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Signs and Portents (Part 3)

Part one Part two

When Ronnie came to, the first thing she noticed was the pain in her wrists and ankles. Rubbing, she found them raw and chaffed as if they'd been bound with rope. Her throat was raw and burning, and it took some time before she could muster the ability to speak.

"Mark," she called softly, eyes straining against the darkness. Something shuffled nearby. Suddenly alert, she tried to pierce the thick blackness around her. When a set of hands grabbed hold of her arms, her first instinct was to lash out, but as she did Mark's voice slipped to her.

"It's me, it's me," he whispered harshly as her flailing arms stilled. "It's ok. We're … safe. Sort of."

Ronnie couldn't help but whisper in response, although with the darkness and sense of enclosed space around them, she didn't know exactly why they were being so quiet. "Where are we? What… what happened? We were talking to that guy, and then . . .," her ears strained against the over-whelming silence. Their shared undead condition meant that neither of them truly breathed. Normally that fact was easily overlooked, but now the complete absence of sound bothered her and drove home the changes in her life.

She could hear Mark's sudden inhalation before he spoke. "That guy worked for the local Prince of the Dead. We're in protective custody of a sort now. I don't think they're going to hurt us any more than they already have. But I still don't think we should stay here."

"But how," Ronnie started before Mark's hand closed over her mouth.

"I've got an idea. There's a door over behind me. That's how they got us in here. But there's also a boarded up window on the other wall. I think we can squeeze through it if we can get it open."

Ronnie nodded, then realized that Mark couldn't see her and whispered an affirmative. She willed sluggish blood into her limbs, feeling the slow building warmth as unnatural strength began to flood her extremities. "I can get it open if you can get me to it."

In a short time they found themselves outside of a towering plain brick structure. Mark was staring up towards its heights, but Ronnie felt that they were too exposed on the street surrounding them. Grabbing his hand, she started to run, dragging him along in her wake.

It wasn't until they'd reached a more populated area that she noticed something was wrong. The few scattered people here were clustered in small knots, all of them looking upwards, some pointing. Ronnie slowly came to realize that everyone they'd passed since breaking out had been looking up. She turned to ask Mark, only to find that his head was already turned skywards.

Looking up, she saw it too. Her mouth fell open in wonder and it seemed as if the world was suddenly smaller and spinning out of control. The only sound she heard was Mark's voice.

"It's happening. The Slumbering Lord awakens."

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