As a boy, I used to have what Old Brien called “night terrors.” Most younglings dreamed about mining and adventure in the heavens, anything to get them off the clustered caves the Royals assigned us to. Their bad dreams might carry them to the Royal palace or strip them of their clan so they were totally alone.
My terrors were darker in nature. I dreamed of leviathans deep in the darkest reaches of the sea, of blood smoking the water and explosions of white hot heat from the core. In my dreams I could never swim fast enough to escape that bone melting heat. And when it did swallow me whole, after the pain, I found only blackness.
I learned how to live without sleep quickly. Still I would lay in rest, but I never let my mind drift totally. I thought myself free from night terrors until our ship was attacked and we crash landed on a hostile world.
In the Nukvar Valley lived night terrors that didn’t exist in dreams, but attacked while sleeping. I learned to always be on my guard when living with the other survivors in our cave. After slaying that first four legged stripe-back in our cave, I realized we were living on the edge of predator territory. But the younglings didn’t need to know about it, though it might have helped me to have another pair of hands to hunt. The longer the days were spent in hopeless search for the missing shuttle crew, the more I began to crave those nightly hunts.
Only after she chose him and the tree village did I realize what I had become. I was no better than the monsters of my night terrors. I had become the night terror.