The fingers of light released their grip and Courtney, Morgan and Collin fell to the invisible floor. They stumbled and tripped as the surface twisted and buckled.

Fear prickled the back of Courtney's neck. The fine hair stood on her arms right above the goosebumps. Were they caught in an earthquake now? she wondered. Wasn't it enough to be pushed and pulled and tugged 'til their bones and muscles ached? Did they have to slip and fall, too?

Courtney steadied herself by holding on to Collin and Morgan. She looked all around. She listened. All was silent, and she hoped they were alone now. "I'm scared," she whispered.

"Me, too," Morgan admitted, while her fingers dug into Courtney's arm.

"There's nothing to be scared of," Collin stated, but Courtney knew her brother better than anyone, and she knew a lie when she heard it. "This is all a crazy dream," he continued. "It has to be. My mind makes up stuff like this all the time."

Cold wind whipped around them.

Q u i e t !

The whispered word reverberated around the nothingness.

Collin gritted his teeth. His eyes moved right, left. Up. Down. He looked at Courtney and Morgan. "It's just a nightmare," he insisted, but his voice wavered. Courtney elbowed her brother in the side. "It's not a dream, Collin."


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