Rain still tapped the window by the time he woke Kyra. She jerked the second he put a hand on her shoulder, but she was aware enough not to shove the pistol in his face, for which he was thankful. She stood and rubbed sleep from her eyes, thanking him as she did. He wasn't sure what she was thanking him for. Not killing her in her sleep? Not abandoning her? Simply waking her? He lay down in the bed, beneath the blankets.
The bed smelled of her and held her warmth, nothing as sweet as perfume, but sweat and her natural scent. He found it pleasant and comforting, which helped him fall asleep. Before long, he'd drifted off.
Nightmares haunted Greg. He was back in the ruined ship, only it appeared much bigger than it should have been. Somewhere, someone cried.
A deep, haunting sob.
Greg tried to navigate the broken corridors bathed in a crimson so deep he began to wonder if this was hell. The notion terrified him immensely on a deep, dark level. He pressed on, not knowing where he went, or where he should go, but unable to simply sit idle. He tripped on something that slipped out from beneath him and crashed to the deck, pain shooting up through his joints. He stared down and found the corridor floor littered with body parts, severed limbs ripped from torsos, bloodied organs, and dismembered heads, grimaces of unknowable pain etched permanently into their frozen faces, like glyphs carved from granite.
Greg gasped and lurched to his feet. All around him, a banging began. It sounded like fists beating on metal. The noise grew and grew, the moans of the damned slipping into his skull like an audible virus. He pressed his hands to his ears, screaming, unable to drive out the sound. He thrashed around, certain that he was going mad.
Greg jerked awake as a hand touched his shoulder. If the safety hadn't been on, his pistol would have gone off. He gripped it beneath the pillow. Kyra hovered over him, loose strands of hair hanging around her pale face, framed by a dim gray light.
She spoke in a hushed voice. "You were making a lot of noise."
Greg tried to speak, but found his mouth dry as a desert. He coughed and sat up. Kyra stepped back.
"I'm fine," he managed. "Anything happen while I was out?"
Kyra shook her head as he pulled the blankets aside. He was drenched in sweat. A shower would do wonders about now. Kyra agreed when he suggested it and he searched the dresser for a spare uniform. When he found one and compared it against his own, he found that it matched. Stepping into the bathroom, he flicked on the light and closed the door.
Greg turned on the water in the small frosted glass stall and let it run until it filled the bathroom with steam. He removed everything from his pockets, setting the items, and the new uniform, folded neatly, on the counter. Before the mirror fogged up, he took a quick look at himself. He didn't like the way his eyes were sunken and bloodshot. It looked like someone had hit him, and more than once. His short, dark hair was plastered to his pale skull. He rubbed at his eyes and stripped off his torn, bloodied clothing.
He didn't even recognize his own face.
The shower felt great, at least, easily the best thing to happen to him since waking up. Well, besides finding another living person. He washed all the blood and dirt off of his skin, found a razor and some shaving cream and decided to put them to use. By the time he was out and toweled off, he was already feeling a whole hell of a lot better.
Greg opened up the partially-used medical kit and went over his various cuts and scrapes. Sealing the kit back up, he finished dressing and hunted around the squalid bathroom for a toothbrush and some toothpaste. The taste of blood still lingered in his mouth. He brushed, gargled and spat, then returned to the bedroom.
YOU ARE READING
The first novel in The Shadow Wars. How terrifying would it be to wake up with no memories? How much worse would it get if you happened to be in a crashed vessel full of corpses? For Greg Bishop, this nightmare has just become a reality. With nothin...