This post is part of the November Blog Chain at Absolute Write. This month’s challenge is to write a drabble: a story exactly 100 words long.

“But it seemed so real…” Ohns said, tears in his eyes.

“That’s how dreams are,” said the dark-haired child. “We make sense of them, fill in the details.”

“What’s going to happen to everyone?” Ohns cried.

“The sleeper must awaken, but nothing will be lost. We will wake up, and be whole once more.”

Ohns nodded hesitantly. “I think I’m ready.”

The sky bloomed with radiance, overwhelming everything—from the twilight city of Eswe to Clen by his lake–and gently washing it away.

In the ICU, Jackie Sullivan awoke, and Ohns’ world vanished into the recesses of his being.

Check out this month’s other bloggers, all of whom have posted or will post their own drabbles:
Bettedra (direct link to the relevant post)
FreshHell (direct link to the relevant post)
CScottMorris (direct link to the relevant post)
AuburnAssassin (direct link to the relevant post)
Aheila (direct link to the relevant post)
Bibbo (direct link to the relevant post)
hilaryjacques (direct link to the relevant post)
Proach (direct link to the relevant post)
jonbon.benjamin (direct link to the relevant post)
rmgil04 (direct link to the relevant post)
PASeasholtz (direct link to the relevant post)
Regypsy (direct link to the relevant post)
Madelein.Erwein (direct link to the relevant post)

“Why do you think everyone is being so cagey? They’re protecting something.”

Kevin waved his arm, but the fever-addled could manage only a feeble swat.

Fiona continued, never breaking her gaze. “This is bigger than you realize. Maybe bigger than you can realize.”

“You…you’re just a fever dream…” Kevin mumbled weakly.

“Who’s that you’re talking to?” Marcia said in the next room. “You need your rest!”

“No. This place, that’s the fever dream. The tortured hallucinations of something we can’t comprehend.” Fiona approached, hand outstretched. “Come with me.”

“No…no,” moaned Kevin. “I’m not listening anymore. Even my own subconscious won’t give me a straight answer.”

Her stare didn’t waver, but Fiona began to grow agitated. “I’m trying to save you, can’t you understand that? What does the truth matter if you can’t understand it?”

“No…”

Marcia entered the room carrying a stack of hot towels. “These’ll have you right as rain soon enough. Who were you talking to?”

“F-Fiona…”

“Well, you’re in a bad state now, but not so bad as to be talking to the dead.”

“And if it’s not done by the end of the week, I’ll have your heads on a platter at the partners’ meeting and on stakes in the plaza after that!” Kilp yelled. “When you work in this firm, you produce results!” She stormed off, ponytail swinging angrily. Each strike of a high heel on the floor seemed forceful enough to shatter shoe or tile, whichever was weaker.

A short silence followed.

“Kilp, why must you be the queen of all bitches, indeed of all bitch-kind?” Mike said to the closed door. “The single template from which all other bitches are wrought?”

“Upbringing,” said Gene. “Raised in a house with seven brothers, forced to learn how to mash balls to live.”

“Sex change,” Mike countered. “You can take the drill instructor out of the Marines, you can even cut the drill off of the Marine, but you can’t take the marine out of the drill instructor. Not even with hormones.”

“You guys have it all wrong,” said Jason. “You see, Kilp is really the proboscis of a pandemensional predator which must feast of human souls.”

“Give it a rest, Jason,” Gene groaned. Fun was fun, but Jason’s moronic flights of fancy had a way of getting old.

“Hear me out, hear me out,” said Jason, grinning. “Kilp’s projected into our reality as a lure, like an anglerfish, and our misery sustains her between feedings. She subsists on a diet of interns, since no one notices when they disappear, but every now and then hungers for sweeter meat. When one of us gets fired, we’re really enveloped and consumed.”

Grumbles and a few crumpled wads of paper came at Jason from every angle.

“Mark my words,” he continued. “And beware if she ever opens her mouth way wider than usual and you see rows of teeth.”

In the nearby conference room, Kilp had one ear pressed to the door.

“He knows!” she growled.

In a dark and windswept place, the Lady and the Fighter met. A cool wind was blowing, making the Lady’s silvery cloak and the Fighter’s long black coat as things alive, writhing and twisting.

“What about…him?” the Fighter said. “If he returns, he’ll crush us. I can’t win against him–none of us can.”

‘”He is lost,” crowed the Lady, each word accentuated by a cloud of mist from her lips. “Swallowed by the darkness he created. There’s no more than an echo left, a pathetic little thing.”

“Let me kill him,” the Fighter said. “I’ll make it slow, so when I finally crush his skull, he’ll know…”

“No. You will leave the echo He is already broken. The echo is powerless to act, and is no threat to us. But, more than that, I want him to see our triumph. He sought to destroy us–now he will see us triumphant and simply fade away.” The Lady laughed, silver bells smothered in indigo velvet.

“I still think we’re making a mistake,” said the Fighter.

“Of course. Attacking, grappling, feeling the sour breath of your adversary in your face: that’s you. Far better to act with a subtler touch.” the Lady said. She made a sweeping gesture and rose off the ground, riding the wind like a gossamer thread. “Great things have been set in motion; go and do your part.” She wafted upward, and vanished among the clouds.

“And you do yours,” the Fighter muttered. The ground at his feet became tacky and malleable, and he sank into it. The precipice where the conspirators had met was left barren, as it had always been.

A small figure appeared at the edge, emerging from nothingness as a fuzzy outline before congealing into the form of a small child with dark hair. He stood for a moment, sadly regarding the desolate scene, and then vanished, fading away like a dream upon awakening.