Well, well, well. I have risen and come back from the dead. Jk. Ummm, it's been well over a year since I last got on and posted, and for that I am deeply sorry. A lot has happened in the last year and a half: my husband got a new job in my home town, so we moved to another state, I got pregnant right before the move, then when we moved up here, we didn't have a house, so we were living out of suitcases for a few months, then finally moved into our new home, and several months later, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, who is our world. I can safely say I have continued writing, just not as much as I used to, but I am working on that. My daughter doesn't allow me much time to myself, but my husband will sometimes take her so I can have some time to write. I can't guarantee I will post often or regularly, but I can promise that I will finish this book, if it's the last thing I do.

I did just check in to my account, and noticed people had stopped by to read, and for that I am grateful. Thank you all for your continued support, despite my lack of writing. I also wanted to let you know that I am still editing my first book, and will hopefully be able to go in and change that soon, so it will be a better read for you all. Hope you enjoy the next installment!

Chapter 6

"Lydia, Lydia." A voice called out to her. Lydia moaned and curled up even more, not wanting to leave the safe spot she'd found, but as the voice continued to speak, and the pain started to mount once again.

"Lydia, wake up. You should eat." A familiar voice sounded exasperated, but Lydia knew if she woke up, the pain would intensify, and it would be a long time before she would be able to fall asleep again and make the pain go away. Someone gently tugged on her shoulder.

"Nooooo." Lydia moaned, squeezing her eyes shut. "It hurts." Lydia gasped, cringing when a wave of pain overcame her body. She had no idea where the pain came from, just that it was always there when her consciousness decided to surface.

"She speaks." Lydia heard the woman say, almost sounding relieved. "Then you must be awake enough to eat." She continued to say. Lydia felt the hand pull a little harder, until Lydia was on her back, and she arched as another wave of pain coursed through her body.

"Make it stop!" Lydia's voice cracked, and she opened her eyes to find Sakura squatting next to her.

"If you eat, I can give you some pain medication. It will take away some of the pain." Sakura replied in a monotone voice, then held up a stained bowl with a tarnished spoon. Lydia's face broke out in a sweat as she tried to ignore her body screaming at her and tears threatened to fall down her face.

"Here." Sakura set the steaming bowl down on a box beside where Lydia was lying, and reached out and lifted Lydia up.

"Ach!" Lydia's face scrunched up with pain, and she gritted her teeth to stop a scream from escaping as Sakura reached behind her and fluffed up pillows, then leaned her back against them. Lydia panted, trying to gain control of the pain, but she knew she was in a losing battle, and she could see the black edging around the corner of her eyes, threatening to overtake once again. Lydia wanted to welcome it.

"Now, you must eat." Sakura stated, grabbing the bowl again, then holding out the spoon with a small portion of what looked to be soup. Lydia looked up and locked eyes with the Asian.

"This must be another crazy dream." Lydia spoke, but her voice sounded like a dying kitten. She gritted her teeth as a wave overcame her again, then allowed herself to relax as best as she could. Sakura shook her head and plopped the spoon back in the bowl.

"Nope. This is as real as it gets." Sakura looked down at the bowl and stirred the soup with the spoon absentmindedly. "Although I wish it were a dream." Sakura muttered, letting the spoon fall to the side of the bowl.

"Why am I here with you?" Lydia asked, finding she had a clarity of mind she hadn't had for a long time. She flinched as she shifted, then thought better of the idea. Sakura's gaze snapped up to Lydia's, something that Lydia couldn't quite catch flashing in her eyes.

"You don't need to know right now." Sakura growled, then picked up the spoon rather hastily, filling it with soup, and holding it up. Lydia sighed, then opened her lips and allowed Sakura to bring the spoon to her mouth. Lydia swallowed, then furrowed her eyebrows together.

"I can do this. I'm not a baby." Lydia stated, then held out her hands to take the bowl. Sakura glanced down at the hands and then smirked.

"Yeah. Like to see you try." Sakura rolled her eyes, and Lydia looked down and saw her hands quivering uncontrollably. She sighed and let them drop to the bed in exhaustion, and she leaned her head back against the wall, her eyes drifting to her surroundings.

"Where are we?" Lydia asked, then broke out in a coughing fit. Sakura sighed and laid the bowl down in her lap as she glanced around the room. Lydia took in the ratty, soiled curtains dangling from the two windows on either side of the cabin, the wood cabin walls with dark stains from years of vacancy, the dark, cold fireplace on the opposite side of the room, and the miscellaneous mismatched boxes lying around the cabin with little odds and ends on them. Her eyes landed on the vanity on the right side of the fireplace, and its mirror with the large crack down the center of it.

"It's for me to know, and you not to know." Sakura replied harshly, then stood up and slammed the bowl of soup down on the box beside Lydia's bed, and stalked over to the fireplace, rummaging around a few items on the rusted mantle, her back to Lydia, her shoulders heaving up and down.

"Sakura, what's going on?" Lydia asked in a hesitant tone, not sure if she wanted to know. She had no remembrance of being with Sakura, not since back at the cabin with Josh. And where was Josh? Lydia watched Sakura lower her hands to her side and clench her fists until they turned white. She suddenly whipped around and glared at Lydia.

"Don't ask any more questions." Sakura breathed, then pivoted and headed for the door and left without a word, slamming it behind her. Lydia stayed still for a few moments, trying to grasp what had just happened, her mind whirling. She leaned her head back against the wall. She had so many questions, but she didn't seem to have the answers, and Sakura was unwilling to help her figure it out. Besides, what was Sakura's problem?

Lydia shifted on the bed and gasped as the pain ripped through her body again, but was able to eventually lower herself down so she was laying on her right side, panting for air from the exertion. As unconsciousness seemed to overtake her once again, she wondered where in the world the pain seemed to be coming from.

Sage eyed Josh as he paced in Will's living room of his abandoned apartment, and blew a strand of hair out of her face, looking at it cross-eyed as it fell back down into her face. She glared at it for a couple of seconds, then she reached up and tucked it roughly behind her ear, focusing on Josh again.

"You know, pacing isn't going to bring him here any faster." Sage muttered, bringing her knees closer to her chest, balancing herself precariously on the arm of the tattered brown couch, and rested her chin on her knees. Josh rolled his eyes and stopped and looked at Sage.

"I still can't get out of my head how he got us out. It unnerves me that he had some kind of authority to be able to do that." Josh stuffed his hands in his jean pockets, and continued his pacing. Sage shrugged, her lips forming a frown.

"So? We got out. What's the problem?" Sage asked, her eyes following Josh as he walked from one side of the sparse living room to the other.

"There's something fishy about that guy." Josh replied, not breaking his stride. "His whole story doesn't seem right, and I have a feeling he's keeping a few things from us, and I just don't want it to come back and bite us all in the butt." Josh explained, and Sage flipped her head back, hoping her hair would cooperate and stay back, but to her disappointment, it didn't, and she growled before replying.

"The Christians are already gone. I think that if Orion had been wanting to do something to us or the Christians, he would have made his move before they left the city. Why be such a worry-wart?" Sage asked, setting her feet down on the floor, resting her hands on her knees. Josh shrugged.

"I can't tell you why I feel this way, but I don't trust him, never have, and I think we should ditch him the soonest we can." Josh explained, and Sage opened her mouth to reply, when in walked Orion.

"Hey, guys." Orion came in with a smile on his face, his voice booming as he spoke. He closed the door behind him, then reached up and slicked his blond hair back and out of his face. Sage felt butterflies flit around in her stomach, but she squashed them down. Her and Orion hadn't even addressed the issue of what had transpired between them the week before, and she wasn't sure if she wanted to talk about it.

"You didn't knock." Josh gave a cautious look to Orion, and Sage rolled her eyes, then abruptly stood and walked over to the two men, eyeing both of them.

"Josh, he was the one that told us to meet here. I think it's all right if he didn't knock." Sage spoke directly to Josh, then turned her back on him and faced Orion, holding out her hand.

"Nice to see you made it out ok." Sage said as Orion took hold her hand and shook it, then let go, smiling down at her. Sage felt her stomach tie up in knots; not just from butterflies, but from the elephant in the room that was obviously there.

"I wouldn't have allowed anything else to happen otherwise." Orion replied, then walked over to the couch and sat down on one of the seats. Sage followed suit, but Josh stayed standing, his arms crossed over his chest.

"You know," Sage began, breaking the silence between the three of them. "We're going to have to trust each other." Sage explained, and Josh snorted and looked towards the door, shaking his head.

"I thought we had trust." Orion's voice sounded betrayed, and Sage felt a pang of guilt strike her heart. Orion was apparently clueless to other people's feelings and picking up the little cues that Josh so carelessly threw around.

"I do." Sage replied, then turned so her knees faced Orion, then waved her hand towards Josh. "He, on the other hand, doesn't seem to trust either of us." Sage narrowed her gaze on Josh, who threw his hands up in the air and retorted.

"What the hell am I supposed to do here?" Josh raised his voice. "Sage, I just met you a couple of weeks ago, and according the elders, they said you are new to the group. No one has any idea where you came from or how you found out about the group, and that is cause enough for a trust issue."

Sage felt a pang in her heart at his cross words, and she visibly flinched as he threw his accusations at her. He turned to Orion and continued his rant.

"Orion, you just randomly show up out of no-where, and start dragging an unconscious me through the streets, and claim you found me. Your story doesn't seem to add up, especially since I went to that store you claimed you work at, and I found no records of you ever being there." Out of the corner of Sage's eye, she noticed Orion's shoulders start to sag, and his face started turning a pinkish color. She turned to look at him, doubt starting to form in her mind.

"Is that true?" Sage asked, her eyebrows furrowing together, and Orion shrugged.

"You can believe what you want." Orion stated, and Sage felt like she'd been slapped. Both men that had become some of the most important people in her life were now shattering her world.

"See what I mean?" Josh continued, obviously feeling like he was on a roll now that he'd began talking. "I don't think anyone can trust each other, not with all this shit going on." Josh spat, stuffing his hands back in his pocket again. Sage felt her blood start to boil. In an instant, she flew out of her seat and shoved Josh back, crashing him into the wall, then she smashed into him, smooshing up against him. She reached up and grabbed his neck with her hands and started cutting of the circulation.

"You have no right to come in here and make such accusations." Sage growled, her voice breaking, tears starting to form in her eyes. She shook Josh a bit, his head thumping against the cement wall behind him. She barely registered his face turning purple.

"I am a Christian, Josh. I became one a few months ago in a little box I call home in the Community. You know where that is, huh?" Sage spat, banging his head against the wall again. She heard her name being called, but she ignored it.

"Yeah, yeah, I know where that is." Josh wheezed. Sage squeezed harder.

"I live there, Josh. But what do you care about a street rat like me, huh? Nothing. I'm just scum to you, apparently. And here I thought that becoming part of a Christian group, I would get past all the labels people put on me, but I guess I was wrong." Sage banged his head again, hearing it echo in the almost empty room.

"Sage!" She heard someone call out her name, then noticed a pair of large hands reach out and grab her wrists, and yank them away from Josh, who immediately took in a gulp full of air and leaned over, hacking and coughing. Sage tried whipping around to attack the person holding her, but found she was helpless in his large arms.

"Let me go!" Sage screamed.

"Sage! Listen to me!" Sage's mind cleared a bit, and she realized she was in Orion's arms. She then thrashed out even harder.

"Orion, let me go!" Sage growled, then dug her nails into his skin, and he let go. She flew to the door.

"I'm leaving." Sage felt tears prickle her eyes again as she watched Josh trying to regain his breathing, and Orion eyeing her warily while rubbing his arm where she'd cut him. "Don't come looking for me." Sage's voice broke as tears blurred her vision, then she whipped around and opened the door, running into the hallway, not caring where she was going, as long as it was away from them.

"So, doctor," General Carmack drawled in a sarcastic tone, his voice slurred from the effects of the drugs. "What plans have you been making in my unconscious state?" He rasped, and Dr. Monet only smiled at him as she started gathering the good general's cocktail for the evening.

"Thanks to you, General, the Christian population will be diminishing starting tomorrow." Dr. Monet watched as fluid filled the syringe she was holding.

"I could have done that." General Carmack wheezed, and she heard him shuffling around on his bed. At least he was being cooperative tonight, unlike most nights. Dr. Monet sighed and set the bottle down, squirting some of the cocktail out of the syringe to get the air bubbles out, then met the good general's gaze.

"You never were able to do your job, General." Dr. Monet started walking towards the good general, never losing eye contact. "You knew we were after ALL the Christians, but yet you seemed to have eyes for only one." She stopped beside the bed, pulling her blond ponytail to her back, putting her hands on the metal rail of the good generals' bed.

"And even after all of that, General," Dr. Monet bent down to whisper in his ear. "The girl is still alive." She spat, and General Carmack began to weep.

"That God of hers must be real. It's the only way she could still be alive." The General said through the tears falling down his face.

"Shut up!" Dr. Monet slapped the husky man across the face. "How dare you talk that way! You know what we have been fighting against, and how dare you think that they actually have a God." Dr. Monet had had enough and reached down and held the syringe against the general's arm and pushed it in as he shuddered, and she emptied the contents into his body, and the general's eyes started to loll back into his head.

"I am beginning to rethink…" General Carmack slurred, then drifted off, leaving the doctor in silence. Dr. Monet stared at the man for a few seconds, then pivoted and headed for the medicine cabinet in the corner of the room. If she didn't need him alive, she would have made sure he died with the attack that happened at the execution. Or she would have made his death here at the hospital look like an unfortunate accident, and no one would have known better.

Dr. Monet opened up the trash container and threw the syringe in and shut it, blowing it up, then putting the concoction away underneath the counter, then locked it all up and stood, and walked to the door. She looked back at the good general before she left.

"One day, General, you will see the wisdom in my decisions." Dr. Monet whispered, then turned and left the room, leaving the General in silence.

"Ouch!" Kenzie gritted her teeth and stopped walking, hobbling over to a rock near her. She sat down on it and held her foot up, examining her ankle. A large, angry scratch started oozing as Kenzie looked at it, and she glared over at the offending thorn bush she'd just crawled past.

"What happened?" Gideon walked over to her from a group he'd been walking with behind her and squatted down to her level.

"Stupid bush got me." Kenzie muttered, turning her ankle so Gideon could see. Gideon held her ankle and looked it over, then put it on the ground, looking up into her eyes.

"You'll be fine. Nothing deadly." Gideon patted her knee and stood up, offering her his hand. Kenzie sighed and stood up with his help.

"Thanks." Kenzie mumbled, then brushed herself off. She looked up at Gideon, who pointed with his head in the direction the others were walking, and encouraged her to do the same. Kenzie's shoulders rose and fell in a sigh, then she started plodding forward, Gideon at her side.

"How long until we stop?" Kenzie asked, stepping over a branch in the way, then ducking under a cobweb. Gideon shrugged.

"I don't know." Kenzie's stomach tightened at Gideon's words. "Richard is listening for God's voice, but he hasn't heard anything yet, so we continue walking until that happens." Gideon explained, and Kenzie sighed.

"So we just keep walking?" Kenzie asked again, and Gideon nodded. Kenzie pursed her lips, swiping some of the hair out of her face with the palm of her hand. "This is hard!" Kenzie finally burst, throwing her hands up in the air. She heard Gideon chuckle.

"Trust me, this probably isn't as hard as when the Israelites left Egypt and had to live in the desert for forty years." Gideon stated, and Kenzie scrunched up her nose in confusion.

"Is-reel-what?" Kenzie frowned up at Gideon. Gideon burst out laughing.

"That's right, you probably don't know who they are. You probably didn't hear a lot of the Old Testament." Gideon mused.

"Old Testament." Kenzie tested the word on her tongue, then glanced up at Gideon again. "That's in the bible, right?" Kenzie asked, and Gideon nodded. The two bent down under some branches and Gideon held them back as Kenzie took the lead and the two stood up again once they got through the brush.

"Yup. That's there all right. The Old Testament is all of the scriptures before Jesus Christ, and the New Testament is the scriptures during and after Jesus Christ's life on earth." Gideon explained, and Kenzie nodded, grasping her early teen mind around his words.

"So what are those is-reel thingy-ma-bobs?" Kenzie asked, swiping a small flying insect away from her face. Gideon chuckled again, his eyes crinkling in the corners.

"The Israelites are a group of people back in the Old Testament that were God's people back at that time, kind of like how we are God's people." Gideon explained, and Kenzie nodded, prompting him to continue.

"They were captured by Egypt and forced into slavery for a very long time, but," Gideon paused as he ducked under a stray branch. "I will give you the short version so I don't confuse you, but a man named Moses was sent to help free the people, and after a long time and some trials that came up, the Pharaoh let them go, and they traveled in the desert for forty years until God brought them to the Promised Land." Gideon explained, and Kenzie felt her eyes widen.

"Forty years in a desert?" She squeaked. "I would DIE!" Kenzie slapped the palm of her hand against her chest and gulped. "I mean, no water, probably like no food, hot, hot sun…" Kenzie trailed off, her mind running wild with the possibilities. "That's just insane! I'm glad we are here in the forest with trees and what not." Kenzie waved her hand in front of her, heaving with relief.

"See what I mean?" Gideon laughed, then looked in another direction. Kenzie followed and saw a woman clutching her arm and crying.

"Well," Gideon spoke, "Duty calls. I'll catch you later." Gideon stated, then walked over to the woman who was surrounded by her husband and teenage children. Kenzie stopped for a few moments, thinking about what Gideon had told her, then rolled her shoulders back and stood up straight.

"If they could do it, so can I." Kenzie stated resolutely, then started forward again with new energy.

"Knock knock." Sage's head jolted upright and a gasp escaped her lips at the intruder's voice. She squeezed her legs tighter with her arms, her eyes wildly darting about her surroundings, her heart running a mile a second. Oh, yeah. She was in her cardboard box back at the Community.

"Sage, you in there?" The muffled voice called out again, and Sage took a deep breath, her eyes rolling back into her head as she gained control of her breathing and her heart. She smacked her lips together a few times, opened her eyes once again, then swiped her hair back behind her ears, only to have it fall into her face again.

"Yeah, I'm here." Sage grunted as she ran her fingers through her hair, hoping it would somehow tame the mess she knew it was in. She prayed she didn't have any remnants from last night's cry session either.

"Am I allowed to come in?" It was Jordyn.

"Whatever." Sage answered, and after a few moments, the cardboard make-shift door was being moved away, and Jordyn squatted down and climbed in the box, making sure to close the door behind her. She then scooted a little closer, leaning her back against the wall, but being careful not to push too far, since the box was still a bit sketchy.

"What do you need?" Sage eyed the other girl, and noticed a large bruise under her eye. She wondered if Zeke had done it, or if she'd gotten into a fight somewhere else.

Jordyn's eyes drifted over to Sage, her dark eyes boring into Sage. Sage shifted, feeling slightly uncomfortable.

"Just came to see how you're doin'." Jordyn replied, smoothing her straight black hair back into a ponytail. Sage frowned and shrugged her shoulders.

"Fine." Sage replied, not sure how else to answer. Silence became ominous as the two girls sat there, Sage not daring to talk, and Jordyn continued playing with her hair. Finally Jordyn looked at Sage again.

"Talking tends to help, you know." Jordyn replied, and Sage snorted.

"What do you mean?" Sage asked, her mind drifting to the sob fest she'd had, and wondered if Jordyn had heard.

"Heard you last night." Jordyn explained, holding up her hand and inspecting her nails. Sage sighed and rolled her eyes.

"None of your business." Sage replied, clenching her hands into fists, the knuckles turning white. She didn't need this. Not now.

"You made it our business when you became a part of the Community." Jordyn replied, still not looking up from her hand. Sage frowned.

"Excuse me?" She asked, her voice rising an octave. Jordyn sighed.

"When you joined us, you agreed that we would all work together, not hide anything, keep each other safe, and what not. You're hiding something, Sage, and I can't shake this feeling that it's gonna end up hurting us, or separating you from us." Jordyn explained.

"You were crying last night, and I think the whole damn community heard it, and everyone's uptight about it. We don't want anyone unsettling the community, and if you can't get your act together, then you may need to leave. Especially if you're hiding secrets from us."

"Who doesn't have secrets?!" Sage exclaimed, throwing her arms about. "Jordyn, you certainly have secrets, don't think me naïve." Sage stared pointedly at Jordyn. "I'm not the only one that does background checks on the people I live with. I've followed you and every single person in this community from time to time. I know some of your secrets, Jordyn, so don't come preaching to me about secrets when you have them too." Sage heaved as Jordyn flinched.

"You mind your own damn business, Sage." Jordyn hissed in a low tone, her eyes narrowing to slits. She then flipped her long ponytail back as she turned and faced the make-shift door and pushed it open, and turned around to face Sage once again after she'd gotten out of the enclosure.

"If you don't buck up soon, we may have to ask you to leave the community. Got that, Sage?" Jordyn said loud and clear, obviously so the others in the area could hear. Sage growled and rolled her eyes, pulling her legs up closer to her chest, but nodded as she gritted her teeth.

"Got it." Sage muttered, and Jordyn gave a nod, then put the door back on her box, and left her in silence. Sage sat huddled in the corner for a long while, listening to see what would happen, her thoughts whirling around in her head. Who was she to come and push Sage around like that? She thought she'd been on good terms with the community, but apparently not. And thinking back, Sage could pinpoint times where her place in the community started to go south.

"Dang nab it!" Sage spat, tightening her knuckles, turning them white. A lump formed in her throat. If she couldn't stay, there was no-where else safe to go. She would have a reputation, and the other communities would ban her as well.

"I can't go back." Sage whispered as tears welled up in her eyes. Her body trembled as memories started to haunt her. Yeah, it had been months, almost a year since she'd been off the streets, but she sure as hell wasn't going back. Not after being accepted into a community.

"Frick." Sage sniffled, swiping the small amount of tears that had formed in the corners of her eyes. She needed a walk and some fresh air. Maybe it would help clear her mind. She reached over and grabbed her brown satchel, weathered and worn, and tightened her boots around her ankles.

"God, please help." She whispered humbly as she put her hand on the cardboard door and pushed it open. "I'm gonna need it."

Josh breathed, his eyes still closed, basking in the warmth. His consciousness flitted between wakefulness and sleep, teetering dangerously close to the black abyss. Where was he? He felt calm, peace, and warmth not only from the outside, but from inside as well. His first thought was the beach on an island in the tropics, but he couldn't hear the ocean. He curled up tighter, squinting his eyes shut, deciding that sleep should take him.

"Joshua." A deep voice called out. Josh jumped, his eyes flying open, then squinting at the brightness surrounding him.

"Geez louise!" Josh hissed, his hand hovering just above his eyes in an attempt to block the brilliance.

"Over here." The voice sounded again, and Josh whipped around and faced the direction the voice came from. Josh's eyes had somewhat adjusted to the light, but it still hurt to look around.

"Who are you? Where the hell am I?" Josh shouted, rubbing his eyes with his fists, hoping to help with the adjustment to the bright light.

"Here, let me help with that." The voice said, and Josh felt the man touch him on his forehead, and immediately the pain from the light went away, and Josh opened his eyes to look into the face of a man not much older than he was, with blond curls and brilliant blue eyes smiling down at him. Josh flinched away, holding his arm up in defense.

"Who the hell are you?" Josh asked, realizing the man had never answered him the first time. "And how the freaking hell do you know my name?" Josh asked, scooting farther away from the glowing figure standing above him.

"I am Uriel." The man answered simply, and Josh eyed him up and down, noting the white clothing he was wearing. Even that seemed to glow. Dream. This had to be a dream. Josh's heartbeat slowed down at the revelation.

"Yeah. Uriel." Josh repeated slowly, eyeing him warily. "Where am I?" Josh looked around, but all he could see was white. White mist surrounded him, giving him no indication of where he was located.

"You wouldn't believe me." Uriel deadpanned, holding out his hand to Josh, who looked him straight in the eye.

"Try me." Josh glared, not daring to move. Uriel sighed and let his hand drop.

"Fine." Uriel shrugged. He pointed upwards. "He told me you might be difficult." Uriel's shoulders rose and fell. "This may feel a little uncomfortable, just warning you." Uriel stated, then raised his left hand and snapped his fingers. Immediately, Josh felt his head spin and his stomach felt like it was going to fly out of his mouth, but just as soon as it was there, the feeling left, and Josh opened his eyes to find himself in his own apartment on the kitchen floor. Had he passed out?

"No, you didn't pass out." Uriel's voice came from behind him, and Josh whirled around and stood to his feet.

"Ok, ok…" Josh heaved, holding his hand to his heart, clutching the counter to hold himself up. "This is one crazy dream, but I must admit, it feels pretty realistic." Josh chuckled, although it sounded more like a hissing rat as he tried to catch his breath at the same time.

"This isn't a dream, Joshua." Uriel stated, taking a step closer to Josh. Josh snorted.

"Yeah, sure. I will wake up soon in my own bed, and know this was all a dream." Josh babbled, his thoughts running wild. Of course it was a dream. Why else would he be talking to strangers that knew his name and be traveling to unknown locations in the blink of an eye?

"I guess you can say it's a dream, if that makes you feel more comfortable." Uriel shrugged, then glanced around the kitchen, walking over to the kitchen sink and peering at the window sill. There, he looked at a little clay dish Kenzie had made for Josh back in the second grade, then picked it up to admire it.

"A little dusty, isn't it?" Uriel asked, then swiped his finger around the rim of it, pinching the dust between his forefinger and thumb, rubbing it away. Josh shrugged, not caring what the man did, since it was all a dream anyway. He glanced over and noted that he had changed clothing as well, taking on a pair of jeans and a blue t-shirt with a brown jacket over it. The man seemed tall, well over six feet, but slender and muscular. Uriel put down the clay dish back on the window sill, his blue eyes drifting over to Josh and boring into him.

"You still have questions about Lydia." Uriel stated, and it took Josh a couple of moments to process his words. Josh stood up straight and shook his head, his finger and thumb reaching up and pinching the bridge of his nose.

"Wait, wait, wait." Josh held up his other hand, closing his eyes, processing. "Let's not get into this, because every time Lydia shows up in my dreams, I have to witness her death all over again. Let's not go there, ok?" Josh opened his eyes and glared at the man, who frowned.

"I promise you won't have to see her die again." Uriel remarked. Josh scoffed.

"I was sent here to help you find answers about Lydia, and to answer the questions spinning around in your head." Uriel walked up and tapped Josh on the head, who only ducked away and backed up into the stove behind him. Josh didn't like where this was going. He didn't feel right about this whole situation. Something seemed off.

"Lydia is dead. There are no answers to be found." Josh ground out, gripping the handle of the oven behind him. Uriel smiled, his eyes filling with compassion.

"Sometimes there's more to the story than meets the eye." Uriel said, and immediately Josh felt his world spinning once again.

Josh gasped, grabbing his head with both of his hands, moaning into his pillow as sweat drenched his bedsheets. He stuffed his face into his pillow, writhing as he fought to overcome the nausea. After a few moments, his world stopped spinning, and he seemed to have more control over his body, and he lay himself down and allowed himself to breath and relax onto his sweat soaked bed.

When would he stop having such vivid dreams? When would he stop waking up drenched in sweat? His mind went back to the dream he'd just woken up from.

"Sometimes there's more to the story than meets the eye." The person in the dream, Uriel, had said. The dream had seemed so realistic, as if Josh had been standing there in his kitchen the whole time, but since he'd woken up in his bed, Josh told himself it was all a dream.

"Damn it." Josh muttered, realizing his mouth was dry. He threw the blankets and sheets off of him and lifted himself off of the bed and walked to the kitchen, upset that he'd lost another night of sleep. It seemed all he ever got anymore was a few hours a night. He wondered how many hours of sleep someone could live off of as he reached into the cabinet for a glass, then closed it and turned on the tap, letting the water run for a moment before starting to fill up his cup. As he watched his cup fill, he glanced at the window sill, and noticed Kenzie's pink clay dish she'd made for him. The man in the dream had picked it up and-

Josh's heart stopped and he dropped the glass, his eyes glued to the clay dish. Around the rim, the dust had been removed, leaving a ring around the top. A dream? What the hell?