When I woke, there were voices, wherever it was.
The rush of sound felt like a prison escape plan of Kleenexes was being dragged back and forth through my skull by way of my ears.
“... not his fault this time, Butters,” I heard Murphy grumble. “It was the Mantle. Something with Mab. Just thought you should know in case the trouble here gets an itch to migrate and you don’t get picked for the Away Team.”
As I strained to catch the reply I was expecting, something along the lines of ‘Isn’t it always? I’m a doctor, not a...’ I realized my eyes felt bruised, and tried to blink them anyway.
Someone yelped an ‘ow!’, and my brain remembered that that was what it sounded like when a rotary phone fell off the hook and plopped onto the floor, around me. Dammit. I’d fried the phone line.
But that was good. It meant my innate magic was still active. That was something, at least. But the Mantle of Winter was conspicuously absent.
“... m’wake,” I mumbled. My voice sounded harsh and thready. My breaths were slow. My lungs heaved disproportionately to the air being moved by them.
I fumbled a blanket off me and tried to sit up, feeling like John Hurt in the Nostromo breakroom. Someone put their hand on my chest.
I blinked again and looked up.
Michael Carpenter’s face was pale under the Former Knight of the Cross tan of Holy Softball Coaching Awesome, but his bright eyes locked on me with all the old professional concern.