There's nothing around him, only a deep blackness so thick it has substance. But he can feel movement in the air and a sound far off. A strange sound, but one he thinks he's heard before sometime.
They don't go on vacations, not like other families. There's too much work, his dad always says. Too much work and not enough money. But they did go once, when he was about nine he thinks, down to the sea. He can't remember where, but he does remember the sound of the waves when they hit the shore.
The sound he hears now is like that; the distant crash of sea, the way it sucks back at the sand, rolling.
And now there's light; lights he holds in his palms. He can see them, his hands held out in front, glowing red and orange, his upper arms down to the elbows aglow in a corona like the heart of a star. It looks like it should hurt, only it doesn't.
Shane walks, not sure what he's walking on but that it's solid. It's not sand, doesn't feel like that. Feels more like stones. He walks toward the sound of the sea. But like in all dreams where you try to get somewhere, he can't seem to make it. The sound only gets further away, quieter with every step he takes.
Another step, he's at school. He knows this dream. He's in the hall at lunchtime and the tables are crowded with kids, all staring at him. They ignore him usually, but in this dream they always stare. Stare at him like he's an alien, like he just stepped out of a cracked egg, a freak.
One of the kids gets up. Shane knows him; or at least knows who he is. It's Zack Corsey; legend in his own time and he knows it. He walks the halls like he owns the world.
But Shane feels no fear. He reaches with his glowing hands and grabs Zack's huge arm, wraps his fingers round those lean muscles Zack's so proud of; the ones that make him a star. The glow burns Zack.
It smokes and hisses, burrows like a live thing.
Zack's screaming, his mouth's open wide. He's throwing back his head, howling. Doesn't sound human.
Shane opens his eyes in the morning light, his scream ringing in his ears.
He can smell burning, his room is smoky. Around his hands, where they lay against the sheet, are rings of scorched, flaking cloth.