In the South the wraith awakes with a start in the middle of the night. Sweat soaks his hair and slicks his back, belly and thighs.

An otherworldly orange glow invades the room from the streetlight, forcing its way past his blinds. It almost gives the impression of a late summer sunset, but the little clock on his bedside table insists otherwise.

As he catches his breath and tries to recall what dream awoke him, the only sound is the slow dull noise of the lazy ceiling fan, distant traffic noises, the soft deep breathing of the small furball. She senses he’s awake and stirs slightly to glance over her shoulder at him, then turns over and settles back down.

Whatever it is, it’s out of reach now. Just a sense of having been back to the North again, traveling through the open plains, jumbled and distorted flashes of silver stars, emerald whirlpools, red staircases, and black hair. Fishnets and flashing jade. Stage lights. Dancing white stars and crushing crowds mixed with strains of sirensong and fragments of an Depeche Mode song. Diamonds flicker on an ocean far below.

It all blends together, nothing makes sense now.

He gets up to splash some cool water on his face. Stretches, trying to get the kink out of his neck, and finds himself missing the dull roar of the monsoons further North, the cool light breezes tickling the backs of his arms on nights he thought he needed only a t-shirt. Memories and a sense of near-levitation.

He shakes his head and rolls his shoulders.

Heading back to the bedroom he is greeted by the little dog. She blocks the doorway and stares at him with expectation. He stoops down and pets her head.

“Go back to sleep.”