He resisted the call, though it tugged at his soul.
Nigel! Please come back!
An unfamiliar sound filtered through his mind, permeating his heart and jolting it into motion again. It was a sob, a woman’s voice repeating his name and begging for his return. His lips formed a name, his larynx and teeth and tongue too sluggish to speak coherently. It came out as a soft grunt.
"Nigel? Can you hear me?" This time there was hope behind the tremulous inquiry. He could hear the change. New words drew him up from the abyss, cradling him in a soft, warm place that promised safety. He nestled against the security, felt himself drawn up (lifted up?) and carried along in an embrace.
Slowly the world coalesced around him.
He was moving. He was rolling down a hallway, EMT’s and medical personnel firing off rapid-fire orders. He was on a gurney, in a hospital, and it was Sydney’s voice that spoke. Her lovely face was wet with tears, her eyes red and swollen, confirming that she’d been crying for a while.
And he couldn’t speak because tubes ran through his nose and down his throat. He reached out, meaning only to let Sydney know he was awake, but her face lit up and she caught his hand, bringing it to her lips.
Okay, it was official. He was still dreaming. Couldn’t be anything else. His senses were lying to him.
He let his eyes close again and this time, he slept.
Go to Part Thirty Six.