Holly opened her eyes and blinked. Feeling dazed for a moment, realization came swiftly along with the fear that had been gnawing at her lately, knotting her insides. She had wandered away from the house, again.
It was night and she felt the cold nip at her bare arms. Apparently, she had gone out without thinking of dressing for the chill. Holly looked around and felt her insides heave with fear, while trembling, she hugged herself. She did not feel right; this did not feel right. Was she dreaming? She had never been cold like this in a dream though. No, this was real.
“Oh, no, oh no, oh no,” she began to panic. How had she gotten here? She was standing between the stone walls of the Tower’s courtyard. It had been thirty years since last she had been here. At the time, she had been an invited guest of the Author when she was a free citizen. Now, she was a trespasser of the worst kind: a westerner off her turf past curfew.
The door swung open behind her and she spun around.
“Why are you out here?” A man’s gruff voice asked.
Holly’s legs moved as if of their own accord. Numbers spiraled through her mind, turning the walls into measurements of depth and height, while her optimal trajectory to leap over the fence formed its spiral: run four feet forward and leap. She knew from past experience that her body would follow the path and obey the cues, as if the years melted from her bones. She was keenly aware that the man was moving toward her and that shouting echoed in the distance. Holly ran, feeling the exhilaration of her body slice through the friction of the wind.
Holly bound forward, sticking her right leg down as she prepared to fly through the air in a gazelle like leap. Pain wretched through her supporting foot as her ankle turned dangerously under her and as her body fell, the numbers fell with her, dissipating into reality. She griped her ankle, crying out. Bewildered, she saw the problem. She was wearing heels. Holly was too practical and too old to wear heels. These were Cray’s.
Distracted by her confusion and pain, Holly did not notice that the man was now standing above her, until his tight grip was around her arm, yanking her to her feet. She cried out again.
“Come on.” He said, as he grabbed at her. She stumbled, her ankle turning, but he tightened her grip so she did not fall. He sighed loudly. He hoisted her small frame into his arms, carrying her off like a silly child. That’s how she felt at this moment, like a helpless, stupid silly child, who was losing her mind.