I was standing in the middle of a cloudlike place. The puffy masses were tinged pink and blue and orange, lending substance to the whiteness. Everything was silent, except for the faint rushing of what sounded like wind outside my haven. I could see. I could always see in my dreams.
A voice spoke behind me. Eva.
I whirled around. There was another girl standing there, hands behind her back. Her blond hair was long, ruffling around her face; and her seeing blue-green eyes pinned me to the spot, betraying no emotion. Her faded jeans and lilac T-shirt looked exactly like mine.
I smiled faintly. Hello, Skyrah.
She brought a hand from behind her back and wiggled her fingers in greeting. I've brought a friend.
A figure stepped from behind her, pale skin contrasting strongly with her ebony hair; instantly recognizable. She raised her eyebrows, and the corner of her lip curled in a smile. Remember me?
My eyes narrowed. Anima. What are you doing here? This is my dreamscape.
I know you, Eva. I studied your aura. I can walk in your dreams when you allow me to.
I shot a look at Skyrah. You let her in?
She quirked an eyebrow at me and shrugged. Yes. There are some things that only I know. There are some things that only you know. We have to balance each other out.
What's that supposed to mean?
Just hear what she has to say.
I gave her an ineffective glare and turned toward Anima. Why are you here?
I had to speak with you. The company of the others is welcome at times, but a hindrance at others.
I sighed. True. What's so urgent that we have to talk now?
Something has come up. My dreams have been troubling.
So have mine.
Her eyebrows shot up. In what way? Do you mean... oh. Her expression turned stormy. Very funny.
I smiled sarcastically.
This is serious. For the past couple nights- since we escaped- my dreamscapes have been murky. I can hear screams and cries echoing beyond the cloudwall, and hands reach through to grab me and drag me into the darkness.
I shrugged. Nightmares?
You're too familiar with the dreamscape for that. Her tone was full of vexation.
She was right. My dreams were the only place where I could really talk to Skyrah face-to-face, rather than just faint telepathic conversations in the back of my waking mind. I had gone there every night, ever since I could remember. The cloudwall was a safe haven, and I could control what happened there- for the most part. It was in my mind, after all. But nightmares were in a different territory altogether. If they had oozed through to the edge of the cloudwall... What's causing it?
I have no idea. But I think it's a warning. It started when we escaped.
Is it about us?
Maybe. Like I said, I don't know. But just keep an eye out, okay?
Fine. Could you get out of my head now?
She blew a strand of hair out of her face. Just try to get along with the others more. Their opinion of you is dropping.
I pressed my lips together. Thanks for the tip.
No problem. She slashed her hand through the air and vanished in a ripple of black.
I turned to Skyrah. Was that your idea of useful knowledge?
She shrugged. It's something you needed to know.
That some little kid is having nightmares? Really?
She's older than us.
I rolled my eyes. In body. In spirit - combined - we're older than anyone here.
She corrected me. Personality. It's not the same thing.
Her mouth quirked in a smile. Time to wake up, Eva. It's nearly dawn.
Have you seen anything like Anima described?
Her smile wavered. I... I'll keep my eye out.
Touche. I gave a two-finger salute and sliced my hand through the air, waking to a firm hand on my shoulder, shaking me back to the darkness.
"Sarah called a meeting," Astrid whispered as I sat bolt upright, eyes snapping open.
"Since when does Sarah call meetings? And at the crack of dawn, too?" I grumbled, jerking my fingers through my knotted hair.
I felt Alice's hot breath as she sighed. "Just come on." She grabbed my hand and pulled me to my feet, then dragged me over to a pile of boxes and pushed me into a sitting position. I heard her walk off and return with more bleary-eyed girls.
Sarah clapped her hands from atop her perch on the lid of a Dumpster. "Okay, when everyone wakes up, we need to discuss something."
Alice sat down smartly on a fallen garbage can and folded her hands in her lap, seeming very wide-awake compared to the rest of us. "Everyone's up."
"Why do we have to have this right now?" I yawned. "We were awake half the night running from that stupid fire, and now we're awake in the wee hours of the morning discussing something that could probably wait until the proper time for getting up, and after we've had breakfast?"
"Because we need to figure out what to do before someone wakes up and finds six delinquent superpowered physically impaired girls sleeping in an alleyway very near to where said fire was last night, and the police are sure to be asking around, trying to figure out who set that warehouse ablaze."
I rolled my eyes. "I guess you make a valid point."
"Good." Sarah turned to the rest of the party. "We need to get out of the city."
"I second that," Alice called.
"To where?" Anima asked.
"There's a forest bordering this city for a little way. It's free to the public, but people don't go in it very often. I think it's a good place to stay temporarily, until we find a new home. What do you say?"
Anima's face lit up. "Yes! Let's do it!"
I glanced at her. She seemed very excited at the prospect. I wondered it we really had that shared dream. In the daylight, it didn't seen so real. I shrugged nonchalantly. "I don't care. If it gives us a better chance of escaping, I say go for it."
Sarah glanced at the others. "What do you guys think?"