Chapter 54 - The Dream
Marcus plotted a course but listened absently to their murmured voices. It took a while before Alena finally bunked down on her bed, and he grew uneasy. Rowan kept muttering in her sleep, and when Alena raised her head for the third time, Marcus turned and caught her eye.
“Go to her,” he urged in a hushed tone, and Alena didn’t hesitate. Rowan didn’t even wake when Alena shifted her just far enough to make room for herself. Rowan became calm when she sensed Alena’s presence and snuggled closer to her sister like a toddler seeking solace. They were both soon asleep, but Marcus found his worry growing.
When he retied the letters back into the black cloth, it was almost noon outside. Marcus rose to his feet, and a small smile tugged at his lips. Alena had tucked Rowan protectively into her arms. Big sister, he reflected wryly, keeping little sister safe from the world. They were both fast asleep, and in slumber, the resemblance between them showed.
The Alena from three months earlier would laugh in his face if he ever suggested that one day she would cuddle Rowan like a baby. The notion amused him to no end.
Marcus walked over the bunk bed and tucked a stray lock of hair back behind Rowan’s ear before he tenderly touched Alena’s cheek; they barely stirred in their sleep. They were better off in his care. They belonged together, and Victor would never have allowed it; nor would the rest of their kind.
Martin would’ve made Alena his toy and shunned Rowan for what happened in their past. These two extraordinary women would hate a master like Martin, and they would have received only cruelty from his hand, Marcus reflected.
Martin would never have brought them together or allowed them to become this strong. With their combined strength they made a dangerous enemy. He kissed them gently on their lips and then retired to his rest.
Marcus found his dreams laced with memories of a vague childhood dream. He saw images of a woman who stood on the rock face above his hometown. She stared out at the sea as if she waited for someone.
In his dreams he was a boy again, playing in the surf. It was dark where he stood, but she stood in daylight. He found it strange because he would never have dared go to the beach at night. Humans feared the dark.
The beauty of sunlight the sunlight transfixed Marcus as it touched her skin. He still remembered the impression of it on his body, the smell of the heat released from the tall grasses near his home. His heart longed for those treasured days of his humanity.
Her profile reminded him of someone, but the conclusion would not form in his mind. He wanted her to look at him but she didn’t turn her head until he heard a voice call for him. Just for a moment, he saw her face, and he somehow knew her.
“Look after them, Marcus son of Mica,” her voice echoed in his thoughts, and her eyes stared into his, but her lips didn’t move. He realized that her irises were vampire blue, and the dream shifted. The atmosphere changed from peaceful to stormy in a moment, and suddenly, she was in the one in the dark with him cast in the light. Except he wasn’t little anymore, and the heat of the sun wasn’t a comforting memory of bygone days.
It singed his skin and seared his flesh. Marcus wanted to scream in agony, but could not. He jerked awake just as his body caught fire.
Marcus recognized the woman in his dream when he saw her clearly for the first time. She knew his father’s name and his because she was the one that turned him. He was almost sure she was the one the girls called Helena.
Victor’s sister turned him into a vampire. She foresaw the future. She perceived him before their paths ever crossed. Marcus glanced at the girls, and he recognized her features in their faces. Helena created him for them; he understood that now, and a chill crept into his heart.
Marcus couldn’t shake the impression of burning, but it was more than the heat. The fire seemed to be inside him, and he couldn’t move in his dream. His thoughts seemed sluggish, and his heart barely beat as if there was black tar in his veins. He felt tainted, and even now the memory made him edgy.
He surged to his feet, made his way over to the basin to splash his face with cold water. His skin seemed warm to the touch, and he frowned. Marcus washed himself down with the icy water, and when he finished, the memory of the dream had faded back to the world of nightmare.
“You’re up early,” Alena said unexpectedly close to him as he pulled on his shirt, and only years of immense self-control kept him from lashing out at her in fright. He hadn’t experienced that kind of fear response in years. He pulled his shirt down over his muscled abdomen as wariness chased the sleepiness from her features. She had sensed his violent reaction, and he experienced a stab of guilt in his chest.
Marcus wiped over his face with his right hand as he made himself calm down. She didn’t back away from him, but she might just as well have. Instinct had her ready to react to anything that might endanger her, and he never wanted to be a danger to them.
“Sorry, had a rough night,” Marcus said as he emptied the basin into an empty bucket and handed it to Alena, “I need some air,” he excused himself, and sensed her eyes on him as she watched him leave, along with her perplexed frown.