Aleena ran through the streets of Baltimore, her heartbeat a resounding thud in her chest. She pushed around the waves of people. The Faceless were behind her, moving towards Aleena in unison. She didn't know why they were chasing her or why she felt so scared. There was only one thing she did know: don't stop.
She couldn’t escape them. They were around every corner, behind every door. The Faceless were on the hunt and they wouldn’t stop until they got their prey.
Aleena turned the corner to get away but it was a dead end. She was trapped. She turned around to see the Faceless closing in. Aleena’s heart was beating so fast she thought it might burst. A piercing shriek drilled into Aleena’s head. She dropped to her knees. The cacophony was far too much for her to bear. Yet, the Faceless were unaffected by the noise. Her vision began to narrow, her surroundings fading as the Faceless reached towards her.
Aleena woke up in a tangle of bedsheets, sweaty and in a panic. The clock beside her read 4:45 a.m. She knew that she wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep so she got up to get a glass of water. Her parents were in their bedroom sleeping soundly. The family dog, Brandie, was on her bed running in her own dream. Aleena opened the cupboard and grabbed the first cup her hand touched. After filling the glass, she went and sat down on the couch.
She had had the dream again. It had happened every night this week. Every night, Aleena had found herself trapped by the Faceless, only to wake just as the Faceless reached towards her. Just thinking of the dream sent shivers down her spine. Overhead she heard the sound of Brandie waking up to bother her parents about being fed breakfast. Aleena headed back upstairs and started to get ready for school. She knew she would be ready early, but at this point she had nothing better to do.
By the time Aleena had gotten completely ready, it was only 5:30. She still had over an hour before she had to leave for school. So she went back downstairs and fed Brandie so she would stop looking so pitiful. Once Brandie began to gobble down her own meal, Aleena began to make a breakfast for herself. It wasn’t much, just some bacon and eggs. But it was more than plenty. Just as she sat down at the couch to eat her meal, her parents walked downstairs. She sent them a small smile as they went to pick up a piece of bacon for themselves. Before she knew it, it was 6:30. Aleena decided that she would get coffee on the way to school to shake of the remaining whisper of the dream. She said goodbye to her parents, grabbed her bag, and went out the front door.
The drive to school was nothing eventful, as Aleena excepted. But due to the remaining unease from her dream, every little thing made her suspicious. She was so deep in thought trying to analyzed every small movement of her surroundings she didn’t hear her best friend, Hava, behind her. Anyone else would have been suspicious of how jumpy Aleena was by a simple greeting. But Aleena had told Hava about the dream, so he understood where the paranoia came from.
The day passed at school with little to no commotion. Aleena and Hava parted ways and headed home. Near the coffee shop, where Aleena had stopped that morning, her car stopped. Aleena panicked as she tried to start it again, only to be greeted with failure. She got out of her car and used all her strength to move it to the side of the road. Aleena looked around for help but there was no one in sight. She pulled out her phone only to find she had no signal. She turned to the coffee shop to ask for help inside, but the lights were off and not one person could be seen inside. She decided she would start walking home and hope for the best.
The further Aleena walked, the colder the air seemed to get. Aleena pulled her jacket tighter around her as a shiver went through her body. Aleena was filled with relief as she saw headlights in the distance, starting a run towards the vehicle to ask for help. As the vehicle got closer, Aleena's relief was replaced with shock as she recognized the vehicle as Hava's truck. After slowing to a stop right beside Aleena, Hava said, “Get in.” Aleena didn't even hesitate for a moment to jump into the passenger's seat of the truck.
Hands seized Aleena and strapped her to the seat. She tried to scream but was muffled by the hands covering her mouth. She looked at Hava desperately. He barely spared her a glance. Hava drove his truck and the hands surrounding Aleena heldfast. When Hava was stopped by a red light, Aleena channeled every strength she had and broke free of the hands. Before the beings behind her could react, Aleena rushed out of the car and ran with a speed she hadn't realized she was capable of. A quick glance behind her confirmed her fears. She pried her eyes away from the Faceless now drifting towards her and focused solely on getting away from the being. Aleena pinched herself to make sure she was awake. This time it was real.
Aleena ran through the streets of Baltimore, turning each corner to see the Faceless closing in on her. She ran down an alley, only to be greeted by a dead end. She knew what came next. Hava strode towards her, a sense of arrogance around him. The familiar shrill bore straight into Aleena’s skull.
“I caught you,” he said. Hava beckoned the Faceless forward with a smirk on his face. “Now you will never be important.”
The Faceless reached out and began to pull her into itself. Aleena crumpled down to the floor and screamed as flesh grew over her eyes and mouth. The world went dark and, this time, Aleena didn’t wake up in her bed.