Like tonight, as a thunderstorm rushed overhead, as rain lashed at his windows and lightning flashed in the sky. In his dream, he was in another storm, speeding a borrowed motorcycled through the darkened city streets. Things were quickly devolving on this mad Halloween night. People went crazy in the dark.
The demon inside of him was whispering to him, as always, asking him why he was rushing back to be by his brother's side, his loyal hound ready to fight. Suggesting, instead, he should be stalking the streets instead of flying through them, showing him a far-too-appealing image of himself, some faceless girl with dark hair, and an alley wall he could hold her to.
Thomas ignored it, as always. Mostly.
But the streets here had gotten oddly quiet, though he thought he heard the baying of a pack of dogs. And a hunting horn? Something about that sound sent a shivery chill over his skin and down his bones. He slowed the bike, stopped it, and listened. They were getting closer.
Again, the chill, and that was definitely a horn. And dogs, lots of big dogs screaming for blood. Some sensible-sounding part of him suggested he should move, get out of the way, that he didn't want to be there when they came by. Another part of him suggested it was too late. That part was right.
One moment, he was alone in the middle of the street. The next moment saw it filling with large black shapes in whose mouths too-white teeth gleamed. He thought he saw blood shining on the muzzles of a few in a flash of lightning but he was too busy staring up at the hounds' leader. Thomas was pretty sure this was the guy Harry was supposed to be keeping trapped with his magic. After all, how many eight-foot-tall guys in dark armor with simply massive antlers leading a hunt could there be in Chicago?
Any further thought on those lines was wiped away when the hunter spoke. Thomas didn't hear him, but the words were there, booming inside of his head nevertheless. "You are of our kind. Join us or," and here Thomas could almost imagine the Erlking flashing a vulpine grin behind that helmet of his, "run."
For the barest moment, Thomas imagined running. He was smart, he knew this city, and he was faster and stronger than their typical prey. He'd only have to outrun them until morning. The adrenaline was already singing in his muscles, urging him to flee these fell beasts. But the picture was wrong. He wasn't prey. He'd spent his entire life not being prey. And he'd be damned if he started now.
The picture in his mind only looked right when he imagined himself one of them. Riding with the Hunt. Losing himself to the joy of the chase and glorying in the kill. That was where he belonged, and for once he and the Hunger inside of him were in complete agreement. Thomas stared up at the leader of the Wild Hunt, "I'll join you."
Because, really, that choice had been no choice at all.
His dream dissolved then into into a more typical jumble of images, images that must have happened that night. Running prey down through the pitch dark city streets. A spray of blood. A terrified scream.
Outside his window, lightning flashed and thunder growled directly overhead and he awoke covered in a hot sweat, his sheets twisted around his body.
Glancing over to the window, at the storm, Thomas scowled. That had been an all too acute reminder of just what he was, deep down. It was going to be a long night.