An unusual night, still had nightmares – the same one. The same violence. The same feelings. I woke with a start, as I always do. You’d think I’d be used to these dreams after all these years, but the dream wasn’t just me. It was a boy and a girl the same age. There was a teenager who stared back at me while the tendrils fell down on his skin. Six kids, including myself, I was the oldest, but the teenage boy was the closest to my age.
There was no blood this morning. When Dylan came to see if I wanted to go I shook my head. “Do you have paper? A pencil? Anything to draw with?”
Dylan scratched his head then nodded. He looked concerned and tossed me a notebook he’d kept with the test papers for the boys final written exam. That was the sucky bit about the whole thing. “You gonna write a Dear John note to us?”
He was teasing, but I frowned up at him. “No. My dream was different I need to record it while it’s fresh.”
I didn’t recognize any of the kids in my dream. One looked familiar, but I couldn’t place him. I started with him. My drawings weren’t great, but after years of sketching my dreams I’d picked up a few things. By the time I’d sketched the boy, Dylan had returned. He sat down on my bag and and watched as I set the paper down and started on the next kid – the little girl.
It took me an hour and a half to sketch out the basics of each child. Dylan is frowning over the first drawing still but he’s not said anything. I had to know, “Tell me you don’t know him.”
“Every detail is right.” Dylan whispered.
I frowned. “Fuck!” I whispered…
Dylan and I stared at each other and he hurriedly grabbed the other five pages. “You saw each one of them?” I nodded. Dylan kept going. “I know this one. Her lessons were right after Sam’s. Her name is Emma. I’ve never met her family.”
“She worked with Garrett too?”
Dylan nodded, “Nox, how did you know these things?”
I shook my head. “I have no fucking idea. If those two worked with Garrett, the other three are real. I need to tell Dorian.” I got up and grabbed my phone and started off to find signal.
Dylan grabbed my arm. “Wait. There is nothing we can do now. None of them look younger than Sam and Emma. I think they are all out of immediate danger.”
“Do I look like I’m out of immediate danger?” I sighed. I tried to hold back my anger and not vent it at Dylan. It wasn’t his fault.
“I mean, Garrett can’t physically hurt them.” Dylan sighed, “There is no proof he’s still doing anything. While you were with him, there were never any marks? Right?”
I nodded. “He still did it to them. I have to find them. Tell them they aren’t alone.”
Dylan held tighter to my wrist and I wanted to yank it from his hands, but he was strong than I was. I knew this, yet I did it anyway. Dylan didn’t budge and I bruised my wrist in the process. Dylan released his hold on me looking apologetic but he didn’t apologize. “You can’t do anything about it right now. I’d love to go running and tell someone about Sam, but they aren’t going to listen while I’m way out here.”
“We can’t do anything, but Dorian can.” I said it louder than I meant to and the venom in my voice was clear. Dylan just didn’t understand.
“You would abuse your friendship with one of the leaders of the Academy just to find three kids who may not even be real? You’d put Dorian in that position?”
I stared at him for too long. He asked again, “Would you?”
I nodded my head slowly. “Yes. To save a bunch of kids the shit I went through, I would ask Dorian to jump out of an airplane without a parachute, if it would save these kids.”
“He’s your friend. You’d be asking him to risk everything!”
“I’m not asking Dorian to do anything I wouldn’t do. I would jump out of the plane before Dorian. I would save him and the children if that would help. I would face my biggest fucking fear to save these kids.” I could feel the hot tears building at the corners of my eyes. “I don’t care if they aren’t real. Knowing that two of them are, I have to try to find them.”
I walked away from Dylan with my phone out searching for a signal.
I don’t know how far away I walked, but I heard the sound of crunching leaves behind me as some ran to catch up. It was Dylan. He said as he panted to catch his breath, “Here use this. Nox, you better hope you are right.”
“I don’t have to be right. I want to be wrong. But I can’t risk it. The sooner Dorian knows, the faster he can help these kids.” I had already sent Dorian an email with a picture of all of the sketches. I’d sent them to Sage as well with a note, “Help Dorian find these kids.” Sage’s reply was almost instantaneous. “Okay. What’s going on?”
I sent a reply back. “I dream about these kids. Same dream, except they were there too, same treatment. One of them is Dylan’s son. And I’ve never met the boy. Dylan knows the little girl – her name is Emma. They are both Garrett’s students.”
Sage’s reply came back, “I’ll see what I can do love. Don’t worry about them, Dorian and I will find them.”
I smiled at the response. He was always trying to make me feel better.
By the time I finished my exchange with Sage I had cooled down. I shook my head and smiled at Dylan. “I’m sorry.”
He returned the smile and shook his head. “There is no need to apologize. I know I don’t understand this. I should, but I don’t. You will help them all?”
I nodded, “Do everything in my power.”
Not that my power was extensive but I would do anything to make sure these kids – any kids didn’t live like I did.
I finally got Dorian on the phone. He was groggy – so not a morning person but he was wide awake once I told him what was going on. He said he’d get right on it. And I knew Dorian was rushing out the door as fast as the man could make himself presentable.
Trent was already up fixing the last of the rations for the boys. Dylan and I were running late. He chided us, but we got to work and started trapping and fishing. Two of the more fun elements of the survival class – at least in my opinion.