Sleepwalker (fanfic)

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Sleepwalker is an alternate universe horror novella written by Jim North.

It won Favorite Overall and Favorite Horror, and was nominated for Favorite Weird Idea in the 2010 Daria Fanworks Awards.

Synopsis

A long-term field trip for the entire high school seems like a bounty of good fortune. But during a stopover to spend the night in the small town of Erbie, something terrible awakens and the hunts begins.

Summary

Warning: The following may contain plot or ending details.

Thanks to an unexpected surplus of funding, Ms. Li decides in a fit of generosity to treat the students of Lawndale High to a field trip in distant Mid City, where they will take an tour through the Museum of Science. While the other students gather onto buses for the trip, Stacy ends up having to go back into the school and decides to make a quick stop in the bathroom, where she sees a the brief image of a man in the mirror, a man with goggle-like eyes. Spooked, she runs back out to the buses to find that the only seat left is across from Daria and Jane, and right next to Upchuck.

While on the bus, Daria falls asleep due to a bout of insomnia that has been keeping her up at night, Jane engages Stacy in a failed attempt at smalltalk, and Kevin tries to give his girlfriend Brittany a gift. She refuses the gift when it turns out to be a paintball mask due to Kevin's mistaken belief that this field trip involves paintball just like the last one.

Due to the distance between Lawndale and Mid City, the students and faculty make a stopover in the small town of Erbie and rent rooms at the local motels, Erbie Motel and Nick's Inn. Because the students are split up between the two properties alphabetically by their last names, Stacy finds herself staying at Nick's while the rest of the Fashion Club (plus Tori Jericho, who is angling to take Stacy's place in the club) ends up at the Erbie Motel.

On the way to her assigned room, Stacy is confronted by Kevin, who hits on her. After she rebuffs his advances, a jealous Brittany tells Stacy to stay away from her Kevvie, despite Stacy's protests that she want nothing to do with him. They then find themselves walking toward the same door. Unable to cope with the idea of spending the night in a room with another girl who hates her, Stacy gives her key to Brittany on the condition that the cheerleader find her another room to stay in.

That night, after most everyone else has gone to sleep, only a few students and teachers are still awake. Daria remains awake thanks to her insomnia, and Jane decides to stay up all night with her. Sandi, Quinn, Tiffany, and Tori stay up to vote Tori into the Fashion Club and - despite Quinn's misgivings - begin the process of pushing Stacy out. Anthony DeMartino is deliberating over whether or not to take his new blood pressure medication, since it has been putting him to sleep since he started it. Claire Defoe, having witness some part of Stacy's distress and deciding to lend whatever help or comfort she can to the young girl, decides to go over to Nick's Inn from her own room at the Erbie Motel. Stacy herself is just settling down in her new room when all of them witness the electricity at both buildings shut off for a few seconds and then come back on.

Also awake at that moment is Brittany, who has sneaked out of her room to meet up with Kevin behind the building. He scares her as a joke, jumping out of the shadows wearing coveralls and the paintball mask he had tried to give her earlier. After he gets her to forgive him, the two become intimate with each other just as the temporary blackout hits. After the lights come back on, Brittany goes back to pleasuring Kevin, who pulls the mask back over his face and then falls asleep. Moments later, he crushes Brittany's head with his bare hands and stalks off across the parking lot.

He next attacks Claire, who survives only thanks to the intervention of Stacy, who heard Brittany's screams, saw Kevin in the mask, and followed him. He runs off after she stabs him in the back with a nail file, but when the two women find him later in the parking lot, he has no memory of attacking anyone, how he got injured, or where his mask has gone off to. Meanwhile, Anthony is lying in bed, having taken his medication and waiting for sleep to take him. Just before he nods off, however, he reaches over, grabs the paintball mask, and slips it on. Shortly after, he knocks on Daria and Jane's door and attacks them when they open it.

Though they survive, the night has only just begun as they and the rest of the people still awake are hunted down one by one by the being that Stacy dubs the Goggle Eyes Man. Even as their numbers dwindle, they learn several important things about the nature of this creature.

Everyone who was asleep when he first arrived (when the electricity cut off) appears to be safe from his attacks, but they cannot be woken up by any means. Everyone who was awake is not only a target, but they are the instruments through which he manifests and kills, as he can possess them if they fall asleep, even for a moment. If they can remove the mask, however, he has to leave the body and possess someone else later. With every kill, he becomes stronger and gains more power. Eventually, he can take over the bodies of those he has already killed and he can slow down time so as to make the night last as long as it takes to achieve his objective.

Gradually, the Goggle Eyes Man manages to kill all but two of those still awake, Stacy and Daria. Daria, however, goes into a state of catatonic shock after witnessing the deaths of Jane and Quinn, the latter happening right in front of her. This allows the Goggle Eyes Man to possess her, and through her he finally gains a voice. He explains to Stacy that she had been his target all along. He wants to bond with Stacy, as he is drawn to all the repressed rage and hate she holds in her heart for all the mean things that everyone has ever done to her over the years.

Stacy refuses and runs away, leading him on a short chase through the parking lot until he tracks her down to a motel room that she and the others had been hiding in earlier. He finds her hiding in the bathroom but is unprepared when she fights back with a lighter and a can of hairspray used as a makeshift flamethrower. Stacy tries to remove the mask, but his hold over Daria is too strong. As the Goggle Eyes Man set upon her again, Stacy finds herself with no other choice but to set Daria aflame and then gouge the other girl's throat out with her nail file.

Severely burned but still alive, Stacy stand and painfully begins walking back to her motel room. Along the way, the paintball mask appears on the ground in front of her several times, and the voice of the Goggle Eyes Man demands that she puts it on and joins him. After trying to ignore him, she finally has enough, grabs up the mask, and snaps it in half across her knee is a fit of rage.

She looks around to find that time has restarted and that it is suddenly early morning. She limps away from the broken mask, slips into bed, and falls into a deep sleep, finally free of the nightmare.

. . . or IS she?

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Preceded by
N/A
Sleepwalker series
Succeeded by
Endless Nights
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