Dark dreams: Of the Arbour teaser

Letting out a long sigh, he shut his eyes.

And opened them again a moment later when a cool hand touched his face. It took a moment for his vision to adjust, but the infirmary seemed much darker than it had only a moment ago. The beds were all empty and though the candles were lit, the room was swallowed in darkness.

The hand that cupped his cheek was joined by another, and a shadow loomed over him.

Sage squinted through the darkness, but the shadow remained veiled. “Who are you?” he asked.

One hand lifted and fingers combed through his hair. How you look like him, a soft voice whispered. I wish he could see you now.

Sage glanced down at the hands that touched him. Long and slender, with creamy skin marred only by calluses from long years of labour. “Maybe he will see me one day,” he suggested, if only to comfort the shadow. It seemed so terribly sad; he didn’t want it to suffer.

It gave an unhappy sigh and once more cupped his face in both hands. You deserve to know what happened. You deserve to know the truth. Bastard, they call you. Orphan. They are cruel words spoken by cruel children who do not know the truth. You will do great things some day, my son. I know you will. I have always known. You are the sunshine of my life.

The hands slipped away, and the shadow faded into darkness.

Sage jerked forward and reached after it. “Wait! Please, don’t go!”

His words were greeted with silence.

He gave it another moment, then flung the blankets off his bed. He had to find the woman behind the shadow. He didn’t know what was driving him, but he had no choice.

His injured leg bothered him little as he stood and padded across the room. There was no sign of the woman who had spoken. It was as if she had disappeared from the infirmary entirely.

Well, no matter.

Moving slowly so his steps made little noise on the stone floor, he wandered across the length of the room to the door leading out to the rest of the Arbour. The handle was icy when his palm touched it. He winced and pulled his hand back, and listened at the door instead. Silence rang from the other side.

Gritting his teeth, he opened the door and stepped into the bitter cold.

He was no longer in the Arbour. Continue reading