Knock. Knock. Knock. Apartment 31 C. I hit the door with the side of my fist three times. No response. Bullshit. Where did Soren say he worked? I studied the bottom of the door- no light. Maybe he just wasn’t home. It was then that I heard shuffling footsteps on the carpet down the hall. I looked up and saw him, standing there, staring at me.
He was tall. Brown, shaggy hair. Pale skin, miniature freckles dotted across his nose. His piercing green eyes looked like they had been crying. He held his breath, lips ajar in shock. I stepped towards him, slowly, he made no movement.
“Callum?” I whispered. He gulped, following my footsteps with his eyes, then nodded.
It wasn’t until I was halfway down the hall until I registered the three knocks on my door, that there was a beautiful girl standing in front of my apartment. I froze and stared, and she stared back. Her olive skin was flecked with mud, her blonde hair wet and frizzy from the rain. Her clothes were soaked, and her shoes looked like they needed to be replaced. She stepped towards me.
“Callum?” she whispered. I gulped, following her footsteps, then nodded. She stepped closer and closer to me until I could feel her breath on my face. “What the hell is wrong with you?” She hissed, grimacing.
“Hey, woah, wait what?”
“ I had some girl follow me for six blocks, spraying me with water from the side of the road and stomping on my feet. She told me I was making a mistake, she told me to go home!”
“Rayla, I had nothing to do with that-”
“So you knew who I was and you didn’t try to reach out?!” Her voice grew louder. “You didn’t call, you didn’t even tell Soren or Claudia to tell me not to come, you just thought you’d disappear, huh?”
“Rayla, please, I-”
“No! Stop! Stop, stop fucking talking, don’t try to justify anything, because I already know that it’s complete and utter bullshit!”
“Rayla, I can’t deal with this right now-”
“Shut up! Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP !” She yelled. Lights came on under other people’s doors. I grabbed Rayla by the arm and pulled her into my apartment, shutting the door hard behind us. In a stunned silence, she surveyed the studio. I opened my closet; found a pair of sweatpants and a hoodie she could change into, and threw them at her half-heartedly before pulling the curtains on my window closed and falling into my desk chair. Wordlessly, I heard her step into the bathroom, closing the door behind her. The burner phone buzzed.
Oh, yeah, she wasn’t supposed to be here. I couldn’t tell them who she really was, or else she could be in danger... So I lied.
Riley Moore, a friend from college. I replied.
Keep her in the dark. You know what you have to do. Good luck.
Yep, yeah, I did. My next mission was tonight.
“You good?” Rayla asked, snide. I sniffed and swiveled around to face her, sitting on the couch. I hadn't heard her come back in “You high, or something?”
“It’s a long story...” I could hear my voice trailing off. I stood up and went into the closet again, only this time I pulled out the spare blanket I had just folded after Soren left. “You can sleep on the couch if you like,” I said, putting the cloth on the arm of the couch.
“I don’t need sleep, I need answers. My soulmate looks like a drug addict, he’s rude and looks like he saw a ghost, but from what I hear, he’s not usually like this,” she said as I sat on the bed. “You’re kind, encouraging, you want what’s best for people, and you love, love, love , science. You'd do anything to help your students, you’re selfless.” I looked up at her. I could feel my eyes welling up again, I was stressed and alone, but I couldn’t ever say what I was stressed about. How would that be fair, to drag her into this mess that I'd made?
“Unusual circumstances,” I managed as Rayla shifted to look back at me. She was so, so beautiful. The past few days, after NYHTS said I would have to cut ties with her, I was okay. It was a sacrifice for science, something for the betterment of the world. But I was starting to wonder if this “sacrifice” was worth it.
“Well...” her voice softened. She stood and sat next to me, but I couldn’t meet her eye. “We’re destined by the stars and the moon and the sun to be together,” She whispered, using her hand to pull my face to see hers. “... and Soren tells me you're an expert on the ‘science’ between us.” Rayla pulled my hand from my lap onto hers, grasping it tight. I didn’t realize how much I needed her. “Just... talk to me.”
Let the record show that I wanted nothing more than to lean in and kiss her right then and there. Her eyes danced between mine, curious and kind, despite the ass I had been. But instead, I pushed her away. They might be watching.
“I can’t, not now, not yet.” I moved away from her, she threw her hands up in exasperation.
“Alright, I tried. Don’t come running to me in ten minutes asking about my childhood or anything, because you don’t get to know about me anymore.” I watched as she stood and fell back on the couch. She muttered something I couldn’t quite make out, but it sounded like; “Great. I got stuck with an emotionally unstable jerk.”
Later that night, Rayla was asleep on the couch, but I was wide awake. I still had my mission to carry out. This time... I had to get into a different teacher’s office – one of Ezran’s professors. He supposedly had a safe under his desk, full of laundered cash. For whatever reason, NYHTS needed it. All of it. And they’d better share – getting new hoodies every time they wanted me to do something would get expensive.
Another thing – they told me that another agent would be there, someone more experienced, someone I could partner with. They wouldn’t say who, in case someone stole the packet. But I was more than happy to have someone to share the load.
I slipped into the hall, this time decked in a grey sweatshirt and jeans. Tiptoeing through the hallway, my own building, I wondered what the camera feed might look like. Security might think I was out to 7-11 or something.
Through the stairs, out of the building, and onto the sidewalk. The main building was a three-minute ride from where I lived, therefore around a ten-minute walk. Why wasn’t I driving, you may ask. The answer was simple; I don’t have a car.
Down the sidewalk, cool night air fluttered around my cheeks, making my eyes water for the millionth time in three hours. The path to the main building was fairly open; few trees blocked my view of the night sky, and lampposts were so spacious that the light didn’t carry far enough to cover the ground between them. I gazed up at the sky as I walked. I spotted Ursa Major. I felt a guilty twang in my chest for Soren and Claudia, finally in L.A., with their producer on the other side of the country.
Halfway through my walk, I thought I heard footsteps. The NYHTS agent was supposed to meet me at the building- who could be out there? I froze and scanned my surroundings. Not a trace of another person in sight. Cautiously I continued, ears tuning in to every rustle of leaves, every snapping branch. But whenever I turned around, no one was there. I still felt like I was being watched, but I had to brush it off. After all, Corvus did tell me that NYHTS was always watching.
However, at the front of the main building, my stalker was caught red handed. I saw the toe of a shoe peeking out from behind a bush. It looked familiar...
In one swift motion, I rushed towards the shrub and pulled back the branches to find- Rayla! Rayla had fucking followed me on a top secret mission, crouched down, almost sheepish. She was going to get us all killed!
“What the hell are you doing here?” I hissed, looking around nervously. The other NYHTS agent was supposed to be nearby.
“Well when your soulmate leaves in the middle of the night after telling you that he’s stressed about something he can't say, you follow him! ” she snarled back.
“Rayla, you don’t know what you’re getting in to-”
“Callum?” sounded a familiar voice. I whipped around to find myself face to face with – Lailah. What the hell was happening. “Are you talking to that bush?”
“Who’s she?” Asked Rayla, as she stood to face the stranger. “Wait- you’re the one who followed me! You stomped on my foot!”
“Callum, you were supposed to come alone.”
“Wait, this was scheduled?!”
“Both of you, stop talking!” I half whispered. This would get me in big trouble. I turned to Lailah first. “Are you the... agent?”
“You’re with NYHTS too?” Lailah was stunned, eyes wide, her normally shy demeanor gone.
“Yeah, but what-”
“What’s NYHTS?” Rayla said. I turned 180 to face her.
“New York Head Tracing Society, they made wonderful a dvancements in Head Tracing Research and recruited me, but-”
“Oh, I wouldn’t call them wonderful,” Lailah interrupted. “I lost my mom to them. Now, I'm stuck.”
In that moment, both Lailah’s and my pockets made the same buzz sound. In a hurry, we both pulled out the same old, gross flip phones. Each bore a text from the same number.
“ Better run while you can,” we read aloud. Lailah and I shared a glance – both of us were horrified. In a split-second decision, I grabbed Rayla’s arm and started running to the other side of the building.
“Follow me!” I shouted, Rayla in tow. “We’re visiting my brother.”
Ok, weird day. For sure one of the worst days. It could have been better, if I'm being honest. I mean, Callum, a normally super chill, kind, and (from what I hear) selfless guy was currently dragging me across a college campus, running full speed, shouting at/with someone he knew. Our footsteps pounded on pavement and thumped on grass. Callum was growing tired, I could feel his grip loosening ever so slightly.
But he never let go of my hand.
After a bit, we stopped in front of a tall brick building, not unlike the one Callum lived in. College dorms, I guessed. Callum pulled out his phone and made a phone call on the same phone from earlier. I could barely make out what he was saying through my own blood pounding in my ears. Damn, they were fast. Our chests heaving, Lailah and I sat on the sidewalk underneath us. After a moment, Callum joined us, sweat on his forehead despite the cool night.
“Ezran - is gonna – meet us – down here,” he told us through deep breaths.
“Did you use the burner?” Lailah asked.
“Had to,” Callum replied. “You’ve been with NYHTS for a while, right?”
“Do you know who might be following us?”
“If we’re lucky, my dad. If we’re unlucky... One of the higher ups, one of his minions.”
“His, as in-” Callum spelled something in sign language, but I couldn’t make out what it was. Lailah, however, nodded with a grave face. Callum sighed, breathing now under control. He turned to me and said; “Rayla, I'm so sorry you’re here, that song, was-”
“Supposed to be a goodbye,” I finished. Callum nodded.
“Does Corvus know you sent her a Trace?”
“He’s gonna kill you.”
“Especially when he already told me to run if I saw her.”
“Callum, your life is about to go to shit.” Lailah stood and walked to the door that a boy was holding open. I hadn't noticed he arrived. Callum and I both stood, following Lailah and the boy inside.
“My room safe?” the boy asked.
“As long as we lock the door and draw the blinds.” He paused. “Can strangers get in if they don’t have a student card?”
“Not a chance,” replied the boy, leading them up a flight of stairs.
The kid’s dorm was messy on one half. His bed unmade, desk a mess of papers, and clothes strewn throughout. I couldn’t help but notice the other bed in the room was bare.
“No roommate?” I asked. The boy shook his head.
“Studying abroad,” he replied.
“No one else would be here,” Callum said, drawing the blinds closed, “Which is why I thought it best to come here.” He then strode over to Lailah, stern. “Are you wired?”
“Prove it.” Callum’s voice didn’t waver, but Lailah stammered in confusion. “I’m not putting my brother in more danger than he is now,” Callum said. Whatever anxiety he had now, he didn’t show. Lailah sighed and pulled off her jacket, revealing the tank top she was wearing underneath. No wire. Callum, exhausted, turned back to me. He stared for a minute, then took a step and pulled me in to a tight hug. “I’m so sorry,” he whispered so only I could hear. “I’ll explain everything.”
“Ok, Callum, you have got to explain.” The boy I didn’t know pulled out the chair from his desk and sat. Lailah sat on the empty bed, and much to my disdain, Callum pulled away and stood off to the side. Silence.
“Should I let you do the honors?” Lailah said. Callum nodded.
“We, uh, we’re... in trouble with some big guys-”
“We’re not children,” the boy and I said in unison. We looked at each other, then back at Callum expectantly.
“Rayla, this is my brother, Ezran.” The boy – Ezran – nodded. “And Ezran, this is my, er, soulmate, Rayla...” his voice trailed off. “NYHTS thinks her name is Riley.”
“Who is NYHTS?” Ezran asked.
“They are – well, I thought they were – a fantastic company. NYHTS stands for New York Head Tracing Society, they are the reason I have material to teach. Their science is solid-”
“You keep saying science.” Lailah said, catching us all off guard.
“You finish first.”
“Sure,” Callum shrugged. “Anyways, a few days ago, I was riding the shuttle home when the guy in front of me handed me a letter. It told me that NYHTS had been watching me for a while. They were impressed with my initiative and... fascination in the subject.” He paused, as if he was about to say something wrong. “They told me to stay after class one day, a representative would meet me. And someone did. Corvus.”
“Corvus?” Ezran asked, shocked. “I haven't seen him since-”
“- since Amaya left, yeah.” Callum shifted, uncomfortable. “But I digress. Corvus handed me a packet full of assignments, and my first was to-” he took a breath- “break into the apartment below mine, and delete a file on the resident’s computer. A file full of evidence against NYHTS. I followed through.
“Somewhere along the way, Soren was on a phone call with you, Rayla. I heard your voice and knew immediately. I made the mistake of telling Corvus I knew who you were. He threatened-” Callum’s voice cracked, and his chest started heaving again. “He threatened Ezran and told me to run if I saw you,” he said, more to me than anyone else. “He told me not to contact you, to not send in a Trace, but I did anyways. And now you're here.”
“Lucky me,” I muttered. This was a lot to wrap my head around.
“Did you look in the file?” Lailah eventually asked. Callum nodded.
“Scary stuff, turns out their research came at the cost of... people’s lives.” His voice cracked again, his breathing faster now. “People in bandages, people unconscious, people open on a table-” Something came over me; I don’t know what made me do it, but I took his hand. Through his skin I could feel his pulse racing. His hands chilled under mine, an energy flowing between our fingertips. It felt like- like gravity, steady and constant night after night... but I don’t think Callum noticed. A beep sounded from his and Lailah’s pockets. They both opened their phones- identical models.
“My dad,” Lailah breathed in relief. “My dad’s the one watching us.”
“And who’s that?” Ezran asked. “Is that a good thing?”
“Better than good, this means he’s on our side.”
“Who’s your dad, then?” said Callum, looking up in confusion from whatever text he had received. “Why’d he tell us to run?”
“Because of her.” She nodded in my direction. A pregnant silence filled the room.
“Oh,” Callum muttered, “Okay, cool.” he took a breath. “So... what does this mean for us?”
“It means no one at NYHTS knows our cover is blown yet.” Lailah slipped off the bed, standing with purpose. “It also means that we have time to formulate a plan. We can either-” she turned to Callum- “Carry out our mission, get cash for doing the job and run away, or-”
“We can put a stop to the whole company,” Ezran breathed. Everyone stared. Bold statement for the youngest of the four of us, for someone who knew less about this than anyone. “What?” he asked. Lailah and Callum shared a wary glance.
“It sounds pretty dangerous,” I said. “I don’t think it’d be safe.” Lailah's watch beeped.
“Callum, we have twenty minutes until our mission is supposed to be done. What do we do?” she asked. Everyone stared at him expectantly. He closed his eyes, mouthing something under his breath. I could almost hear the melody in my head, soft and faint.
But if you close your eyes...
Does it almost feel like nothing’s changed at all?
And if you close your eyes...
Does it almost feel like you’ve been here before?
“ What’s at stake if we want out?” He asked, looking up again.
“Well, my dad, for starters,” she sighed. “And both of them.” She pointed to Ezran and I. Well fuck. Callum walked towards the door, motioning for Lailah to follow.
“Guess we better get going. Rayla and Ez, stay here. Ezran, don’t tell her any of my secrets.” I could hear a smile in his voice has he walked out the door. I couldn’t wait to hear him laugh.
Ezran and I were left in the dorm, so naturally, I did what anyone who had just met her soulmate and then minutes later discovered he worked for a top-secret murderous organization did; I asked for his secrets.
“Alright, Ez, what are things about Callum I need to know?” I took a seat on the bed next to his desk. Ezran smiled.
“He loves to draw,” he replied. I tried to picture it – he seemed so high strung, how could Callum take the time to sit and just... draw? Then I remembered his words - “unusual circumstances,” he had said. Just then, Ezran opened a drawer full of papers clipped together. He started pulling them out one by one, laying them out in front of me. Sketches.
“Some of his work?” I asked, carefully taking the corner of one of the papers.
“Yeah,” he told me. “A lot of that art speaks for itself.” He was right, too. Each drawing had a date on the bottom. The older ones were more plentiful. He used to draw a lot more, apparently. Older drawings consisted of people I didn’t recognize. Portraits of a woman who looked a lot like Callum.
“His mother?” I whispered. Ezran nodded. I turned to another. It was Callum and Ezran, sledding. Another picture of a man I didn’t know, though he looked more like Ezran.
“My dad,” Ezran told me. “Callum’s step-father.” I checked the date – twelve years ago. There were many of the man from that year, but the newer the drawings were, his face seemed to dwindle from the artist’s mind.
“Where’d he go?”
“No need to apologize. It’s been a while since then.” I turned back to the drawings strewn in front of me. I couldn’t help but stare in awe at his work.
“Does Callum still draw?”
“I don’t know- I don’t think so. Since he started teaching...”
“Where did you get these, then?”
“Callum threw his sketchbook away a while back, but I took it. The cover was dirty, so I saved everything inside,” he said, picking up a picture of him. These pictures were like stories... who knew, that a picture was really worth a thousand words? I shook the notion away.
“I feel... guilty.” I hunched over, sheepish.
“Why’s that?” Ez asked. I stared at my lap, picking at my nails.
“I don’t really... like Callum.”
“What do you mean?”
“I just... ahh, I don’t know. We don’t fit, we don’t click. I think.... I think the universe made a mistake, putting us together.”
Ezran laughed, and I stared at him, confused. He smiled and said;
“If you’d visited any of his lectures, the first thing you learn is that the universe is never wrong.”
Callum and I were inside the building when I checked my watch again.
“Fifteen minutes,” I whispered, “and my dad already got the cameras.”
“Cool, cool,” he replied, hands in his pockets. He was visibly shaking, but we didn’t have time to deal with that right away.
The professor’s office was on the first floor, somewhere behind the maze of secretaries’ and administrations offices. Callum and I wove past the front desks, into a back hallway with offices on either side.
“Do I get extra credit for this?” I mused, a sly grin on my face. Callum remained stone cold.
“Is this why you wanted the T.A. job?” he asked, stopping in his tracks. I checked my watch- twelve minutes.
“Later, Callum. We gotta get to the safe.” I motioned for him to continue following me, but he didn’t move.
“Tell me or you can’t keep it.”
“What?” I turned around, apprehensively.
“If the job means anything to you, you’ll tell me the truth. If it’s a ploy by NYHTS, then you’re out.”
I couldn’t believe it. His eyes stared down at me, bored, but still piercing. I was shocked, obviously. I wanted the T.A. job, I really did want to be a teacher someday, after all the NYHTS stuff was done, but in truth, my dad did direct me to get the position with Callum specifically. He didn’t tell me why.
“I- of course, I want to be a T.A. with you, but there’s more to it, and we just don’t have the time-”
“Fine then. Until I get a further explanation, you’re out.” he brushed past me and further down the hallway. Dumbfounded, I followed. When did Callum become so cold?
Ten minutes. When we reached the professor’s office, Callum pulled out a paper clip and unlocked the door within seconds. Not waiting to see if I was behind him, he walked inside. By the time I got in, he was already crouched underneath the desk on the far wall. I heard the subtle turning of the combination inside, the swinging of the door, and-
“Shit,” he cursed. “There’s another safe inside this one. And the combination I got doesn’t work.”
“Let me see,” I said, moving closer. I sat down next to him, squeezed in between the wall and a drawer. The first safe was a standard combination lock, but the one inside had a keypad. “What combination did you use?” I asked, curious.
“That’s weird,” I said. “They gave us different combinations,” I said, typing in the set of numbers I had been given. 09062003. The second safe swung open with ease, revealing mounds of cash tied with rubber bands. Callum stuffed the rolls into his pocket. All 100s. We stood and closed the safes before heading out, rolls of cash spilling from our pockets.
“We have eight minutes to get out of here,” I said, while Callum locked the door behind us. “We better book it to the entrance.” We took off, jogging silently through the corridor, passing through the secretaries’ desks, out the main office and back to the front of the building. I went to push the door open, but as soon as the hinge clicked, sirens blared throughout the whole building. In horror, I stared at Callum, and he stared back.
“We’d better run, huh,” he said.
“Yeah, I guess so.” I pushed the door open all the way and the two of us sprinted across the front lawn, into the woods at the side of the building. Voices boomed behind us, but we had already disappeared into the night.
“We can – take – a backroad – back to Ezran’s,” he wheezed as we ran through the forest. We were both slowed by the fact that our hands were busy clutching rolls of paper money inside our pockets to keep them from falling. Leaves crunched under our boots, obscuring the plain ground from sight.
I followed Callum through the woods at full speed for who knew how long. We were both exhausted for the second time that night, and I noticed a hint of light near the tree line. Morning was on its way. We didn’t slow down until we came to a parking lot across from what looked like Ezran’s dorm building. Callum made another call on his phone as we walked across, but I didn’t listen to it. When we got to the front door, Ezran was already there to let us inside.
“Hurry,” he said. “People are starting to wake up.”
When we finally made it back to Ezran’s room, Rayla was asleep on Ezran’s bed, papers scattered at her feet. I collapsed on the other, not paying attention to what anyone else did next. I got a text from my dad on my burner-
I know. I replied, too tired to deal with his judgement.
Does Callum know?
He knows my dad's involved. He doesn’t know that my dad is you.
I watched Lailah fall onto the empty bed, envious. I noticed that there were papers shuffled and scattered at the foot of Ezran’s bed where Rayla was sleeping. I don’t know what came over me, but I sat next to where she lay. Her hand was peeking out from under the covers, so I took it gently. Our fingers laced together, and a soft hum of electricity buzzed through my fingertips into hers. A very literal electricity. My hands started heating up, a blue hue of lightning seemed to jump from my knuckles. I was suddenly tired, very tired, more tired than before, as if I should be sleeping. I was conscious, but I should be sleeping... My brain started shutting down, my eyes closed, I could feel myself falling onto the mattress... and I was knocked out cold.
I was sitting at my desk in Pseudonatural Science, freshman year of high school. We were studying magic, primal sources, theories of the supernatural. I was on top of my class, raising my hand for every question. I remembered this day fondly. The day I passed the final with a perfect score. I had my head down on my desk, waiting for the other students to finish their test. When the bell rang, my teacher pulled me to the side and congratulated me on the 100% I had earned. Then she did something that didn’t actually happen that day, something new being added to the story. She leaned in and whispered to me -
“You’re smart.” her breath was hot in my ear. “Corvus has the only weapon you need.” As I pulled away, confused, I noticed the blue circle drawn in dry-erase marker on the whiteboard.
The scene shifted, and now on my way home from a soccer game. But I wasn’t me, I had never played soccer. I was someone else. I was Rayla, sitting in the front seat, socks stained with dirt from a game well fought. We won.
“Well done, Rayla,” the driver said. I didn’t pay him any mind. “I’ve never been more proud.”
"If you’re so proud of me, why won’t you come in for Father’s Day at school?” I complained.
Obviously, this wasn’t the first time I’d advocated for him to come in.
“Rayla, you know I have work. Just ask Tinker-”
“Runaan, he can’t, he’s got that crafts expo, remember? You’re always so caught up in your work, you never have time for-”
“I’m sorry, but we’ve been over this. I just can’t.” Runaan glanced over at me before turning back to the road. I sighed and stared out the window, caught off guard by the reflection of something indigo in the window, its unusual hue catching my eye. Dangling from the rear-view mirror was a blue sphere, painted to look like a storm.
The scene shifted again, this time I was me again, at home, in my room. I... remembered this, too. I was doing homework, answering questions for Pseudonatural Science. What were the six primal sources? Easy. Star, earth, ocean, moon, sun, and... I forgot the last one, so I continued, knowing I'd remember it later. What are the only five primal stones that have been discovered? Star, earth, ocean, moon, and sun. List the rarest forms of magic to the most common. Star, earth,_____, ocean, moon, sun. I was missing, one, somewhere in the middle. List the oldest known to the newest known sources. Star, earth, ____, ocean, moon, sun. I answered questions over and over again with the same answers; star, earth, ocean, moon, sun. Star, earth, ocean, moon, sun. Star, earth, ocean, moon, sun. Star, earth, ocean, moon, sun. Star, earth, ocean, moon, sun. Which one was I missing?!
Everything changed once more. I was Rayla again. I was in detention. I beat up a kid for making fun of someone. The bully made up a lie to get away. I was stuck here. I was stuck doing worksheets sent down from other teachers, and if I had a question, oh well, because the supervisor did not want to help me. This whole thing was familiar- a memory. I started on my first assignment for Calculus. The worst math class in the history of math. It was awful, and I longed for nothing more than to be out, out of here, out of this room, out of this school, and out under the open sky.
Sky. Sky, sky, sky. That was it! That was-
Just as the thought entered my mind, it was gone. I was still trapped inside, missing a piece of the puzzle I needed. Something was missing. Everything was changing- everything, nothing was the same, everything was falling apart. I couldn’t remember where rain fell from, where clouds resided, where planes flew, in between the earth and the stars. I couldn’t remember the word.
Still in detention, I clamped my head in my hands, trying to squeeze the name into existence. I grimaced- the atmosphere, the ozone, the- I can't remember! It’s the last piece, the last answer. Corvus had what I needed, and I was supposed to know what that was, I felt my brain breaking and my world shattered around me, my vision cracked and smeared until nothing was there, until I was blind. I’d never see the sky again. The sky! THE SKY!
I woke with a start, still laying next to Rayla, who was sound asleep. Our hands interlocked tightly, though the buzzing lightning had dissipated. I lied back down, unaware of the chaos we’d ensue together. What a weird dream.