The mage traced his finger along the edge of his glass as he stared at the orb, watching the fae carefully. He learned quite a few things about the woman today, like she was capable of healing, something he found was a lost art among the fae, and she showed...empathy. The mage didn’t realize, however, that he had just missed her glamour and didn’t get to see her true fae form.
He inhaled deeply as her stared at the eyes of Emerson, as she stared back at him, almost as she knew he was watching, and he took a swig of whiskey. He waved his hand and the image distorted before disappearing.
He couldn’t get the image of the fan’s eyes out of his mind as he paced around his room. Cold. Calculating. Empty. A shiver danced down his spine as a thought came into his mind.
She knew he was watching.
Emerson’s temple burned as the mage’s face disappeared from her mind. What was that? she thought. Was she suddenly able to see such things? Could she tell when people watch her? Her mother had once told her that young faeries develop more abilities before they reach puberty, but Emerson had thought she was too old to gain new abilities. Not since she had gained the ability to read thoughts.
She shook the thought from her mind and stared at the young boy that was now sleeping on Avery’s couch. His face was no longer twisted in pain, but Emerson didn’t think he looked comfortable, either. His brown curls were sweaty and matted to his forehead, and his thick eyebrows looked like they were about to furrow in pain any minute. She paused and pursed her lips for a second.
“What’s up?” Nicholas brought her from her thoughts. She turned her head and blinked slowly at him, giving him a bored stare.
She shrugged, then turned to look at the boy. She played with the edge of her cloak as she bit her lip, playing with the idea that had popped into her head.
“What’s wrong?” Nicholas tried again.
“Nothing,” she quipped, not even glancing his way.
“Obviously something,” he replied, taking a seat next to her on the coffee table, careful not to come too close. “Talk to me about it. What’s going on?”
Emerson hesitated before answering. Should she just tell him? Her mother always told her it was dangerous, too dangerous to share with others, and it wasn’t something she should go bragging about. It was something she had only done once, and it wasn’t a good experience for either of them. Telling Nicholas wouldn’t be a good idea, but she would definitely need his help.
“Just...” she trailed off before turning her body and looking at the wolf. “You can’t tell Mekhi. Or your sister.”
“Okay?” Nicholas was confused. He had heard Emerson talk to him like this, but he had never heard her talk so serious.
“I’m serious, Nicholas, this isn’t even something I should be telling you about. It’s dangerous. I don’t even know if I should do it, but it might help the boy so I figure I should at least try. So don’t tell a soul, got it?”
“I won’t tell anyone, Em.”
Emerson stared at him for a minute longer before inhaling deeply and closing her eyes. “There’s another way I can...help the boy.”
Nicholas didn’t say anything, he just nodded and waited for her to continue.
“It isn’t something I do often, and it’s a lost art among the fae. As far as anyone else knows, no one can even do it anymore. But I think it might help...” she trailed off again, looking at the boy with a soft expression.
“What exactly is it that you can do? Something you didn’t tell me about in the Spring?”
Emerson nodded, gnawing on her lip again. She lowered her voice before replying. “I can...dream walk.”
Nicholas’ eyebrows shot up. “I didn’t even know...”
“That’s because no one knows about it. It’s dangerous for the fae who does it and occasionally, the dreamer. Plus, only a limited number of fae at the time of Creation could dream walk anyway, so it’s always kind of been a lost art. Now, though, I’m the last one who can do it. My mom couldn’t even do it, and my sister’s can’t either, even thought we share the same blood,” Emerson explained.
The man nodded, glancing back and forth between Emerson and the sleeping child. He wasn’t sure whether he wanted her to do this, but he knew he did;t have a choice in the matter regardless. “What do I need to do?”
“Actually, I’ll be in a sleep state for awhile so I’ll need you to cover for me.”
“Cover for you?”
Emerson shrugged. “Come up with something. I’m sure you’ll think of something.”
Nicholas nodded again and stared at the fae in front of him. She didn’t look as sure as before as she had before, she looked...scared. “Are you sure you’ll be okay?” he asked.
Emerson gave him a small smile. “I’ll be fine.”
The faerie took her cloak off and handed it to Nicholas, situating herself on the small loveseat next to the couch the boy was sleeping on. She relaxed her shoulders into the cushions. She blinked at the ceiling for a minute, ignoring the questions coming from the man beside her. She sunk her head lower into the cushion and closed her eyes. She kept her hands on her abdomen and her breathing even, and focused on trying to find the boy’s subconscious.
This was the easy part. She felt her magic burn in her stomach and hands, and she payed no attention to the gasp coming from Nicholas. She reached out to the sliver of subconscious the boy was giving off, which was just one, thin pale green light, shimmering in the air. It would be naked to the normal eye, but Emerson was officially in the dream state.
Her breath caught in her throat as she felt herself falling through the fair. Her eyes snapped open and she found herself staring into a dark, empty sky, littered with bright, purple stars. She rubbed her head as she sat up and looked around. There was nothing.
Nothing but black, and the stars. Nothing but silence. It didn’t even feel like she was sitting on a ground. Emerson sighed to herself as she stood to her feet and wiped her backside off, brushing her hair out of her face. She glanced around and her eyes flickered. She couldn’t see anything.
She mentally groaned as she began to walk. She didn’t know where she was going, if she was going anywhere, and she didn’t even know when, or if, she was going to get there. She didn’t even know if the boy was here.
A small noise drew her from her thoughts, and she turned her head slightly. Emerson waited for the noise again, but she didn’t hear anything. It was so quiet, she could almost hear her blood running through her veins. She rubbed her shoulders and kept walking, but the noise sounded again.
Emerson stopped in her tracks completely this time, listening intently for that noise. It sounded like a choke, but it didn’t sound like something that would come from a human. Her eyes darted around, trying to find the source of the noise, but she didn’t see anything, until the noise happened again.
And again. And the noise grew louder. Emerson turned around, crouching slightly. Dream worlds were dangerous. Anything could happen here. If someone were to die in a dream state, they would die in their realm, as well, and Emerson was not about to die today. She didn’t know what this little boy had hiding in his mind, but she really didn’t want to find out.
“What are you doing here?” came a voice, but it sounded like several people talking at once, talking directly to Emerson, directly to her subconscious.
“My name is Emerson,” she replied to the voice aloud, “I’m here to help.”
“Help?” The voices sounded confused, they didn’t seem to understand what Emerson was saying.
“Yes, I’m here to help the boy,” she answered.
“The boy? This isn’t the boy’s subconscious.”
Emerson’s brows furrowed. “What do you mean?”
A gust of wind swept through Emerson’s body, right through her chest and face, and she lost her breath. She could hear the voices screaming and laughing, knocking her to the ground. Her back arched against the ground and she could barely hear herself screaming, clawing at her throat, her chest, her eyes. She could feel the pain of the voices, feel the pain of the people she had known.
Emerson sat up on the love seat screaming, still clawing at her eyes. She kicked her feet and started shouted at the voices to stop. “No!,” she sobbed. “Stop it!”
“Emerson!” Nicholas grabbed her wrists and put them at her sides. “Look at me. You’re okay.”
She turned to look at Nicholas, and found that Avery and Mekhi had come downstairs as well. She pulled her hands from his and scooted to the end of the couch. She out a hand to her mouth and started to choke.
“What’s wrong, Emerson?”
“I didn’t go to the boy’s dream state.”
“Where did you go?” Nicholas asked, slowly stroking her arm.
“I went to my subconscious.”
Avery’s jaw dropped and Mekhi gestured for her to follow him. This wasn’t a conversation for the two of them to be apart of. They left out the back door and Nicholas spoke again.
She looked up at Nicholas. Her tears were streaked with blood, a cut just below her left eye, and her neck was covered in scratches. She swallowed.
“The end, Nicholas. The end is coming.”
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