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Fiction Relay – Part Nineteen REPOST

10 March, 2013

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY CC
With her permission I am re-blogging CC’s chapters. You can find the Relay Homepage here and the Summary here.

 

Ephraim shoot straight up in bed, sweat poured like river water down his face as he tried to clear the vision from his mind. A tremor raked his body as he fought to surface from his reoccurring nightmare. His hands clenched the sheets, his mind racing with terror and old memories, horror of things to come suffocating him.

Finally the dream died away and his heart settled to a dull thud in his chest. Children’s screams still echoed from the past and rang like high bells in his head, faded too slowly for his sanity. He swallowed the bile clogging his throat, sweeping back the covers quickly as it reversed direction and demanded an exit. His retching drowned out the lingering screams and left him weak.

He rested his head on the cool porcelain, his breath rushing from his lips in great pants. Another body-racking shudder moved through him.

“Another dream.” Daniel’s matter-of-fact voice cut through his somersaulting thoughts. “How many have you had since I’ve returned?”

The urge to ignore him was strong, but he answered anyway. “Five, six. Maybe more.”

Ephraim pushed to his feet and walked to the sink. A mouth full of water rinsed away the bitter taste in his mouth, a splash of water doused the remaining feelings of horror and sweat that clung to him. Daniel’s quiet presence filled the room.

“He’s close.” The towel muffled his words. He knew Daniel heard him so there was no need to repeated it.

A long silence descends, but Ephraim can’t meet his eyes. The intense gaze saw too much, showed too much, asked too much of him.

“And?”

He knew Daniel knew, yet he asked anyway and Ephraim would answer as usual. Sighing, he tossed the towel in the hamper leaned on the far wall. The tile was cold on his bare back, the sweat drying and throwing goosebumps down his arms.

“I’m reliving his past at the clinic.” He looked up and met the dark, knowing gaze. “Yours and Meagan as well.”

Daniel’s look changed little, aside from a slight narrowing of his eyes. “And yours, Garrett?”

Some of the tension that began to drain away returned with a rush, tightening his shoulders. “That’s not my name any longer,” he gritted out from between clenched teeth.

Just hearing it brought the past back. Of losing his parents at ten, of spending two years on the street barely surviving, of discovering a power that frightened him, of watching people die in his dreams, of being taken to the orphanage/clinic. The experiments done on him were part of his constant nightmares. Rarely did the innocent moments leak through.

“They were harder on you because you were more advanced in your ability. We played while you suffered through brutal tests.” Ephraim squeezed his eyes closed to shut out the memories Daniel’s voice raised. “You always endured it in silence.”

“Sometimes you just learn to deal.” Exhausted and unable to bear more thoughts of the past, Ephraim moved away from the wall, ready to exit the bathroom.

A hand on his arm stopped him. He glanced down at the sun bronzed, work roughened hand and for a moment felt the old connection of friendship they had as children. Their shared fears, triumphs, and longings. He saw Daniel less intense, Meagan smiling sweetly, and himself… He saw himself as a whole person again.

“You don’t have to do this alone, Garrett.” That quiet voice spoke of peace, something no one had known in a long time. “Don’t sacrifice yourself to calm the voices. There are other ways.”

“He’s close,” Ephraim repeated, unwilling to cling to something so tentative as hope. “You may want to rest because we’ll have to act tomorrow.”

 

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