Ch. 18 - In Your Dreams... Or mine?

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I recoiled like a cobra, disgust melting into my very bones, and braced myself to attack. The very act of what Enzo had done was violating enough to warrant death but I'd settle for a kick in between his pockets.

Without missing a beat, I curled my fingers into a tight fist and took my swing, which Enzo reflected effortlessly. Clearly seeing it as inevitable. Not settling for meager deflection, I rose up to kick the Hell out of him but his flat palm met my shin and sent me spiraling to the ground.

I slid across the floor and was stopped by the resounding thump of my head bouncing off of my bed post. I could have sworn I heard Enzo say oops before oblivion enveloped me in its warm embrace yet again.

*       *       *       *

When I awoke Enzo was facing away from me. He wore a tattered robe that seemed beneath him and the hood hid his face in shadow as he lingered oh so mysteriously in the corner of my room.

"You know if you keep knocking me out like that I might actually sustain some significant brain damage." I scolded, rubbing the throbbing knot on the corner of my forehead.

Shockingly, Enzo had nothing to say this time. I had to say I was impressed by his apparent display of humbleness and ability not to spew word vomit for more than a couple minutes.

"If you're not going to give me medical attention or at least be decent enough to justify that dick move of yours earlier then get the Hell out, Enzo. I can't stand to see your face so at least the creepy robe serves some purpose."

"Koraline..."

The words rocked me to my core, Adrian's honey voice wrapped around me like a blanket fresh from the dryers.

"Adrian!" My voice came out as a squeal and I jumped up so quickly the world spun beneath me and my body began to sink downward but this time Adrian was there to catch me. His strong arms wrapped around me and held me upright.

"How are you here? Wait... is this one of your sick games, Enzo. Is assaulting me in succession not enough for you so you have to play games with my head like some egocentric sociopath? Was one time not one too many?!"

"Koraline..." Adrian urged me but it was too late. I was on a roll.

"You maniacal, retched, psychotic, asshole..." Adrian's lips cut me off.

His kiss was liquid fire and the simmering embers in my heart turned to roaring flames in seconds.

"Koraline..."

"It's really you." I interjected once again. There was no mistaking that kiss.

"I've come to bring you news." His voice was hushed, sorrowful even.

"What? What news?" I queried cautiously, fear rising in me.

"I can't rescue you." He couldn't meet my eyes now and the robe started to make perfect sense.

"What? Why not? You said-"

"I know." This time it was he who interrupted me. "But I can't. I'm dying, Koraline."

"What?!" I was floored. Agony seared my limbs, tears filled my eyes. I opened my mouth to protest, to shout at him but nothing came from my lips. He'd stolen my voice.

"You're going to have to save me, to save both of us or we're both dead or worse." He amended and this time when his eyes fell on me so many terrible emotions swirled in them that I couldn't hold his gaze.

"How?" My voice was small, nearly inaudible.

"This is a dream. Your dream. I'm going to train you in them now. We have three days to prepare you to break free of Enzo's castle or Enzo wins."

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