#1732

I’m in a nightclub, a honeycombed network of different levels and rooms full of strobe lights, thumping bass, close-pressed bodies. I’m looking for something – someone? – and someone is looking for me. Following me. I can feel their presence haunting my step as I move between rooms. I come to the landing of a short catwalk and, gazing down into the writhing crowd below, I glimpse glowing eyes staring up at me, dark hair against pale skin, the figure motionless amid the dancers. Then I blink and she’s gone. I turn away to keep searching but don’t get far. A hand grabs at my hair from behind, yanking so hard the dream-pain is white hot. I must struggle, though I don’t remember doing so; at some point I’m punched, kicked, thrown to the floor. The hand sinks into my hair again and drags me away while the revelers dance on. My eyes are watering, one nearly swollen shut and the other seeing stars, but even blind I’d recognize Mage. We don’t speak as she drags me into a private room far from the crowd and noise. I remain where she leaves me laying limp on my back, too sore to even look around. All I can see is the ceiling above swimming in my vision… and then he steps into my line of sight, staring down and smiling that thin, cold smile I so love and fear. I smile back, though my lips are split and bloody, and croak, “Hello, Daren.”

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