I dreamed of Sam again last night. We held each other and kissed and touched, and it was so nice to see him again. I've missed him so badly. All I wanted to do was pretend that nothing had happened, that he was still alive and we were happy.
But it couldn't last. My shoulder still hasn't quite healed from that last attack in the City. And Sam found it fast.
"What is it?" He asked, concern in his sweet hazel eyes.
I looked away and pulled my shirt to the side so he could see the wound. I didn't really know what to say.
Sam went pale. "Who did this?"
"These two assholes cornered me in an alley."
"Oh." He looked relieved, hoping blindly that I hadn't yet been pulled in for real.
"Sam, who were you running from?" I asked him firmly
His face crumpled and he shook his head. "No. It's not safe. Even here."
"Sam. Who were you running from? It's important. I don't know if I'm going crazy, or..."
He still shook his head and refused to answer, though I could see him grow paler still.
I took a deep breath. "Tall man. Wears a suit. Arms are too long, sometimes too many of them." He hugged me tightly as I spoke. "And he has no face."
"You did your research." He tells me quietly.
I shook my head. "I saw him."
He broke down crying and apologizing. I pulled him into my arms and kissed him and rubbed his back. Anything I could think of to comfort him, I did. Eventually he relaxed in my arms and started hugging me back, trying to comfort me in return.
"What is he?" I asked gently, hoping he could give me some answers.
"He's a monster." He replied automatically. "And he's old. Don't let them convince you otherwise. He's this old... thing, that took the form of something some guy came up with."
I nodded, taking a deep breath to steady myself in his arms.
"As soon as you can, get up high. You'll be safer there."
I laughed weakly. "I know. I found the Tutorial. Now I know why you did the stuff you did."
He laughed with me, more out of a need to release some tension than out of any real humor in the situation. "I don't know that there's really any way to escape him. I think maybe he lets you think so, then comes to get you when he's bored."
I didn't know what to say to that, so I kissed him. I never expected to make it to thirty anyway, living on the street. I'd almost rather it were a monster to do it instead of some random person killing a nigger for kicks.
"You'll be alright. You're strong. Stronger than I ever was. Just stay good." He smiled at me, and for a moment I could almost forget what we were talking about.
I smiled back. "You're stronger than you ever realized."
"You're still stronger than me. You'll be alright."
"I love you, Sam."
"I love you too. I'm so sorry."
"You did everything you could."
He curled up in pain, abruptly crying out and sobbing helplessly. "Wake up."
He grabbed my shoulders and shook me. "Lils, you have to wake up!"
I kissed him, then let myself be pulled back into the waking world. Before I was even fully awake, I'd grabbed my weapon and jumped to my feet.
It would have been fantastic if what had invaded my camp hadn't been the monster himself.
I grabbed what I could and ran for it. I was lucky he didn't follow.
I'm in a larger city now, sitting in a rooftop cafe and trying to figure out what to do next. At least now I know that the dreams are real.