Flowers lay against the house, like one giant tombstone. Maravek knew how much those beautiful bouquets were valued in that temperate city, where even the hardiest grass struggled to grow. Though it was a humble house, they were rich in compassionate friends, it seemed.
“You don’t have to see this if you don’t want to, Enzo. After losing your own father, this might awaken some pain in you as well.”
Enzo shook his head. “It isn’t what you would do. Perhaps I can offer some perspective for her. I can show her she’s not alone.”
“You’re a good man,” Maravek offered.
When he knocked on the door, it opened almost immediately, a plump, middle-aged woman standing there with a black veil over her face.
“Miss Sarah?” Maravek asked.
A frustrated gaze was apparent even behind that black lace. She stepped aside, allowing the visitor a view of the disheveled woman on a threadbare settee. She looked down, past her interwoven fingers, perhaps even past the floor itself. She was lost in grief, and it didn’t appear that anyone would be able to wrench her from that despair.
Maravek stepped inside, past the woman who had answered the door. He looked around at the meager surroundings before setting his eyes on the bereaved once more. The mourning girl hadn’t noticed his presence, even when he sat down beside her. When he arrived there, he alternated glances between her, Enzo and the impatient woman who had allowed them entry.
“You won’t get her to talk,” the lady insisted. “Sarah hasn’t spoken since the funeral.”
“Perhaps if people believed what she had to say,” Maravek offered. He reached out and grabbed Sarah’s hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. She blinked, but didn’t turn to acknowledge him, nor did she squeeze back. “My name is Maravek, and I assure you, I’m a friend. I have what some might call a gift. I think of it as an opportunity to help others. I can interpret dreams—in more ways than one—and if it’s true that your father was suffering from awful nightmares, perhaps I can help you to understand why.”
Sarah slowly turned to the dreamwalker, old tears still upon the rims of her eyelids. She finally squeezed back.
* * * * *
“No one believed me,” the young woman explained. She led him into another room, and shut the door behind her. “Everyone keeps telling me it was old age, that it was just his time. But he was a healthy man. He was old, it’s true, but he wasn’t ready to die.” A sob caught her at the end of that thought, and she clenched her eyes shut, forcing out the moisture that returned.
“I assure you, young lady, I believe you,” Maravek stated. “There’s nothing more tragic than a senseless death, except perhaps for an unexplained one. I’ve seen others succumb to the terrors that come in the night. And I also know that other strange visions are coming to people in their moments of reverie. I know it’s no consolation, but what your father endured—that might save the lives of countless others.”
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