Authors: Kaitlyn Hoyt
Logan walks to the couch and crouches in front of me. “How are you feeling?” Without looking at him, I tell him that I’m fine. I’m not, but I don’t want to be healed anymore. I want to feel as bad physically as I do emotionally. I need to feel something. Liam shakes his head at Logan, silently telling him to drop it. I could kiss Liam right now for telling everyone to leave me alone. Logan looks away from me and up at him and with a sigh, he gets up from his crouched position and walks out of the room. I pull my legs under me and lean over onto the armrest, closing my eyes.
I’m sitting in the middle of a grassy field, picking wildflowers when the wind starts to pick up around me. It isn’t me this time. I slowly turn around and see three gorgoths surrounding me. Towering over me by about two feet, their impending presence sends chills through my bones. I’ve seen these beasts once before when I entered the dream world unintentionally. Liam was with me that time. He was the one that fought it off while I initially cowered behind him. He’s the one with the weapons. I don’t have anything to defend myself with. I jump up and take a step back.
The wind intensifies, and the sky darkens, mirroring my mood. My emotions affect the weather. If I’m upset, it starts raining. When I’m angry, it begins storming. When I am happy, it’s sunny. When I’m frightened, there’s a combination of weather components. I look around the clearing for anything I can use as a weapon but come up short. Just my luck.
I take a couple steps backwards as the gorgoths start coming toward me. Their piercing red eyes stare ahead, daring me to make a move. Jagged teeth are visible, giving the impression that they’re smiling at me, knowing that they have me cornered. I turn to run into the forest when two more appear behind me, effectively surrounding me. I have a plan but need something to distract them. I just need enough time to call some of my magic to me.
I don’t get that time though as all five gorgoths decide to attack at once. I try to call my magic to lift me into the air above them but can’t gather enough energy that fast. I turn and run toward the two off to the side. I’m not going to let them just attack me without fighting. I call small amounts of magic into my limbs as I swing out to kick the first one in the stomach. It anticipates my move and grabs my leg with its talon-like hands, embedding its pointed nails into my skin and throws me to the side. I land on the ground with a thud and roll a couple of times before I hear a loud piercing scream. Turning toward the sound, I see Liam yanking a sword out of the back of a fallen gorgoth.
“Ryanne!” I bring my eyes back to the gorgoths in front of me. They are stalking toward me again. I hear a second scream, which means that Liam has gotten another one. Hoping to hold them off long enough for Liam to finish and come help me, I run toward them again, knowing that I can’t kill them, but I can find a way to possibly stun them.
I call more energy to me and visualize lightning striking the ground where they are standing. I close my eyes and concentrate on my magic, ignoring the throbbing in my leg. The wind increases in intensity again and thunder rolls more vehemently. I hear the third scream and open my eyes and see the two gorgoths standing a few feet from me. I push out the collected energy and wait.
Two large bolts of lightning strike the ground where the gorgoths are standing. The one closest to me starts smoking before it explodes. I put a magical shield around me as blood and guts fly in all directions, decorating the grass and nearby trees with gore. The other gorgoth just falls to the ground stunned. Liam runs over to me and stabs it while it’s down. It lets out an earsplitting scream before disappearing like the others.
“Ryanne, are you ok?” he asks as he closes the distance between us. I drop the shield when he stops in front of me. His eyes move over my face and body looking for injuries, zeroing in on my leg.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” I try to walk but can’t get anywhere now that the adrenaline is gone. Blood is dripping down the leg that the gorgoth grabbed. Pain shoots through my body as I try to put pressure on it. I grimace and sit on the ground before looking around, expecting to see more beasts coming toward us. There are none; Liam and I are alone.
“I’m going to go and get Logan and then I’ll wake you up. You may have sustained this injury in your physical body too.”
Liam is a dream-walker. If a mage is having a nightmare, he will come and help them try and resolve whatever internal conflict they are having. I still don’t understand how, but I can get injured in a dream and in my real body. I file that thought away for later as I feel the pull of my body being shaken in an attempt to wake me up. I close my eyes and fall backwards into nothingness.
“Should we wake her up?” Logan turns toward me. “She’s been out for a while.”
I crouch in front of Ryanne and gently lift her head to place a pillow beneath her. She still doesn’t move.
“No, she needs to sleep. She wasn’t healed all the way. The wound closed, but she’s still really weak,” I tell him. Logan healed her stab wound, but it’s obvious that she’s still in pain. For crying out loud, she couldn’t even get out of the car without help. She couldn’t walk to the couch without help. She’s not healing as quickly as she should be.
“I can’t believe that you—” Logan starts but I interrupt him.
“Not now Logan. I still need to wrap my head around the whole situation.” I look around the room. Everyone else is sitting around the kitchen table talking. I can’t risk anyone overhearing. Not yet anyway. I glance down at her sleeping on the couch. Even sleeping, she has exhaustion written all over her face.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Liam push away from the table and walk into the living room. He stops at the edge of the couch and looks down at Ryanne with a frown on his face. “I think something’s going on with her,” he says as he sits down beside her on the couch.
“Yeah, she was just stabbed and—” Logan starts, but Liam turns and starts shaking his head. Obviously he knows more than he’s letting on.
“No, I think she’s dreaming about something and needs help.” She seems to be sleeping peacefully to me. Her hair is falling onto her face. I reach forward and tuck the fallen curly strand behind her ear. A small sigh escapes her slightly open mouth when I touch her skin. My hand lingers against her skin for a few moments before I remember that there are others in the room with me. As quickly as I can, without being too obvious, I take my hand away.
“How can you tell?” Logan asks with a light tone. I know that he caught me, but I refuse to look over at him. He’s going to give everything away.
“I just get this feeling when someone needs help. I think it has to do with…I just know. I’ll be back in a minute.” He closes his eyes and falls against the back of the couch in a sleep-like state.
“All he has to do is close his eyes and he can go into her dream? Logan asks. “Can he do that whenever? What if she was dreaming about him?”
I clench my fists at his question. I hope she doesn’t dream about him. Ever. I turn and look at him, trying to keep a placid expression. He is looking down at Ryanne, but when I move, he looks at me and smiles. “Oh, this is going to be fun.”
I open my eyes and see Liam sitting in front of me with Colton and Logan standing behind him. I try to sit up but wince when I feel the pain in my leg. At the sight of my grimace, Logan moves beside Liam and places his hands on the scratches, magically healing them. When he finishes healing the claw marks on my leg, he grabs onto my arms and pushes more magic into me, healing all the remaining injuries. I try pulling my arms away, but he tightens his grip, not letting go until I’m completely healed.
I blankly stare at him while he smiles and leans back, closing his eyes. Healing so many people recently has taken a lot of energy out of him. After the house exploded and the Gadramicks left, he helped heal everyone that needed it and I can definitely tell that he has overused his magic. He looks drained. His bright blue eyes lack their usual shine, and dark circles are under both of his eyes from exhaustion.
“I didn’t want you to heal me, Logan.”
“I know you didn’t, Ryanne, but I don’t like seeing you in pain and neither does anyone else. You could barely walk on your own and you’ve been sleeping for the last eight hours.” Eight hours? I turn toward the window and notice that it’s indeed dark outside.
“Why didn’t anyone wake me up?”
“Because you needed to sleep. Your body needed the rest, especially since you wouldn’t let Logan heal you,” Colton says.
“Logan’s healed enough people lately, Colton. He didn’t need to waste any more magic on me. I’ve used entirely too much of it to begin with.” I angle toward Logan who is leaning back against the couch, eyes closed. I’m partially responsible for the constant use of his magic. He healed Colton, but I can tell that he isn’t healing as fast as he usually does. “Logan, let me see your back.”
“I’m fine, Ryanne.” He tries to wave me off but doesn’t seem to have enough energy to even do that.
“Logan. Let me see your back,” I demand as I scoot toward him. With a frustrated groan, he angles his back toward me and slowly lifts his shirt up. I gasp when I get a good look at the skin there. The cuts have scabbed over, but his tanned skin is covered in deep purple bruises and large red welts. It looks extremely painful. I find my back aching just looking at it. “Oh my gosh, Logan.” He puts his shirt back on and turns back around. When he’s facing me, I reach out and hit him on the chest.
“Ouch,” Logan says, rubbing the spot I just hit. I know that I didn’t hurt him. “What was that for?”
“You shouldn’t have healed me, you big dummy. You need to save your magic!” I hear Colton scoff behind me. In response, I turn and glare at him. Liam shakes his head in amusement. I turn back to Logan who just shrugs at me. I really hate shrugging.
“Look at me, Ryanne. Since meeting you, I’ve healed you after you were kidnapped and tortured. You were also just stabbed. Believe me, what I’m going through right now is nothing compared to any of that.” I just stare at him. I can feel Liam and Colton watching me. I have a feeling that I can help him. I really want to do something to help lessen his pain.
I wonder if…“Logan, can I try something?” I scoot closer to him. His eyes narrow suspiciously as I stop right beside him. I place my hands out and look up at him, waiting. His eyes move down at my hands and then back at me, questioning what I’m going to do. “Just take my hands.” Not everything has to be so complicated.
Hesitantly, he grabs my outstretched hands, watching me warily. I close my eyes and concentrate on pulling small energy strands to the surface. When I feel their presence, I begin to push the vibrating magic toward my hands and create a small bridge between my hands and Logan’s where the magic can travel. I hear him gasp, and his grip on my hands tightens. Concentrating harder, I let more flow into him. I’m not sure when to stop or how much is necessary for him to feel normal again.
After a few more seconds, I close the bridge between our hands and open my eyes at the same time that he does. “Did that work?” I ask. Instead of answering, he pulls me toward him and wraps his arms around me, burying his face into my neck. “I’ll take that as a yes.”
“Thank you,” he whispers as he releases me from his embrace.
“What did she do?” Colton and Liam both move closer to us, confused as to what I had just done.
“She healed me.” Logan’s still staring at me in awe. I squirm under his gaze slightly and lean back against the couch.
“You’re not hurting anymore? Your back is better?” I ask. With a nod, he turns around and lets me check his back. I lift his shirt and gasp when I see the smooth tanned skin. All the bruises and cuts that had previously marred him are gone.
Colton and Liam both look at me questioningly with raised eyebrows. “She can heal now too?”
“I didn’t heal him necessarily. I gave him some of my magic so he could heal himself.”
“That’s amazing,” Colton tells me. I wave off his compliment and look around the room. Besides the couch and TV, it is pretty bare. My eyes continue scanning the room before landing on the entryway to the kitchen. No one is in the room. Claire was always cooking something in the kitchen. If she wasn’t reading a book, that is where you could find her.
Liam must have caught my look. “Ryanne, why don’t I show you to your room?” I tear my eyes away from the kitchen, nod, and let him walk me upstairs. “You’re sharing a room with Emma again,” he tells me when we stop outside the bedroom door. I peek into the room and see Emma sitting on the bed, flipping through a magazine. I know that she’s aware that we’re standing outside the door.
Liam grabs my elbow as I’m about to enter the room and pulls me back into the hallway. Leaning against the wall, I look down at the floor avoiding his penetrating gray gaze.
“Ryanne, there was nothing you could have done.
. Please stop blaming yourself.” He lifts my chin until I am looking at him. I can hear someone walking up the stairs, but Liam is standing so close, looking down at me, that I can’t see who is coming. I cross my arms across my chest. “Please.” I can hear the desperation in his voice. I know that he doesn’t like to see me this upset, but there’s nothing I can do. I can give him all these promises and false hopes, but I don’t know if I can keep them.
I can feel the tears coming again, but I blink them away. I hate how often I cry now. Exhaling, I respond, “I’ll try, but you know how I am, Liam. I replay all the possible scenarios in my head over and over again and always come to the conclusion that I could have done something else. Something more. Anything. I should have known.”
“She knew what she was doing. More than the rest of us. She was doing what she knew was the right thing. We’re all upset over her, but you can’t take any of the blame.”
“No buts. You just can’t. Ok?”
I will work on it, but I know that it will take time. Time heals all wounds right? I gaze up at Liam. He is very handsome. My eyes follow the jagged scar above this eyebrow until I meet his eyes. If a certain green-eyed boy wasn’t always on my mind, I could see myself being happy with him. He is kind and considerate and I know that he cares about me. As if reading my thoughts, he gives me a small sad smile.