Jesus Christ, I'm too tired to think straight. I'll just go to the store and figure it out when I get there...
Nathan pulled himself out of the chair, willing himself to stand. He knew how to get to the grocery store from his apartment, and he was sure it wasn't far, even on foot. He trudged to the door, regretting that he hadn't stocked his fridge before his job interview, back when he still had a car. "Maybe what's-his-name... Micah. Maybe Micah can give me a lift sometime to do shopping," he mumbled out loud to himself, pulling his shoes on. "If he's pulled that stick out of his ass by then." Nathan laughed at his own humor, realizing just how tired he was. "Who needs alcohol? I have sleep deprivation! Damn am I weird when I'm sleepy..."
He yawned, grabbing his keys before he headed out the door.
"I... am... a... fucking... idiot..." Not only had Nathan forgotten his coat (and, as irony dictated, it had started to rain again) and his phone (so he couldn't even call a cab), but he was completely lost. For that matter, he hadn't even checked to see if the store was open at this hour. That left him cold, wet, and somewhere along a dark and empty stretch of road. Worse, he could heard the thunder rumbling in the distance. The storm was approaching.
"Fuck me," Nathan sighed, shivering. On the plus side, the chill was keeping him awake, but only just barely. Even his fear of the thunder wasn't startling him enough, and he felt his head dipping forward as he began to nod off. He'd started back to the apartment hours ago... at least it felt like hours ago. He hadn't stopped walking since he'd realized he had no idea where he was going.
Several feet ahead of him was the river and the covered bridge he'd crossed to get into Virtue. Nathan stopped in his tracks and groaned in frustration. He'd gone the wrong way. "Why me?"
Nathan screamed, scrambling forward and stumbling to the ground, covering his head desperately. A nearby lamppost had been struck by a bolt of lightning, the resounding thunder hitting him in the chest with painful force. Now he was shivering with cold and fear. He had to find shelter. He had to get out of the storm. Nathan's heart was racing. This had been a stupid idea. He should have just tried to go to bed, not have worried about caffeine, about sleeping pills, about the evils or Alton or anything. He should have just tried to sleep. Out of the rain. Out of the storm. Somewhere safe.
Nathan forced himself up, his heart pounding painfully in his chest. He made himself run towards the bridge. It was covered. It would be safer than being out in the open. He could make it there. Another flash of lightning and burst of thunder. He screamed again, staggering onto the bridge. He quickly scurried against the side, curling up next to it, shaking horribly as he closed his eyes. "It will pass. It will pass. It will pass..."
The storm began to muffle, the furious downpour turning into a dull roar, the thunder a muted echo in the back of his head. His chant became a whisper, his rapid heartbeat slowing as exhaustion finally overwhelmed his fear. Nathan leaned against the wall and was almost asleep when he felt something cold brush against his cheek. He didn't stir, too tired to react even as he felt his body being lifted from the ground and a soft voice saying, "Not yet, Nathan. Not yet..."
Coffee. The first thing that hit him when he awoke was the smell of coffee. Nathan yawned, rubbing his hand across his face as he stretched out and opened his eyes, finding himself staring at a white ceiling. He sat up, slowly taking in the room around him. His room. His bedroom, in fact. The bed he was lying on was the one he had moved into his apartment, except it was now assembled and sitting in the middle of a completely unpacked room. Unpacked? When had he done that? Nathan rubbed his head, suddenly realizing he was completely dry. Had he just dreamed up the night before? When had he fallen asleep? Had everything that had happened just been a strange dream?
Nathan looked over at his clock: eight AM. It had been so late when he'd gotten lost, yet he felt rested. "Coffee," he muttered to himself before he thought too much on it. "I need to wake up more first." He didn't even remember when he'd set up the machine...
As he wandered out of his room, he couldn't help but notice that there were no boxes anywhere. Had he spent the day unpacking and just been so exhausted he'd passed out, completely forgetting about it? Coffee, he reminded himself. Coffee first. He shuffled into the kitchen.
Nathan stood there, looking across into his completely organized living room at the stranger standing in front of his bookshelf, reading one of his books. Any hopes that this had all been a dream disappeared right then and there. The man before him had long, silver-white hair with a single, solid streak of black, hanging straight down his back. He had smooth, pleasant features, yet an unnerving beauty about him, and as he turned towards him and smiled, Nathan knew he wasn't human. The man nodded, as if he could hear his thoughts, staring at him in turn with his dark, red eyes.
"Good morning," he said softly, the voice unmistakably the one from last night. "Did you sleep well, Nathan?"
"Who... what...?" Nathan stammered, taking a deep breath to collect himself. "Who the hell are you and what the hell is going on? Are... are you another one of those angels?"
The man laughed, sounding almost girlish, then turned back to the book. He didn't say anything else for a moment, then suddenly asked, "Can I speak in small caps? I think I would like it if you let me speak in small caps. It's very different, and fitting."
Nathan was more confused now than ever.
What in the world...?