The soft thump behind me assured me that the door had swung shut. I was too busy looking around me to care much if the door was shut or not, though. There were pictures along the hallway walls. My favourite portrait of Gabriel. My best photo of Melissa. A painting of the first person to show me any sort of care after Gabriel died. There was even a clipping from a newspaper article written in the forties about me. I’d almost forgotten about this completely.‘Sergeant Thorn shown shaking Tommy White’s hand.’The small boy in the photograph was a kid who’d gotten lost in an unfamiliar neighbourhood, and locked out during an air raid. I’d saved his life, but you wouldn’t know it from the photo. Most soldiers would be smiling, glad to have done something good. I looked... distant.
I turned away from it before the memories of the war could come back. I’d had my reasons for forgetting as much as I could. I headed up to bed, hoping to get a nap in before exploring the rest of this village. The master bedroom was like the rest of the house. Georgian, with hints at the time we were really living in. The dark floorboards were comfortably worn and smoothed from years of being walked upon. The bed was a huge four poster affair with all the elaborate drapes that Gabriel’s had had.
I tested the mattress. It was soft but firm, definitely stuffed with down like they always used to be for rich people back then. The pillows and quilt were both feather too. I laid down on it, letting my head sink into the softness beneath it, not even bothering to get under the covers or undress.
I was asleep in an instant.
When I looked up, Gabriel was kneeling over me, his face hovering above me and his hair flaring out around his face like a dark halo. His lips were almost begging me to kiss them, and who was I to deny? We fitted together like two pieces of a puzzle that were never meant to be apart. His eyes sparked with the fire that was raging through my veins and I wanted him, God, I wanted him.
I pulled back and closed my eyes for a moment to catch my breath. But when I looked back, his lips were no longer a pale pink, nor were they thin and sharp. They were plump and bright red and smiling down at me mockingly. I looked up into her cold green eyes, trying to swallow the lump that had formed in my throat. What was she doing here? She wasn’t allowed to be here.
My eyes snapped open, trying to adjust to the light levels in the room. I needed a drink. Time to explore this house and look for a liquor cabinet.