Maybe he's right, I thought. Maybe I'm still dreaming. To test my theory I turned away from Rodan, who had gone quiet and seemed to have withdrawn into a world of his own anyway, closed my eyes and stepped out into my inner world.
"Yeah." Rodan seemed more normal now, standing up straight and looking alert. "That's right."
I looked around. We were still in the corridor just outside my room, and everything looked as it had moments before.
"You're dreaming. So am I, I think."
We looked around, neither of us knowing what to say or what to do next.
I thought about what Agromas had taught me when I was young. None of his lessons had prepared me for this. I wondered whether the old man had even known that what we were doing now was possible, and decided he hadn't - if he had, he would have dogged me as much in my dreams as he had during my waking hours.
"I love you," Rhiana told me.
She was standing in the hallway, facing me, wearing that red velvet dress again. I glanced at Rodan, but he didn't seem to notice her. I turned towards where she had been standing, suddenly knowing that she would be gone. She was.
"I love you too," I said. She probably wouldn't hear me, but I didn't care.
Focus, I told myself. Don't get distracted.
"Where did you go?" Rodan sounded startled.
"It's just that - you seemed to be gone for a moment." He grinned sheepishly. "We are dreaming, I guess."
"Yeah." I rubbed my face, trying to gather my thoughts, suddenly realising how tired I was. Maybe I should just let it go, I thought. Get back to sleep.
Somewhere in the distance there was a sound, and I muttered a curse under my breath. I forced my eyes open and tried to sit up, groaning as a dull pain began to throb behind my temples.
"Jorden!" I was outside my quarters in Jarvik's prison, and I knew what would follow.
"Damn, his door's blocked." I dimly realised that it was, as I had wedged a chair under the knob to prevent being interrupted.
My knees started to buckled under me, and irrational fear washed over me like a black tidal wave. As my back began to slide down the wall I tried to focus my eyes on Rodan, but I could hardly see him among the images that were assaulting my brain. Jarvik's prison... the farm, where I thought I had found my son again... Bile began to rise in my throat as the images came faster and faster, and I closed my eyes in a feeble attempt to lock them out.
My son. He had been there when they broke down the door, telling me to hold on as I lay dying. Have I, I wondered. Have I managed to achieve anything, at all? The thought was still with me as I finally woke up, the stone still clutched in my hand. I raised it to my eyes, gazing into its blood-red depths. Help me, I told it. I can't do this alone. Of course, there was no answer.
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