Harper briskly walked toward the stables. She saddled up the closest horse and hopped on. She kicked the horse into a full run, her hair blowing around in the wind.
She needed time to clear her mind, and a long, early morning ride was the only thing she could think of to do that. She didn’t think about where she was going, she just let the horse lead her wherever it wanted to go.
She rode for most of the day and still had nothing to show for it. Her mind was just as jumbled at the end of her ride as it was at the beginning. Discouraged, she slipped off of the horse and led it slowly into the stable.
“Hey,” Eveline said, leaning against the doorframe of the stable, “Have a nice ride?”
“I guess,” Harper said, stroking the nose of the horse.
“Didn’t figure out what you needed to?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“I feel responsible. I should have never told you about all of this. It’s all my fault.”
“No, I’m glad you told me. Eveline?” she asked.
Eveline heard a loud, high pitched, screeching sound in her ears. She felt like she was going to start bleeding from her ears. She fell to her knees, and covered her ears with her hands.
“Eveline!” Harper cried, “What is it? What’s wrong?”
“Ah,” Eveline cried out, “Can’t you hear that?”
“That noise. It’s terrible.”
The noise made her nauseated, and she threw up in the straw covered barn floor just before she blacked out into Harper’s arms.
“What happened?” Jordan asked, as he walked into the stable.
“She heard this ringing in her ears and then she blacked out,” Harper said, struggling to stand.
In a few steps Jordan was by Harper’s side and lifting Eveline into his arms.
“What happened?” Elaine cried, seeing Jordan carrying Eveline.
“She passed out,” Harper said simply.
“What’s going on here?” Elaine asked as soon as the doctor finished examining her.
“I don’t know,” Harper said.
“Don’t give me that!” Elaine said, standing up, “You know what is going on. I know you do. She tells you everything. She hasn’t acted like herself for a while. What is going on here?”
Harper’s mind was in turmoil. She didn’t know what she should do. Part of her wanted to tell Elaine everything, after all she was Eveline’s sister and she deserved to know what was going on with her. The other part didn’t. Eveline had confided in her. If Eveline had wanted Elaine to know she would have told her herself. Harper didn’t want to break Eveline’s trust.
“Just tell me!” Elaine shouted.
Jordan got up and placed his hands on Elaine’s shoulders.
“Please,” she said, lowering her voice to a pleading whisper.
Harper finally decided. She gave them a blanket overview of what Eveline had told her, leaving out most of the details. Then she left the room.
“Elaine?” Eveline asked tiredly when she woke up.
“Eveline!” Elaine said happily, “You’re awake!”
“Yeah,” Eveline said, sitting up.
She leaned her head against the pillows to rest her neck. Her head was splitting and felt like it weighed a thousand pounds, and her ears were aching.
“Listen. While you were unconscious Harper told me about what was going on.”
“What? What did she say?”
“Oh, that you felt guilty that Serephina died, and that you’ve been working hard trying to put an end to what was going on with our family, and you are working on fixing the problem.”
“Thank you,” Elaine said, hugging Eveline tightly, “Well, I’ll let you get some rest. I’ll come back later.”
Elaine glanced over at where Jordan was sitting. Eveline watched as Elaine and Jordan left the room hand in hand. Eveline leaned deeper into her pillows. She smiled happily and closed her eyes.
A glow in the room caused Eveline’s eyes to spring open. The glowing figure stepped out from the corner that it was hiding in.
“You are nearing the end,” the figure said, drifting toward Eveline’s bed, “If you choose to continue there will be no going back.”
“It will be difficult, and extremely dangerous,” the figure continued.
“Dangerous?” Eveline asked, “How dangerous?”
“There is no guarantee that you will make it out alive. Now, what is your choice?”
Taking a deep breath she held out her hand. Facing almost certain death, she agreed to go through with it.