The Hunters: Destiny Rising
Chapter 17

 L.J. Smith

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Meredith moodily picked at the mud in the grooves of her hiking boots, flicking the little pieces of dirt onto the floor of the car.
Beside her, Alaric was driving them back to campus. There was a thoughtful crease between his eyebrows, and Meredith knew he was turning over possibilities, trying to approach the Klaus problem from every angle he could think of. She felt a wave of affection for him wash over her, and she reached over to squeeze his knee. Alaric glanced at her and smiled.
Turning to look into the backseat, she saw Bonnie fast asleep, her head on Zander's shoulder. Zander had cuddled her close, his cheek resting against her hair.
But as Meredith watched, Bonnie's peaceful face grew agitated, her mouth pinching together and her eyebrows drawing down into a worried frown. She twisted in her seat, pulling her legs up under her and burying her face in Zander's chest.
"No," she said, the word muffled against Zander.
Zander grinned and tightened his arm around her. "She's dreaming," he told Meredith. "It's so cute how she talks in her sleep."
"Alaric, pull over," Meredith said sharply. Alaric pulled the car onto the side of the road, and Meredith quickly rummaged through the glove compartment. Thank goodness Alaric carried paper and pens in the car.
"What is it?" Zander asked, alarmed. Pressed against him, Bonnie shook her head hard, her curls spreading across his chest, and murmured small noises of distress.
"She's not just dreaming, she's having a vision," Meredith told him. "Bonnie," she said, keeping her voice low and soothing, "Bonnie, what's happening?"
Bonnie moaned and thrashed, her body arching away from Zander. Eyes widening, Zander grabbed at her, trying to hold her still.
"Bonnie," Meredith said again. "It's okay. Tell me what you're seeing."
Bonnie sucked in a breath, and then her wide brown eyes flew open and she began to scream. Alaric jerked in surprise, banging his elbow on the steering wheel.
The scream went on and on, filling the car with noise.
"Bonnie, stop it!" Zander was pulling Bonnie to his chest, trying to calm her and to keep her from falling off the seat as she struggled.
Finally, she grew still, and the screams died off into whimpers. Then she looked around at the others. "What's going on?" she said thickly.
"You were having a vision, Bonnie," Meredith said. "Everything's okay."
Bonnie shook her head. "No," she whispered, her voice cracked and strained from screaming. "It wasn't a vision."
"What do you mean?" Alaric asked.
"It was a dream." Bonnie was visibly calmer, and Zander gingerly released her from the tight hold he had on her arms and took her hand instead.
"Just a dream?" Meredith said doubtfully.
Bonnie shook her head again, slowly. "Not exactly," she said. "Do you remember the dreams I had when Klaus was holding Elena prisoner? After . . ." She hesitated. "After Elena died. The dreams she sent me? That Klaus invaded? I think Klaus was sending me this dream."
Meredith exchanged a look with Alaric. "If he can get inside her mind like this, how are we going to protect her?" she asked quietly, and he shook his head.
"What happened in the dream?" Zander asked, stroking Bonnie's arm.
"It was . . . it was like a military camp or something," Bonnie said, frowning, clearly trying to remember. "There were trees everywhere. Klaus had a whole group of people around him. He was standing in front of them, telling them how strong they were and that they were ready."
"Ready for what?" Meredith asked quickly.
Bonnie grimaced. "He didn't say exactly, but nothing good, I'm sure," she said. "I couldn't see how many people there were or make out what they looked like exactly. But it seemed like there were a lot of them. It was all sort of clouded and vague, but I could see Klaus as clearly as anything."
"He's gathering an army," Meredith said, her heart sinking. They had no ash tree, no weapon against Klaus. And he wasn't alone.
"There's more," Bonnie said. She hunched her shoulders, curling into herself protectively, pressing closer to Zander. She looked miserable and frightened, her face sickly white and her eyes rimmed with red. "After he finished his speech, he looked right at me, and I knew he'd brought me there. He reached out like he was going to take my hand and just brushed it with his fingers." She reached her own hand out in front of her and stared at it, her lips trembling. "His hand was so cold. And he said, 'I'm coming, little one. I'm coming for you.'"