What Once Was Lost:  Voices in my Head

          My head ached.  I didn’t know why, it just ached.  Through my closed eyelids, I could recognize that the light was dim, but still enough to see by.  Someone pressed a cold, wet cloth against my temple and I winced as the liquid made what seemed to be a cut sting.
          “I think she’s awake.”  The voice sounded like Jude’s, but with that accent that had begun to sound more natural than not.
          “Shai?  Shai, can you hear me?”  Craig’s voice.  Or the voice of Craig’Ian, if that’s what the one who looked like him was called.  Why do I keep having these dreams?  I opened my eyes and looked up.  It was the guy that looked like Craig all right.
          “I hear you.”  The accent was back.  The accent that kept plaguing me.  The accent I had in every dream.  This was the third so far.  How many more to come?  “What happened?”
          “A trap, apparently.  Sha’dan Tyree tried to kill me during our meeting.”  He slumped back into a chair as I sat up.  I stared at him for a long moment.  He looked exactly like Craig, except for his dress.  He sounded exactly like him, too, except for the accent.  I suddenly wondered why I felt so drawn to him.  I didn’t think it was just my friendship with Craig that was doing it.
          I guess that means the deal is off.  There it was again, the thoughts that were not my own.  Where did they come from?  “Ugh……my head hurts.”
          “It should,” a new voice said.  “You have a nasty bump, Shai.”  I looked toward the voice’s source.  The woman looked like Alaina, strikingly so, right down to the scar Alaina had on her right bicep.  Another of the thoughts that weren’t my own came to me, bearing a name.  Haven’t seen Kittyhawk in forever.
          “Welcome home,” I said without thinking, bidden by that same force that sent those thoughts to me.  I tugged the blanket on the cot around my shoulders.  Despite the fire dying into embers nearby, it was cold in the room.
          She snorted.  “I haven’t been home in more than three years.  I don’t think I have a home anymore.  I doubt Groveside would have me, now, after everything I’ve done.”
          “That’s nonsense, Alaina,” Craig – Craig’Ian – said.  “They’d be fools not to.  Your skills are invaluable.”
          Skills at what?  I wondered.
          The girl – the one who looked and sounded like Jude with an accent – came into view again.  “That’s quite enough.  We should let Shai sleep now.”
          I didn’t want to sleep, but the girl ushered them all out, then left herself.  I glanced at the dying fire and sat there, wondering.
          What’s going on with me?  Why do I know these people?  Where are these thoughts coming from?  Why am I here?
          What do these dreams mean?
          I drew my knees up to my chest and stared at the embers.  Nothing made sense anymore, and I began to wonder if I should even question why.


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