Simon’s dream slid through wakefulness so seamlessly, like a boat through calm water, that it was almost impossible to tell one moment from another : the tide of the unconscious, the shore of the real. It was dark—closed eyes and open were so much the same that Simon had to shake his head to remember which was which. When he awoke, he found himself immediately unsettled. At first he put it down to simple disorientation—the brain’s natural wariness at leaving the world one way and welcoming it another—but there was something more, a forceful thought that had remained an echo shaking in his head.
He was lying on his side, curled up on the back seat of the car. His neck was sweaty and cold. His scars itched. He sat up quickly, and the air was colder by the window, beating in on him. He had no idea what time it was. He pressed his face to the window, but his eyes couldn’t focus on anything—they were tired eyes, daytime eyes, and everything was black. He strained his head to see where the moon was, but it had disappeared as well. A faint panic began to ripple at his ribs, his heart pulsing in tiny corrugated shivers.