Chapter 8: Haunting Whispers

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The morning was beautiful and calm when they woke. The autumn sun hadn't risen yet and the birds were silent, and all was quiet and dark. Tamesis' arms were still wrapped around Devon. They snuggled into each other, thinking the other was still sleeping, until they both burst into a fit of giggles and sat up.

Devon kept her head on her girlfriend's shoulder and put her arm around her. "We kicked ass, but I'm still tired."

Tamesis helped her stand. "I'll get us some coffee," she said, brushing Devon's long bangs over her head until they were slicked back like usual.

Devon smiled. "Breakfast?" she asked as she made her way to the bathroom. "I'm starving."

"You're not the only one; we both missed out on dinner." Tamesis rubbed her grumbling belly. "You just go take your meds and I'll prepare some toast."

While they enjoyed their well-deserved meals with a cup of coffee, they discussed what had happened in the dreams.

"I think it's safe to presume this guy is real. As in, he's an actual person and not a dream character," Tamesis said.

"But how though?" Devon sipped her coffee.

"If he is able to enter dreams like we can, he'd need something personal to us." Tamesis rubbed her left thumb in worry. "That means he must be someone close to us."

"I didn't recognise him, though. But then again, I first saw him as a zombie, and in the other part of the dream he was a normal man."

"And when I first saw him he looked like an old guy." Tamesis stared at her plate. "What if he changed his entire face?"

"Considering we can change our appearance too, it's possible." She sighed. "Which means, anyone could be him."

Tamesis gazed up at Devon. "Well, what do we know so far? He's after you and is trying to get you through me. He's very strong. Not to mention a complete psychopath."

"He's a fucking stalker. He knew our names, what I do for a living." Devon scowled. "For all we know he's been watching us for a long time now, biding his time."

"Or maybe just waiting for an opportunity." Tamesis' fingers slid over her bare wrist. "What if I lost my bracelet on my way to work, or at work for that matter, and he found it?"

"It's a possibility." Devon placed her hand on Tamesis' shoulder. "Hey, don't go blaming yourself over this, alright?"

Tamesis gave her a pained smile. "Let's just hope we kicked his ass hard enough to ensure he won't try again."

Devon grinned. "And hey, even if he does have the balls to come back—we'll just beat him again."

Tamesis beamed. "Together."

"Together."

They spent the rest of the day on the couch playing co-op games while a gentle rain drizzled outside. It was nice to get lost in someone else's story for a change. And if things went bad, they could always go back to a save point.

In the evening, Devon threw a quick salad together for dinner at Tamesis' sister's house. She already had little appetite for meat, but the nightmare they shared had cured her of any lingering temptation for flesh. Devon pulled on her leather jacket and gloves and a black beanie. Tamesis pulled on her long purple coat and wrapped a scarf around her curly blue hair.

The walk was pleasant at first. A stroll over crunchy red and yellow leaves under a gray-cast sky. It was a bit warmer than they had anticipated, and Devon took off her gloves while Tamesis loosened her scarf. As soon as they crossed the tracks back into their old neighborhood the brightly colored condos with well manicured lawns faded to brick high-rises with rusted fire escapes and concrete patios. Flickering black poles replaced gilded street lamps. Chain link fences surrounded the occasional dilapidated house that seemed to be held together only by memories and cobweb. The pungent fragrance of dumpster-filled alleys poured into the street.

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