Excerpt #4

Henry hesitated for a moment, but he supposed it couldn’t hurt to talk through it again. Perhaps it might even start to make sense if he told the tale out loud. He cleared his throat. “I don’t remember much,” he began, “not really. I thought at first it must have been a memory from the battle, but this was different. There was a man. He looked like an ordinary man, although somehow he could fly. His hands were…on fire, somehow. There were screams. Thunder.” Henry shivered a bit at the retelling. He hadn’t realized until that very moment just how much the dreams bothered him.

Elizabeth was looking at him very intently now. “This man,” she queried. “Did he have wings?”

“No.”

“Then how did you know he could fly?” Elizabeth’s expression was impossible to decipher. Her eyes were piercing. The color seemed to be draining from her face.

Henry pondered the question a moment. “I saw him in the air,” he admitted. “It looked like he was falling, but there was such a distance, and he was falling for so long. Surely he must have been flying. Although neither explanation makes much sense, does it?” He tried to manage a laugh and failed. His throat was suddenly painfully dry.

“And the fire,” Elizabeth continued. Her voice was very quiet now. “Can you tell me more about that?”

It struck Henry as very important that he answer her questions accurately, as focused as she was on his answers. “It was…short. Quick. Like a blast of some sort. Followed by this rumbling sound, and….” Henry’s voice trailed off.

Elizabeth sat back and turned away. Her face suddenly registered such an intense display of sadness, like none Henry had ever seen before. He laid back against the pillow, watching her, and as his eyes finally regained their full focus they told one final piece of the mysterious tale.

Henry’s jaw dropped at the realization. “You,” he stammered. “You were there.”

Elizabeth turned back to him, her shocked expression mirroring what Henry felt on his own face. “What did you say?” she whispered.

“I saw you…in my dream,” Henry managed, his voice tinged with disbelief. “I didn’t realize it until a moment ago, but…you were there.”

The two of them stared at each other for a long moment. Finally, Elizabeth blinked rapidly, as if coming out of some kind of a trance. She was no longer able to meet Henry’s wide-eyed stare. Her voice was barely audible as she murmured, “Excuse me.”

And without another word, she was gone.