Delirium by Erin Kellison Read Free Book Online

Book: Delirium by Erin Kellison Read Free Book Online
Authors: Erin Kellison
daughter, too!” the wife said.
    “Was. Was my daughter. She’s gone now. When are you going to get it through your head that’s she’s gone?”
    Sometimes people conflated the dreamwaters with the Hereafter, as if in the realm of dreams someone could live forever. Not true. No ghosts lingered here, just memories twisted by grief and time until the recollection became more about the reveler than the person they wanted to keep close. Mrs. Wallace would not hold her lost daughter today.
    Viv had retreated, and now so did Rook. He would be near invisible as the Rêve initiated.
    The Wallaces stood apprehensively—Gwen’s arms now folded, her husband behind her, his hands at her hips, as if scared of what might appear and ready to use her as a shield. The null space shifted fluidly, inky waters drifting, to become a little girl’s bedroom. The bed was small, built for a child and low to the floor. A blond little girl was waiting with a book in her lap. The scent in the room went from static cold to strawberry sweet.
    Viv had charged ten thousand euros for Mrs. Wallace to read her child a story, which was a lot of money, but not so much that a grieving parent wouldn’t pay…and pay again…and again. This was the black market. All dreams were dark, one way or another.
    Mrs. Wallace sobbed and dove forward, arms outstretched. Mr. Wallace backed up against the bedroom wall.
    Rook looked away. His job wasn’t what was going on in the room; it was what might encroach from the outside. He sniffed and listened—using his waking world senses to stimulate the Darkside ones so he could discern what was going on around the Echo Rêve.
    Viv’s black market neighbors would change day to day as their hookups negotiated for space in the dreamwaters. Her connection was always pure, safe, and strong—pricey to maintain, as a result.
    He put a hand to the boundary, feeling for vibrations. On one side of Viv’s Echo, was the sex Rêve— been there —but on the other side, he could tell there was a large group of people—a couple hundred at least—all jumping with energy. Probably a nightclub with a Darkside rock band driving their rhythm into the blood and minds of attending revelers. There was some good music underwater, where a new group could build a following in the deep, then explode mainstream in the waking world. The club Rêves in the black market were dicey, but they often had a better following than the legal ones in the Agora.
    Mrs. Wallace was reading to her daughter about forest animals all welcoming the day. Mr. Wallace hadn’t moved from where he stood against the girl’s bedroom wall, his hands flattened against it at his sides, as if he were trying to push the wall backward to get away.
    A chilly flash at Rook’s shoulder had him leaning his forehead toward the club Rêve again. The rhythmic surges didn’t stop—in fact, he was pretty sure the beat was starting to climb—but yes, there was a coldness inside now, one he didn’t like.
    He leaned into the club Rêve as Mr. Wallace began weeping.
    The club was a hack of a small industrial setting—a lot of vertical concrete and metal—packed with revelers. The Rêve operators hadn’t had to provide the illusion of club goers, which said a lot about the band. Seemed the crowd was full of real people—and most were female—screaming and waving their hands at the trio up on the stage. Well, actually, the lead singer had risen slightly into the air, as if gravity had no power over him, only his exaggerated pathos, as if he were a crow-like version of Christ. But everyone could float in the dreamwaters if they wanted to.
    Then, a subtle shift in the currents and Rook looked harder. Three gray nightmares crept through the throng of the Rêve club. Stooped and crooked, they peered at the revelers rocking around them. No one in the club seemed to notice, but maybe they didn’t know what to watch for.
    Viv and others who worked the black market had said nightmares

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