“I guess that makes me feel a little better…” Andie heaved a sigh. “But I just – it’s just… how could I have missed that? Awakenings aren’t exactly subtle. You’d think I’d notice giant plumes of stress clouding up the sky.”
“Well… do you want an actual answer to that question, Sprout?” Finn leaned up against the railing of the apartment’s roof, and gestured for Andie to join him. “Or is it truly rhetorical?”
“I…” Andie blinked in surprise, then moved to lean against the railing with her grandfather. “…I didn’t know that question had an answer.”
“All questions have answers, Sprout. Even the ones that don’t seem like they should.” Finnegan chuckled. “Now, whether anyone knows what that answer is – or whether the answer makes any sense… Well, that’s another story. So, do you want the answer to this question?”
Andie swallowed her nerves and steadied her breathing. She wasn’t sure she’d like the answer, but… “Yes. Very much so.”
“Right then. The way I figure it, dreamwalkers only operate when they sleep – and kids your age all have to wake up for school at around the same time, so it stands to reason they’d go to sleep at around the same time, too.” Finnegan grinned, his smile ever so slightly more cocky than usual. “Dreamwalkers can only awaken in their dreamwalker forms, which, again, can only come out while they sleep. So you were probably asleep when Maddie had her awakening, and almost certainly indoors – where walls and a ceiling would get in the way of seeing things outdoors.”
“But I’m a dreamwalker, too! I should have – hey!”
Finnegan cut off Andie with a flick to the forehead. “I’m gonna cut you off right there, Sprout. Do you hunt Nightmares every night?”
“Well, no. We only hunt Nightmares once a week. But I like to explore the city in my dreamwalker form!”
“And how often do you do that?”
“Once or twice a week, but – !”
“But nothing.” Finn waved a hand dismissively. “That still leaves over half the week.” He paused his face growing almost… stern. “Sprout, I’ll say it as many times as I need to: ” He put his hand on his granddaughter’s shoulder. “This wasn’t your fault.”
A note from the author:
Wondering how Andie and company never met Maddie while out on patrol?
Andie, Dyllan, and Cedric like to go Nightmare hunting on schooldays, since going to the same school means they can easily meet up and schedule patrols the same day they actually go out and do them – and they find it better to decide when to hunt based on how emotionally resilient everyone is feeling, rather than having a predetermined day of the week they hunt like some other dreamwalker teams.
Maddie, however, preferred to patrol on weekends – since she had more emotional energy on days off.
This combined with how big cities can get… and it really isn’t surprising they never met.
Actually, it’s quite strange that lone dreamwalkers are almost unheard of, considering how rare dreamwalkers as a whole are.