Read Part Two: Temptation
Read Part Four: Glitter
The sun was high overhead by the time I woke the next morning.
Sleeping for so long had washed away the numbness I felt at being suddenly orphaned, only for it to be replaced by a bone-deep grief. Sure, the strangers from Sanctuary had promised to look after us, but it wasn’t the same. I had friends, likewise newly orphaned, but the last of my family was gone, and I would never see them again.
I wanted to roll over and go back to sleep without dreams and perhaps to never wake up. I knew that it wouldn’t help. Reluctantly, I pried myself out of the blankets and rolled to my feet.
Adrien was sitting nearby, reading a book and apparently waiting for me. “Hey, Leslie. We’ve been taking it in turns to keep watch.”
I shut my mouth, swallowing the lecture about not neglecting his own health for me, and looked around properly. About half of the other kids were out doing something else, but I wasn’t the last one still in bed. Instead, I tried to smile. “Old habits die hard, I suppose.”
On the journey here, everyone took turns keeping watch. After the Safehouse, the adults had mostly taken over, but the practice had continued. Adrien nodded, putting his book down and turning his back as I searched for a clean pair of clothes. I’d become a lot less body-shy as we travelled, but the thought was appreciated.
I’d just finished brushing my hair when the lady from last night came in. “Hello, dears. Are you ready to come meet the others?”
I wasn’t, but I’d have to do it sometime, and putting it off wouldn’t make things any easier. I put the brush back down on my pack, which was also looking distinctly the worse for wear. “I suppose so.”
She hummed in approval and led the way out.
There were a couple of children that I didn’t recognize running around Sanctuary, but it was obvious that the population consisted of mostly adults.
My memory jogged again, trying to remember something important, or link pieces of information, but skittered away before the thought could fully form. I’d remember eventually, probably in the middle of the night when I was trying to sleep. It was something to do with the Old Woman from the Safehouse and the advice she’d given us...
I fingered the carved piece of bone she’d given me, intact throughout everything. At least I had something that would last, where everything else fell into oblivion. The lady frowned briefly when she saw it, “What is that?”
I shrugged, not wanting to get into the full story and have to justify my unreasonable attachment. “Just a gift from a while back.”
She hummed, not quite satisfied. “Very well. Stay here with the other children while I go and gather the adults.”
Adrien and I obeyed, standing awkwardly together, unsure of what to say. Finally, another child approached, though it would be more accurate to call them a particularly short teen on the cusp of adulthood. He stopped, searching for what to say. I sighed. “Blurt first, clarify later. I don’t have the emotional energy right now.”
The teen nodded. “Right. Look, I know it’s tempting to think everything is going to be fine now, but... take everything you hear with a pinch of salt. They won’t lie to you, but the truth can be twisted.”
He left again, just as the lady returned, and we exchanged looks as we were introduced around.
We were supposed to be safe here, but I had a bad feeling about Sanctuary...
Join me next time for part 8, And A Partrige In A Pear Tree...