He was in my dreams again, though I could not see him. I felt his presence, tinged with a sense of urgency, as if he were begging me to understand. To beware.
I stood in a large room. No, not just a room. Strange symbols adorned the walls, the floor. It felt… was it a place of worship? If it were, it was unholy.
I take a step, my booted feet clicking against the floor. The floor that now held a pile of dead bodies, their fresh blood spreading out onto the tile. I stepped back quickly, bile rising in my throat.
One by one, the corpses rise in a state of suspended animation. Not just corpses — corpses of children! Teens… and younger.
I take another step back.
A dark aura surrounds them. The zombie-corpses begin to transform. They double over in pain as huge sharp bristles of spiny black hair pierced through their skin. Their legs and arms change into furry tentacles, multiplying until there are four on either side of their grotesque, hideous bodies. Their heads flatten, and massive insect mandibles jut out with a gooey crunching sound from the base of their jaws as their eyes split and divide.
Gleeful laughter erupts behind me. A madman.
I sit up, ramrod straight in my narrow bunk. I place a hand on the cold cement wall to center myself. I fight for control — control of my breathing, my voice, and the panic rising in my gut. In the bunk to my left, Philip is snoring quietly. It was oddly calming.
I gather my senses and stumble out of the squadroom and jump into a shower. The hot water soothes me, and my breathing slowly returns to normal.
I’ve had vivid dreams all my life. And after that deadly day in Seattle, I’ve had plenty of nightmares. I’d become almost complacent since Raven took up residence in my dreams. But this time — it wasn’t just my nightmare.
Wide awake now, I tried to sketch the symbols I had seen. I’m a terrible artist, but I wanted to remember. Once I had done as well as I could, I went back to my bunk and failed miserably at falling asleep again.
Was it a message about the disquiet at the core of Knight Errant? I was reluctant to share my experience. What would the others say? It felt silly, somehow. And there are things that I simply don’t like sharing. I’m still growing accustomed to my own abilities, and it seems a deeply personal matter.
I sigh. I’ll bide my time.
- * *
We just survived a bug hunt. I don’t like to think about where those bugs came from. I had to talk to someone. There was really only one choice.
One afternoon I asked Phillip if he’d like to go on a run with me. He didn’t seem very enthused, but I think the tone of my voice convinced him.
We did a cross-country jog, and when we had found a quiet place to talk, we took a break.
I told Olo about my dream.