Missy looked down at the finished house. Again, she had that feeling that someone could live in there. That, maybe, someone was standing on the other side of the door. “This was my home.”
“Where is it, miss? Do you know?”
She shook her head. “I just know it’s real. I lived here. This was home.” She touched the front door. “I was happy here. Here, I was loved.”
Missy stared at the picture, waiting and hoping for memory to speak again. But memory chose to stay silent.
Robin barged into the kitchen. “Hey. Raven. I’m leaving town.”
Raven rose to his feet. “I’m sorry. What?”
“I need to go to Isellta. I need to talk to him. I need to understand. I need to know if I’m the only one in love. I don’t know if that even makes any freakin’ sense.”
Raven smiled. “It does, sir. Trust me.”
“Good. I need money for train tickets.”
“Very well, sir. I’ll be right back.”
As Raven left the room, Robin dropped into his abandoned seat. He smiled at Missy. “Hey there.”
She smiled back at him.
Her smile fell as yellow and white streaks obscured her vision. The house appeared in her mind.
It was spring. Flowers bloomed. Warm winds blew. The front door opened. He stepped outside. He smiled at her.
“I know you.” she whispered.
He held out his arms.
“Say my name. Let me know who I am. Tell me.”
“Come on. It’s time to come inside.”
“Who am I?”
“I know you want to keep playing, but your mom says now. And when she says now, now is now. Come on, Cassie.”
“Cassie? Is that my name? It doesn’t feel like my name, but—-”
The memory disappeared.
Robin stared at her with raised eyebrows. “Did I just miss something?”
She grabbed a clean piece of paper and tried to draw the man’s face. She tried over and over.
It came out as the most basic circle-shaped head, oval eyes, straight line for a nose, curved line for a mouth, and thatch-like hair on top. All of that was balanced on a skinny pencil neck that couldn’t possibly support that enormous head.
“Arrrgh!” She crinkled the paper and threw it.
Raven entered the room, picked up the paper wad, and set it free in the garbage can. “Is there a problem?”
Robin shrugged. “Don’t ask me. I ain’t got a clue.”
He came over to her. “What is it?”
“I need you to draw someone for me.”
“Very well.” He gave Robin a “Move it or die” look.
Robin decided to move it.
Raven sat in his seat and picked up his pen. “Let’s begin. What sort of face is it?”
He looked up at her.
“Describing houses is one thing I can sort of do but describing people’s faces is a lot harder. I need you to…”
He set the pen down.
She looked at the house. “There is a man who owns this house. I need you to draw him.”
“I need you to do it from my memory.” She looked up at him. “Find him in my memory, Raven.”
“Are you certain? I could set a chain reaction. You might remember things you wish to keep forgotten.”
“Missy. Think this over carefully. Are. You. Certain?”
He swallowed hard.
Robin sat on the other side of the table and elbow-propped to watch the show.
Raven spread his hands on the sides of her head.
She flinched as he entered her mind. She could feel him moving through thoughts like an eel in water.
She broke into a cold sweat as he probed into her memories, gently rifling through them as if he were going through a card catalogue.
The images flashed before her eyes. Faces. Words. Actions.
A hand reaching down to her.
Professor Hrashna smiling at her.
Antioch holding her hand.
A woman with a kind face.
“Who is she?” Missy whispered.
Raven didn’t stop to investigate her further.
Someone sang her to sleep.
Learning to speak.
Turning into flames.
“Stop.” Her voice was barely a whisper.
He didn’t stop.
A silk-like dagger touched her throat. Her voice poured into the blade like steam, like smoke.
“STOP!” She shoved him out.
Raven reeled at the unexpected ejection. “I—Missy?” He struggled to focus on her.
She rose from her seat and ran out of the room.
She ran out of the house.