Chapter 4

Alone in Papa Smurf's house, Empath told the village leader about the dream he had last night in his own house as well as the brief experience of seeing every Smurf disappear in broad daylight. Papa Smurf asked some questions to make sure Empath was "functioning at normal capacity", a description Empath preferred using to indicate his own state of being, and Empath confirmed every one of Papa Smurf's questions.
"Hmmm," he finally said, stroking his beard while trying to think, "well, the only thing I can smurf of is that it's either another hallucination from being smurfed from this collective consciousness of the Psyches, or that something magical is affecting you in your dream state that's making you smurf illusions in the daytime."
"Some Smurfs in the village have been talking of strange things happening in the night when they have been sleeping alone in their own houses, Papa Smurf," Empath mentioned. "The only thing this smurf doesn't understand is why this smurf feels as if this smurf is in the epicenter of these nocturnal happenings, as if this smurf's house is some sort of junction between the waking state and the dream state."
As if to answer Empath's questions right there, he heard somebody knocking on Papa Smurf's door. The village leader opened it and saw that it was Dreamy waiting outside.
"Papa Smurf, I think I smurfed the same kind of dream that Empath had smurfed last night," Dreamy said as he entered Papa Smurf's house. "Only instead of being the one smurfed away by those pale-faced guards from Psychelia, I smurfed some demonlike creatures smurfing Empath away toward a glowing portal. The voice beyond the portal smurfed that Empath must go back to Psychelia and rejoin the collective consciousness to become one with them again. Empath was almost halfway inside this portal when he suddenly smurfed up in his own bed."
Empath was surprised to hear from Dreamy that he had actually been inside Empath's own dream, seeing the events unfolding within. So was Papa Smurf, who was already thinking about asking Dreamy how he was able to do that, but Empath spoke before that thought could be voiced. "Did you see anything happening at the time this smurf thought he saw every Smurf suddenly disappear in the middle of the day, Dreamy?"
"Just what every other Smurf saw of you, Empath," Dreamy answered, "plus some of the same demonlike creatures from your dream emerging from a similar portal. Whatever it is that's smurfing after you seems like it's desperate enough to try smurfing you in both the daytime and the nighttime, though it seems to know you're most vulnerable in the nighttime when you're alone in your house."
Papa Smurf was even more amazed by Dreamy's perceptions of Empath's experiences. He still wanted to ask Dreamy how he was able to see demons where Empath only saw phantom images of the Psyches, but now wasn't the time. His main concern was just for Empath's safety, and he felt as if something from his own past was trying to take advantage of Empath's own fears in order to gain some dark satisfaction.
"Smurfs like you and Empath are going to have to smurf together at Empath's house for the night, if what you're suggesting is true, Dreamy," Papa Smurf recommended. "I don't think I'd smurf another wink if I heard that Empath never woke up again after tonight if he smurfed in there by himself."
Dreamy nodded, understanding what was being asked of him to do.
"Papa Smurf, you have given this smurf a house so that this smurf can gain some level of independence and control over this smurf's life in the village," Empath mentioned, unsure about Papa Smurf's decision. "Are you certain that having Dreamy spend the night in this smurf's house without this smurf's consent is the right course for confronting these phantom images haunting this smurf?"
"Empath, your fellow Smurfs are there for helping you, just as I am," Papa Smurf answered. "Dreamy is the only Smurf that somehow undersmurfs what you're smurfing through, and he's willing to smurf himself on the line to protect you from whatever bad things are smurfing in your dreams. All you have to do is smurf your trust in him and smurf whatever he may ask of you to smurf. That doesn't mean I will ever stop caring about you, Empath, it's just that right now I'm smurfing you in good hands with Dreamy."
Empath looked into Papa Smurf's eyes and felt the sincerity in his words. "This smurf won't let you or Dreamy down, Papa Smurf," he affirmed. "This smurf will do whatever is necessary to confront these phantoms with Dreamy's assistance."
Papa Smurf smiled with a slight nod as he put his hand gently on Empath's shoulder, letting him know he could never disappoint the village leader and a father figure.

After leaving Papa Smurf's house, Empath met up with Duncan McSmurf to do some sparring with each other. Empath tried to keep focus on his fighting skills with the quarterstaff, but found himself constantly losing to Duncan time and again.
"Laddie, you're not smurfing at your best today," Duncan commented after seeing his friend fall for the ninth time in a row. "Something must really be wrong with you if you can't smurf your focus on your fighting."
"This smurf apologizes, Duncan," Empath said. "It's just that this smurf's mind is too focused on the nightmares that this smurf is currently having that seem to point to a growing danger that this smurf is unable to fight."
"I know the feeling all too well, Empath," Duncan said. "Sometimes I find myself smurfing a battle in my dream that I have no hope of ever fighting my way through to victory. But the thing you've got to remember is that that is a dream, and you have control over what's in your dream, not the dream itself."
"This smurf knows how to control this smurf's self in a dream through the dream sharing experiences, Duncan," Empath said. "Yet there seems to be something much more powerful in these dreams than this smurf is able to have control over."
"I can't imagine what would be much more powerful than you besides this Psyche Master you keep smurfing on about during your visits here," Duncan said. "All I can tell you is that no matter how big or powerful your adversary is, you've got to keep yourself fighting the giant until he or she tires out, and then smurf at the giant's weakest point."
"But what if this 'giant' does not have a 'weak point' for this smurf to strike at?" Empath asked.
"That's foolish to think that a giant won't have a weak point to smurf at, laddie," Duncan said. "Even if it's some sort of dream monster, you've got to see where it is weak and then smurf at that point until it smurfs down for the count."
Empath nodded as he tried to comprehend all that his friend was trying to say to him. "This smurf will do his best to put your advice into effective use during this smurf's resting period, should this one ever engage this 'dream monster' in a nightmare, Duncan," he finally said.

Empath allowed Dreamy to enter his house before nightfall. He brought his blanket and pillow with him while wearing his nightgown. "We're going to be smurfing downstairs for the night, Empath," Dreamy suggested. "I wouldn't recommend letting you smurf upstairs to your bed since whatever's smurfing you in your dreams might smurf advantage of you all by yoursmurf up there."
"This smurf appreciates what you are doing to help this smurf, Dreamy," Empath said as he grabbed a blanket and pillow from his own bed and dragged them downstairs. "Of course, this smurf isn't sure what to do in order to occupy our time here, since this smurf hasn't given it much thought."
"Don't worry about it, Empath," Dreamy replied. "It's all smurfen care of."
Empath heard a knock on his door. "Care to invite us in for the night, Empath?" a familiar voice asked.
He answered the door and noticed that Tapper had arrived in his nightgown, followed by both Jokey and Hefty. They were carrying their own blankets, sheets, and pillows with them.
"What are you Smurfs doing waiting outside this smurf's door?" Empath asked.
"Ah, your good friend Dreamy has been smurfing me about this bad dream you both been smurfing," Tapper answered. "I just figured you could use a few more good Smurfs to help smurf through the night in your new house. Besides that, my fellow Empath, I only wanted to see for mysmurf the inside of your house, and I don't wish to be smurfed away simply because of bad housekeeping." He noticed the lack of curtains on Empath's windows. "A good thing, too, I thought of smurfing some extra sheets along since you may not wish to do a smurfshow in front of your other fellow Smurfs!"
"Just never thought I'd smurf the day when a Smurf like you would need somebody to smurf with you through the night, Empath," Hefty said condescendingly.
"And I already have a few fun things for us to smurf all night long, anyway," Jokey added.
"This smurf appreciates your offer of company," Empath told the other three, "but this was never intended to be for anyone's amusement."
"Actually, Empath, whatever's been smurfing you in your dreams would have less of a chance to haunt you with more Smurfs present in the same house," Dreamy suggested. "We could smurf their company at least for the night, anyway!"
"So what better way to smurf it than with a slumber party?" Tapper contributed.
Empath seemed to understand what they wanted to do to liven up the situation. He never had a slumber party before, but considering that his houseguests had brought only their blankets and pillows to sleep with, it would somehow be the equivalent of camping out in the woods, except that it was indoors. He had been on a few campouts with his fellow Smurfs, and had known them for the routine of toasting marshmallows in front of a roaring fire and staying up real late into the night telling spooky stories or playing games with each other.
"Then this smurf shall allow you to make yourselves at home while this smurf prepares us all for the long night ahead," he finally said as he watched Tapper, Hefty, and Jokey enter his house. He grabbed some logs from outside his house and set them in the fireplace before he used his third eye to create enough friction in the air to start a fire.

The five of them stayed up all night, toasting marshmallows, playing cards and all sorts of guessing games, and even telling stories of what went on in the Smurf Village during Empath's absence. They all did their best to keep themselves and each other, including Empath, as awake as they possibly could stay. Of course, Empath had the benefit of being trained as a Psyche to stay awake for a good twenty-four hours or more when his instructors had him and every Psyche take turns as novices among the Guard Elite, watching for whoever would dare to enter the domain of the Psyche Master during resting hours. But Empath was painfully aware of his limitations as a Smurf, and that his staying awake for that long would make him more tired than his fellow Psyches.
One by one, his fellow Smurfs staying over at his house started falling asleep, unable to stay awake. Dreamy was the last one to hold on for as long as he could, talking quietly with Empath in front of the fireplace about things he wanted to do when he was older, about places he wanted to go. Then Dreamy himself fell asleep, leaving Empath with no one else to maintain the vigil. He decided to remain awake for the rest of the night and make sure his fellow Smurfs would awaken to see that nothing had happened to him.

The rooster crowed, signaling the breaking of dawn in the new morning.
The Smurfs inside Empath's house who heard the rooster crowing yawned as they awakened from their sleep. "Well, that sure was a fun night," Jokey commented. "I was hoping for a real surprise to happen smurftime through the night."
"I hope that Empath isn't going to be scared about smurfing in his own house from now on," Hefty said. "I sure don't intend on babysmurfing him every night."
"You can smurf easy about that, Hefty," Tapper responded, looking at Empath still asleep on the floor. "Empath's smurfing very soundly." He gently reached down and shook Empath on his shoulder. "Empath, it's time to smurf the brand new day!"
But Empath continued to sleep, unaffected by Tapper's shaking.
"Let me smurf a try at waking him," Hefty eagerly insisted. They stood back as Hefty grabbed Empath by both shoulders and shook him violently. "Empath, you Smurf, wake up or I'll smurf you for all the times you smurfed me!" He slapped Empath hard in the face a few times before Dreamy and Tapper grabbed and pulled Hefty away from Empath.
"You Smurfs should smurf lessons from me in waking other Smurfs up," Jokey commented. "A good thing I've been smurfing this for such an occasion!" He pulled out a small gift-wrapped package from behind his pillow and held it in front of Empath's face with one hand while he pulled on the ribbon with the other hand. The package exploded with a loud bang as soon as the ribbon completely unraveled, making the other Smurfs look at him with displeasure while Jokey laughed for a bit. "Wow," he added, realizing that his own surprise package did nothing to wake Empath up, "he's a smurfier sleeper than Lazy ever was!"
"Why not try something as simple as a cold smurf of water?" Dreamy suggested, dunking a pitcher into a nearby barrel full of rainwater and then dumping it on Empath's face. Empath sputtered for a bit, but then resumed his sleeping.
"What the smurf is going on with Empath?" Hefty asked, puzzled. "How can a Smurf like him continue to sleep when we can't smurf anything to wake him up?"
"I have nary a clue as to what that could be, my good Hefty," Tapper answered. "But I do suppose Papa Smurf can help us smurf to the bottom of this mystery ailment."
"Hefty, help me smurf Empath over to Papa Smurf's laboratory," Dreamy said, already picking Empath up by one of his arms and draping him over his shoulder. "If what I'm smurfing about Empath is correct, we're going to need Papa Smurf's help in waking him up."
Hefty didn't ask what Dreamy was thinking about. He just picked up Empath by his other arm and helped Dreamy carry him to Papa Smurf's laboratory. As much as he didn't like Empath, he wasn't going to let his fellow Smurf down.