In the dream world John Carleton was already at his peak physical strength, or what he believed to be his peak. His muscles were chiseled onto his body, they looked to have been carved out of stone. Each of his limbs was strong and agile, able to move quickly and precisely and with great strength. He admired himself as he stood in his dream, he had yet to realize it was a dream and he was confused about how he had reached his physical goal so quickly. It's not possible he thought to himself, no way in hell. He was wearing some strange kind of pants, loose fitting and very comfortable. They were jet black, with a white sash tied around his waste and he was shirtless. His wounds were healed, he could no longer feel the pain from his beating. He looked around and realized he was at home, or at least it looked like his home. He walked into his bathroom to get a better look at himself and stopped dead at the sight he saw. His wounds were completely healed, only his scars remained. He wore a short beard and mustache, hair cropped short as usual. It wasn't his scars, facial features or anatomy that had startled him about his appearance. It was the third eye in the center of his forehead. What in the fuck?! He thought, yup I'm dreaming, some kind of weird fucking dream. Well that explains my insane physique at least, and my strange clothes. Man they are comfortable though. These were the thoughts running through his mind as he looked into his third eye, it was completely black except for a tiny red dot in the center. The eye lids for his third eye opened vertically instead of horizontally like his 2 existing eyes. He didn't seem to have any control over it, even when he attempted to push the eye lids closed they stubbornly remained open. Oh well he thought, just a weird dream anyways. Must be from the meds they gave me at the clinic interacting with all the alcohol still in my system. Pair that up with all the blows to the head I suffered and the antibiotics I'm on and I guess that equals vivid, lucid, strange ass dreams. He continued to explore 'his' home and look at 'his' things until he began to hear voices from the porch. He quietly crept closer, appreciating how agile his body was. Each step was barely a whisper, every movement was only a shadow. He felt like night.
"He's not ready, he's already so old and it has just began. There's no way he could handle it. He's completely clueless. He knows nothing!" said the first voice, a man by the sound of it with a severe sounding tone.
"You can not know that!" A feminine voice responded angrily. "Yes he may be a little old, but he is very perceptive. He has discovered his dream body and has even opened his third eye. Even as we speak he is discovering the workings of his dream body."
"Excuse me, I do believe your standing on my porch and talking about me. Who are you and what do you know about me?" John asked as he walked abruptly onto the porch among the 2 strangers.
"He has began to discover his body then," the man said. "I didn't even hear him coming and he is already wearing battle raiments, his spirit body appears to be stable and his third eye is indeed open. Although it's not in a natural state. It seems to be tainted." The man seemed excited about these revelations, but he still had an edge to his voice. "That only leaves the tests then. As long as we can ignore the tainted state of his third eye."
"It's a non-issue, many have had a similar taint in the past. Never this severe but when you think about his tribulations it comes as no surprise. He has been brought to the edge, in mind and body. It's only natural for the edge to leave a mark." she responded to the man.
This entire time they had been ignoring John and he had continued to question them and voice his defiance with varying degrees of annoyance. "What the fuck are you two talking about? What do you know about this? he said gesturing to his third eye. "What do you know about me and why are you on my fucking porch? I'm tired of this shit! What is this? The worst episode of punked in history? What is that god awful noise!?" John began holding his ears at this point.
"Calm down John, don't worry. I know this must be a complete surprise to you, and not a good one. But we are only here to help and to evaluate you, if you fail our evaluation then this will be only a memory to you. A memory of a strange dream.. and if you pass then this will be the beginning of an incredible experience. Why are you still holding your head John? That's very rude of you. What the fuck!? Lexi prepare yourself, it seems that our new friend here has an unrivaled perception that I have not noticed!" as the man noticed John clutching his ears and continuing to ignore him he addressed the woma(Lexi). "Great job Markesh! Yes now he knows both our names since you dropped mine so easily and yes I told you his perception was good. But we must defend ourselves and him to survive this. The first encounter is usually the hardest for our brethren and they are almost upon us. The shadows come, its a wonder he could hear them and that he can still stand. It speaks for him, I told you he is promising."
As she spoke, what appeared to be the shadow of a man began to conjure on the porch beneath the porch light. It began as a small black spot but continued to expand until it took on the shape of a man, its eyes and mouth revealed light on the porch. Inside its mouth were sharp teeth, its fingertips were clawed. The shadow looked very animalistic, beastly, prepared to rend the flesh and even the bones of anything in its path. As the shadow grew into its beastly form it continued to emit the horrible high-pitched sound, attempting to drive any logical being mad. More of the shadow beasts continued to conjure, some forming directly under the porch light and others sliding into the shadows from outside the porch, already fully formed. The sound continued to get higher with each new shadow, screeching its shrill cry to the world. At this point John could no longer take it, his ears had long since began to bleed. He was slowly going mad, he did the only thing he could think of doing. He began to yell, perhaps even roar, "Aaaaaaajhhhhhhhhh!!" "Haaaaaggggghhhhhhh!!!!" "Rrraaaaaawwwwrrrrrrrr!!!!!"