Sarah woke up with The Phantom of the Opera still wrapped up in her arms.
No one had taken it away from her. Barbara had tried, but Sarah had convinced her to leave it alone. And she had left it alone.
She stroked the hardcover and hugged it tighter.
It was not the same book that the Institute lady had read to her. That one had been huge. It was the biggest book the small girl had ever seen and she had seen plenty at the library.
It was not the same book, but this one was hers. She was not going to give it back to the library. She was going to keep it for life.
It was her only connection to everyone she had lost at The Institute.
The Institute had been a horrible place. They had hurt her there. They had taken so much from her there.
But it had been her only home.
She had no memory of any other home.
Sarah hid the book under the blanket just in case Barbara had any more book snitching ideas. She.sat up and poked the young woman’s arm.
Barbara turned away from her and kept sleeping.
Sarah scowled and poked her even harder.
Sarah turned into XQ.
Barbara held Ambrose’s hands. They were so strong and warm.
He looked into her eyes before bursting into flames.
She gasped in shock.
Everything in the room burst into flames. The flames crept towards her, hungry and wild and villainous. Wicked laughter popped inside of the black and savage red orange. “You will die, Barbara Addleston. YOU WILL DIIIIIIE!”
Barbara woke with a gasp.
Flames flickered on the bed.
Tall, hungry flames.
She screamed and backed away. Her blanket tangled around her legs and her feet, impeding her escape.
The flames flared before shrinking inward into the form of Sarah’s small human body. Her skin and clothes emerged.
And everything below.
She looked at Barbara and rolled her eyes in annoyance.
“Wha? I’m sorry. I had a bad dream. I thought you were still a part of it.”
Sarah shrugged and scrambled out of bed. She came around to Barbara’s side of the bed, grabbed her hand, and tugged.
Sarah spread her hands on her stomach and made a face that Barbara could only assume meant that she was lethargic from hunger. Or she was about to become a zombie. It was honestly hard to tell.
“Are you hungry?”
Sarah nodded emphatically.
Barbara checked the time on her alarm clock. “Eleven o’clock, huh? I guess that’s a decent time to get up.” She yawned. “I could easily sleep all day, though.”
Sarah scowled again.
“But it is eleven o’clock and you are hungry.” She got out of bed. “Let me change my clothes and then I’ll make you breakfast. Okay?”
Sarah made a thinking about it face before nodding.
“Okay. Don’t worry. I’ll be quick.”