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Would I have taken this path if I had known where it would lead me? Here is the road, stretched out in front of me. I know it winds and twists. It’s twisted me around already. But it is so long, it stretches for miles in front of my eyes. Out over the horizon it goes, and only when I get there do I see what curves I’ve followed. Hundreds of loops. I’ve gone away and back again only to be led away. Paths parallel to paths. I could brush my own shoulder in this lasting twilight. I’d be lost. Am I lost? Lost in the ages.
Bria’s pounding heart woke her. There were eyes in her room looking down at her. They winked green like wicked stars, burning into her. Her room was an oven, but she didn’t move from under her blankets. “What do you want from me?” she asked.
The eyes watched her, a blackness in them opening until they nearly disappeared. Hot air covered her in gusts. She breathed in until all the cold was forced out of her body. It was a crazy idea, but the warmth had given it to her. Was this just an illusion of safety? She closed her eyes, opened them again. The eyes were lit green.
“Can you speak to me?” Bria whispered. The words slipped past her lips and it was almost as though she could see them streaking sky blue trails up to ears hidden by darkness, but there was no answer.
The eyes blinked and disappeared. The shell of warmth evaporated. Bria heard Jana shrieking outside her door. Her sister’s voice slammed into her mind along with her mother’s. “Bria! Bria?”
Bria pulled her door open. It wasn’t locked, but her family collapsed through, along with Helene. Elric rushed straight to her window. It was closed.
“What?” Bria asked, unable to make sense of the terror on the faces she was greeted with.
“You were gone!” her mother yelled. “Gone!” She swept Bria into her arms and held her.
“I was here the whole time,” Bria said, but hugged her mother back because she needed it.
“It wasn’t even like you were dead,” Helene said. “You were just gone.”
“Were you practicing your weaves?” Jana asked, even though she was certain it had been something else. She stood with Elric at the window, her eyes flitting to the sky outside.
“No.” And Bria didn’t say anymore even though she could sense the lingering heat in the room and her father stood in her doorway with tears in his eyes. She met his eyes for a moment. He wiped the tears away. “The reason will present itself,” he said, but it was more of a question.