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Mark P.O.V

Mark woke up early on Wednesday morning to the sound of his mother's voices echoing up the stairs.

"Mark! Get up right now!"

The teen rolled over in bed, the soft and warm cocoon of his blankets inviting him to close his eyes and fall back into sleep. His eyes lids were weighed down with exhaustion and he nearly jumped a foot in the air when a loud knock sounded at his door. "Mark? Are you awake?" His mother barked from the other side of the door.

"Yeah." He groaned, sitting at the side of his bed, shivering as the cool air of his bedroom hit his bare skin. Sleeping in just boxers and a t-shirt might be comfortable, but fuck was he regretting it right now.

Rubbing his eyes sleepily he dragged himself around his messy room, picking up random items of clothing and pulling them on without paying any attention to whatever violations against fashion he was currently making. Eventually he dragged his sluggish body across the hall and into the family bathroom, splashing cool water on his face to wake his exhausted body up a little quicker.

He hadn't slept well last night and it showed when he looked in the mirror. His eyes had pale purple circles under them and his dark hair stuck up in every conceivable direction. Nightmares had haunted his dreams, twisting them into things he didn't want to see, didn't want to hear and didn't want to believe.

He saw his parents looking down at him with disapproval and telling him what a failure he was, he saw his friends looking at him with nothing but disgust and he saw Ashley glaring at him with pure, uncontrollable loathing. But then the dream changed and he was back standing beside Samantha's bed except this time it wasn't just him and the dark haired woman in the room. No, this time Sean, or should he say Jack, was sitting beside her, looking down at her with a broken expression that made Mark's heart break in two.

Samantha wasn't moving. She lay far too still on the bed, her hair surrounding her head on the pillow behind her like some sort of halo. Her pale skin practically blended into the white of her bed and her almost skeletal features made it look like she hadn't eaten in weeks, her cheeks hollow and her eyes sunken.

She looked dead.

Then her eyes snapped open. Suddenly she was moving, fighting against some unseen force just like she had done before in real life, her eyes filled with terror and her voice breaking on panicked screams for help. Jack was standing now, shouting at him to do something, help her, save her and Mark felt the overwhelming feeling of uselessness filling his entire being. He couldn't move, and even if he could, he couldn't help.

The sounds became louder, ripping into him again and again. There was nothing he could do to make it stop. No doctor was coming in to help him, make the noise stop, make the screaming stop. He couldn't close his eyes, he couldn't cover his ears and he couldn't move a muscle.

It felt like hours of torture before he finally woke up at nearly 5am, drenched in sweat and breathing heavily. He knew without looking that he was crying, he could feel the tears slowly falling in a steady stream without his consent. The crippling sense of helplessness he had felt in his nightmare fell on him like a ton of bricks, images rushing through his head in a blur. Eventually he fell asleep again from nothing but pure exhaustion, his sleep dream free for the rest of the night.

Now he could see the tear tracks that had dried on his cheeks and he felt nothing but that strange emptiness he felt after he had witnessed Samantha's attack in real life as he washed them off. Another yell sounded from the kitchen. "I swear to god Mark if you're late for the bus again you'll be walking!"

After making a quick job of his teeth and a spray of deodorant Mark thundered down the stairs to the kitchen where he prayed his mother was making eggs and bacon.

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