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It was late on Friday, everyone was asleep in the house and Levi was no exception. His mom had died when he was a child and his father was in poor health, so he and his twin were back home to take care of him. Levi didn't always sleep well, and it wasn't always easy to get to sleep, but nightmares came and went without much fuss. Some of them were pretty bad, but eventually, all but the worst or reoccurring faded. There were more scary things in the world than some dreams.
The blankets were wrapped around the boy tightly, the fingers of one hand resting where he would have injected his daily testosterone shot, had he chosen to get them. As he drifted off to sleep, he often used the solitude to think about his transition and what he wanted out of it. He'd already undergone top surgery to remove the small lumps on his chest and he felt more comfortable in his own skin now, and he wasn't sure he wanted the injections. Needles didn't bother him, he just didn't want to change more than he had to in order to be comfortable with himself.
As he lost consciousness, thoughts of logic and gender dissipated like steam and the darkness of sleep took over. For what felt like a long time, there was nothing, but that changed.
Without explanation or warning, Levi suddenly found himself walking down a dimly lit street. It was cold, but it felt like the weather wasn't the only thing to blame. Without thinking about it, he started looking around, his mind fully functioning. After a few moments, the gentle tinkling of a child's piano could be heard, in slow and chopped increments at first and then louder and clearer so that it was easier to comprehend and recognize; it was carnival music.
The sound got louder, closer, and he could feel his heart beating faster in his chest. Then it was quiet, save for the sound of that beating heart thudding in his ears. Looking around as he tried to walk away, he could see parts of the carnival that had come to town in the last few months. He'd seen them set up shop at the beginning of summer and checking it out had shown him that it would be there for a while. Now it was appearing around him, slowly and then quickly as if he'd been standing in the middle of it the whole time. There was an animatronic in front of a carousel, but it kept disappearing and reappearing. He walked to look at it closer, and as soon as he was close enough that he could inspect it in the dim light, he found that there was blood coming from inside of it. Then it disappeared for a final time. Just when he thought things couldn't get stranger, he heard the rage in an angry, loud scream that seemed to vibrate the ground with its power and knives came at him out of nowhere. Before they could hit, his eyes opened and all he could see was the paint and the contours on his ceiling in the dim morning light.
When he woke up, he felt like everything that had just happened was real. He couldn't explain it, but Levi had felt like he was awake during this dream. Waking up hadn't dulled the sensation either, and worse, he felt like he was being watched. He'd been to that carnival a few times now, but he didn't remember ever seeing that animatronic before now. He wasn't so sure that it had never seen him before though, and that thought was one he couldn't explain either.
The feeling stuck with him all day, making him space out, making him hard to talk to when people spoke to him.
After waking up, there was only one thing on Levi's mind. He kept thinking about that dream; it had felt so real, like he was really outside walking through the street. He couldn't put his finger on exactly what it was, but something had felt off too. Chances were, that feeling was coming from the strange appearance of that animatronic and the bloody scene he kept telling himself he was making up.
The only thing he could think to do about the dream was forget about it, and it inspired him to make a trip to the carnival. He could see Blaine, maybe even stay to see him in the show. There were very few people that Levi let close, and though Blaine was an active part of the carnival community it appeared he was even more selective. They weren't sharing any secrets with each other, but there was a spark between them that they both felt draw each other to be curious about the other.
Things really got exciting at the carnival at night, so Levi ate dinner early and then made his way up to his bedroom to get ready. He donned a pair of black pants and boots with silver buckles with a warm sweater and a ripped t-shirt. A few minutes were spent checking himself out in the mirror and fidgeting with his hair, then he grabbed his wallet, phone, and keys and made his way out the door.