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The Wishing Map
Chapter Twenty-Two: Everything (Continued)
Previously: As they journeyed east, Zack and Gina were haunted by increasingly virulent nightmares.
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Gina had slept less than two hours, two frightening, fitful hours. But it was more than lack of sleep that unsettled her: the images were still there, just below the surface of her mind, waiting to engulf her. During swordplay she flailed at Buigor as if he were responsible for every mutilated nerve, every hallucinatory beast that invaded her thoughts.
Zack watched senselessly, too tired himself to realize how volatile his sister was becoming. He’d slept little more than she, and was also beginning to be plagued by waking dreams. Diamond-shaped patterns of purple-gold clutched at the borders of his mind, bottomless funnels tornadoed up within him. “Everything!” he shrieked at one point, jarring himself out of a hallucinatory daze. “What?” he asked himself.
“Middleton!” Gina cried, jolted from her own half-trance by Zack’s cryptic outburst. “Doesn’t even make sense,” she muttured, then picked up her history book and resumed reading aloud: “‘The Frengan tribal leaders grew weary of war…’ Well, duh!” she yelled, as if personally offended by the ancient Ismarans’ asininity. She read on:
“’And so ambassadors from the Frengan clans began to travel to Zshinia, the Knowing Place, that they might gain understanding. There they found envoys from other kingdoms seeking the same. What must we do to have peace? they asked. Surrender, the Prophets replied. The ambassadors returned again and again, but each time were told the same, Surrender, and each time departed in ire, saying, We are Frengan! We surrender to no one!
“‘But then a change began to occur, for some who had journeyed to Zshinia returned with peace inside of them, a peace that had come, they said, when they ‘surrendered everything.’ These came to be known as the q’ Mizshuol, the surrendered of Uol. Thus it was not nations but individuals who ushered in the Ismaran Epoch, even they who formed the first Great Council. In their prudence, they chose not a renowned chieftain but a humble prophet, a q’ Mizshuol, to be Prime Regent.’”
The coach travelers stayed at a glorified cow-shed that night, sleeping—or rather not sleeping—on prickly hay-stuffed pallets. In lieu of rest, Gina endured endless mental repetitions of swordplay…cut, hack, slice, parry, verbé, scissor, windmill, cut, hack, slice, parry…and more nightmare visions of Dark Tinkurs.
In his own endless parody of sleep, Zack watched entire existences being erased as stolen memories were used to feed the Tinkurs’ amarrildish magic.
The next morning, Gina practiced furiously, madly, not so much with Buigor as at him. Then, after two and a half hours of savage hacking, cutting, and slicing, she holstered her blade and stomped off to the coach.
How much longer could this go on?
Thoughts: Most dreams seem random. But not all. Have your dreams ever “spoken” to you?
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