Shivering, Kim looked up at the tower looming over her in the dim moonlight. It wasn't from the cool breeze, even though she could see her breath very faintly. Becoming a slayer had improved her tolerance for cooler temperatures. It was something else. There was a presence here, something rubbing her nerves raw. If asked what it was like she would have described it as bitter and smoky.
Looking around and hearing waves beating against distant rocks, she knew she'd been here before, though she wasn't sure when or why. Taking a deep breath she carefully stepped forward, onto the gravel path that lead towards the recessed entrance.
“You can't go in,” a small voice behind her said.
Jumping in surprise, Kim turned around. Watching her with a sad expression on her face was a slim girl dressed in a dark green blouse and black jeans. She couldn't have been more than ten, Kim guessed. Even in the dim light there was something distinctly familiar about her.
“Why not?” she asked curiously.
“It says ‘No girls allowed’,” she said, pointing behind Kim.
Turning around once more, Kim gasped in surprise. The tower had been replaced by a large, ancient looking tree, branches swaying slightly in the wind. A rough ladder, made from boards nailed to the tree, wound up its side. Perched halfway up the tree, where the trunk split into an octopus of large branches, was a treehouse. Tacked next to the rough door was the sign. As she looked up, the wind began to increase. Above the sound of creaking wood, Kim could hear the faint murmur of several voices.
“Who's up there?” Kim asked.
“My brothers,” the girl said, dashing around Kim. “They won't come down.” She reached up and grabbed one of the boards, pulling herself up onto the ladder. “Something bad is gonna happen.”
“You can't help her,” a voice said, a hand gripping her shoulder and preventing her from moving forward.
Looking down at the gloved hand, Kim followed it to its owner, surprised to find herself staring at Shego. “Why not?” Kim asked.
“It's already happened,” Shego said, a pained expression crossing her face. “Watch.”
Confused, Kim looked back at the tree. The girl continued climbing, barely holding on as the wind picked up. Kim struggled to escape from Shego. She wasn't sure what was going on but the girl needed her help.
“Let me go!” Kim shouted above the now roaring wind. Shego said nothing, her eyes glued to the tree and the figure struggling to climb it.
A flash of light blinded her seconds before a wave of heat knocked both of them off of their feet. Somehow, Shego maintained her grip on Kim's shoulder.
Struggling to sit up, Kim looked towards the tree. “Where'd it go?” she asked in surprise. She now seemed to be sitting in an empty yard. Dried, brown grass waved in a light breeze, all the way to a rusty fence. A mist obscured everything on the other side. “What happened to the girl?”
“She grew up,” Shego said, climbing to her feet. Brushing dust from her clothes, she started walking away.
Standing up, Kim watched her disappear into the mist. “Shego?” Kim shouted. When there was no answer she shouted again.
“She can't hear you,” a soft, musical voice said in her ear. Kim spun around in surprise, her hands raised defensively. Watching her was a barefooted woman with dirty blonde hair, a grassy meadow dotted with yellow flowers stretching out behind her into the distance. Crouched at her feet was another woman dressed in bits of hide and rags, dreadlocks only partially covering her painted face. Kim stepped back.
“Who are you?” Kim asked.
“I speak for those with no voice,” the blonde said, a quirky smile briefly appearing on her face as if listening to a private joke. The other woman grunted in response and spit on the ground. The blonde leaned down and kissed the other on a paint covered cheek. “And Sineya has no patience for long winded speeches and pretentious prophets.” she said as the primitive looking woman rose gracefully to her feet and circled Kim, sniffing at her but never touching.
“What does she want?” Kim asked, keeping her voice low to avoid startling her. There was something about her name that she knew she should know.
“There's nothing special about me.” Kim said. Sineya snorted and shook her head. Kim frowned.
“You actually believe that. It puzzles her.”
The blonde woman shrugged. “You're different from other slayers she's watched. You aren't being modest.”
Kim watched Sineya, pivoting on her feet as she turned to follow. She felt a small spike of worry in her throat as the woman took off at a run in the same direction Shego had disappeared.
“You can't follow her,” the blond said. Kim turned back to her, no longer surprised that the scenery had changed again, this time to a barren, rocky plain. She could feel the hard, sharp ground pressing against her feet.
“Where's she going?” Kim asked.
“Shego?” Kim asked, worried.
“Your green friend came with you,” the woman said. “There are other things here that weren't invited.”
“What do you mean?” Kim asked, fighting the urge to follow Sineya into the mist. Before she could get an answer, she was engulfed in a swirling mass of hot air and dust. Shielding her face with her hands, Kim scrunched her eyes tightly closed to keep out the grit that was tearing at every inch of exposed skin. Sinking to the ground as the wind increased to a howl, Kim curled up into a ball. It was becoming difficult to breath. She could feel herself losing consciousness.
“Kim! Kim!” Ron's voice called to her.
“What?” She sat up with a start, pulling her jacket away from her sticky face. Looking around wildly, it took her a moment to remember where they were. They were on their way home after an exhausting trip up the Nile to foil Monkey Fist's latest attempt to steal a mystical monkey artifact. They'd dropped the Golden Monkey Mummy off at the Cairo museum and had turned Monkey Fist over to the local Global Justice office.
The lumbering C-130 they'd caught a ride on had seemed like the perfect place to catch up on her sleep. Now she wasn't too sure.
“Are you okay?” Ron asked. He and Rufus were giving her concerned looks from their corner of the small passenger compartment of the large cargo plane.
“Just a dream,” she said. Unbuckling her seat belt, Kim stood up and stretched. Looking at her watch, she sighed. They wouldn't reach Middleton for another three hours, just in time for dinner.
“One of those slayer dreams?” Ron asked excitedly.
“Not sure,” Kim mumbled, grabbing a bottle of water from the in-cabin fridge. Dropping back into her seat, she grabbed her kimmunicator to check in with Wade. “Hey Wade, what's up?”