What Once Was Lost


          Sometime during the night, I escaped the dream world, only to find myself sitting at one of the tables outside of Kleiner for most of the night.  I wasn’t tired, and I knew if I went back to my room, I wouldn’t be able to sleep.  So I sat out there, part of the night with a cup of coffee from Java City, part of it with nothing at all, and watched the snow fall, the clouds break up, move off, and the sun rise as the moon set.  Jude found me there the next morning while she was on her way to class.
          “Shai, did you come home last night?”
          I shook my head.  “Couldn’t sleep.  I stayed out here and watched the snow.”
          “Aren’t you cold?”  She sat down near me.  I shook my head.
          “It’s me, Jude.  I don’t get cold, remember?”
          “Craig was looking for you last night.”
          My heart skipped a beat.  “He was?  Did he say why?”
          Jude shook her head.  “He seemed upset, though.  He asked me to have you call him when you got in, no matter what time it was.  I left a note on your desk, but you never came home, so...you should probably go talk to him.”
          I nodded mutely, suddenly worried.  Craig’s upset?  Over what, I wonder.
          “Well, I need to get to class.  See you later.”
          “Yeah.  See you later.”  I watched her walk away before I got up and went back to my building, to my room, and sat down at my desk.  I stared down at the note Jude had left me, the note that read “Call Craig – URGENT.”
          Then I picked up the phone.
          It was two rings before Craig picked up, his voice sounding thick and choked as he spoke.  “Hello?”
          “Craig, it’s Shai.  What’s wrong?”  I frowned slightly – it sounded like he’d been crying.
          He sounded even more upset.  “Jude was supposed to tell you that it was urgent.”
          “She did.  I just got in a few minutes ago.  What’s wrong?”
          “You were out all night?”  He asked incredulously.  “Where were you?”
          I growled.  Something was urgent.  Why are you suddenly so concerned with where I was all night, Craig?  “It’s not important.  Now what’s wrong?”
          He sighed.  “You know that unit Jim and my brother are in?”
          I frowned heavily.  What does this have to do with Jim and Matthew?  “Yeah.”
          “They’re getting deployed.  In about twelve hours.  To the Philippines.”
          I breathed a sigh of relief.  At least they’re not going somewhere where there’s already fighting.  “Is that all?”
          “Shai,” Craig said slowly, “the Philippines are the next target.  Don’t you pay attention?  My brother and our friend are walking into the line of fire.”
          My heart sank.  Why did everything have to happen at once?


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