"No. Don't be absurd." Alex shook his head. "I'm sure I'm jumping at shadows."
"But these dreams..."
"You put more credence in my dreams than I do."
"We all know Morelands have significant dreams...except for me, of course. Think of Reed dreaming Anna was in danger, or the things Kyria saw in her dreams."
"I've never had a significant dream in my life. They're just nightmares. I've had them since we were thirteen."
"Yes, but those stopped years ago. It's only been recently that you've been dreaming about being locked up again. There must be a reason."
"Probably the squab I had for supper last night," Alex said lightly.
Con snorted, but he dropped the subject. That was one of the best things about being a twin—one didn't have to pretend, and the other knew without having to ask.
"I'd better be on my way," Con said, picking up his cane and the small traveling case on the floor beside the desk. "My train leaves at two, and I don't want to miss it."
With a grin and a twirl of his bowler, he popped the hat onto his head and left. Alex, a smile lingering on his lips, perched on the edge of Con's desk, long legs stretched out in front of him, and thought about his dreams.
He didn't recall the one last night, but he'd had enough of them the past few weeks to know what transpired in it. He was always lying on a narrow bed in a dark, cramped room, alone and not knowing where he was, and gripped by a cold, numbing fear.
The nightmares had started after the time he and Con had visited Winterset, their brother Reed's home in the country, when the two of them, out walking with Reed's future wife, Anna, had come across a farmer who had been killed. Both he and Con had been shaken by the sight, but Alex was the one who had lost his breakfast. Alex had returned to the house to bring Reed's help, while Con had stayed with Anna by the body. He had never admitted to anyone, even Con, how relieved he'd been to get away from the bloody remains.
Oddly, though, the nightmares that had disturbed him in the weeks afterward had not been of the dead farmer, but of the time almost two years earlier when Alex had been kidnapped and held prisoner in a small, dark room.
He had been scared at the time, of course, but he was used enough to getting in and out of scrapes—though it was more frightening, admittedly, when Con wasn't there to share the experience. Alex had kept his wits and managed to escape, and in the end, Kyria and Rafe and the others had come to his rescue. It had been an exciting story to tell and he'd basked in Con's envy of his adventure, but then, after his experience at Winterset, he had begun to dream about it again.
It had passed, of course. Indeed, it seemed to have marked the beginning of his odd ability. The Morelands were given to such oddities—significant dreams and strange connections to an unseen world, their habit of falling fiercely, immediately in love.
So it had not been a complete surprise when Alex started to experience flashes of emotions and actions when he gripped an object—though it had seemed most unfair that Con had not been burdened with a similar peculiarity. Con, naturally, would have been thrilled to have it.
Alex had learned to hide his ability from everyone outside his family, and he had also learned to control it so that he wasn't overwhelmed by, say, witnessing a murder that had happened years earlier when he happened to lean against a wall. As his control over the ability increased, the nightmares had lessened and finally ceased.
Until recently. The ones he had now were not exactly the same, for in the recent ones he was a man, not a half-grown lad, and the room where he lay in darkness seemed different—darker and colder and smaller. But the fear was the same. No, it was worse, for woven through it now was a soul-deep dread, an icy terror.
Impatiently Alex pushed himself up from the desk. What was he doing lounging about here? Over the years he had used his ability to help Con with some inquiries. It was one of the reasons that the agency had acquired an impressive reputation, particularly in finding missing persons. But his assistance was a carefully guarded secret. It was difficult enough making a reputation for oneself as an architect, given his aristocratic background and his family's eccentric reputation, without adding something as unusual as working for an agency that often dabbled in occult matters.
But with Con gone, there was no reason for him to be here now. He should go to his own office and work on his own business, as he had told Con he was about to do. Sitting here was not going to solve the mystery of his uneasy feelings or his disturbing dreams.
This excerpt is from the paperback edition.