Scenes came and went, of people she had known, of Walter, of Mary Smith, of the doctor— but through all of it, she could see her father's concerned face. Convinced he was really there, she reached out in his direction, and felt a familiar hand gently clasp her own.


For just a few comforting moments, she forgot the pain. The taunting visions and hallucinations fled from her.

Everything was in deadly silence. Sophy's eyes were half-open. She could make out blurred figures of people moving around her bed. The silence was broken by a faint crackle coming from the direction of the fireplace, followed by voices. Sophy thought she could see a reddish glow. The temperature steadily rose. Waves of heat lanced through her body. What are they doing to me? she thought, gripping the pillow and tossing her head from side to side. They're trying to kill me! Exhausted and overheated, she stopped thrashing about and let her head roll to one side, then the other, before she plummeted into the depths of another nightmare.

Sophy saw flames dancing all about her. Being in a dream, she could not see them clearly. She was not even sure they were there, but she felt the searing heat.

The torment lasted for what seemed like an eternity. Every once in a while, she would catch a glimpse of the waking world... but the heat was real.

A/N: To be continued. Reviews appreciated.