Part 5

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PART FIVE:

Into The Mist

CHARMIAN SAT IN the back seat of the car with her hand pressed to her stomach.  Drake sat beside her, staring obliviously out the window.  When she glanced at him she saw his nose was actually pressed to the glass.  Before the only thing of "interest" that could be seen was the pretty patterns the leaves made dancing away from the curb.  Now, a vast expanse of water stretched out beside them--Lake Huron--but Charmian didn't bother looking for the Mackinac Bridge because she'd seen it before.

"Whoa, cool!" Drake murmured.  "Charm, look at that."

"It's a bridge, I know, Drake.  Just a bridge.  Chill out, we aren't even there yet."

She sighed and shut her eyes.  It hadn't been very hard to convince her mother to drive them to Mackinaw City.  It was now Saturday, the weekend, and since she was such a "good girl" she had all her homework done already.  She wasn't so sure about Drake, but his parents had seemed happy enough to hear he'd been invited on a "trip."  Charmian had hoped she didn't have to explain too much to her parents, about her sudden desire to go to Mackinac Island, especially so late in the year; but her parents had hardly asked any questions at all.

"Well, it's about time," her father had said.  "I've been telling you all sorts of things about that island for ages now, it's about time you finally decided you want to see it."

"But this late in the year?" her mother had inquired.  "I mean, wouldn't it be better to go in summer, when it's warmer?"

Charmian had quailed slightly.  Her father had cleared the matter up by stating, "Look, Mel, it's still not that bad out, in fact it's unseasonably warm.  It's best to go in the autumn, that way you miss all the damn fudgies!"

So they had packed themselves up in the car and set out in the morning to catch one of the early ferries.

Despite the "unseasonable warmth," Charmian felt a chill in her bones, and she couldn't stop shivering.  It wasn't the wind coming off the water, though.  It was what she'd found on waking up from that strange dream, the dream with the weird Ocryx-demon--Tal Natha, he'd called himself.

The dream had been strange enough, considering she remembered it so vividly.  She never had dreams that were so linear and made such sense.

Neither had she ever woken up with a long thin slash across her stomach, for that matter.

That was pretty much what decided her.

"WEIRDness!" Drake had exclaimed (too loudly, in the middle of the crowded school hallway) when she'd begun to tell him about her dream.  "That sounds just like something I dreamed about!"

"Yeah, well, it doesn't end with me waking up in the cave, would you let me continue?  I looked around and there was this creepy--"

"Animal thingy?  Like, a big dog--"

"No, it was a wolf--"

"Yeah, like a big black wolf with red wings and a snaky tail and glowing eyes?  And he had a funny name?"

"He said his name was--wait a minute!  You mean--you had this dream, too?"

That had been bizarre enough to make up her mind, but what Drake had said next finally closed the deal:

"Yeah, well, wait'll you hear the ending; this funny wolf-demon-thingy told me that you'd have whatever 'proof' I needed if I didn't believe him--he said he had 'left the mark' or something--but I said heck, I believe you already!!"

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