Sebastian LaCrosse was having them again. Nightmares. It had been at least seven months since his last nightmare, and he had been quite relieved to think that was the end of them. He was just starting to be completely comfortable with lying in bed at night when the images reappeared.

It happened almost exactly the way it did the last time. Sebastian would lie between the cotton sheets that whispered together as the night breeze fluttered through the open window. His body, tense and hard, would lie there stiffly on its back, with the eyes open and mouth parted as his senses were acutely tuned to every quirk of his being in the night. His dark eyelashes stuck together when he blinked ponderously. His shoulders bunched from tension. His Adam’s Apple, a hard lump in his throat, seemed to be choking all the air from his lungs.

Sometime during the hours after he set himself to rest, Sebastian would fall asleep. He barely seemed to breathe at all. His narrow chest barely moved a centimeter, but were his eyelids unfurled, an observer would see his eyes darting to and fro at an alarming rate. Then, in the paranormal twilight hours, he would suddenly come out of his slumber like a drowning man, gasping for air, his bloodshot eyes seeing for a miniscule moment in waking life the horrors he had just faced in his mind. Sebastian’s body, upon waking, would be slick with cold sweat, livid with gooseflesh and the sour, prehistoric scent of fear that seemed to radiate in visible waves from his person. He would then abstain from sleep for days at a time.

The symptoms were no different no matter where Sebastian dozed. Lying in bed, propped up in a rocking chair, slumped on a desk, or curled up on the floor, the nightmare followed him. No matter where he searched for rest, Jean LaCrosse always found him.

For it was his father that Sebastian saw in his dreams. Jean LaCrosse appeared to him every night, his body wasted and pallid. LaCrosse’s phantom corpse spoke no words, but he was always drifting in and out of the frames of Sebastian’s mind. Somewhere, in a dark corridor of Sebastian’s memory, there was a door that seemed to have been shut in a hurry. The latch was not done. The door was not quite shut. It was from this sliver of the open door that it would slowly open, and out would creep LaCrosse. The body lurched to a different building in the human brain. This building housed dreams, and that was where LaCrosse trekked to every night.