I know I must be dreaming. The damn floor of the shack is even harder than I remember and I could swear something heavy is weighing me down. And I'm cold. There's no sun breaking in, waking me up as usual. My eyes flutter open feeling heavy with sleep. I yawn and stretch a bit and hit what feels like…

Eric?

I stretch out my arms, feeling around me. The room we're in is so dark I can barely see my hand in front of my face. The only reason I know it's there is because of the warmth radiating from it. I poke around a bit more and find it is Eric's arm draped across my waist, weighting me down, and keeping me glued to him. He doesn't give an inch as I pull at his hand, struggling to move his stubborn appendage. I finally lift it from me, and push with earnest to get his arm to rest on his thigh. Talk about dead weight.

I turn toward him and lean forward, tracing the surface of his face with my finger. I smooth back a few strands of hair from his forehead that I feel against my fingers and place a kiss on his lips. He doesn't even flinch. Amazing. Once my eyes adjust to the dimness, I can barely see his form, but I know where he is. His back is against the wall of the cave (?) and we're lying on some kind of rock or something jutting out from said wall. I realize now that my falling asleep last night was a big mistake. We could be anywhere and I have no idea if this really is a cave or just a hole in the ground.

As I shift around, I feel something falling off my legs. I grab one before it can make its descent to the floor and feel the smooth, rubbery texture of the surface. It must be a leaf of some sort. I want to get up and walk around, but I'm afraid I might fall into a bottomless pit or something else I can't see. It's so dark. I lay back, trying to figure out how long I can stay here without worrying about peeing when I hear something.

A voice. Voices.

I hop up and chance putting my feet down where I'm assuming the floor should be and manage to stand up without too much trouble. I walk forward a few feet and sway where I stand as I catch the voices clearer this time.

"Man, I hate coming to this fucking place. No one knows where this piece of shit island is."

"Do my job fast. I can go home and not think about this place for the next six months."

Amidst the voices I get a few flashes of trees, what looks like a huge hole hidden in a mountain side, and my pond. I know this has to be a dream. The assault on my brain gives me a major headache and I grab the sides of my head trying to garner the strength to get my shields (or what there is remaining of them) back into place. Tears prick at the corners of my eyes as I squeeze them tight. In a moment of clarity I realize I need help.

Eric.

I have to wake him up. I'm not sure what time it is or how long the people I've just overheard have been here, but I can't let them find us like this. I don't know who they are or why they're here. They could be pirates. But what if they are here to rescue me? I mean, us. I'm so confused that I decide to go with my gut and try to wake Eric. I nudge him with my hand, shaking him, smacking at him, and nothing. I can't yell because I might be heard and I fumble around trying to figure out what else to do. I'm not exactly sure how far away the mysterious visitorsare, nor how many of them there are. Fuck!

I kneel on the rock's smooth surface and lean over Eric's sleeping form. I yank at his hair, slap his face, everything I can think of to get him to wake up. He finally pushes my hand away and mutters something like, "Sun out. Sleeping." I lean down close to what I think is his ear and whisper-yell that we're not alone. He doesn't get the severity of the situation (Duh! Dead to the world) and seems to fall back into his death coma.

I get another rush of thoughts and slump into the wall under the force of them.

"Man it's hot as shit here."

"Can'twaituntilIcangetmynextfix."

"Don't remember seeing that here before."

"If anyone ever found out…"

I try again to wake Eric up. When he rouses a little I want to yell at him, but know I shouldn't. With the barrage of thoughts coming at me, I'm positive they're not here as part of a rescue team. I'm not sure if I can tell how far away from us they are. If I alert anyone to our presence and they find Eric here, seemingly dead, I don't know what will happen. If I didn't know about vampires, I'm sure no one else does either. Right?

"Eric, please get up. There are men here. I'm scared. Eric!"

He mutters something I can't understand but I keep shaking him. I wish he wasn't so heavy. I'm full out sobbing now, begging him to wake up, to move, something. Finally, he rolls his arm forward and pushes against the rock to sit up. I get under his left arm and help him get upright. He's muddled but I think I finally get through to him.

"I need to see where they are. I can't tell and I'm having trouble blocking them out. Can you get me closer to the entrance?"

I feel his head nod against my shoulder. With what seems like tremendous effort, he pushes himself off the pallet and gets to his feet. He falters a bit but I stay with him. I grab as many of the leaves as I can and throw them between us as he leans against me. I didn't realize how much he really weighed until now and I'm sure I'll pay for it later. His feet slide forward as if he's a puppet on a string, and we make slow progress toward what I'm assuming is the entrance to this room. Now I really wish I hadn't fallen asleep before he got me here. I have no idea where here is and if he passes out again, I'm screwed.

"Eric, can you hear me?"

He grunts.

"What are we gonna do? What are we gonna—"

Eric lurches forward and I move with him to keep him from hitting the floor. I feel like this is a wasted effort as we haven't moved but a few feet from where we slept.

"Can you move a little faster? We're not very far from where we started and if you fall on me…"

He tightens his grip on my waist and the air around us starts whipping through my hair. Holy shit we're no longer on the ground! Eric weaves from side to side as we float along a corridor, stopping just as the black around us becomes a shade of gray. There must be light up ahead. This is definitely a cave of some sort.

We stop suddenly, landing with a thud. I lean Eric up against a wall and he looks like he's ready to pass out again. I give him a shake and he strokes his thumb across my cheek.

"Cannot go further. Light out."

"Don't worry. Sit tight and I'll be back." I hope, I say silently to myself.

As he passes out again against the dank wall, I cover him with the leaves I grabbed, hoping they'll shield him from the bit of light that's filtering through. I walk quite a bit further, now able to see what's ahead of me, and have to raise my arm to shield the light from my eyes. There's a slight dip in the rock's surface and an incline I have to walk up, but I finally make it to the entrance. I close my eyes, concentrating on the area in front of the cave and don't sense anyone close by. I can still hear people milling about, but not in the vicinity of the cave's opening. I breathe a sigh of relief and step forward into the light.

The barrage of thoughts hits me again like a freight train. My head swims, feeling heavy on my shoulders and I clutch at my ears seeking some form of relief. There's just too many to block out at once. I fall to my knees under the weight of it all and try to shield myself from the numerous images and words whirling through my mind.

I call out to Eric but I know it's useless. He cannot come out of his dark space into the light. He probably can't even hear me. My voice is barely above a whisper as I cry out again; the effort it takes to speak causes my headache to pulse like a recently beaten drum. I finally succumb to the onslaught, blacking out with my lover's name leaving my lips.