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Pen Your Pride

My feet shuffled dully against the concrete, the only light filtering through was the faint moonlight streaming through the cracks in the locked and closed barn doors. "Hello?" I called out softly, reaching my hands out to try and feel something around me.

A sharp stab in my palm caused shoots of pain the filter up and down my arms, and I quickly withdrew it, sticking it to my side, rubbing it slightly with my thumb and index finger. Taking a few steps toward the culpret, I realized it was an open stall door, with small splinters sticking out in all directions from it. As I cautiously moved forward, I noticed every stall door was like that. Open and covered in sharp splinters.

"Sophee? Tango? Ginger? Sundance? Anyone!?" I called quietly, biting my lip as I moved toward the tack room. 

A soft whinny came in response, which I immediately reconized as Sophee's. And it wasn't happy like when I called her name. It was distant and stressed. A harsh laughter followed it.

Biting my lip, I pressed myself flat to the wall, creeping around toward the tack room door. Reaching my hand out to it, the soft skin immediately came into contact with something sticky and hot. Slowly raising my hand, my eyes flitted nervously over the substance.

Blood.

Swallowing back my gasp, I replaced it with a strong gulp, swinging the door farther open and stepping inside, surveying the broad room.

All the tack was still in their normal places, every bridle, bit, and buckle stuck in their assigned postions, all the name tags of each horse plastered above each rack. Reaching out my hand, I ran it over the leather of one of my western saddles, feeling that same sticky liquid form over my fingers.

"Oh, so I see you have come to join us, Lauren." A thick ominous accent came from the far corner, the only thing visible being a thin line of white teeth. My eyes floated nervously up to their own eyes. 

And they where familiar.

That strangely familiar striking hazel eyes blinking at me evilly.

As he took a step toward me, holding out his hands that where covered in a dark red color, I noticed something that rolled from the corner of his foot.

A head.

A head of a horse.

~

I woke up screaming. My mouth felt like cotton, my throat dry and scratchy as I bolted up right in Niall's huge bed, searching the room desperately, my eyes wild. The door flew open, revealing a wide-eyed, shirtless and sleepy looking Niall, a wooden baseball bat tightly clenched in his right hand.

"What happened? Are you okay? Is there an intruder?" Niall asked frantically, searching the room as he stepped farther in, kicking the door shut behind him.

"I'm fine," I croaked, coughing and wetting my dry, cracked lips. "Just a nightmare. Sorry I woke you up. It's nothing, I promise. Just go back to sleep." I gave him a shaky reassuring smile, running my fingers through my now sweaty hair to brush it off my neck and cheeks.

He placed the bat against the wall, his eyebrows crinkling together in concern. "Are you sure you're okay? Don't need someone to talk to about it."

I bit my lip, looking away from him as those hazel eyes kept making their way into my current thoughts. "No, it's nothing important."

"You can tell me you know," Niall replied softly, the matress sinking under his weight as he stepped over to sit on the edge, gazing at me curiously. "I have plenty of time, seeing as its two o'clock in the morning."

I crossed my legs under the blanket, pulling myself into a sitting position. Shakily, I draped the blanket up to my nose, my eyes blinking at Niall from behind them. "I'd rather not talk about it. Although I don't think I will be going back to sleep anytime soon." To prove my point, I reached over and pulled out my phone, absentedly clicking in and out of apps.

"Want me to stay in here so you know your safe?" Niall asked, his voice sounding somewhat hopeful.

"If you want the floor then sure," I replied with a smug smirk, my eyes glueing back onto the screen.

"Anything to make sure you're not scared out of your mind," Niall shrugged, moving off the bed and over to the closet. Reaching up he pulled down an extra blanket and pillow, placing them on the floor near the side I was sleeping on.

"Well g'night," He grinned up at me, snuggling down into his only cover on the floor. Within five seconds there was a soft snoring coming from underneath it, the blanket rising and falling gently under his gentle breathing.

"Night," I murmured, placing my phone down on the bedside table, and snuggling down into my own covers. Squeezing my eyes shut, all my thoughts focused away from my previous nightmare, and onto other things.

Like Sophee. Like Ginger. Like Tango. Like Sundance.

Like Niall.

And slowly but surely, I fell back asleep.

~

Of course, I woke up screaming again, the same reaccuring dream surfacing into my thoughts. Bolting up in the bed, I looked desperatedly around, my eyes finally falling onto Niall's wide-eyed figure, that was now kneeling over the bed. Immediately, I relaxed as he reached out and took my hand gently, rubbing reassuring circles on my palm.

"Shh, Lauren, I'm here. It's okay, nothing's going to get you here," He cooed, moving to sit beside me on the bed. His arm draped slowly over my shoulders. 

I only stiffened momentarily this time, before I collapsed into his side, tears leaking through my eyes at the dream I had experienced twice in one night now. I hadn't had this dream for a while now, not ever since I, well, left. For some reason, this seemed like some sort of sign to me.

"Hey, shh, stop crying," Niall soothed, pulling my onto his lap, rubbing comforting circles on my back as I pressed my face to his chest. Lightly, he placed soft kisses on my forehead, trying to calm my down.

Slowly my heart rate decreased, the sweat that had broke out onto my forehead slowly drying up, my tears ceasing all together as I just sat there in Niall's lap, my breathing ragged.

"Are you alright now, love? Would you like to go back to sleep?" Niall asked, turning my to face him, holding me out at arms length. 

"Yeah, I think I'm good," I replied shakily, reaching up and drying the remaining tears. "But I don't think I can go back to sleep. Not now. I don't want to."

"But you need to Lauren," Niall retorted with a sigh. "I'll be right here. I promise. If you wake up again, I'll be here."

Slowly, I scooted away from him, placing my head down on the pillow, keeping my eyes glued to the opposite wall. "No, it's okay, go back to sleep yourself," I tried to give him a grin, but he saw, basically, right through me.

"Oh, no, I'm staying right here," he said, a hint of amusement in his tone as I felt the bed shift, but I couldn't see what he was doing.

"What do you-" My own question was answered as his warm arms wrapped their way tightly around my waist, pulling me into his chest. Reluctantly, I wiggled around in his hold, placing my hands hesitantly on his chest and resting my head in between them. His arms tugged tighter in their grip, his head resting lightly on top of my curled in one.

This time I fell asleep.

And dammit, it was the best I've slept in years.

--------------

You'll find out what this hazel eye thing is about lauren. I'm not telling you so DONT ANNOY ME ABOUT IT :P

anyway.

I hope you liked it.

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