Jude knows exactly where in the Somnology Institute we can find the sleeping pills. They’re locked away, but he thinks we can use the fractured reality to our advantage right now and walk entirely in dreams.
We get to the Somnology Institute and sneak to the back, away from the growing line of people waiting for a pill. Jude glances back over my shoulder, his eyes darkening. I twist me head around and se Nightwalkers. It isn’t just three or four or five now. There are hundreds and hundreds. They’re coming out of a foreboding mist so I can see their glowing eyes before I see the outline of their bodies.
The thought of all the pill-less people in front of the Somnology Institute makes my heart constrict. I try to remind myself that they aren’t real but it’s hard when there are so many of them, and they’re all moving toward us. I remember the way their bones burned my skin and how solid they felt when I kicked out. How can they not be real?
Jude drags me along the edges of the institute, muttering to himself as he does so. I’m reminded, suddenly, of how crazy he looked when I first me him earlier tonight–was it really just tonight? Then he stops so suddenly that I collide with his back and presses his free hand to a window of the Somnology Institute.
“It’s water,” he whispers.
I do the same thing, keeping my hand against the cool glass and trying to convince myself it’s actually water. My eyes snap open as it feels wet against my palm. Jude smiles at me and steps through the window, pulling me along.
We’ve landed right in the Somnologist’s office. I realize with surprise that this is on the second floor. How’d we end up here? Things don’t have to make sense in dreams, though. In my case, I don’t have time to dwell on this right now.
“Come on,” he says. “They have to be in here somewhere.”
Fireflies bump drunkenly onto the sides of frosted bottles that levitate above our heads. They provide the only light in the room. We throw open all the desk drawers and cabinets that we can, bu the three of them are locked.
“So,” I say, “how do we dream open something that’s locked?”
“You tell me.” He smiles. “Come on. Use your creativity.”
I raise my eyebrows slightly and then close my eyes, envisioning a skeleton key is on top of the desk. I hear him let out a little laugh. I wonder what he would have done–dreamt the doors away, maybe? When I open my eyes, there it is, right where I dreamt it. I grab it and open the top drawer of the desk. The pills aren’t there.
I toss the key to Jude, who unlocks one of the cabinet and then the other. There they are. He grabs the pill bottle and tosses it to me, when–
“Stop right there!”
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