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While Rex tended to avoid going to the movies, a marathon of horror films at the Copper Crown Theater on Halloween was too good to pass up. Though he’d learned to tune out the thoughts and feelings of those around him, large gatherings like sporting events, parades, and concerts were still problematic. The sheer amount of unfiltered outpourings of emotions were enough to overwhelm him and induce head-splitting migraines. Meditation helped, along with a healthy collection of prescription drugs.

The collection of movies was only halfway finished before Doctor Fear interrupted. Former psychiatrist Thaddeus Rackham possessed the ability to spread fear like an airborne virus and he’d unleashed a wave of it inside the theater and turned the audience into raving maniacs. Luckily, Rex managed to quell the crowd with no serious injuries and though he was immune to the villain’s abilities thanks to his telepathy, the encounter still disturbed him. So at the end of the day, Rex was eager to rest. He laid down and eventually, sleep overtook him.

Jack boots crunched into the gravel as a dozen mercenaries marched down a road. The overcast sky was tinged red and thunder boomed every few seconds, with lightning lighting up the sky afterwards. All identical, with shaved heads and bar-codes tattooed on their foreheads. The expressionless soldiers hiked in unison.

“They’re coming for you...” a voice whispered in his ear. He turned and ran but a haze of chaotic imagery disoriented him and he tripped and fell into a ditch. He clawed against the ground as the hole became an open grave, unseen figures shoveling dirt on him from above. Reaching up as the soil covered his face and suddenly he was falling. Falling through an abyss of pure darkness.

He bolted upwards out of his sleep. He was back in his apartment, sitting in his old armchair. There was a hand on his shoulder as a woman came round from behind him. Rex was positive he’d never met her before but something about her seemed familiar. She smiled and touched his forehead with a finger. Suddenly, he was bombarded by a montage of horrific visions. His friends and teammates lying dead around him at his feet. He flashed back to the room, now paralyzed and unable to move in the chair. The woman had moved in front of him. She placed a hand on her chin and the other at the top of her head and twisted until her head was at a ninety degree angle. She was still smiling wide. “If you let them all down...” she started in a dementedly sing-song voice, the bones in her neck cracking rhythmically like the ticking hands of a clock until her head was upside down. “...Will you lose your mind?”

Rex awoke in a cold sweat. Maybe he was more susceptible to the good doctor’s abilities than he thought. Either way, he was sure of one thing.

There would be no sleep tonight.

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