Chapter XXI: The Nightmare Man (8/13)Mature

Suddenly, her anxiety was shattered. she grinned, and chuckled deeply.

'Do not worry, we intend to fight, we will fight wars for you, my prince, and soon, you will fight with us.' Will's eyes widened - who were these people - and her laughter only rose to a mad cackle. Suddenly, she collapsed, Will looked down and saw that her cloak led empty at his feet. He span around, and saw her knelt, uncovered with her back to him, her curls fell to her hips, her dress dark and short. She was knelt at the cot, the fire seemed just an illusion, Will's younger self slept soundly in the cot, ignorant as her arm rose above her head, brandishing a dagger identical to what Tayna owned.

'NO!' Will yelled as the dagger fell. Rather than bloodshed, the result was that the woman began to dissipate into mist, turning her head to him, a smile and a perfect nose visible through her screen of thick hair, before she was gone completely, becoming one with the smoke. Will ran forward, ripping the bed covers away to check on his younger self, but he was gone.

Something tugged on the hem of his t-shirt, he turned and saw his younger self standing behind him. His clothes were on fire, but he seemed oblivious as his shirt sleeves seemed to melt off of him, floating as embers into the air.

'You can see me?' Will asked, shocked that they could, for the first time, interact.

'Please, mister,' he said in his small, toothy voice, 'don't let them die.'

'Who?'

The boy lifted up the same drawing that Will had stepped on, he pointed to two of the only three figures whose faces remained un-marred by red crayon. Carmen and Karn'el.All these years ago, had he somehow remembered his family, had this drawing truly been created? He could no longer tell what was memory and what was illusion, Will felt like he was standing on an isthmus between two opposite, melding currents, to be swept one way, then the other, back and forth. 

'I promise,' Will said, pledging it in his heart before the smoke rose so high that it engulfed them both, hiding from sight the attic and any remains of his old life, which had become nothing more than memories.

The End

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