Days 1&2: Enter, Hurt

Yelena stepped carefully through the door to the sprawling house, as if she had any choice at all with Evan behind her. One of the nurses from the hospital called it a Queen Anne. She had no idea what that could possibly mean.

For every step she took to be away from him, he closed the distance between them for every step. He said he was her brother, but she couldn’t remember a brother. She couldn’t remember ever having any family. She couldn’t remember anything.

Sweat trickled from the line of her hair as her pulse leapt to a gallop. The fight or flight warring inside her was familiar enough an instinct, but all the same it felt so very wrong. From head to toe everything seemed off: Her skin too tight, her legs clunky, making every step clumsy. Her eyes darted around, the field of her vision causing her stomach to twist. Even the soft fabric of her fluffy cowl-necked sweater itched and seemed constricting.

“Your room is just as you left it,” Evan said. Obvious in the tone of his voice, he meant to be placating and reassuring, but it caused a shock of fine bumps to rise over her.

“Just as I left it?” she echoed, the sound of her voice far off and harsh to her ears.

“Would you like to see it?” He reached for her elbow with a cupped hand, and she flinched away before he could make contact.

“Don’t!” The words reverberated against walls that closed in on her. She did not belong here. This was not her brother. Somehow she just knew it. She shrunk in against herself and stumbled back and her hands flinging in front of her as a shield.

Evan made no attempt to step closer, nor did he reach for her again. He simply indicated the staircase—ornate and turning at a set of colored glass windows—with a lift of his chin. “First landing up the stairs.”

She looked, something of a tremble making the journey appear impossible. She turned to walk toward them, if only to avoid his trying to touch her again.

©b.r.hill-mann 2019

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