The story so far:
She struggled from the dreams where dogs snarled and bears roared. Darkness wrapped tightly about her, keeping her arms and legs secure and unmoving. Her fingers, toes, even the muscles upon her face felt paralyzed, unmoving. She could not open her eyes. She could not choose to take a deep breath. It was as if someone breathed for her.
Time passed slowly in her dark world. Voices softly reached her ears. For a long time they meant nothing to her. They were noise, more growls and snarls and roars of cascading snow. Where the dream ended and reality began, she could not decide. Nor did she want to. Unable to see, unable to move, Renni simply existed. There was nothing else for her to do.
But the voices did not remain distant. Her mind gradually awakened to the reality surrounding her and the dream world, the nightmare of the past, faded into mere memories she no longer had to relive over and over again. The voices grew clear and familiar and had she the strength to cry out in joy, she would have done so. She did not. She did not even have strength enough to open her eyes. Not yet.
Gentle hands caressed her face. She felt them now, felt her body in a way she had not while trapped in her own haunting memories. The hand felt cool. It felt non-human. Only three appendages, three thumbs, touched her hair, smoothing it back from her face.
“It is a miracle you able to find her,” Phys said, his voice surprisingly choked with emotion. His grammar had improved some since she last heard him. Renni so wanted to smile. She struggled to do so, but still could not move, not even her lips. Only her ears worked.
“The Healer signal just enough. Had she not broken it, I not find her.” The voice was raspy, thick and yet graceful. She knew the voice, though she’d only heard it once before. He had saved her life then when he told her to hide in the city. He’d saved her life again, pulling her out from under the snow.
Renni remembered her leg then. She remembered the bear landing on her, breaking her bones. Her mind fought the possibilities of what had happened to her since then. In her dark, unmoving world, she fought panic. It nearly consumed her, giving her the strength to finally move, if only to open her eyes.
The world at first was one great big blur of light and color. She struggled to make sense of it all. Nothing cleared. It was as if she looked through a thousand shards of frosted glass.
“Give it time, Renni,” a third voice spoke. She willed it to speak again, hoping she had not been mistaken. Her mind screamed at him, screamed to hear him. He touched her, human fingers gripping her hand. “It’s okay now,” he said. “You’ve been through a lot. More than you know. It will take time. Give it time.”
Her lips moved, her mouth and vocal cords sluggish. She did not recognize her own voice. “Thomas?”
“Yeah. I’m here. I’m not going to leave you, Renni. You are safe.”
“Thomas,” she whispered again.
“Renni rest now,” Phys said. Thomas’ hand left hers. She let out a groggy wail.
“It’s alright,” Thomas said. “Everything will be alright.”
She closed her eyes to the darkness once more, unable to bear the shattered world of light any longer. Inside herself, she cried. Tears streamed from her eyes down her cheeks. She listened as the three walked away.
“I do not know how she will handle news,” Phys said, his voice distant now.
“She strong little Harbinger. She handle.”
Thomas sighed. “I don’t know. After so much, it could devastate her.”
“We will wait. We will see. Marshall right, Renni is strong.” They moved away, and the voices faded. The last she heard before blacking out into anguishing dreams once again was Phys muttering to himself, “Renni strong, we will see.”