He was still wobbly. At least it was dark enough outside that he’d be able to get back to barracks without too much pain. Before stepping out the door he pulled a couple of bills from his wallet and shoved them in a tray on a tiny table next to the door. Zephyr can rail at me later, I’m not doing this again. He mumbled to himself.
The door clicked behind him as he eased himself out. The hallway was dimly lit with pink bulbs that flickered eerily. At least it wasn’t making his hangover worse. He trudged his way down the hall before staring at the stairs. He approached the first tread and began his precarious descent.
At the lobby level, a portly woman in too much make up met him at the desk. “Was your stay to your satisfaction, sir?” She asked all too happily.
“As much as to be expected. I left the notes with her, sorry,” he mumbled, his head beginning to throb harder.
“That’s perfectly fine, sir. I hope you’ll remember us again when you have need,” she waved him out the door. He waved his hand dismissively as the bell at the door rang and he disappeared into the dark street.
A half hour later he had, miraculously without puking, made it back to the barracks. Stevenson had let him in through the back entrance so that no one would notice his condition. By the time he found his dorm, he had sobered up enough to put himself together more. Just maybe he’d be able to get a few minutes of deliriously peaceful sleep. You can only wish. He told himself as he slid, uniform and all, into his bunk.
The dreams came to him in fits. Massive, grey tentacles reached out to him, barbed suckers grasping at the air. A shuddering noise, almost a roar permeated his subconscious, bringing him awake with a start. His bunk mate’s alarm clock was going off. He laid his head back on his pillow. That same damn dream. Every night… He stared at the dark grey metal underpinnings of the bunk above him, waiting for his heart to stop racing out of his chest.
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