It started with a whisper.
"Can you hear me?"
It sounded... desparate.
"Do you know where I am?"
"It's... it's dark in here..."
Somehow, it sounded... familiar.
And yet it wasn't.
Emily Ashton stirred in her sleep. She pulled the blankets in, bundling them against her chest.
She turned over. Did somebody call her name?
"Emily. That is your name, yes?"
Her eyes jerked open-- there was someone talking to her. She looked slowly across her room, her groggy eyes making out the shapes and shadows of the night.
"Please... just say something... anything... I'm so, so lonely..."
Emily jerked up in bed. Whatever creep it was that was spying on her tonight was about to get a piece of her mind and a fist.
"No, no, there's no need to be alarmed. I'm..." the voice paused for a moment. "I'm your conscience."
"Psh, sure," Emily snapped back with an eye-roll. "And I'm that dude from those insurance ads."
"...Jake? But I thought your name was Emily."
She groaned, laying down again. This was probably just some weird fever-dream or something. It'd be all gone by tomorrow, and--
What did that... that voice have to be sorry for? Being annoying? It's been a long time since she'd been this self-aware in a dream.
"If you don't want me to talk anymore, then I'll remain quiet for the time being."
Emily flipped her pillow over, slamming her cheek against the cool fabric.
She sat up again and looked through the gaps in her window blinds. Was it the moon that was keeping her up? She'd heard from somewhere that a full moon made it harder to sleep sometimes. She widened the gap between the blinds and peeked out. No moon tonight.
"Hmf. So much for this lady getting her beauty sleep," Emily grumbled to herself, falling back. The bed creaked under her. "Hey, weird disembodied voice thing, you can come out again if you want. Heck, manifest yourself and slap me in the face while you're at it. Maybe I can get some rest outside of this dream still."
"Are..." the voice whispered. "Are you sure I can speak again? You didn't seem to like it before."
Emily crossed her arms. "Well, it's not like there's much else to do anyway. I'm not gonna risk jumping out the window to see if I can fly in this dream, though."
"O-okay. What... would you like to talk about?"
"'Dunno. Stars, maybe. I'm basically talking to myself anyway... though," she softened her voice. "yes, a whisper is probably gonna be a good choice right now. I don't want to wake my parents with sleep-talking."
"...Alright," the whisper seemed to almost hesitate for a moment. "Stars are a preferable topic."
"What, was there something you wanted to talk about?" Emily shook her head, burying her face in her pillow. "Gah, I can't believe I'm talking to myself like this! My friends are gonna think I'm going crazy!"
The voice almost sounded hopeful for a moment.
"What, am I saying that I don't have any friends?"
"I never said that we were one and the same."
"Well, you said that you were my conscience, did you not?"
"I... I do sometimes regret my words."
Emily snorted. "Well, what are you, then? Some monster under my bed? Do I need to run out crying and get my mommy and daddy to scare you away?"
"Please... don't make fun of me like that, I am scared enough already. Too much has happened in my life."
Scared? What did some voice inside her head have to be scared of? This dream was making less and less sense by the minute. Maybe it was time to try the ol' pinch herself trick.
It hurt a little, but nothing happened.
"Then you are not in a dream. Do you feel ill, Emily?"
"No-what? I'm not sick! Listen, I'm going to go to sleep right now, and in the morning, you will be gone, and everything will be back to normal. Capiche?"
"Now be quiet again."
"As you wish, Emily..."
She closed her eyes again.
"Good morning, Emily. I hope you had a fine rest?"
"Ack!" Emily jerked awake, nearly batting several items off her desk with her flailing. "What the actual heck?"
"Emily," her mother's voice called behind the door. "You feeling alright in there? I heard some noise."
"Yeah, mom," she yelled back, "I'm fine."
Emily threw the covers over her head. "Okay, what's the deal here?" she seethed in a half-whisper. "I thought you were gone!"
"Well, as you can hear, I clearly am not 'gone', so I would appreciate if you were to be a little more considerate towards the notion of my existence."
Was that sass she just heard in that whispering voice? That was definitely sass there.
"Anyway, I believe I am due for an introduction, seeing as we will likely be together for an unspecified amount of time. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have been pitted together in this joint predicament. I do have a name, but I will accept whatever name you deem me worthy of."
Emily smirked. "Parasite."
"Fine, fine, whatever. I'll call you Whisper then, so you'll always know to be quiet and not bug me. At least that way, I can still feel like things are a little more normal."
"Then it is decided. You will call me 'Whisper'."
"Hhhh... I can't believe I'm doing this, but... Whisper, since this is obviously not a dream anymore, I want to ask you some things before I freak out over the fact that I apparently now have something living in my head."
"Yes? What is it?"
"You said something about unforeseen circumstances, right?"
"What happened? Like... what got you stuck in my head?"
It took a moment for Whisper to respond, almost as if she had to think about the question.
"Spell gone wrong."
A spell. So, apparently magic was being thrown into this mess as well, huh? When was she going to start running into orcs and elves? Or were they going to be showing up as voices in her head as well? Come to think of it, was Whisper some sort of mystical creature?
"Unicorn Arch-Mage. And before you press on with additional questions, yes, I have just read your thoughts."
...And there went any semblance of privacy Emily still had in her life. Also, more sass. This... this voice's personality seemed to be all over the place!
"I would prefer if you at least referred to me by either the name you chose or my real name."
From the looks of it, there probably wasn't going to be any harm in poking a little more into the life of this supposed 'Arch-Mage'. What was the worst Whisper could do? Plant a bad dream in her head?
"I heard that."
Right. And Whisper can mind-read too.
"I know, I know," Emily sighed, hopping off her bed. "Though, I am still wondering about something."
"What is it, Emily?"
"What's your name? Like, your real name? You said I could call you by it?"
Once again, the voice seemed to almost hesitate before answering.
"...My name is Starlight Glimmer."