What Once Was Lost:  Eye Blink

          I sat up in bed so fast I cracked my head on the ceiling and promptly began to curse.  Jude startled out of her sleep and glared at me.  “Shai, what’s wrong with you?”
          I leaned forward, holding my head in my hands.  I hadn’t had one of those strange dreams of another time and place for weeks, and now I’d suddenly had another one, one that seemed to be a continuance of the last dream.  My head ached deeply, whether from cracking my head on the ceiling or having the dream echo life – or life echo the dream, I wasn’t sure.  I looked out the window.  Still dark outside.  I lay back and stared at the ceiling, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep again – I was wide awake now.  I closed my eyes and tried to think.
          The first dream was of me fighting that guy who looks like Craig with a staff.  The guy’s name is apparently Craig’Ian.  The second dream, I was walking back to camp while that Craig’Ian guy met with someone named Sha’dan Tyree, then I ran into that weird girl who looks like Jude who told me I need to get whoever that Craig’Ian guy is out of the negotiations.  Then all hell breaks loose and I have to run in there to help people.  Everything goes black and the next dream is me waking up with a headache.  That was the last dream.
          “So who’s Craig’Ian?”  I mumbled to myself, low enough so that Jude wouldn’t hear.  The dreams all seem to revolve around he and I.  So who is he?  Someone my subconscious patterned on Craig?  Maybe in response to seeing Shannon again?  I immediately frowned.  I wasn’t willing to bet that Shannon was the source of all of this, especially considering that I’d mostly tried to push her out of my mind when I didn’t have to think about her – which was nigh unto impossible sometimes, because whenever she saw Craig, she was all over him.  He kept trying to brush her off, but she just wasn’t taking the hint.  I closed my eyes.  No, it can’t be that.  So what is it?  I rolled onto my side and stared at the wall.
          What if I’m living a dream?  I discarded that possibility right off.  That’s impossible.  This is my life.  Right here, right now, is my life.
          So why did it seem like I was living two?  One in my dreams, and one while awake?
          I closed my eyes again.  Dimly, I heard voices speaking, accented voices, the voices I’d heard in the dreams.
          “So it seems that the Dan’ling are determined to see you dead, Lord Malcolm.”
          “Yes, I know.  Unfortunately, there isn’t anything I can do about that.”
          “You must do something, Lord Malcolm.”
          Craig’Ian was the source of the voice for ‘Lord Malcolm,’ I realized.  “And what do you propose we do?”
          I opened my eyes, and suddenly I was standing with them.  It was so strange.  There was no transition at all; I went from one place to the other with no sensation at all.  I looked at Craig’Ian and the handful of others with us, seated around a long table with candelabras and fire in wall sconces to light the room.
          The answer to all their questions, the way to deal with the Dan’ling and their desire to kill Lord Craig’Ian of Malcolm, suddenly seemed so clear to me.
          “We fight.”


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