3.6 Awake

by Matt P.

Images swam before Siobhan’s eyes. She saw and did not see, comprehended and did not comprehend. The raven spread its wings and took to the inky sky, a thousand stars looking down in judgment. A pool as still as the sky reflected only the black above, and the face that peered down in wonder and horror. A darkness spreading across a plain. An army of faceless men, each marked only by three lines of crimson burning like a brand.

She heard sounds, and knew they were from beyond. She could not make them out. She heard sounds, and knew they were from within, and could hear them like bells.

She heard her father shout “Get back!” She heard the clang of metal and something like metal, but different. She saw her house, so new to her but already so familiar, shadowed by flickering as shapes danced in front of light. She saw a hundred ways of blood and death, and so very few of life and hope; and she knew she had to wake.

As she began to rouse she heard the real world, and her visions began to fade. She began to forget and lock them into the dreaming part of her for her own safety, save for one impression.

“She just fell down!” A voice, Antigone, was saying in worry. “We found the circle, we walked up the steps and through that arch and when she stepped in her nose started bleeding and she fell down!”

“Arch? Steps?” Came another voice, somewhat familiar…where had she heard it. “Its just a busted ass ring of stone, there’s no arch.”

As Siobhan struggled to open her eyes she could hear the pause that Annie took. “Of course there is. It looks old, but its there…are there two circles?”

Lacey, that was the other voice. The odd cheerleader who had hugged her. “No, thats an urban legend. I’ve been in there a dozen times, it doesn’t exist.”

Siobhan was finally able to lift her eyelids, and energy started to flow back into her body as if it had been held at bay by something. Electric tingles ran through her limbs like they had all fallen asleep, and she let out a groan.

The first thing she saw were her sister’s eyes, looking down at her with worry. “Bonnie, don’t move, we’ve got to get you to the hospital. You fell down.”

She saw that they were back in Lacey’s backyard, somehow. Annie looked exhausted, sweat beading her brow and matting her so carefully brushed hair, and neither of them had their shoes.

“You carried me…all the way here?” Siobhan asked, stunned away from her dreams for a moment by that. The logistics of it baffled her; the love in her sister’s actions made her eyes prick with tears.

“You fell.” Antigone said, sheepishly but with conviction, and an unspoken promise. “I couldn’t leave you, even to get help.”

Siobhan decided she would cry later, as memories of dreams and dreams of memories returned to her. A raven, a darkness, three burning brands…and their father. “Dad’s in trouble…” Siobhan said, drawing stunned expressions from them. She started struggling to her feet, and was proud she only stumbled a little.

“Bonnie, lay down, we can’t move you—” Antigone began, but Siobhan cut her off. She grabbed her sister’s wrist and started tugging her on on increasingly steady legs. Lacey gaped, until Siobhan caught her eye.

“Call the cops. Don’t ask. But someone is going to try to kill Walter Richards.” She rattled off her address as she began to tug Annie into a run. “Hurry!”