It bothered Prez exponentially that she was incapable of getting a good night's sleep, even without four kids waking her up at least five times throughout the night. When she suddenly popped awake, fully alert and aware, at two in the morning, she came to the conclusion that having two quiet one-year-olds and two fussy three-month-olds had ruined her.
And, of course, with waking up on her own in the wee hours of the morning came the worry that was in the package with being a mommy. Even for a teenager that had finally gotten the opportunity for some peace and quiet, away from her younger siblings and her kids, away from the stresses of being a student, away from anywhere she'd been with her scumbag ex-boyfriend.
Why didn't I argue more about this trip? She scolded herself, laying in her sleeping bag with a pillow over her head. I shouldn't have just let Mom take them, especially since it's only been three months. I'm a horrible mother.
Prez finally sighed and sat up, looking around her. Next to her, sleeping peacefully and holding her toy sonic screwdriver close, was Girlie - she can't be a miniature adult in her sleep, she thought with a smudge of satisfaction. And then there were the twins, Dipper and Mabel, passed out in their beds. They're nice enough.
But being in a room with three children only made her feel worse.
She eyed her bag, thinking of the emergency cell phone that lay in slumber within. Maybe I could call Mom up. See how they're doing.
She felt her hand draw towards the bag's zipper before pulling it back with the other almost comically fast. "No." She mumbled out loud. "No, Mom sent you here so you could relax. Because she didn't want you to worry anymore. You will not call. You. Will. Not. Call."
It wasn't that Prez didn't trust her mother. She just couldn't help it.
She sighed and fell back into the sleeping bag, wrapping herself up like a little homeless lady. They're fine. Stop thinking about it and go to sleep.
Even when she reassured herself multiple times, she just couldn't relax. She sighed and silently escaped her sleeping back, tiptoeing over to the triangular window and looking out.
Oregon was peaceful, no doubt about that, and had a certain rustic charm to it. The woods outside held a eerie aura that Prez absolutely adored; she was an explorer of the paranormal, always the first to suggest a trek into a supposedly haunted house or a journey into a forest where Bigfoot had apparently been spotted (though she hadn't had the ability to do either since long before Dani and Smith, her older twins, had been born).
Yes, she liked it here.
And she was determined to go into the forest as soon as the opportunity presented itself.
However, as soon as her exhaustion returned and she was ready to return to her sleeping bag and go back to bed, she noticed something by the entrance to the trees. She squinted to see it better, cursing her bad eyesight but unwilling to go and get her glasses for fear she would miss it.
She thought it looked like a child, wearing something blue and with big white hair, staring up into the window. She couldn't make out its features clearly (in fact, she could barely make out its silhouette, curse the nearsightedness that had plagued her for four years).
She shook her head. You're seeing things. What would a kid be doing outside at two in the morning?
So Prez sighed and burrowed her way back into the sleeping bag she now called her bed. She was asleep in minutes.
"PREZANIKA MADISON LUNA NIGHTSHADE-APPLESHINE, WAKE UP!"
There was a torrent of freezing water in her face, causing her animalistic half-awake self to believe she was drowning. Prez sat up, gasping for air, the shock almost immediately giving way to sharp anger. There wasn't much that could actually make her mad (though she pretended to be enraged sometimes for her own entertainment), but on that short list was included being wrenched out of deep slumber by anyone besides her four kids.
"What was that for?!" She snapped, finally glaring at her younger sister, who was grinning sheepishly at her with a bucket of water in hand.
"I've been trying to wake you up for ten minutes and the water is always the last resort."
Prez wiped the water out of her face and attempted to wring out her pillow. "What time is it?"
She tensed up and her voice was high-pitched with anger and disbelief. "What on God's green earth would possess you to wake me up at four o'clock in the goddamn morning?"
Her sister seemed startled that she was mad enough to swear, and Prez immediately felt bad and backtracked.
"I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean..." She sighed and trailed off. "Okay, why did you wake me up now? And are Dipper and Mabel awake?"
"Actually, yes. We're going to look for Slender Man in the forest."
Prez's eyes went wide. "Slendy isn't real, and the forest is dangerous at night."
"Dipper has his journal, and if we get you to come along we'll all be okay. Minimal danger."
"Why do you think I'm a protector or something?"
Her sister sighed before listing off some evidence. "First of all, you know Taekwondoe. Second, you have a sixth sense for danger. Sort of like a Shining. And third, you're the one that used to spend hours upon hours playing Slender in the middle of the night until Mum or Mom told you to turn off the computer."
Prez sighed. "Taekwondoe won't defeat Slender Man, how do you know what a Shining is, and I haven't played Slender in over a year."
"You're still my best bet for protection. Isn't that sort of your job?"
"You're avoiding the second question." She'd already lost the argument; to tell the truth, she was itching to go into the forest of Gravity Falls too.
Girlie sighed. "I might've read part of the book."
Prez's eyes went wide. "What? When? That book is not good for you!"
"Oh, relax. A little while after Mum... passed away... I found the book in your underwear drawer and read a little bit out of the middle, when the chef is talking to Danny. I got bored."
Prez sighed, relieved that her sister had not been exposed too heavily to the evils of Stephen King that she had gotten herself obsessed with. "Wait, why were you in my underwear drawer?"
Girlie ignored her and tried to pull her out of the sleeping bag. Prez finally gave in.
"Fine, but you gotta let me get some actual clothes on."