21. At Midnight | Scarlett

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I SEE THE ORCHARDS AGAIN.

I wear a short fluffy dress, its layers of pink organza and tulle embroidered with flowers swinging above my knees as I run. My hair flies behind me, curls going straight in the wind. An emotion is stirring inside my chest, one that makes me realize I'm not running away from something - I'm running towards it.

Then, my bare feet snag onto a root. I stumble and wave my hands and fall face-first into the dirt. Pain bites through my skin, but worse is the feeling within me. It's changing from excitement to dread. My destination is leaving. If I don't get up, it'll be gone before I've arrived. So I lay there and tell myself, Get up, get up, get up. But I can't move.

The ground rumbles as hooves gallop away. An apple on a nearby tree falls to my level and explodes at the impact. Still, I can't move, can't even wipe the fruit's flesh from my face. With not so much as an in-tact apple as a consolation prize, I'm too late.

But God, am I hungry.

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I woke up with a jolt, my stomach growling in pain.

At first, I forgot where I was, and I began to panic. Then, as my eyes adjusted, I recognized our surroundings - the table, now cleared of our drinks; the candle, now snuffed of light; and the couch, where Ryan was lying as tensely as he was earlier. He's barely breathing, like he's too stubborn to so much as take in Nyroy's oxygen.

Whatever. If he wants to suffocate in his sleep, that's his business.

I'm joking. Mostly.

Thinking back to my dream, I had to wonder if Kaylessa had put some hallucinogenic in our juice. But I'd been having beautiful imagery in my dreams ever since we'd entered Halcyon. In the other world, my sleeps were mainly filled with nightmares of public humiliation and the first day of school. Here, though, I swear I was having visions.

I knew that this time, I'd been in the orchards on Antoine's island. I think I'd seen them once before when we'd first came through the portal. Since then, though, I hadn't really thought about them - aside from when Antoine mentioned his island's apple industry.

Mhm, apples. I blinked. God, I really am hungry.

Feeling kind of woozy from my ears to my feet, I stood slowly, figuring Kaylessa had returned from dinner - and wondering if maybe she had brought us a little treat. I could just imagine the spread her family must have had down there: salted fish... roasted lamb... and hopefully no fox. Or at least, just a normal fox. Not a kumiho/shapeshifter/basically-a-human fox.

I tried to block out my disgust. Maybe they have a reason to be eating fox! There are two sides to every story, right? I told myself, though my stomach churned at the thought.

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