The world enclosed with fog, and the colors blurred. Gavin blinked and gazed around trying to find which way was up and which way was down. It was a bit like music in his ears – the soft ringing combined with his throbbing heartbeat. He blinked trying to turn over.
At last! There was the ground!
He put his hand firmly against it and pressed himself up.
What had happened?
His lack of balance made him tumble onto his elbows.
He squinted, but the world still resembled a bowl of mixed watercolor paints.
He heard her. It was like she was right there. Right in his mind. Her scream echoed through the chambers of his head, and the ringing rose to a pitch resembling the screech of a stopping train. He thought that his head would explode. He squeezed his eyes shut and rolled forward trying to cover his ears.
He had never heard such a scream – something of fear and pain and horror. It shook him to his core until he was actually trembling.
His mind fell back into the fog after being livened for only a moment, and his body still moved in slow motion – too slow for him to even panic.
She was gone.
He turned his head about, but it only made the world spin. He tried to mouth her name.
He needed to hear her. He closed his eyes and tried to clear his head of all but a dark void, but nothing…
Could it be? Was she…dead?
He forced himself up. The world still turned about him, but at least it had shape. He blinked furiously to get it to stop. The tail lights were gone. He clenched his fists.
He had failed. His job was to be a protector, and he had failed.
But he was one of the last Empyreal Beings left. Who could have bested him?
Her brother would have his head…but that didn’t matter now. What mattered now was that either the Ground-dwellers or the Fire Servants had her, and neither of them were above cutting open, torturing, and experimenting on something they did not understand. Or someone.
He gritted his teeth and limped forward. Jack had been right. Gavin did need his help.
Photo: Laurence Arnold