Emery knew it wasn’t really happening, but that seemed to matter little. He’d had dreams like this before; dreams that, when he woke, seemed to have taken place in some form of reality. He knew it would be just the same in this dream.

He swallowed thickly, anxious in the knowledge that injury here meant injury in fact. Then, as if drawn by some unseen hand, he followed the path before him. It was shrouded in leaves, hardly visible, but that didn’t matter either. He knew it was there.

He reached a clearing before long and stepped out onto the worn stone tiles that marked the place. A canopy of trees draped overhead, darkening the clearing until Emery could hardly see. There, in the center of the clearing, a small form crouched. It seemed to be humming softly to itself.

He swallowed once more, then edged forward. He jumped back as what the boy was playing with came into view. There before him were the bones of someone long dead. The boy looked at him and frown. “These are my bones,” he said. “You can’t have them.” Then his eyes narrowed and he said, “You have something of mine.”

With a sharp cry, Emery sat up in his bed. He was panting and soaked with sweat. His hands shook and his heart was pounding in his ears. “M-Mi-Miles!” he finally managed after several failed attempts.

“Brother?” the younger Ballard said, peeking into the room and turning on the light. “Brother, are you alright? Did you have a nightmare?”

“I th-think it was the killer,” Emery said softly. “He had bones. Oh my- he said that-that I had something of – of his. Miles, what could that mean?”

“I think it means that you have to be very careful, Brother,” Miles said softly as he seated himself on the edge of Emery’s bed.

Advertisements