Victor Grozny walks slowly towards me, a hand thrust out in front of him, holding something out to me. His face is in shadow, and I can only see a cold glint that must be his eye, but I know it's him. My arms are tied to something at the wrist and biceps and through I struggle I can't break free. He's so close now I can smell something bloody and foetid, I can taste iron in my mouth. He lifts his hand slightly so I can see it clearly and opens it. Inside is a beating heart. A beating red heart with the numeral 5 carved into it. Red 5's heart, I think. I start to scream, and Victor starts to laugh.
I sit bolt upright in bed, the covers falling down to my waist. My hair is tangled around my face, and I pull it away in quick movements, needing not to feel trapped. Just a dream, I think. Then I correct myself: just a nightmare.
I lie down again, and try to relax. My heart's beating like a war-drum in my chest and my muscles have all tensed. I force myself to take some deep breaths, and then starting with my toes, I clench muscle groups in turn for five seconds and release, working my way up my body. It's a relaxation technique I picked up from a yoga class when I was a student, and it helps. A little. When my heart's stopped beating so fast I get out of bed, slip my dressing gown on, and head to the door. Then I stop and change dressing gowns, putting Joel's on instead. It's more comforting.
In the kitchen I flick the kettle's switch and dig around in the cupboard for the cocoa. I know I bought a small tin of Green and Black's organic cocoa a couple of weeks ago. While I hunt, I'm probing at the nightmare, wondering what caused it. I'm sure it can't just be that Red 5 might have gone to the slaughterhouse tonight, I'm not that nervous. The honeypot being compromised wouldn't upset me like that either, that's what it's there for. So why am I having nightmares about someone I've not even met? I find the cocoa tin at last, pushed behind the macadamia nut oil, and place it triumphantly on the countertop.
As I pour the boiling water onto the cocoa wondering if it really scorches it, something clicks into place in the back of my mind, and I realise what's bothering me. The chain of phonecalls to the Rebel Voice and then the attack on the honeypot are the key. I'm not used to this kind of reaction to anything the Rebel Voice publishes. I've had threats before, but only one or two, and they've never seemed serious. Joel's not been so serious before either, I always got the impression that he found the Rebel Voice funny. So what the hell have I put Red 5 up to?
I check the time, it's half past two. I take my cocoa upstairs, blowing on it to cool it down, set it down beside the bed, and pick up my mobile. I'm sure I'm being silly, but maybe I should check in with the Rebel Voice again, just in case. It'll ease my mind and help me sleep. And I'm sure there won't be any messages.