Arched above Brandy’s sleeping form like an over-ardent rainbow, Simon’s unclad groin made a telltale silhouette. Self-consciously, he recoiled; what could he be thinking!? Backpedaling into the bathroom, he hastily got dressed… yet found himself returning to the slumberer’s bedside… where he hovered again, spellbound, gazing at the towel in which Brandy was loosely wrapped… which rose and fell, rose and fell, so temptingly. Again Simon retreated, this time into the kitchen, where he grabbed a chair and carried it back to the bed.

He sat.

He watched.

He meditated.

Brandy stirred—appearing to surface from her catnap—only to shift position and re-submerge.

Simon, lifting his legs and folding them underneath him, settled down for a stint of trance-like contemplation...

… meditating...

… focusing all of his energy…

… probing sleep’s calm shallows to tap some deeper agitation.

With eyes closed, he felt a tingling sensation engross his spine, inducing a sensation of being slowly drained, his life-force tapped by hers (or such was his impression)…

… silently siphoning…

… emptying him of Self…

… until Otherness took ego’s place…

… floating in suspension…

… referents in default…

Brandy stirred again.

… sensing someone's rising like a bubble

through clot-thick viscosity…

…trailing a long-drawn effervescent wake

toward which Simon reached…

… groped as if to catch some transitory molecule.

Brandy’s eyes and Simon’s blinked open simultaneously. They stared at each other, one, two, three full seconds… before whatever it was that bound them, of its own accord, broke.

Simon rushed to get his pad and pen; Brandy fastened her undone towel with equal urgency.

"Have I been asleep long? What’s the matter? What are you doing?"

With no clear notion why, Simon wrote down a name. He hurried back to show her, kneeling beside the bed.

"‘ADRIENNE’? Who’s Adrienne?"

He shrugged, unsure himself.

Brandy sat confused, reflecting upon the name.

"I don’t know any Adrienne. Do you?"

He shook his head.

She was fully awake now. She propped herself on one elbow and looked him straight in the eye.

"I had a dream maybe? Was I talking in my sleep?"

Again he shook his head.

"I don’t get it then. Are you sure I didn’t mumble something? I’ve been going through this phase, lately, ever since I fooled around with a close friend's Ouija board."

Brandy faltered; had Simon smiled?

"What’s so funny; you don’t believe in Ouija boards?"

He shrugged.

"Well, I’m not so sure I do either, but Lynn—that’s my friend's name—conjured up some pretty amazing particulars."

She rolled over to the bed’s opposite side and snapped on the lamp.

"The last time we indulged she asked the board to tell us who we’d been. You know, in our former lives? I suppose you don’t believe in reincarnation, either?"

Simon shrugged noncommittally, careful not to repeat his former smirk.

"I didn’t either, at the time, but I started to afterwards. You see, the Ouija board told us I’ve had six incarnations, and that one of them—Lord knows why—was trying to get in touch. Of course I took that with a grain of salt—until I started having these eerie dreams. Nightmares, almost; I woke up screaming once. That was the last time. Though recently I’ve been waking with a sense of having been told stuff. Like secrets. Only nothing seems to stick once I'm awake."

She searched his face.

"You're sure I wasn’t babbling?"

No, he was not sure. And his own explanation, by comparison, was scarcely less fantastic.

"Or maybe you dreamed it yourself?"

Nor could he rule that out either.

"Well… "

Mutually at a loss, they allowed the matter to drop.

"How ’bout dinner?"

Simon nodded, then signed that he would wait in the kitchen while Brandy got dressed. As he left, chair in hand, she closed (and locked) the bedroom door behind him.

‘Why does he do that!? Whoever heard of a person getting off on another person’s sleep? It’s harmless enough, I suppose, but, boy, it sure is creepy.’

Brandy looked at the pad he had left behind.

�And this name, ADRIENNE� I didn�t want to let on, but it does ring a bell. If I knew such a person, however, how the hell could he? I mean know somebody I know. By gazing into my eyes the instant I awoke? Unlikely. And why, having caught him in the act, wasn’t I more surprised? I almost knew he’d be there. I wasn't even angry.’

One question led to another, and another; asking brought no answers. Brandy turned instead to choosing her attire.

*

*

Tucson by night...

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