Chapter 19: Down in Flames

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Tamesis moved through the water like a mermaid. Every now and then she stuck her hand up to test the air only to pull it back quickly. A distant, beeping sound got her attention. A wave of fear went through her as the thought of a torpedo crossed her mind.

He wouldn't!

She increased her speed, but the sound just got louder. She considered her options: turn around and hopefully outrun what was coming for her, or continue towards it and jump out before it got her and pray the air was no longer toxic.

The small stream she was in suddenly ended and she fell down into an abyss.

A waterfall?!

She hit the ground hard. With a gasp she opened her eyes.

Beep beep beep.

Disoriented and with a profound headache, it took Tamesis a while to realise she was in bed and her alarm was going off. She rammed the snooze button then turned it off.

"Oh, God," she groaned and buried her face in her hands. After taking a few deep breaths, she turned on the light and bent over Devon's still sleeping form.

Her breathing was regular, but she was damp with sweat. Gently, Tamesis tried to wake her, but Devon remained unconscious. She tried with a bit more force, though she didn't dare shake her too hard.

She had a seizure. I can't be too rough.

Concerned, she wiped a few strands of hair from Devon's sweaty brow.

She's still in there. With him. Alone.

Gritting her teeth, she rose and got out of bed. She grabbed her phone and went to the bathroom. After relieving herself, she dialed her boss.

"Hey Oliver," Tamesis started.

"Good morning, Tami. Everything alright?"

"I-I'm afraid not." She took a deep breath. She knew how busy it was at work right now, but she really needed to stay home.

"Is it Devon?" His voice was full of concern.

"...amongst other things. It's—"

"Don't worry. You don't need to explain. I called you in yesterday when you wanted some time off, and you're an absolute doll for showing up. You stay home today, take care of Devon and what other matters you may have. If things get hectic again, I'll call Katie and see if she's fit enough to come help out."

Tamesis smiled, her heart filled with gratitude for having such an understanding and compassionate boss. A pang of guilt went through her as she thought of the pills she had stolen. "Thank you so very much, Oliver."

"It's okay; Wednesdays tend to be quieter anyways. We should be able to manage today without you—even if Katie is still sick." He lowered his voice. "Just, eh, be sure to drink some extra orange juice and get enough sleep to keep your immune system up. This flu is a nasty one and if Katie didn't infect any of us, the clients will."

"I'll be sure to do that," she replied and they said goodbye. As she stared at the phone screen, the time blurry as she hadn't put her glasses on, a shiver went up her spine. I'll be getting plenty of sleep, but rest? Rest is an entirely different thing.

She returned to the bedroom and tried waking Devon again, but it was futile. Realising her only option was to get back in there and help her break free from the nightmare, she considered taking the pills again. Memories from the dream and how Elymas had almost convinced her she had died from an overdose caused her to shudder.

No. I can't do that again—ever. Her gaze went to Devon's bedside table. She couldn't see it, but she knew it had to be there. She walked over and grabbed the sugilite bracelet. After putting it on, she crawled back into bed. Stay strong, D, I'm coming back in with some new firepower!

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