“She’s waking up. Help me get her to bed.”
“Why didn’t she have a monitor on her?”
“Dr. Phillips didn’t think it necessary.”
Riley heard the words, but they were hard to comprehend. She had seen a light. It was bright and blinding, then there was nothing…except for this throbbing pain in her head.
What just happened?
She had been in a dream. Raz’s…no, Bruce’s dream, but that wasn’t possible. Even Saber had said it wasn’t possible. Had she imagined it?
That was dream logic for ya.
She couldn’t help using an explanation from the dream to explain the dream itself. She knew it didn’t make sense, yet somehow, a part of it did.
All of this, thinking about what had happened, made her head hurt that much more. She felt the sensation of being lifted.
She started to tell whomever it was to put her down, but the words came out garbled. She grimaced and tried to open her eyes. That was a mistake. It felt like bowling balls rattled around inside her head. Shafts of light formed stars at the corner of her vision.
Where were they taking her? Who were they? Maybe they were after Raz in his dream.
No, that had been a dragon. She was all kinds of confused, the thoughts not coming to her.
“Hey. What’s going on?”
“Everything’s okay, Bruce. We just found our young friend here collapsed on the floor by your bed. Do you know why she would have tried to make it over to you?”
Riley wanted to tell them about the dragon, but they wouldn’t understand. She knew she was on pain meds, but wouldn’t those have worn off by now? Why couldn’t she talk? And why was the room spinning?
“Well, I was having some really bad dreams…,” Bruce started.
“Alice, grab her legs…”
Bruce continued. “So maybe she was checking on me.”
“Help me get her back into bed. Be careful with the cast.”
“Doctor Linn will have to check it, make sure the leg doesn’t need to be reset.”
“I’d think she’d be in a lot more pain if it refractured.”
“She must have hit her head. Might have a concussion.”
Riley finally blinked open her eyes. When she was lifted up and set onto her bed, the world shifted and she quickly closed her eyes to keep from vomiting.
“She going to be okay?” Bruce asked.
“I’m sure she will. The doctor will be in to check on her.”
“Well, that’s good. She has a thick head. I was worried she might have hurt the hospital by falling down.”
“I heard that,” Riley mumbled as she risked opening her eyes again. The light in the room was bright, but at least it had stopped spinning. She looked up to see a man and woman nurse standing over her.
“Hey, I can’t help it if you forgot how to walk,” Bruce continued. “You know, limpy, you shouldn’t go falling around like that. You’ll end up breaking the other leg.”
“See if I ever trap any other dragons for you.”
Bruce was silent for a minute. “Man, you be crae, Lols. I can’t help getting nightmares, but you need to stay in your own bed.”
Riley realized her mistake right after she’d said it. Bruce was right. She shouldn’t be talking about what happened with anybody else around. They would think she was crazy and move her to another kind of hospital. One where the rooms were padded and she couldn’t get out when her aunt came to get her.
“Well, don’t cry out like a little baby, and I won’t try to wake you up. Some of us need to sleep, ya know.”
“What? You need to get your beauty sleep in order to wake up as a princess in the morning or something?”
The nurses both shook their heads, smirking.
“She’s fine,” the woman said as she walked toward the door.
“Ms. Herman, you get out of bed again, we’ll have to restrain you,” the male nurse said, raising his brows.
Riley vaguely remembered talking to him before she had fallen asleep. The guy had been cool, laid back, as they swapped skateboarding stories. He claimed he had also done some wicked stuff on his board. Now, though, his attitude was completely different, almost a jerk, as he followed the other nurse out the door.
“Damn,” Riley said once the door clicked shut. Now maybe she could get some answers.
“Hey, Bruce…or would you rather I called you Raz?”
He chuckled. “Bruce. We’re not in a dream now. I only go by Raz in the dreamscape.”
“Cool. I kinda figured. Do you mind if I ask you something?” Riley shifted in her bed to face Bruce, immediately regretting it as a sharp, stabbing pain in her leg reminded her that she was supposed to stay as still as possible.
“You want to know about the dreamscape?” Bruce asked, eyebrows raised.
“I want to know what happened. Is Saber going to be okay?”
He looked away. “I can’t tell you.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means you were never supposed to be there. It’s not my secret to tell anyway. But maybe I can show ya.”
Bruce looked around the room. Riley couldn’t help but feel like he was looking for listening devices.
Riley slowly shifted again, being careful with her leg this time. It was hard, the cast cumbersome, but she was finally able to maneuver it to sit up and be more comfortable. It was an improvement, but not by much.
“Show me? Show me how?” Riley wondered if there was some magical way Bruce could show her this world where people jumped into kids’ dreams and saved them from their nightmares.
“How soon you think you’ll be up and walking?”
“I can walk now. Lead the way.” Riley wasn’t kidding. If she thought it possible to get away, she’d run out. One night, yet she was already going crazy.
“Yeah, no. Take it easy. I’ve broken enough bones to know you need rest. Take a week, then swing by the shop and I’ll see if I can get you into the back room.”
“Shop?” Riley wasn’t sure if the disappointment came through in her voice, but she felt it gripping her chest.
“Yeah. It’s a bookstore downtown. Where Dreams May Come on First Street.”
“Just come down there. You’ll see.”
“Okay… First, there are still bookstores? Come on. My iPad has all my books on it. Second, you call the place Where Dreams May Come? Isn’t that a bit obvious?”
He smirked. “Yes, there are still bookstores. Try reading an actual book sometime. Second, who would ever think to look there? Who even knows what we do?”
“I guess-” Riley started, but got cut off when someone burst through the door.