“I’m sorry,” Carolyn said as we walked away from the fire, “I really didn’t expect her to say something like that.”
I glanced toward her with a slight frown. “Did you know she could…y’know. See things like that?”
She shoved her hands into the pocket of her hoodie. “Well, I knew she could see the fairies. Longfellow kind of likes her. But I didn’t know to what extent she was aware of things, no. Paul seems kind of nervous about all of it, so I kind of assumed that maybe she would be, too.”
“Well, at least we know now not to assume.” I exhaled a long breath and shook my head slowly. “Hopefully, she won’t say anything like that in front of someone else. Saying it in front of Tala’s bad enough.”
“What, because Tala hasn’t…y’know?”
I frowned a little. Tala was curious, and smart enough to put the pieces together. She probably already was and just hadn’t said anything. “I don’t know, Care. I really don’t know and I wish I did. I’m glad Kellin always seems to know what to do about this sort of thing when I don’t.”
Birtha was barking somewhere off to our right, probably as Paul tried to wrestle her over the ward-lines. It was a ritual they went through every morning since they’d come here, as if the dog knew that she was safer inside the lines rather than outside. The sheep didn’t seem to care. Every morning, he took them over to one of the fields of grass to graze and brought them back again every afternoon. He’d said the night before that he was going to give them another shear soon.
“It’s weird to think about you not knowing what to do,” Carolyn said as Birtha’s barking faded. “But none of us really know what to do, do we?”
“Now? In this world, with everything changed? No.” I shook my head. “No, none of us really know what to do or what we’re doing.”
We passed out of the tent, walking out over the grass and broken concrete, toward the edges of the ward lines and the staked-out perimeter Thom and Rory had put together. Carolyn stopped shy of the lines, staring out into the muted blue-purple sky in the west, still lightening with the dawn.
“J.T.’s been having weird dreams,” she said after a moment of silence, her eyes distant. “He didn’t want to tell you himself, but I know that he wanted you to know.”
Weird dreams? What kind of weird dreams? “Is he okay? Kellin said he’d been avoiding her.”
She sighed a little. “I don’t know, Mar. I think he thinks he is, but at the same time he knows he’s not. What happened the other day was weird, and I know that he saw more than Drew and I did.” She was tense, shoulders hunched as she looked at me slowly. “He said the dreams reminded him of his grandparents’ house in Scotland, but it all looked older than that. And the people definitely weren’t modern types. They’re just weird dreams, he said. He’s dreaming about ghosts. That’s what he told me.”
I frowned. “What makes him think he’s dreaming about ghosts?”
“I don’t know,” she said softly, shoulders rising and falling in a shrug. “That’s just what he said, and I’m worried about him.”
Ghosts. J.T. and ghosts?
“I don’t know what to do.”
I put my arm around her shoulders and squeezed her gently. “I’ll talk to him,” I said quietly.
A tremor ran through her. “Let me at least tell him I told you first,” she said quietly, taking a shaky breath. “I don’t know that he’s going to want to talk to you about it. He just thinks they’re dreams.”
“But he’s bothered enough about them to tell you, Care.” Though I wonder why he picked you to tell. Something going on that I’m not aware of? That wouldn’t have surprised me. I hadn’t been a good friend the past couple weeks, between Thom and Matt both being hurt. I was lucky everyone else was so damned understanding. “Do you know when they started?”
“Five days ago,” she said quietly. “After we got chased by those things.”
I shivered, touching the cold place on my arm. She watched me, biting her lip.
“You think they’re connected.” She paused, watching a shadow cross my face. “No. You’re sure it’s connected.”
“What happened between here and the Shakespeare garden?” I asked, feeling desperate worry bubble up from the pit of my stomach. Was Kellin right, had J.T. realized some ability that scared him badly enough he didn’t want to talk about it? Was he going to turn into another Thom on us?
“I don’t know,” she whispered, shaking her head hard. “All I know is that all three of us could see those things, and there was something in the mist that saved us, but I don’t know what it was. I think he does, though.” She looked down at her feet. “I’m sure he does, but maybe he doesn’t know that he does.”
I stared at her for a moment, then just nodded mutely. Great. How are we going to handle this now? “But he’s not okay.”
“He’s kind of okay,” she said, then sighed. “Mostly. But you should talk to him before Kel does, I think. He might open up a little more to you. I think he’s trying not to scare me.”
“Could he scare you?”
She was quiet for a long moment before she shook her head and spoke softly.
“No. I don’t think he could.”
Want to help support Awakenings?
Want to chip in to support Awakenings? Buy Erin a coffee through ko-fi and fuel her creativity with a little caffeine.
Want to help support all of Erin’s writing endeavors?
Thank you to my supporters!
Thank you to all of my supporters at Patreon, especially Karen L. Klitzke and Brandon!
Where we’re listed