Suddenly, the air surrounding her began to ripple like the after-effects of a rock being thrown onto the smooth surface of a lake. A quiet buzzing started and grew with the intensity of a motorboat assaulting her ears. Reggie trembled as Rhys grabbed her, pulling her toward him slowly as if the ripples had current. His tall frame bent around her body, blocking her view and offering what protection he could as a wave of icy pain crashed into her. She screamed, and he shuddered.
“He’s here,” Rhys shouted in her ear. “He’s breached my defenses, you need to leave now! I’ll contact you again.”
Oh God, she hurt. She felt like shards of ice were being thrust into her skin. Blackness began to descend. “Wait!” she cried. “How will you contact me?” She needed Rhys. He was her only guide through this terrifying new world, and she battled to stay conscious.
“I’ll send someone from my world to you. Now wake up!”
Reggie clutched at him. “Promise? Promise!” “I promise! Wake up!”
A dark whirlpool sucked her down and out. Reggie’s eyes opened, meeting blackness. She couldn’t breathe. An impenetrable layer wrapped around her body, drowning her, and she thrashed around in panic. Clenching the layer in two fists, she was surprised to feel softness. Reggie stopped moving. She relaxed her grip and cautiously felt along the material. The cocoon she was trapped in was her comforter. Shaky laughter burst from her as she began to unravel herself. Finally, cool air hit her face, and she gulped in its sweetness.
“What have I fallen into?” Reggie whispered. Sitting up, she discovered she was no longer on the bed but on the hard wooden floor. Between dreaming and waking, she must have rolled off. Pain shot through her lower back. Her chest was tight with the force of her breathing.
“It was just a dream, they can’t get you here,” she said aloud, trying to convince herself. But when she attempted to stand, the world tilted and she landed back on the comforter with a soft thud. The pain radiating from her temples to her toes was a stark reminder that nothing was what it seemed anymore. Dreams were all too real. Maybe Rhys was right; maybe she wasn’t safe here anymore. Tucking her knees to her chest, Reggie rocked back and forth, tears rolling down her cheeks.
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