*blinks* Jeez, you want more?? LOL! Oh well, here ya go then. Enjoy!
The scream echoed around the small flat and most of the neighbouring ones as well. In these neighbouring ones, people stirred briefly, lifted their heads sleepily, then grunted in a kind of 'oh, it's him' way and lay back down again.
In the small flat itself, Jerome Pradon was sitting bolt upright, gasping in air as if he'd just run a marathon, sweat soaking the sheets.
It was just a dream, he told himself. Just a dream.
Since returning home two weeks ago, Jerome had been plagued with memories of his time on Danshi; specifically, when Toni had incinerated twenty of his crewmates with a single blast from the sword of the assassin Kerstine. He'd thought then that the screams of those men would make for a few disturbed nights and he'd obviously been right.
But I didn't think that those few disturbed nights would go on for two damned weeks! Jerome thought angrily to himself.
He reached out and switched on the light, tilted the alarm clock towards him. The impersonal numbers were telling anyone who might be interested that it was 3.31 in the morning. With a groan, Jerome swung his legs over the side of the bed and walked through into the kitchen, poured himself a glass of water and sat down at the table to drink it.
"Just once," he muttered aloud to the empty room, "just once I would like to avoid waking up in a cold sweat at half past three in the goddamned morning."
"I know how you feel," a woman's voice said from the other side of the table.
Jerome's hand jerked involuntarily, spilling the water. The visitor raised a black eyebrow.
"Now look what you've done," she said calmly.
Words struggled for control of Jerome's vocal chords. Finally he managed,
"Ax...what are you doing in my flat??"
Acheron, or Ax as she was more commonly known, shrugged.
"Just thought I'd pay you a little visit. It's been a while."
"Yeah. Yeah, it has. Do you mind telling me why you're here at this time?"
Ax's lips quirked slightly.
"Well...I was hoping for a slightly warmer reception than that, but here goes. I came here to wake you up."
"You...you what?!" Jerome's jaw dropped. "To wake me up? What kind of screwed up reason is that?!"
"My screwed up reason," Ax told him flatly. "Now, listen to me. I know what's going through your mind, Jerome. It's gone through mine too; although not with the same faces," she added.
"Ax, whenever I see you, I usually end up being abducted, blown up, shot at or hurt in some other way-" (which was true, but wasn't necessarily Ax's fault) "and I can't help feeling that you're going to do the same to me again."
"I didn't do anything to you," Ax pointed out. "Anyway, you're awake. My work here is done."
Jerome reached out to grab Ax's wrists, only to find they were no longer there. Ax had gone.
Jerome sighed and sat down again, hard.
"Damn! How does she keep doing that?" he demanded of nobody in particular.
There was no answer.
Jerome poured himself another glass of water, drank it, and had just started cleaning up the mess left from the first one when the phone rang.
"Bloody typical," he muttered, with more vehemence than accuracy. He picked it up.
"Yeah, who is it?" he barked into the receiver.
"Jerome?" It was Christine, the closest friend Jerome had made on Danshi and, if the truth be known, she'd become something more than just a friend during their time together.
Jerome's tone changed instantly, became warmer (if a little more tired)
"Chris, hi. What're you calling me at this time for? Is everything okay?"
"What?" Christine sounded puzzled. "Yeah, everything's fine. What do you mean, 'at this'-" There was a brief pause, then she realised. "Oh god, Jerome, I'm sorry-I completely forgot about the time difference!"
"Yeah...well...what can I do for you?"
"I..." Christine began, then she stopped.
"You what?" Jerome prompted.
"I've got a problem," Christine admitted.
A tiny little alarm bell started ringing in the back of Jerome's mind.
"But you just told me everything was fine," he said, slightly suspiciously.
"Yes, but..." Christine hesitated, then plunged ahead. "I-that is, we-well, you know-"
"Whoah, whoah, wait a minute!" Jerome stared at the receiver. "Are you telling me you want to...you know...break up?"
"What? No!" The vehemence in Christine's voice left Jerome in no doubts as to her sincerity. "But...oh hell, I'm not explaining this very well, am I?"
"Not really," Jerome said bluntly, in no mood to be tactful.
"Can you get to Luton airport? Like, right now?"
"Luton?? That's miles away!"
"I know. I know. But...it's important. I'm calling from a plane right now. We're on our way there to pick you up."
"I said-" Christine raised her voice slightly, "I'm calling from a-"
"I heard what you said," Jerome said peevishly. "I want to know what you need me for!"
Christine hesitated, then said,
"You-has Ax spoken to you?"
"Yeah, she-" Jerome stopped as his brain caught up with his ears. "You mean you knew she was coming??"
"I had an idea," Christine admitted. "She's part of this as well."
"Part of what?"
Christine hesitated. There was the sound of her starting to reply, when the line went dead.
"Part of-hello? Hello? Christine, are you still there?" Jerome stared at the receiver in his hand.
Must've lost the signal, he thought.
With a sigh, he went back through into his bedroom, got dressed, threw some clothes in a carrier bag and left his flat.