desk. The notebook was already open to a fresh page.
I don't know how long I drew for but I tried to capture every painful detail -every glinting fang, every staring eye- and I drew until light peeked through the curtains. Then I leaned back in the chair and surveyed my work.
"What are you?" I asked the picture, just barely suppressing a yawn. "What are you trying to tell me?"
So I tacked the drawing up on the wall behind my bed, next to the others. They nearly covered the room now, like a wallpaper designed by Lovecraft.
I stretched my stiff arms and decided it was time for breakfast. As I descended the stairs, I thought about the long day of skool that loomed ahead of me. How long I could keep up these sleep-deprived days?
… and what happened when I couldn't stay awake anymore?
A/N: First full chapter on Monday.