Ellis couldn't sleep. Nadie slept soundly on the other side of the tent they shared, and Ellis watched her. She seemed more relaxed now that they were traveling again, and that sparkle had returned to her eyes. Ellis could finally say she was content.
But something still bothered her, a feeling she couldn't quite place.
Maybe some fresh air would do her good, she thought as she stepped outside. As long as she didn't wander from the tent, she was sure Nadie wouldn't mind.
Once she was outside, she inhaled a deep breath. The desert air was crisp, and before her was nothing but the open road, and above her were countless stars pinned on the dark night sky.
"Beautiful…" Ellis muttered as she reached toward the sky. Maybe someday she would be able to reach the stars with Nadie. As long as she had Nadie, she could do anything.
The sudden sound of a child laughing pulled Ellis back into reality.
"Who's there?" Ellis yelled, looking around, and soon her pale eyes landed on a little girl wearing a white poncho. There was something familiar about her. "Who are you?"
The little girl just laughed again, and then she ran off.
"Wait!" Ellis took off after the girl. For a child, the girl was surprisingly fast, and Ellis thought briefly of freezing her legs or the ground, but she didn't want to risk hurting her.
What was a child doing out here in the desert? Should she go back and ask Nadie for help? But if she did that, she would risk losing sight of the little girl.
As she ran after the little girl, Ellis saw more and more flowers blooming around her, more than should've been possible in this desert. They were brightly colored and they even seemed to give off light. Somehow they were familiar as well.
Then it dawned on Ellis - this was like what had happened when she and Nadie had stayed with that elderly author. Then that little girl was…!
"Nadie!" Ellis shouted. Her legs and her chest hurt, and she was almost out of breath, but she had to keep running. That little girl was almost out of sight, and Ellis couldn't lose her. "Don't leave me!"
The scenery changed, and before her was a burning building. It was completely covered in flames, and it was beginning to collapse on itself. The little girl in the white poncho watched the fire, and Ellis noticed that a small part of her hair - the same color as Nadie's - was braided.
Ellis carefully approached the little girl. "It's dangerous to stay here," she said, touching the girl's shoulder. "You'll get burnt if you get too close."
The child looked up at Ellis, and there were tears in her blue eyes. "But my parents are in there," she pleaded. "Can't I save them?"
"Save them…" Ellis repeated, and her gaze returned to the fire. She took a few steps closer to the burning home and spread her arms wide. Her breathing became heavy as her eyes changed, and then ice formed around the fire, freezing the flames in place like icicles. But the flames broke free of the ice, and the fire continued to burn.
"It really is hopeless. But…" The little girl smiled sadly, and tears fell from her eyes. "If I'm alone now, then I won't miss others, right?"
"No… no, it's not like that!" Ellis yelled, her body shaking as she wrapped her arms around herself. "Doctor, Nadie… it hurts so much…"
The little girl lowered her face, her bangs shadowing her eyes. "Human beings are only born to die," she said in a quiet, monotone voice. "But you're different. You weren't 'born' like us." After saying that, the little girl ran away again, this time into a dense forest.
"Wait, don't go!" Ellis begged, and she chased after the little girl into the dark forest. The thick trees blocked most of the moonlight, so she couldn't see very far in front of her, but she managed to avoid tripping or running into anything.
She had lost sight of the strange little girl, and soon she found herself running alongside a small lake. The water was deathly calm, and moonlight reflected off the clear surface. Ellis could not help but stop and stare.
"So pretty…" she whispered. "It's familiar somehow. Maybe I can rest here a moment…"
Ellis! Where are you?
Upon hearing that voice, Ellis jolted. She had heard that voice in her head, not with her ears, but she knew to whom it belonged. "Nadie, I'm right here!" she screamed at the top of her lungs.
Geez, I told her not to wander off… Ellis if you can hear me, follow the sound of my voice!
Ellis beamed. "Yes sir!" She started running again, in the direction of that special voice.
Nadie had a rough voice, and she did yell a lot. But she also laughed often, and there was true warmth in her voice. To Ellis, there was no sound more beautiful.
"Nadie, I'm coming! Wait for me!"
Ellis, if you don't show yourself right now, I'm going to get really mad!
As Ellis continued to run, the forest around her seemed to disappear and soon she found herself in the desert again. In the distance she saw a small tent and a certain figure.
Her whole body hurt from running so much, but she would not stop until Nadie was in her arms.
Nadie turned her head, and she was nearly knocked over when Ellis threw her thin arms around her. "E-Ellis?"
"Oh Nadie, I'm so happy!" Ellis exclaimed as she buried her face in Nadie's firm shoulder. "I heard your voice in my head, and then I found my way back to you!"
"Funny, I heard your voice in my head, begging me not to leave you, and that woke me up," Nadie said as she stroked Ellis' hair. "Did you suddenly develop a new power or something?"
A soft smile came upon Ellis' lips. "I guess I did! I think I was dreaming…"
"Must've been one hell of an intense dream if it made you sleepwalk." Nadie rubbed the back of her neck, but her blue eyes still sparkled. " I didn't think telepathy was actually a witch's power. Just, uh, only do that for emergencies. It kinda feels weird hearing you in my head."
"A witch can do anything for the person she loves, remember?" Ellis said in a sly voice, and she then cupped Nadie's face and kissed her. "I love you, Nadie."
Nadie seemed a little startled at Ellis' bold action, but then she just smiled and took one of Ellis' hands into hers. "I love you too, Ellis."
As their fingers intertwined, they walked back to their campsite, and Ellis felt closer than ever to Nadie. Nothing would ever sever her connection to Nadie - it would only grow stronger.