Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Unexpected Guests

Serenity awoke to the sensation of fingers stroking her forehead and a voice humming the old lullaby her mother would sing when she was a little girl.  She slowly came to, then quickly shut her eyes as bright lights threatened to blind her. Gradually, her mind slipped back into focus. She quickly scrambled away from whoever was stroking her forehead. A scream welled up and threatened to spill from her throat.

"Oh, dear, Serenity, no no, lie back down again, you shouldn't be up this quickly." The voice sounded very familiar.

Serenity spun around. On her bed there sat a middle-aged woman, with a kind face and hair pulled back into a wayward bun. She seemed to be wearing very old-fashioned clothes, similar to the clothing worn in the 1800s if Serenity had to guess.

This time, the scream burst free.

"Serenity, hush now..." the woman began. A hand clamped down on Serenity's mouth. The woman cast a kind of chastising look at the other woman who had just materialized in Serenity's bedroom.

"What? We can't have her waking all of the neighbors, can we?" The other woman continued to stand behind Serenity. Serenity didn't dare turn around.

"Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god..." Serenity chanted to herself, curling in on herself as was her habit. She had gotten worse. This was her worst fear, and it had come true.

"Serenity, sweetheart..." the woman on her bed crooned, scooting over and wrapping her arms around Serenity's shaking body. Serenity was astounded by how real the woman's touch felt.

"This isn't real, this isn't real, this isn't real..." Serenity murmured over and over.

"Oh good lord! She still thinks that it's that schizo-whatchamacallit!" the woman standing behind her finally walked around into Serenity's line of sight, revealing a very elderly woman wearing what looked a gown from the medieval era and clutching an old, knobby cane.

"Schizophrenia, Braeden. It's what the poor dear has been told over and over again, so it's no wonder she believes it!"

The old woman snorted. "Pish-posh. This girl hasn't got schizophrenia and deep down she knows it!"

It had all gotten too much for Serenity. She threw herself off the bed and bolted for her bathroom, desperate to find her medicine. Both the middle-age woman and the old crone who was apparently Braeden, followed her into the tiny bathroom.

"That won't do anything, dear. All the medicine does is mess with your abilities."

"And if the past day has shown us anything, it's that you need to train. You need to learn how to protect yourself." Serenity continued to shake her head as she lifted her trembling hand to her mouth. But quick as a whip, the old Braeden's cane lashed out and knocked the last dose of medicine out of her hand.

"Abe should be here to help us" the middle aged woman said, hand going idly to her stomach.

"Yes, well, it's a shame that he died, Dympna" Braeden said consolingly, her tone at odds with her words.

"How do you know my great grandfather's name?" Asked Serenity. Dympna gave Serenity a sad smile.

"You really don't know anything do you? Anything about your heritage? Your family tree?" asked Braeden. Serenity shook her head. Both women seemed to wilt under that admission.

"Look, could you maybe just... leave me alone?" Serenity asked as a last ditch effort.

"Well, seeing as how we're bound to you we can't go very far, but we'll give you some space, dear." Dympna helped Braeden stand and they moved into the next room, shutting the door on Serenity.