Tess Brighton is a character in Falling Water.
- A reclusive and highly sought after trend-spotter/cool-hunter, Tess has made a career out of tapping into the zeitgeist. Tess is tough but also fragile. Seven years ago, she had a nervous breakdown during which she became convinced she was pregnant and that she gave birth to a son. Eventually, she got better. But every night she still dreams of her missing boy. Is The Boy just a dream? Is he real? Is he somewhere looking for her just like she’s looking for him? And if he is, how can she ever stop searching?
- Is becoming more confident in her dreaming abilities, but is plagued by a Faceless man in green sneakers dragging her out of her dreams
- She has an unnerving run-in with Levon in a club when she tries to buy forget-me-nots, and then spots Andy, who runs away
- She takes her former lover Javier into the dream world as he lies on his death bed in the waking world, but is abruptly taken by the Faceless man
- She hits the Faceless man with an ice pick in the chest and escapes
- Andy is found dead with a similar chest wound in the waking world
- Tess finds herself getting closer and closer to her son, and spots him while she is helping Bill dream. He is gone before she gets there. She also briefly crosses paths with Taka as he comes to talk to Bill about Andy’s death. Later, Bill and Tess find the same location where she saw the Boy in her dreams, and she finds her childhood teddy bear – the matching pair to Sabine’s from 103 in her mother’s garage. Her next step is to talk to her mother, Charlotte.
- Tess visits Aeskyton, the retreat / commune where her mother teaches and she grew up. It turns out Woody also grew up there as well, and he has been a presence in her life since she was a child. Tess confronts Charlotte in her dreams about the Teddy bear, and gets confirmation that the Boy is her son – but that he belongs to the Green, not to Tess. Tess heads back to the city and runs into Burton at their neighborhood all-night diner. Charlotte invades her dreams that night and scares Tess.
- Tess reconnects with her childhood friend Woody, and they reminisce about Aeskyton and her time at Cranwell - where Woody was the only person from Aeskyton to visit her. She is later confronted by Sabine, who saw a trail of His Name is Flyers. Tess follows the trail, which leads to the Crown and Eye symbol, which then leads to an abandoned house littered with Green Sneakers and has a giant shrine to the Boy. She takes a series of photos, but is attacked and is forced to leave. Her pictures are shown to Taka by Sabine, and he discovers that the shrine was signed by Kumiko. Tess and Taka later discuss the Boy, and Taka lets her know he has also seen the Boy. However, Tess feels under too much pressure from Sabine, and escapes their “family dinner” with Bill Boerg.
It's not clear if The Boy is a dream or if he is real.
- Sabine mentions that Tess' current therapist is "Dr. Caligari". This is almost certainly a reference to the classic German film, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, about a hypnotist who uses his abilities to compel a sleepwalker to commit murders for him.