There was darkness when I drifted to sleep. It wasn’t the same kind I remembered. It was quiet and still but I wasn’t afraid. There was no fog, or red glow. I floated in the nothingness. It was eirie. I felt things shift. In the blackness there was solid ground. I thought of Dev. Of his blue eyes. The color of his hair. The way he smelled. I felt a presence and it made me shiver. It was dark and cold and I tried to push it away but it didn’t come near. I shivered and thought of Dev wrapping his arms around me. I forgot why I had been thinking of him specifically. Why not Sage or Dee?
There darkness grew lighter and I felt warmth on my skin. It was like watching a sunrise but there was no sun. Just the colors changing the sky.
In the distance a figure approached. It was blurry, like I was seeing a mirage. It walked towards me coalesing as it came near. I was sitting on the ground, a red picinic blanket below me. A tree behind me with a dragon statue at the base. I leaned back against the trunk and looked up. I remembered the dream. I’d had it before. Not this dream, but these images. I’d seen them all before. But I couldn’t remember them, couldn’t remember how I knew I’d had this dream before.
The figure that walked towards me was standing in front of me. He wore jeans and a t-shirt. His feet were bare and I could imagine the feel of the cool grass on his feet. Where had the grass come from? He sat down and smiled. No it wasn’t a smile it was a smirk. He was laughing at me for some reason. I grinned at him and patted the blanket next to me.
He knelt down next to me and splayed his body along the red blanket and leaned his head on his hand so he was propped up looking up at me. “Interesting choice.”
I shrugged. “I didn’t do anything. I’ve seen it all before.”
Dev laid back, looking up into the tree branches. I scooted down to do the same, my head resting on a large root from the three we were staring into. “Is it always like this? In your head?” He asked.
“I don’t know.” I shrugged. “It’s always dark. It was dark until you came.”
“This tree is kinda creepy. Those knots look like eyes.”
I smiled. “They are eyes.”
Dev rolled back to his side and proped his head up on his hand and looked down at me. “Is this what you are wearing outside?”
I looked down and saw a pair of shorts and the same t-shirt I had worn in the hospital. “Yeah.”
Dev smiled, a real smile. “Your control of the dream plane is pretty good. Most people choose a favorite. And I know Dorian just bought these for you.”
“How do you know that?” I asked.
Dev chuckled. “Because he asked us what you’d be most comfortable in. Asked Sage, but Dee and I were there too.” There was silence after that. Dev staring down at me grinning. I looked up at him and knew I wanted to kiss him. Dev’s grin turned to a smirk, “I can read your face as well as your mind. I can’t read you here, but I know that look.”
“What looks is that?” I asked him. Though I was thankful my thoughts were my own right now. Maybe it was because he was in my dream. Whatever it was, this was mine. I felt at peace under this barren tree in this strange place with it’s lights and stars.
“The look that says I want to kiss you.” Dev said as he leaned down and pressed his lips to mine. It was soft and gentle and he tasted the way he smelled. I let out a small moan and Dev moved on top of me. His body pressing mine into the gnarled roots below the blanket.
We broke apart and Dev rolled off of me. “We should be good.”
I sighed. “Sage said it was alright. Said we could be alone, you and I. Me and Dee. Individuals not just couples.”
Dev grinned down at me. “I’m glad that’s all cleared up now, but we still need to be good.”
I asked, “Why’s that?”
Dev frowned. “There are other things about. Trying to get in. Don’t you feel it?”
I sighed. “That’s how it always feels.”
Dev sat up and looked down at me. “You feel like someone’s always trying to break in?”
I nodded. “Yeah.”
“Nox that isn’t good.” Dev’s voice was filled with venom. “That thing you killed. What was it?”
I shrugged. “A mara – nightmare embodiement I think.” I shook my head. “I really don’t know.”
“Is there one here?”
“One where?” I asked.
“In the ward with you?”
I shook my head. “I don’t know I can’t see them. ”
Dev sighed. “There is something other than your normal presense though. Can’t you feel it?”
“It’s probably just ghosts. There is a medium in here, with I presume a ghost friend watching over him. He said she said she was going to watch my back. I don’t know why she’d do that.”
“You think there is a ghost there? Could there be more than one?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know Dev. I don’t see ghosts. I can only hunt them if the are possessing a human body.”
Dev took my hand and stood up. “Come on.”
“Where are we going?” I asked as I stood up and the world shifted.