Winter's Nights: Eternity

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Day Seven

Merry let herself fall into a gentle sleep. From her dreams, Merry floated to Hunt’s head. She was glad that she was sleeping well and didn’t trouble her with memories. Next she went to Athens' head and spoke to him in his dreams. When she was finished Merry returned to her own dreams where she waited for Davide to come collect her. Together they ran off to the side of the earth where it was still night.

Hunt's sleep, although dreamless, was restless. The sleeping pills had knocked her out, but they didn't keep her asleep. She woke several times during the day. At one point she sat straight up in bed, certain that she'd heard Athens' voice. She glanced around the room, convincing herself that she was being silly, then lay back down. She stared at the ceiling for a few minutes, then rose from the bed and poured herself a glass of milk.

While drinking the milk, Hunt allowed herself a glance outside at the bright, sunny world that her thick, burgundy curtains hid. She watched the cars zip past on the street below and the crowds of people making their way through their ordinary, busy lives.

When her glass was empty, Hunt let the curtain fall back into place, blocking out the light. She returned to the kitchen to leave the glass in the sink, then crawled back into bed. She glanced at the clock, then regretted it as she automatically did the mental calculation that told her how many hours she had before her alarm went off. It didn't seem like a very long time, but she knew she needed more sleep.

Hunt closed her eyes and focused on the words Merry had said to her two days ago when she had been unable to sleep. She was amazed at how easily she could remember the vampire's exact words – it was as if Merry was right there in the room, speaking softly in her deep, soothing voice. Breath and relax. It is time for your body to sleep. Hunt let the words replay over and over in her head until sleep overtook her.

When Alixi Athens woke up, he felt like an entirely new person. He felt strong, powerful, and very different. He had had strange dreams all day, about people and places that he had never seen, but he understood them. They were memories – Merry’s memories, and the memories of all the vampires she was connected to: her sire, his sired, their sired, her sired, their sired, and the list went on. He saw that all vampires were connected through an endless “family tree”, and they all knew of his “birth”. And he had dreamt of Merry, his sire, and she had explained things to him, answering his questions, and telling him her plan. He was eager to help her, to free her, and he had the ability to do it because he had the codes she needed to escape.

It is time.

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