A soft glow illuminated River’s room. She lay awake, staring at the ceiling, singing to herself.
“Two by two, hands of blue,
Watch out, now they’re coming for you.
Stay asleep, in your bed,
Or you will sleep with the dead.”
She heard the screams of those pulled from their cots in the middle of the night. How they struggled in vain. The bolt of pain before they died.
A leg bumped her cot.
She jerked, eyes clenching shut.
She stared as he sat on the edge of her bed. She blinked hard to confirm his corporealism.
But her eyes had betrayed her before.
She reached out to take his hand. It wasn’t blue.
“I heard you singing,” he said, brushing the hair from her face.
“They come out of the black,” she whispered. Anyone could be next.
Simon glanced down at their hands, clasped together.
“I can give you something to sleep,” he said. There was sadness in his tone, but hope, too. Hope that he could help. She felt it flow through his hand, into hers. Comforting.
“Okay,” she said, eyes filling with tears. “Help me sleep.”