“What were you thinking?”
“Could you, maybe, not yell?”
“Marcelina, how are you going to get out?”
“I don’t know.”
Nothing from her comm.
Under her, she heard voices. They were muffled, but she could hear at least two of them. Her wings vibrated so she put her hands behind her and clasped them against her back. Would someone hear? Would they come up here and investigate? No one had been up here in some time. The dust was so thick she worried about a coughing fit.
“I’m here. It’s going to be ok.”
“Jory? I’m so sorry. I am. I know it wasn’t…smart.” She hated the admission.
“Marcelina, I am going to send Dosia to sleep with Cath and Bridge when you make it back. Then I am going to spend the night yelling at you. Because, yes, it was not smart.”
“I’m scared.” If she’d hated the last admission, this one was physically painful.
“I know, but I promise you it’ll be ok. And I am always right.”
Under her, the voices stopped. Footsteps walked directly under her and Marcelina held her breath. She tried to shrink back further into the corner, but already splinters from the walls bit into her back.
“I think they’re going to bed,” she whispered. “I can get out when they’re in bed.”
“Tell me when.”
“I’m not there, Mrs. Couch.”
She smiled and unwound herself a fraction. “So, you’re not always right, Mr. Couch?” Footsteps walked under her again. “Because you just said.”
“Marcelina, this is serious.”
“And…I am angry and scared and…and I can’t think about anything but running. Please, Jory. I need you.”
“Tell me when the noise stops.”
He waited for her acknowledgement. Once he had it, he told her about Dosia’s day. A couple of times she had to stop herself from laughing. Marcelina really did not know what she would do without Jory.
“I need you, Marcelina. Please. Please be careful.”
“You don’t need me.”
“I am not raising the terror on my own.”
“I need you, Jory. Please, tell me it will be ok.”
“It’s going to be fine. I promise.”
Marcelina closed her eyes and tried to breathe normally. Every noise made her want to gasp. Eventually, the house grew quiet except for the noises it made on its own. After she told Jory he had her wait another hour.
Wings tucked up close, she crawled across the floor to the exit. The hinges were not kept oiled like they’d been in the past. So, she opened it slowly and cautiously let herself down to the hallway. Rather than risk the noise, she left the attic entry open.
It wasn’t until her hand was on the front door that she heard a noise. Marcelina spun around and stared at a sleepy-eyed woman. Neither of them spoke. Recognition came slowly, but Marcelina was a beat faster.
“Marcelina? What is it?”
“Siemowit!” the other woman screamed. “Help! Help!”
Marcelina did not wait to see her brother. She threw the front door open and took two steps before she spread her wings and threw herself into the air. Behind her, she heard loud voices. The lights in the neighborhood came on slowly and followed her as she fled her own home.
“Marcelina? Are you ok?”
“He married her.”
“The twice cursed bastard married her.”
“Married who? Marcelina? Did they see you?”
“No. He didn’t. But she did.”
Marcelina didn’t answer right away. The wind shifted and she had to fight to stay on course. It took her several miles to get herself on the right path once more.
“Siemowit married Charlotte,” she growled.
Jory laughed in her ear.