When next I woke, I was disoriented. I looked around the hotel room, but Tsillah wasn't there.
I thought back to breakfast and had trouble remembering what we did afterward, though the tune of a familiar song echoed in the background of my thoughts.
My clothes were still piled on the chair beside the window and the curtains were drawn. I was pretty sure that I'd slept with them open. I glanced at the alarm clock and was shocked to see it was shortly after noon. I gasped, remembering a one o'clock appointment at the sleep clinic, and dressed hurriedly.
By the time I got to the clinic Dr. Salminiw had returned from lunch. He wasa big man with a balding pate and enormous bushy eyebrows. He looked rumpled and over-worked, but he waved me in with a lazy smile, and plopped his corpulent body down behind his desk. He motioned for me to shut the door behind me.
"How did you sleep?" he asked as he opened my folder, reaad over the assessment.
"Oh, the usual." I offered casually. "Met a girl, fought demons, danced, sang. It was a triumph. "We are, after all, Benandanti."
Salminiw gazed at me over the top of his bifocals and frowned slightly. "Mr.. Duncan. Your results were all over the place. On average you're waking up thirty-five times a night. Your blood-sugar and adrenaline levels were through the roof."
"Ummmm." I said, losing all jocularity. "So. That isn't normal?"
"Hardly." Salminiw said. "The bottom line is that you're not getting enough deep-sleep. If left to run its' course, you run the risk of it impacting your health and possibly your judgement. Now, it's an atypical sleep apnea. Your REM state continues well after the alpha-state drops off. That, at least, is a good sign. But if it gets any worse, you probably shouldn't be driving."
"Okay." I said, not feeling very okay.
"Given the vivid recall you seem to experience, I'm going to give you a prescription to help regulate your sleep-cycles. You'll also want to get a CPAP mask. Talk with my assistant. She'll pass on the appropriate settings. And finally, check into some meditation techniques. Yoga might do you some good."
"So that's it?" I asked. "Nothing else?"
Salminiw placed both hands on his desk. "What else were you were expecting, Mr. Duncan."
"What about the nightmares?" I asked. "What about the shadows in the waking world? What about Tsillah?"
Salminiw went dreadfully still and his eyes bulged to twice their normal size. He stood and stepped around the corner of his desk to loom over me. He leaned down slowly, his mouth a tight crease of restrained anger.
"How do you know that name?" He asked me.
"Tsillah?" I asked, confusion must have colored my voice, because Salminiw took a step back.
"You knew my daughter." he said it like it was a fact, but I got the distinct feeling it was a question. "Do you know what happened to her?"