A/N: Thank you guys so much for your reviews for the prologue. I wasn't sure if anyone would like it given theodd combination, so it was a very nice surprise to hear that people did :) Here's the next chapter, which takes place 10 years later. Sara is in college in this chapter, incase it's not glaringly obvious enough. I hope you guys enjoy it :)
"Trust in dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity."
- Kahlil Gibran
10 years later...
Something was very wrong with her.
Sara had been having nightmares. They weren't the usual nightmares about her drunken father chasing her down the hallway. They weren't about her father at all. And these were much more vivid, vivid to the point where she felt as if she were actually inside the dream experiencing everything herself. She felt like the main actress in some sort of sick, twisted horror film.
They hadn't made any sense; they were all flashes, jumbled together and blurred to form incohesive images, almost like memories. She simply decided it was because her nineteenth birthday was in less than a week, and around that time she always slipped into one of her moods. Her birthday always brought back memories of the night she became an instant ward of the state, and so she tried her hardest to ignore them and not encourage celebration.
But last night's dream was... different. It wasn't really a nightmare at all. But it didn't make any more sense than the others had; once again, the images were all blurred, one bleeding into the other, creating overlapping images of confusion. All she could remember was the black silhouette of what she believed to be a person; she remembered complete and total blackness, and then two bright blue lights gazing back at her, like shimmering crystals reflecting the golden sheet of moonlight from the sky.
She had woken in a cold sweat, unable to catch her breath for several seconds. Her hand had automatically gone to her chest and she placed it over her heart, feeling her erratic heartbeat. She remembered being in pain, as though there were thousands of needles in her chest all trying to poke their way out, only intensifying with each breath she took. It had gotten so bad she had almost called an ambulance to take her to the hospital.
But suddenly it had stopped. Her heart rate calmed, the pain disappeared, and she was able to breathe again.
Though every time she thought of those two blue lights staring at her, she felt the needles tickling her chest, and just as quickly as the pain would arrive, when she cleared the image from her mind, it was gone again.
Something was very wrong with her.
She jumped at the voice, unaware that someone had even been talking to her. "Huh?"
"I asked you if you were ready to go get lunch. If we don't hurry up, all the good tables are going to be taken."
"Well, are you?"
"Oh uh, yeah, sure," Sara cleared her throat, gathering her textbooks from off the grass. Tossing them in her book bag, she slung the strap over her shoulder and joined her room mate to walk to the campus cafeteria.
"You weren't listening to me, were you," Lisa accused her. "God, Sara. Am I really that boring?"
"No, Lis, it's not that, I promise," Sara frowned, adjusting the strap of her bag on her shoulder. "I've just been... I have a lot on my mind, is all."
"I'll say. You've been spacing out like that for the past two weeks now. It's starting to give me the creeps," Lisa replied.
"I'm sorry," Sara told her. "It's just that the physics exam is coming up, and I've been under a lot of pressure from Professor Stravinski, and--"
"Jesus, and look at your eyes!" Lisa pulled her to a stop, inspecting her face. "Have you been getting any sleep? You look like a football player with those circles! Don't you use the concealer I gave you?"
"Lisa, seriously, people are staring," Sara muttered.
"Answer the question, Sara."
"No, I guess not. Not really."
"What do you mean 'no, I guess not, not really'?"
Sara tried her hardest not to sigh in frustration. "I'm hungry, Lisa. And besides, if I told you, you'd just laugh at me anyway."
"I've... been having nightmares."
Lisa raised an eyebrow as they resumed walking. "Nightmares? So what, you stayed up one night and watched The Exorcist. You're a big girl, Sara, you know monsters don't exist."
"It's more than that, Lis," Sara shook her head. "I don't know... but these dreams, they're... they're vivid. Like I'm in the dream."
"So what are these vivid dreams about?"
"That's the thing," Sara bit her lip as she grabbed a tray from the stack in the cafeteria. "They don't make any sense. They're not really about anything at all. Like the one I had the other night; I was inside a burning building, and I was trapped. And... it just felt so real. I could actually feel the heat of the flames."
"So did some hot guy come and rescue you?"
"Lis!" Sara chided her. "I'm serious. Something really strange is going on."
"Alright, alright, fine. So tell me more."
"Well... when I woke up, I was covered in sweat and I was way too hot, like I actually had been in the house. And the strangest part about it was that I had felt my hand had get burned in the dream; the pain is actually what woke me up. And when I checked it after I woke up, it was... red. And the skin, it was almost charred."
"You're kidding, right?" Lisa asked as they sat down at an empty table. Setting her tray down, she slid into a seat. "I mean that's not possible. It was just a dream."
Lifting up the sleeve on her jacket, Sara held her hand up for her inspection, exposing the scarred skin. Lisa's gasp confirmed her theory.
"...Okay, I admit, that's freaky. But there are other logical explanations for it, right? I mean what if you burned it earlier that day doing something else?"
"Lis, I didn't do anything else that day. I stayed in the dorm all day to study, remember?"
"Maybe, but I just don't see how that's possible," Lisa shook her head. "I think it's all in your head, Sara. You've been working yourself too hard for those stupid exams and you're finally losing it. You must've burned it on the coffee pot when you poured some. I keep telling you to be careful with that thing."
"Lisa, I know what I saw, and I'm not losing it. Something strange is happening to me, and maybe it's something science can't explain. Maybe it's something no one can explain. All I know is that it's affecting me, and--" Sara gasped, the blue lights suddenly flashing before her eyes. Her hand flew to her chest, clutching at the skin there, feebly trying to cool the hot stabs of the jagged needles digging away at her.
"Sara?" Lisa jumped from her seat. "Sara, what's going on? Are you okay?"
"It's... it's back!" Sara ground out through gritted teeth, trying her hardest to remain calm. With each breath she took, the pain increased ten-fold, and she cried out in pure agony. The sound of her racing heart beat pounded loudly in her ears.
"Oh my god! Someone call an ambulance! She's having a heart attack!"
He watched from half a mile away, concern and confusion painting his features. Something was wrong with her; she was in pain, and he couldn't do anything to stop it. He felt the hot blood surging through his veins, beads of sweat adorning his pale features. His bright blue eyes contorted into a mask of pain. "Sara," he whispered in despair. "Oh, Sara."
Despite his better judgment, he began to run closer to the campus, knowing that he couldn't risk coming too close to her and yet lacking the restraint to stay away. As he approached the entrance of the campus, he heard her cries grow louder, and his blood began to boil underneath his skin. He started walking toward the cafeteria doors in earnest, before he realized that with each step he took, her screams increased in volume.
It's my presence... just the mere fact that I'm standing so close is hurting her.
He threw one glance at her pained face, standing so close and yet so far away, wanting to hold her and take the pain away, but plagued with the knowledge that he would just make it so much worse.
Forcing himself to tear his eyes away from her perfect face-- perfect, even now, twisted in pain and agony-- he disappeared almost instantly, half a mile away in seconds.
Once he reached a clearing, he stopped, and he listened for her. "Damn it," he growled. The screams continued. I'm not far enough.
He wasn't sure how far he ran, but he didn't stop until he was sure that he could no longer detect even the slightest hint of a whimper from her lips. He looked back the way he came, and his teeth curled over his lips in anger and hatred, cursing whatever God had forced him to live a life of immortality that caused her pain.
He growled so loud the earth began to shake underneath him, and in an instant he was gone again.
"...S-Sara? Are you okay?"
She was laying on the cool linoleum now, surrounded by the entire cafeteria and the campus nurse. They all looked on, terrified that she was going to keel over and die at any moment, as they had when the screams had suddenly come to a chilling halt.
"Sara? Answer me, please!"
Sara warily gazed at Lisa, with barely enough strength to even keep her eyes open, let alone answer her. "...The lights," she managed to rasp out.
"Lights? What lights?"
"The lights..." Sara pleaded with her to understand. The lights. The blue lights from her dream.
"Sara, you're not making any sense."
"There," Sara eyes flickered to the entrance of the cafeteria. "The lights... there..." She had seen him so clearly, standing there looking at her.
"Sara? Sara! You have to stay awake! God, we need some help!"
She didn't even realize her eyes were closed until the blackness had encompassed her again, body and mind, and she slipped into a deep, numbing slumber, knowing that the man with the blue eyes would be waiting for her there.