Barrett was ripped from his nightmare; his eyes involuntarily shot open to the faint, haunting sound of the doorbell, then slammed shut again as they realized the pain, like that of a foreign finger gouging slowly and threatening to burst the frail ball. He blinked and caressed his lids, apologizing for the rude awakening; his focus shifted, previous concern forgotten like his dream. The room was dim, though his eyes still stung as his pupils struggled to dilate through the eyelash-filtered slits. He felt like he was climbing out of a bog. Another faint doorbell chime reminded him and he forced himself to look at the clock to see how late he was. The digital read-out was black without the faintest red glimmer. The phone’s LCD was dark, too. “Shit. Oh, no.” He squinted and searched for another reference to time, straining his nearsighted eyes to see across the room, and saw nothing. The stereo and cable box didn’t show their familiar fuzzy red orbs. He launched the comforter off and rolled out of bed, yanking a shirt from under the bed and fishing for his eyeglass case before his bare feet hit the floor. He stood up still trying to find his glasses. He turned to his nightstand and huddled over it, then leaned down and stuck a hand by the headboard and the wall, then combed under the bed, still not finding them. The doorbell insisted again. “Dammit!” He stumbled into the hall, ducked his head into the bathroom, thinking that, by some fluke, he might have left his glasses (and case?) there. Nothing. He coughed and cleared his throat softly, trying not to wake his son, but still feeling the singe of his sore throat. His head throbbed. He gave a little tiptoed leap as he recognized the glint of the sharp toy in the path of his next ste... ... middle of paper ... ... floor. It wasn’t possible to be seeing a street at this level, let alone one he’d never seen before in what used to be closet. He jumped back against the inside wall and kicked the door shut, the air escaped his lungs. He ran into his bedroom, then to where Dale’s room should have been again. He rubbed his eyes and shook his head then darted back down the hallway and paced in front of the door that had a moment before held a street that shouldn’t be there. “Dale! Where are you?” he yelled. He ran back into the kitchen, then to the front door, unlocked it and yanked it open. The same street view peered back at him. “Dale! Dale!!” Barrett backed away and shook his head. Back down the hallway he went and did scream this time when he saw that the doorways leading towards his bedroom, the bathroom, and Dale’s room were showing the same street. He wanted to wake up. Now.

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