The scream echoed off the buildings around them, elongating the sound. Marin flailed wildly and Thom struggled to hold onto her, biting back a curse as she slammed her arm into his injured ribs, setting fire to one side of his chest. He gasped, then caught her face in his hands.
Her eyes are still closed! What the hell? “Marin! Marin, wake up!” He sucked in a breath. Shit. Is she dreaming? What the hell is she seeing? “Wake up, damn it!”
Her eyes snapped open and her scream died into a croak followed by a ragged gasp. For a moment, it seemed she didn’t know where she was, then she focused down on Thom’s face and sagged, breathing hard. She wrapped her arms around his neck and let out a sob, holding on tight.
Thom looked at J.T. over her shoulder, feeling as shocked and worried as his friend looked. Kellin had appeared at J.T.’s back sometime in the interim and she stood blinking at them. Thom cleared his throat and willed his voice to be steady. “Jay, can you go and get her something to drink? Doesn’t matter what, just something to help her get steady.” Thom laced his fingers through Marin’s hair as he looked up at Kellin. “Think you can make sure a crowd doesn’t…” His voice trailed away as he saw some of the others appearing behind Kellin, some of them soaking wet and breathless, as if they’d run here through the rain.
“What happened?” Kellin asked quietly.
Thom shook his head a little. “Don’t know. She was just screaming.”
“I saw something,” Marin whispered into Thom’s neck. She took a deep, shaky breath and slowly uncurled, straightening and looking at Kellin. “I saw something,” she repeated, a little more loudly.
Kellin’s brow furrowed. “Bad?”
Marin nodded, pressing closer to Thom. He winced a little but held in any sound as he wrapped his arms around her protectively. Fucking ribs… “What did you see?” He murmured, stomach knotting up. Do I want to know the answer to that question?
Marin swallowed. “I was standing…I was standing on some sort of observation deck, looking down at trees and rock and then everything started to shake. I thought it would end after a few seconds, but it just got worse and worse and I started to hear this…this terrible cracking sound. Then the ground just opened up, ripped apart. I could hear the earth screaming.” She paused, shivering in Thom’s arms. He squeezed her gently. Marin took another deep breath, then continued. “I could see the glow deep down in the cracks. Then the shaking started again and the ground jerked and then I saw the light and heard the explosion and screaming. When the shockwave and the wind hit, everything went black.” She swallowed hard.
I didn’t want to know the answer to that question. Thom just held her, mouth dry and heart thudding against his ribs. She sees things and you can’t. She sees things and you can’t. She sees things and you can’t. Your dreams aren’t real. Yours aren’t real. He kissed her temple gently. But what is it that she saw?
“Did you recognize where you were?” Kellin asked quietly, slowly kneeling down.
Marin shook her head. “No. It wasn’t anywhere I’d ever been.”
“What could it have been?” Someone asked quietly behind Kellin. Thom couldn’t quite sort out who it was.
“I don’t know,” Marin said softly. “But that wasn’t all of it. After the blackness, I was back here. It wasn’t for very long, just a few seconds, but the ground was shaking and buildings were coming down. I could hear them coming down.”
“Did it feel like it was connected?”
“Visions don’t usually follow each other like that if they’re not linked, Kel.” Marin rubbed her eyes, some of the tension finally starting to drain from her. “But the shaking wasn’t as bad here. I don’t know. Maybe it was just a nightmare, not a vision.”
There was too much doubt in her voice for any of them to believe that for more than about fifteen seconds. Thom just held her, brow furrowed. She sees. I can’t. “Kel, maybe we should make sure that we don’t have anyone in any buildings.”
Kellin paused, then nodded, glancing back over her shoulder. “Rory? Dav? Think you can handle that?”
Rory nodded. “I’ll do a head-count.” He stayed nearby long enough to count the heads crowded around them before slipping off into the rest of the tent.
“Do you think anyone would be able to tell where that was, Mar?”
She shook her head in response to Kellin. “No. I didn’t see enough of anything before the shaking started to be able to describe it very well. I just know that it wasn’t anywhere I’d ever been. That’s not very helpful, though.” She slumped against Thom and sighed, seeming to notice the audience that had gathered for the first time. “…don’t you people have something else you should be doing?”
Thom winced at her tone and ran a palm along her arm. “That was a little harsh,” he murmured. “It’d even be harsh for me. You okay?”
“My head’s pounding,” she murmured back. “Something isn’t right.”
What was your first clue? Thom bit his tongue and kissed her temple, wrapping his arms around her again. Some of their unintended audience had started to drift away, leaving them alone with Kellin. She watched them both for a long moment, then cleared her throat.
“Any trigger, Marin?” She asked softly.
“No,” Marin said, staring at her lap. “Maybe I was dreaming something before I had it, but if I was, I don’t remember what it was now.”
J.T. appeared with a mug of something steaming and pressed it into Marin’s hands, then sat back down on the ground and resumed work on Thom’s ankle as if nothing happened. Marin cradled the mug between both hands and leaned against Thom, staring into the dark depths of the coffee.
“Maybe it was just a nightmare,” she repeated softly.
There would be a first time for everything, Thom thought, and just held her. It was all the comfort he had left to give.
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