11

The tree's flew by in a blur as my legs pushed my tired and bruised body as fast as they could away from the howling pack of undead. When I had been sitting on the ground just minutes before, my strength seemed to be at an end. Now I wasn't sure if I had another adrenaline rush, or if some sort of magic was at work, but whatever it was responsible for this surge of energy, I was just happy it had appeared.

I couldn't see the zombies or the ghoul anywhere behind me, but I could hear them. They didn't seem to care that I or anyone would know they were coming. Then again who was going to stop them? Certainly not me. I had proved that the last time we met. Even though I was stronger than any of them, my lack of combat skills showed that I was not in their league even for a second. If we ever got out of here alive, I was going to have to ask Kerry to show me how to use this damned sword.

"You hear that Kerry? You're going to teach me sword play so that we never find ourselves in this situation again." I said as I continued to run. I waited for a few seconds almost holding my breath hoping to hear her response. I sighed loudly when I realized there was none coming.

"You know it really isn't fair that you're making me do all the work."

Still no reply... "Fine, just rest up. We've got plenty of time to straighten things out between us."

If we ever got out, I wasn't sure how long I'd been running since escaping that zombie circle. Five minutes, maybe more, and I haven't been exactly jogging either. I should be seriously winded by now, after all I wasn't used to any kind of intense physical labor. But for the most part I wasn't feeling any kind of strain. I was actually feeling pretty good, and the bloody scratches that had been on my arms and stomach were all but gone. It seemed this body was able to heal itself without any medical treatment. "That's handy."

I paused and tried to get my bearings. I could hear the zombie pack closing in, but even so they were still a good distance off. I was a little surprised they made this much noise. Normally in our past meetings they had made little to no noise before they came lumbering out of the mist. This seemed a bit uncharacteristic of them. I suppose this was like some kind of ghoulish sport to them, with me being first prize. That thought was a little unsettling. Still I needed to get out of the park, so running headlong without any idea of where I was would do no good. I needed to find the path out of here, and the easiest way to find that was to find the park lamps that lined it.

The problem with that was even now I didn't see them at all. The sounds of pursuit closed in on my position. I was safe for now, but I doubted that would last too much longer. I had to make a decision...but which way?

"Wait a second..." I looked off to my left and then looked off to my right. "I think the mist is actually lighter this way." I peered off to my left trying to make sure the slight difference wasn't a figment of my imagination. In the end there really wasn't any other decision possible. At least there was some hope that the lamps were in this direction. I started running again with all I had. I wanted to try and get back the small lead I had, which shouldn't be that hard as I was faster than them.

The mist in front of me began to lighten and thin as I pushed myself. Seconds later I could make out the line of lamps that were paced along the park pathway. The distance between us evaporated as my legs pushed me towards them. The second that I put my foot upon the cold cement I felt a sense of elation. I wasn't out of the park yet, but I would be soon.

The bright daylight was almost blinding as I emerged from the park at a full run. A man on a bicycle cursed me as he almost swerved into traffic trying to avoid running into me. His yells ended abruptly when he finally caught sight of the sword I was carrying.

I stood there and just caught my breath, happy to be free of the dark park and the pea soup like mist. The sound of pursuit had finally disappeared. Somehow I had made it, and the two of us had survived. Yet I had no idea how Kerry was doing, and no way to find out. The knowledge that she needed a hospital sat heavily upon me, yet what was I supposed to do about it in this form? With us joined Kerry didn't have a physical body, so it was impossible to treat her. The only solution was to unjoin us, and the only way that had happened was when we were both asleep. That meant...

"Guess I need to get home and take a nap."

The crosswalk was red as usual, but since I couldn't remember how to sheath the transformed Dream Weaver it was going to be awkward carrying it around. I needed to get home fast, so I ran across the street without waiting for the light. Jaywalking was going to be the least of my troubles if a cop saw the blade I had. The window I had left unlocked opened easy enough, so I got into the apartment fairly quickly. I sat the sword down on the dining table and went to the fridge to find a drink. I didn't think I had anything as I needed to go shopping, but who knew?

I was surprised to find the fridge stocked with fruits and vegetables and an unopened carton of orange juice. I opened it and downed the entire half gallon before feeling satisfied. A box of stale crackers made me feel even better before I headed into the bedroom.

"Well, Kerry, I hope this works." I said as I laid down and closed my eyes. I wondered how long it would take before I fell asleep. All of a sudden, I found myself trying to avoid being run down by a banana riding monkey. The rest of my dreams after that were utter nonsense, and I had no idea how long I was asleep until I opened my eyes and found a pile of yellowish hair in my face. I sat up in a start and looked down at the half dressed girl. Her clothing was still in disarray, just as it had been right before the joining, but the cuts and bruises...they were all gone. Not a scratch or a mark was on her from what I could see. Not that I was going to investigate very far at the moment.

The last thing I needed was to have a pissed off girl catching me poking around her half-dressed body as she slept. However...there was still the problem of her exposed breasts. I started to reach for her makeshift bandage with the intent of pulling it up, but decided against it for the same reasons I didn't check her body for more serious injuries. In the end pulling up my side of the blanket and covering her with that seemed like the best plan. I paused right before covering her, overwhelmed with the urge to double-check once more while I still could. After all, I did need to make sure I wasn't hallucinating.

Yep. She still had breasts. Nice, small, hand sized ones, with very pink nipples. I couldn't imagine better looking bre-I shook my head to clear it. What was I thinking? This was still my roommate whom I hardly knew. I needed to show him, ah...her respect.

I draped Kerry with the blanket and started to get up and leave the room.

"Ron?" I heard her say just as I reached the door.

"Kerry...! Are you alright?" I turned and rushed to her side of the bed.

"Where are we?" she said as she rubbed her head and looked around. "Am I in your bedroom?" Her eyes went wide, and she looked down at the blanket covering her. "What am I doing in your bed?"

Kerry sat up quickly, and the blanket started to fall off and expose her bare skin below. A shocked intake of air came from her as she grabbed the blanket and pulled it to her chin... her face going beet red at the same time.

"What do you remember?" I asked slowly.

"You saw didn't you?" Kerry said, her face down and her eyes covered by her bangs.

"I- Well-"

"You had no right!"" She screamed at me as she smacked her fist onto the bed.

I took a step away from the bed, feeling the wave of fury that had come out of nowhere from Kerry. My concerns for her were completely forgotten as I remembered how dangerous this person could be. I was happy to remember that I had left the transformed sword out on the dining table. The further she was from that sword right now, the safer I was going to feel.

"Kerry, it wasn't my fault!" I shouted as quickly as I could, trying to decide if maybe I should make a run for the bedroom door.

"So what...? My shirt fell off on its own?"

"The ghoul! It was the ghoul remember?" I said as I made my decision and backed myself all the way to the door.

"The ghoul?" She said and paused, looking confused.

"Yes, remember...? You were fighting the ghoul?"

She looked up at me and blinked a couple of times as if trying to remember. I was about to give up and just leave when her face relaxed as if she suddenly recalled. "The ghoul..." She said, and started to look around at her surroundings again. "That's right...we were in the park and I told you to leave..."

I nodded my head as yesterday evidently came flooding back to her. "Yes you did, but it's a good thing I didn't listen."

She paused and frowned at me as if I had said something vile.

"Alright, I remember that, but the question is where are my clothes and why am I in your bed? And how did I get here?"

I lifted one finger and said, "That's more than one question."

"Just answer the questions." She said flatly, before pulling the blanket up to her chin and holding it there with it. From her movement I would guess she was pulling her bandages up to cover her, before pulling some of the blankets around her and standing up next to the bed. Her movements were graceful, and I wondered how I never noticed that before.

"Well...firstly, the ghoul ripped your shirt off and...and your bandage."

Kerry paused and looked at me, her face completely emotionless except for the fire that I swear was raging in her blue eyes. "Did you see?" She said with no emotion in her words. I looked down at the floor so I did not have to look in her eyes as I answered her.

"It was hard to miss."

She sighed then started heading for me. I backed out of the doorway and flinched as she reached me.

Instead of doing anything, she turned and headed for her room. "Nothing's changed!" she yelled over her shoulder as she disappeared into her room. The door slammed microseconds later.

I stood there wondering what to do next.

The front room was quiet except for the nearby traffic. I gnawed on a carrot as I pondered my next course of action. I hoped Kerry wouldn't be mad that I had drunk all her orange juice, since technically that was both of us anyway. This carrot, too. That one was just me. Still, I really needed to go to the store. Hopefully I'd get the chance later today.

Her door finally opened and she came out into the kitchen and opened the fridge.

"What the hell...? Where's my orange juice?"

"Ahm...technically you drank it." I answered.

"What?" she said as she turned and looked at me puzzled.

"Well... I drank it, but you were inside of me..." I said feeling the weight of her stare as her expression changed.

"No! We did not!" she said as she stomped into the front room where I was sitting, the bare skin of her feet smacking the floor as she walked toward me on the bare floor.

I put my hands over my head and drew my knees up to my chest in self-defense, expecting the worst. "I had no choice! It was either that or we both died!"

She paused right in front of me, her face still not happy, but at least it didn't look as if she were about to hit me.

"You'd better tell me what happened." She said as she sat down in the chair across from me.

"Well...um."

So, I told her, at least the best that I could. I even told her about the battle after she was knocked out. I tried not to let myself sound too bad during that fight, though. After all, I had gotten us out of there safely, so I didn't want to sound like a coward or anything. I had tried to fight the ghoul, I just couldn't beat him.

"You did well, Ron." She said and smiled. "From what you said it couldn't be helped."

"You think so?"

"This is my fault for underestimating that thing. My pride did this to me, not you."

I felt relief at her words. I was happy she wasn't mad at me anymore. Now maybe we could take some time and get to know each other. I especially wanted to know why she hid the fact that she was a girl.

"I won't make the same mistake again. This time it's going to be different." She said as she stood up and headed for the kitchen.

"Wait a minute, what?" I asked confused at the sudden shift of direction in our conversation.

"I'm going back, Ron. That crystal has to be destroyed."

"But..we just got back, we need to rest!" I said.

"No, I have a job to do. You rest here, Ron, where it's safe." She said before heading for the table where her sword lie waiting for her.

"No!" I said standing up. "I'm not going to let you go by yourself."

"Forget it Ron-" She began to say before crying out in pain and dropping Dream Weaver. Smoke rose up from the hand that had picked up the sword as she had been speaking to me. I ran over to look at her hand as tears involuntary ran down her cheek.

The imprint of the sword's hilt was burned into her palm.