"Maddy come on, wake up." Rhydian's shaking became slower and less frantic as he noticed she was coming to. "Wow, I thought we'd lost you there. You went to a level even I couldn't help you at."
"What do you mean?" Maddy asked. "What happened to the blood moon?"
"You don't need to worry about that now." Rhydian said, wrapping an arm around her. Instantly, she flinched at his touch.
"You're freezing! And why are we in the car?" As she spoke, she looked over at her parents driving. Emma and Dan were fighting over what song to put on next and Dan was getting increasingly frustrated because he had to put up with Emma's teasing and keep one eye on the road while trying to listen to the Sat-Nav's directions. That was when she noticed there was a Sat-Nav in the first place. "Why do we have the Sat-Nav on?" she asked. "We never needed one before. Dad hates them as well. And why is Mum arguing to put Whitney Huston on? She hates her. This can't be real. Am I dreaming?"
"So what if you were?" Rhydian shrugged. "Actually, let's go with that for now. You're dreaming and this is the world you'll be temporarily working with. Why not just roll with it? After all, you could always wake up, couldn't you?"
"But I just woke up from a dream." Maddy was confused.
"So?" Rhydian shrugged again. "Don't you remember the riddle your mum told you years ago? 'I had a dream that I was dreaming then I woke up and I wasn't dreaming. Am I still dreaming?' She didn't tell you whether she woke up from the dream that she was dreaming or the dream in and of itself. It doesn't work. You can't truly answer it."
"How did you know she told me about that?" Maddy asked.
"You're supposed to be dreaming, remember?" Rhydian rolled his eyes.
"But I don't feel like I can wake up from this." Maddy replied. "I feel physically drained. What's really happening, Rhydian? I'm scared now."
"I probably should play straight with you, shouldn't I?" Rhydian muttered. Furious at being toyed with, Maddy let out a growl. Instantly, her wolf launched forward within her. The black veins raced through her arms so fast it was like they'd just spontaneously switched on. Her eyes glowed yellow and the wolf was so far forward that her pupils even shone green like a wolf's. Reeling in shock, Maddy suppressed the wolf and forced it back.
"I swear to god Rhydian, if you don't tell me..."
"Well right now, you're in a coma of sorts." Rhydian said, continuing quickly before she could panic. "It's nothing overly serious. All that's happened is that your body expended so much energy that it's effectively gone into a partial shutdown. You're confined here until you've recharged and this reality you've created is mostly to keep your brain stimulated."
"What do you mean by 'mostly'? Is there another purpose?" Maddy asked.
"I think you know." Rhydian replied. Just then, unwanted flashbacks of her fangs closing around the young boy's throat invaded her mind.
"Oh, god...!" Maddy felt ready to be sick.
"You have a lot of moral issues to work out, Maddy." Rhydian said. "The main way to do that is to remember the lesson your mum and dad taught you years ago. That lesson will guide you in times like this."
"So what's actually supposed to be happening now?" Maddy asked.
"You tell me." Rhydian shrugged. Maddy looked around slowly until she spotted the destination on the Sat-Nav.
"I know that place." Maddy noticed the destination name on the Sat-Nav. "We were going camping. It was a full moon trip as a well done to me for rescuing Liam from that hole. Mum and Dad told me they were planning it for the school holidays."
"Okay, so do you know what the campsite might look like?" Rhydian asked.
"We went there when I was little." Maddy nodded. "It was just before I skewered my foot with that garden fork. It was only for a couple of days, but it was fun."
"How long did you stay there?"
"It was about four days." Maddy shrugged. "This time, we were planning to stay for two days. We'd wolf out on the second night and leave in the morning. You were coming and we wanted to bring Jana but she left with the wild pack."
"Well if I were you, I'd get some sleep until we get there." Rhydian advised. "We've got quite some time yet."
"But if this is all in my head, couldn't I just rush things through so that we're there instantly?"
"That's not a good idea and I know you know it." Rhydian replied. "This has been set up so your body and mind can repair themselves. If you rush it, you can cause more damage."
"This worse than Inception and ten times more confusing!" Maddy let out a shriek like a banshee as she buried her head in her hands.
"Actually, you make a valid point there." Rhydian grinned. "Do you remember the scene where Leonardo Dicaprio tells Ellen Page how to control the dreams and there's a guy who looks a lot like Jefferies walking past them? The camera pans in on him briefly as he walks past."
"If we're in my head then you know I noticed." Maddy growled.
"You're getting good at this." Rhydian looped his arm around Maddy and let her lean sideways into him.
"So how do you feel real if it's in a dream?" Maddy asked.
"Do you remember the first Matrix movie?" Rhydian asked.
"I do but barely." Maddy nodded.
"It's basically the same principal." Rhydian shrugged. As he moved, it bounced Maddy' head on his shoulder and caused her to erupt into a fit of giggles. "In the bit where Cipher met with Agent Smith, he said about the steak and even though he knew it wasn't real he knew that when he put it in his mouth his brain would tell him that it was delicious. You know what I feel like so your brain tells you that's what you're feeling. If I were to flick you on the back of the head, you know what that feels like, so you'd feel it."
"So if I skewered my foot again…" Maddy realised. "If they were killed in the Matrix…"
"The body can't live without the mind." Rhydian nodded. "Don't worry though. You're only going camping. What could go wrong? This is supposed to be a form of down-time for your body to recharge and also for you to come to terms with the mental pressure of what you did."
"So I'll essentially be going camping twice." Maddy summarised. "I'm up for that."
"Well, I hope you enjoy it." Rhydian shrugged. "The blood moon obviously took its toll and didn't leave you with much."
"I'm going to be honest, I feel drained even though I was just asleep." Maddy mumbled into Rhydian's shoulder.
"Then I would take my advice." Rhydian replied as he shifted downwards in the seat so that Maddy's head could rest in the warmest part of his neck. "Go to sleep. See what you can dream of. This is basically a forced hibernation. You can get as much or as little sleep as you need. I recommend a lot though. Make the most of every chance. You'll recover quicker." Maddy decided to go for it. After all, she was doing herself no favours by thinking too hard about it.
"Can we just call this hibernation?" Maddy asked. "I feel less trapped that way."
"Hibernation it is." Rhydian shrugged. "Don't worry. It'll be fine."
Author's Note: Okay... This is the one kind of author's note that I hoped I'd never have to write again after the first time. Unfortunately due to a corrupted data file, I have lost most of Blood Red Sky that I'd already written. However, I also believe that when one door closes, another opens. I am going to rewrite this and I'm planning to change the plot slightly since I felt things were going a bit stale and a bit flimsy. To tell the truth, I was getting bored writing it. Now I have an opportunity to do it again and do it better. The downside of this is that it might take a bit of time. While we wait, I plan to start writing the sequel to Uncertain Future and I might even work on the next Trouble in Paradise like I promised ages ago. Don't worry. The rest of this story is coming. It just might take longer than expected. Any and all support and encouragement you guys can show me in the reviews will be greatly appreciated. Thank you to everyone for your patience and I'm so sorry this has happened.