Carolyn’s head came up as they sat near the well, watching for Leah’s return. She canted her head to one side, nose wrinkling. “Did you hear that?”
“Hear what?” J.T. mumbled, looking up from the surface of the well. He kept seeing the replay of his dream about the woman in the tarn in the water’s surface. He kept thinking that if he could keep watching it, maybe he’d figure out what was being pressed into his dream-self’s hand.
“That…that faint roaring sound. You didn’t hear it?”
All I can hear is my goddamned heart, so no. Even on the bright, sunny morning, something was turning his guts to ice, filling him with dread. “No. I didn’t hear anything.”
“Hm,” her brows knit and she seemed to be listening carefully for a moment, then shook her head, spreading her hands. “I must’ve imagined it. Sorry.”
He shrugged and reached for her hand. “No harm, no foul.” The feeling of her warm, small fingers helped bring him fully back to himself and he closed his eyes, sighing softly.
“Are you okay?” She asked as she edged a little nearer on the rock where they perched.
He gave a little shrug and a head-shake. “Yeah, I think so, maybe.”
They fell silent for a few long moments before Carolyn said softly, “It’s those dreams, isn’t it? You’re distracted.”
J.T. swallowed, glancing at the water again. He caught a glimpse of one of the dream faces in the ripples there and squeezed his eyes shut, though he couldn’t escape the dark red hair and large eyes that seemed burned into his memory. “They’re just weird-ass dreams, Care. I wish they didn’t bother me so much.” I wish they didn’t feel so goddamned important.
A mist started to rise to the west, cool dampness moving in with clouds that began to shroud the sun, dark clouds promising rain or worse in the near future. Carolyn’s fingers tightened and she edged even closer.
“Why do they bother you so much?” she whispered. “I’ve never seen you like this before.”
Thunder growled in the distance, and J.T. squinted at the sky, buying himself time to formulate an answer.
Fuck it. If I lie, I’ll just be like Thom, and I’m not a hypocrite. “Fucking past life or genetic memory bullshit,” he grumbled at last, shaking his head as he kept staring up at the darkening clouds. He stood up, shaking his head. “Let’s get under cover before that storm that’s brewing hits.”
Carolyn’s nose wrinkled and she tugged on his hand. “Thom’s back there. Do you really want to talk about this in front of him?”
After a few seconds of contemplating saying yes, J.T. shook his head. “No.”
Something flickered in the gathering mist.
“‘By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.’”
J.T.’s gaze snapped toward the mist as if tugged by a tether, vainly seeking the source of the movement, throat tightening painfully. He took a step forward, sucking in a few rapid breaths.
“You didn’t hear that, did you?” he breathed. Carolyn stood, coming up behind him and wrapping both of her arms around one of his.
“All I hear is the wind,” she said softly.
The hairs on the back of his neck stirred and his muscles began to tighten as he stared out into that mist.
“They’re near. Beware.”
“Beware of what?” he asked before he realized he was talking to something that might be a figment of his imagination.
A figment of his imagination that sounded exactly like Constance.
Carolyn’s arms tightened and she said his name again.
“I’m fine,” he said, swallowing.
She shook her head slightly. “There’s something out there. I can feel it, too.” She rested her cheek against his shoulder and he swallowed, feeling tightness spread through his neck and shoulders.
“What kind of something?” He whispered, staring at the mist. It swirled, thickening slightly, but he didn’t see any movement like that first one he’d caught out of the corner of his eye.
Thunder growled again and he shuddered.
“Something unsettled,” she said softly, “but it doesn’t feel hateful, like those other things.”
Ghosts. Just say it, you can feel them out there even if you can’t see them. He closed his eyes and caught glimpses of faces he knew, some only in passing, others well.
Faces of the dead.
“It’s all around us.”
He nodded mutely. He could feel it, too, and could see the mist starting to cocoon the camp. They’re trying to protect us. “Something’s coming,” he said quietly. “And it isn’t good.”
“No,” she agreed. “Not at all.”
J.T. drew himself up straighter, ignoring the tension in his muscles. “Go back to the tent and make sure Matt and Thom have the fire good and hot.”
Her tone went wary. “…why?”
He shook his head slightly. “I don’t know. The light and heat, I think. Just a feeling.” He looked down at her and smiled weakly. “I’ll wait for the others to get back. If they’re hearing the thunder, they’ll bring it in whether they’ve found Leah or not. If she’s smart, she’ll be headed back already.”
“You sure?” Carolyn asked.
“I’m sure.” He really wasn’t, but he said it anyway, turning back to the mists as she let go of his arm and headed slowly back toward the tents.
Lights glinted out in the mist and lightning flashed in the distance.
“Hold fast. They’re coming.”
A tendril of ice wormed its way down his spine. He didn’t know what was coming, but he had his suspicions.
What worried him the most was the chance that he was right.