Sarah held onto Rebel's shoulder for comfort as she warily observed the strange landscape. Rebel had brought her to a clearing, overrun with weeds and plants that must have once been well cared for but had been forgotten over time. Tendrils of ivy and roses climbed up an ancient wrought iron fence taller than the girl if she had stood on the Nightmare's head. Twilight had long since fallen, leaving Sarah and her shadow horse in total darkness save for the light cast by the waning moon hanging in the sky above them. A pale mist snaked along the ground, rendering all it consumed invisible. Sarah began to shiver slightly, imagining all the horrors that could be hiding under the cover of darkness. In her mind disembodied hands crawled along the cold ground, reaching for her ankles, crawling up her legs, crawling over her face. Sarah squeaked, suddenly terrified by the thoughts her imagination often wielded. The Nightmare by her side sensed her fear, nuzzling her shoulder comfortingly before tossing his head. Rebel's mane swung wildly in the air before falling over Sarah face, causing the girl to giggle. "Rebel!" Sarah laughed, scratching behind his ear. Rebel's amethyst eyes seemed to smile at the girl as he whinnied, his own way of expressing laughter. "I guess you're not scared of things that aren't even there, are you?" She asked rhetorically, still eyeing the ground suspiciously. Sighing, she took a tentative step forward, dead and frozen foliage crunching under her feet. What is this place? There's something about it…. I don't know how to describe it… "I almost feel like I know this place…" Sarah whispered, kneeling down to brush ivy off a stone, revealing it for what is really was: a tombstone.
She screamed, her voice echoing for miles. "That's because you do know this place." A dark voice hissed. "Read the name, it's yours my dear girl. Sarah Andrea Viantinio." The owner of the voice stepped out of the shadows, laughing softly. Noting Sarah surprised flinch at her name, he laughed louder. "Surprised I know your name? I've known you all your life, ever since I found you in that closet. I've always been there." Sarah fell to the ground, struggling backwards to escape the nightmare of a man. Standing over seven feet tall, Pitch easily intimidated Sarah; yet it was his knowledge of her past that scared her more than anything else. "Did you enjoy my gifts?" He asked sinisterly, "Such beautiful nightmares, I've always saved the best for you." Sarah whimpered pitifully, fearfully looking up from above her grave. "The nightmares… Th-those were you?" She asked, stuttering slightly. Pitch grinned broadly, his pointed teeth gleaming in the moonlight. "I am the Nightmare King." He laughed, extending a hand towards Sarah. Rebel would have none of it, bursting from the shadows and standing over her protectively. Rearing up on his hind legs, Rebel shrieked in Pitch's face; barring his teeth wildly. Pitch back stepped quickly away from the Nightmare, shocked by the sudden defensive display. "What's this? You have a Nightmare? But… How?" Pitch stared at the quivering girl and the fierce Nightmare standing above her. "How much darkness does your soul hold, Princess?" He asked with a dark smile. "Princess?" Sarah asked slowly, curiosity overpowering her fear for a moment. "Yes." Pitch hissed, his grey eyes staring into the glowing eyes of the rebellious Nightmare. "A Fearling Princess…" Rebel brayed, bucking manically towards Pitch, refusing to let him near Sarah. "And you! Traitor! You serve me." Rebel shrieked again, directly in Pitch's face. "Don't worry, I'll be back for you." The Nightmare King laughed, "Both of you."
Pitch vanished into the shadows, leaving Sarah and Rebel alone in the graveyard. Shakily, Sarah turned; reading the name on the grave she was on. The stone was so faded all she could make out at first was one name: "Jackson." Jackson… Could it be? Sarah stooped over the stone, brushing more plant life and grime away from the headstone. "This… This is…" Jack's grave…
Here lies Jackson Overland
A brave son, a devoted brother, a dear friend
May we remember forever his sacrifice
"Sacrifice? What sacrifice…?" Sarah mused, running her thumb over his epitaph. Come to think of it, Jack never told me how he died. I wonder if he even knows his grave is here. Sarah shuttered, leaping to her feet, a sudden thought striking her. Oh god… This is him. His body. It's right here. But he's… He's not. "This is too freakish… Rebel?" Sarah spun around, eyes seeking out her protector. "Rebel? Where are you?" Rebel appeared suddenly by her side, earning a startled jump from the girl in return. "There you are!" She half sighed in relief, "Thanks for everything Rebbs…" She whispered wrapping her arms around the not quite a Nightmare's nose and hugging him tightly. The Nightmare had shown no fear when Pitch had come near the girl, despite sensing her own, and Sarah had no way to repay him. Time and time again, the Nightmare had come to her aid, protecting her from danger and bringing her to safety. And over all that time, Sarah had never known what he really was or what had brought him to her; she had only known that when she was afraid or in danger, the shadowy horse was there. Quelling her fear and chasing away danger. Rebel nickered softly, closing his eyes and pressing softly against Sarah's touch. What is he… That man… And why, why does he want me and Rebel? Sarah cast another sad glance towards Jack's grave. "Is this what you wanted me to see?" She asked Rebel, "The place he was buried…?"