Dawn Will Find Them Still Again


Scene Title Dawn Will Find Them Still Again
Synopsis A dream reunites two former lovers, while lamenting her own profound loss.
Date March 19, 2021


Ominous and murky violet skies overhead cast the ruins of Bannerman Castle in a strange light like something in a horror movie. From time to time, dark shadows, winged things, flit across the broken stone ground Nick walks on. Looking up, he sees the dark feathered birds in the sky.

There’s no light above them to cast the shadow — the clouds are far too thick for that. That might be worrying, but it tells Nick he’s in a dream. He can’t control much in his own dreams, but the knowledge he’s in one is enough to keep the emotions controlled — not numbed, but enough that he doesn’t wake up screaming if Delia isn’t there in his mind to quell the panic.

He’s alone — for the moment — in the courtyard. But he knows if he stays here, the broken body of his sister will appear. He can see the shape of the body already, like an imprint on the cracked stones, and he turns to walk away before he has to see again the pale, dying face belonging to Eileen.

Turning his back on it, Nick knows the birds will follow him. They always do.

At the edge of the dock, he stands, looking out at the cold water. Despite the melancholy purple sky, the river gleams an icy, silvery blue, different from the murky green shade of its real-life counterpart. He counts, knowing how many heartbeats it will take before the birds rise in the sky, each carrying a fragment of his sister. Each carrying a fragment of his heart. Each carrying both love and hate for him.

In the past, they protected him that night. In his dreams, they attack.

When he gets to one, he feels a presence beside him. Angel stands on the shore and looks out at the cold, cold water.

The birds do not come.


The birds overhead have all stopped in mid-flight. There’s a decaying echo of gunfire and exploding grenades as she walks through the ruins. What once were buildings are now little more than skeletal fingers reaching toward the sky, up toward those dormant birds, even while the phalanges break and crumble to dust, held in this moment as they’re consumed by fire and heat. Even still, a cold wind blows through the ruin, sweeping debris into the pyres that will be. That same wind catches the knee-length hem of her dress, bringing the emerald green fabric to flutter around her, trying to pull her along. The faux fur of her cropped coat is ruffled along with her blonde hair.

Everything is about to go to hell around her, but for now, she’s able to appreciate the chaos trapped in the cage of fingers loosely curled toward her palm. This ashglobe of destruction that both belongs to her and will ruin her.

A shot rings out.

A bird falls from the sky.

Another shot, another bird. This happens twice more, each successive drop sees the corpse landing nearer and nearer to her. Wild blue eyes search the landscape, the rooftops, the line of the blue sky for whoever could be causing such a thing outside of her control.

The gunfire has stopped.

No, not stopped.

Odessa turns on her sparkling silver heel and starts running toward the grove of parkland that has yet to be consumed by flame, thanks to her. She can break line of sight, be lost among the trees.

Four rounds.

The marksman just needs to reload.


Without a word, the river shifts, widening, rounding, and then closing off at the ends until it’s no longer a river but a lake. The ruins of the castle disappear, more trees taking its place. These are not the trees of Pollepel island, but the oaks and pines of a fairy tale forest, dark and ancient. These are the trees of Angel’s wood, though her cottage must be just out of sight — after a moment, a little plume of chimney smoke can be seen in the distance.

Nick doesn’t speak, though his shoulders lose their tension. He reaches into his coat pocket for his cigarettes.

Twigs snap and leaves rustle as their boughs are batted aside. It’s the distinct and very human sound of panic that reaches Nick as he registers frantic gasps for air before the woman emerges from the treeline and into the small clearing. A gnarled root catches her foot and sends her sprawling on the grass, one silver high heeled shoe flipping up and over her prone form to land ahead of her, near Nick’s feet.

The blonde lays in the grass, whimpering and panting for breath. It doesn’t take her long to feel eyes on her, however. Her head lifts slowly, terror written into every line of her face. “Oh… It’s you,” she whispers fearfully upon catching sight of what lies ahead.

“Am I being punished?” Odessa asks of the stone Angel. Because this all seems as though it must be some kind of retribution for her past sins.

Nick turns, brows lifting in concern for whoever’s fallen, sounding injured and frightening. The shoe should give him a clue, but it isn’t until he looks down on Odessa’s fallen form.

It takes a moment, but her recognition of him begets his recognition of hers. He rakes his hand back through his hair as his face grows tight and tense.

The cigarette pack in his hand becomes a small black bird, a starling, its heartbeat frantically thrumming beneath his fingertips. Surprised, he lets it go, and it flies away — crookedly at first, before righting itself, disappearing into the marled purple sky.

“Are you? I think I am,” the angel tells Odessa, before she gestures between the two, Nick and Odessa. “This is just chance. Luck, maybe. Fate — no. No, I do not think it’s fated, us three coming together. Still, the company is nice, so long as everyone plays nice.”

As she finishes speaking, another voice begins — it isn’t hers, but that ethereal child’s voice they’ve heard, who could easily get a job for trailers of horror movies where creepy children chant creepy nursery rhymes:

Sorrow like a torrential rain

Beats upon my heart.

Others twist and scream in pain, —

Dawn will find them still again;

This has neither wax nor wane,

Neither stop nor start.

Odessa pushes herself to her feet slowly, limping warily forward to where her shoe has landed near Nick, shrinking back when the starling flies. Birds still make her nervous after all this time.

Although a bucket of ice and champagne would chill her to the bone.

The shoe is snatched up from the grass and pulled back onto her stockinged foot. Not the most appropriate attire for a warzone, but this is a dream. Odessa stares up at Nick as she brushes grass from her palms and her knees. “You recognize me.” She’s hardly surprised, but he’d be the first thus far.

Ange is given a glance and a raise of her eyebrows. Maybe theirs is a mutual hell. “If you’re sure…” The child’s voice causes Odessa to trail off, lifting her head as thought would help her hear easier. A look of concern for their winged friend lasts a moment before it’s turned back to Nick, a soft thing. “Whatever you think of me,” she made it clear long ago that she has no quarrel with him, “she needs our help.”

Nick’s narrowed eyes flit to Angel, and he chuckles, a low thing that lacks warmth. “I’ll play nice so long as you keep us from being stampeded by a herd of angry cloud stallions, Madame,” he tells her, though it’s not unkind.

To Odessa, he lifts his brows, studying her face, as if only now realizing it’s not quite the face he knew. “Gale. Odessa. Desdemona, was it? For a time? Whatever you’re going by these days, I don’t actually think about you, darling.” His voice is cool, but it’s an act, and not a great one at that, coming from the spy.

“This isn’t my first rodeo,” he says, the Americanism odd in his British accent. “Pay attention to the poem — something was off in it last time, but I was a bit busy shaking Volken from my head to pay attention myself.”

Blue eyes cut to Angel. “She found me quicker this time — I don’t think I’ve been asleep long at all. Maybe she’s getting stronger.”

Angel’s stony eyes greet his, and then flit over to Odessa’s. “It’s rude to talk about me like I’m not here. Isn’t it, Doctor?”

The child’s voice continues, but Angel doesn’t look around — it’s as if she can’t hear it at all.

Many dress and go to town;

I sit in my chair.

All my thoughts seem slow and brown:

Standing up or kneeling down

Little matters, or what gown

Or what shoes I wear.

“I quite agree,” Odessa responds easily on the subject of rude behavior. His words have cut her deep. It isn’t as though she thinks about him all the time either, of course. Just when she’s counting her mistakes, which so very often suffice for sheep as she lays her head down for the night. Nick isn’t the first man for whom she carried a great deal of feelings to profess not to think of her at all. There’s no wit available to her to compose any sort of rejoinder. He can have this victory and she can hope it brings him some solace.

Pulling her arms around herself tightly, she listens to the words. If smartphones worked in dreams, she’d have this down easy. But if smartphones worked in dreams, this wouldn’t be such a mystery in the first place. “That isn’t how this poem goes,” she says with certainty, as though it wasn’t just a confirmation of what Nick already said. “Once we heard the first one, I started reading up and… I’ve read this one a fair bit.”

Unsurprising that a poem titled Sorrow would be one to capture Odessa’s attention.

“The changes on this one are so subtle, though… If I didn’t have it committed to memory, I wouldn’t…” A helpless look is floated first to Nick, then shifted to Angel. “Do you think I dare trust my own memory in this place?”

Nick chuckles as the women — if the angel is a woman — join up to reprimand him for his poor behavior. “Sorry, Seraphim, I have a lot on my mind right now, and if I recall right, you don’t answer most questions directly. I’ll try not to upset you.”

He wasn’t the one to set her off last time, but he’d like for that not to happen again.

With a nod to Odessa, he squints upward, as if he could see the words in the sky. “It’s another Millay, but I haven’t had time to study up. Millay always has some wonky lines that sound off to my ear, so it’s hard to catch where the changes are. This one’s better than the last though.” He runs another hand through his hair. “Sad poem. The essence of depression, isn’t it.”

Nick looks over at Angel, lifting his dark brows. “No offense. I don’t think you’re old Edna, are you? Tell me she’s not another immortal being like Adam Monroe.”

The angel’s lips pull into a Mona-Lisa smile, and she shakes her head slowly in response to his question. At least there’s one direct answer. To Odessa, she murmurs, “Words betray. Words are snakes.”

The starling alights on a branch near Nick, opening its mouth to chirp — the sound that comes out is a cell phone’s digital ring.

“Maybe that’s why Millay resonates with me,” Odessa mumbles absently. “In the poem,” she tells Nick softly, “the rain is ceaseless, not torrential. People twist and scream in pain…” Her lips work silently around the words, her eyes shut as it helps her focus on what she remembers the poem to be versus what the disembodied voice recites.

People dress and go to town, I sit in my chair… All my thoughts are slow and brown. Standing up or…” The blonde opens her eyes, blinking rapidly with a look of consternation on her face. “Standing up or… Sitting?” Another pair of blinks. “Yes,” she decides with conviction. “Standing up or sitting down, little matters, or what gown, or what shoes I wear.”

Blue eyes glance up at Nick, then turn back to the ground immediately. Twice more she attempts to look at him directly, chin dipping down, self-conscious. “I like that one a lot.” It’s easier, Odessa finds, to look at the dreamer made of stone. “Why do you think the words have changed, Ange? Which words are the snakes? The originals or their substitutions?”

Her head tilts suddenly at the bird chirping that isn’t a bird at all. “Well, that one’s not mine…”

At the ring, Nick’s head turns, and he begins to fade. There are no more words for Odessa, and by that third time she tries to look at him, he’s gone completely.

“They always leave,” Angel whispers, hands covering her face as she begins to rock herself. Now that Nick has faded, some of what was left of his dreamscape shifts, too. The violet sky becomes scarlet, and the clouds begin to shift and twist like snakes.

The snakes coalesce, forming larger clouds, irregular and formless, at first, before Odessa can see the rough silhouettes of black horses.

Five of them.

Angel trembles. She begins to crack and the earth cracks around her, as the sound of pounding hooves grows deafening. The five horses meld together, until there is only one, black with six glowing red eyes. It rears back on its hind legs, hooves pawing at the air.

There’s nowhere to run. But the earth continues to crack, and Odessa falls through the earth. It feels like a thousand feet, and she wonders if she’ll fall forever, or what the impact will feel like. The light above her grows smaller and smaller until there is only darkness.

Ange,” Odessa breathes out, a note of desperation in her voice. She feels the emotion that’s synonymous with the name of the poem and reaches out to the other dreamer. “You aren’t alone,” she promises. “I don’t know if you have control here” The ground shifts and cracks beneath her, beneath both of them and still she stands firm for what time she’ll have left to do that. “Reach for me. I’ll keep searching for answers. I’ll keep

The sounds of those hoofbeats drowns out her words, the earth shaking causes the blonde to stagger, falling to the patch of grass beneath her. She stares up with wide eyes at the terror that is this nightmare of a creature.

There’s no Aman to reach for her this time. No one to pull her back from the dream that’s become twisted. “I don’t leave you by choice!” Odessa calls out over the noise. “I’ll—”

Whatever promise she was about to make is drowned out by the sounds of her screaming as the ground gives way and she begins to plummet down, down, down…

Ace and Odessa’s Brownstone

March 20, 2021
5:12 AM

Odessa hits the mattress, the sudden impact of it causing a jolt of limbs that sends her surging upright with the covers clutched to her chest, catching her breath and staring across the bedroom with all but sightless eyes.


Ace takes a second to rouse, for once having been in a deeper sleep of his own. His arm has slipped from over her torso to her waist, and it withdraws entirely once he comes to. Blinking in the dark, he listens to the sound of her breathing for only a moment before he rolls to the side, places his hand gently on the base of the lamp beside the bed to activate it, then leans on his elbow to sit himself partly up as well.

"Here," he murmurs tiredly, opening his other arm to gesture her into the crook of it, to nest herself against him.

She shakes her head, but she doesn’t spurn the affection entirely. Odessa reaches out to find Ace’s hand without turning to him, lacing their fingers together tightly. Hers are trembling. “There’s someone hurting, and I don’t know how to help them.”

Slowly, she starts to come back to where she is in physical space, turns her head so she can look down that small way to where Ace leans. “I was falling.” He knows how much the very idea of that scares her. “The dreams aren’t an attack. They’re a cry for help.”

There’s no expectation that he’ll understand her own distress in this matter, beyond the notion of the interrupted sleep and the lack of control over her participation in this mess. “If I can fix it, it will stop.” Odessa’s eyes find his, quiet and so very tired. As if last night hadn’t been too damn much on its own, now this.

Ace sighs when Odessa doesn't lie back down, only her hand fishing for his. His eyes drop shut hard before they open again, flashing in the dark when she identifies the type of dream she's found herself waking from. By the time she turns back, she has more of his attention.

When she says what she feels is needed to stop the nightmares, he regards her with a subtle lift of one eyebrow. He considers it.

"You're not fixing anything tonight," he reminds her as much as tells her. They've only just settled in to sleep, it feels like. "It'll still be there in the morning. But if you want to write down what you recall…"

Sometimes that helps. So he's read. So he's told her previously.

She holds his gaze for a long moment before nodding her head. “That’s a good idea,” she acquiesces. A compromise she can live with, clearly. “You lay down again,” Odessa presses a kiss to her partner’s brow. “I left my notebook in the study. I’m going to get a drink and jot my notes.”

Already, she’s started to extract her fingers from the grip she initiated. “I’ll be back before you know it.”

He holds on to them long enough he can lean forward to press a kiss to her shoulder. It's enough for him to feel his support is known while still respecting her headspace. Then, Ace relents and lets go.

"I'll leave the light on for you," he murmurs, then is already lying back down, pulling the covers back up over his shoulders.

Odessa hums in lieu of a properly voiced thanks, pulling on a robe over her pyjamas before she slips from their bedroom to head down the stairs and to her study, where her books of poetry and her laptop wait.

That light will still be on come morning.

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