It had begun to rain ice when Elvira and Thomas got back from the wedding. I had started a large fire and made some tea. They were shivering and I passed them a cup. While they warmed up by the fire, I went into our bedrooms and grabbed our blankets and a pillow for Thomas.
The first year it rained ice, it scared me. I had never been in a place where they had ice fall from the sky. So, Thomas went and got all of our blankets and the three of us slept in front of the fireplace. It had become a tradition of sorts now.
Elvira was exhausted and fell asleep without a problem. I curled up on Thomas's left side and put my head on his shoulder.
"What's bothering you, Megan?" he whispered.
"Nothing," I said.
I huffed. "I'm just... wary about staying in the estate for a month, that's all."
"Because of everything that happened there?"
"Everything will be fine. Like I said, Bryant sealed off the parlor and blocked off the left side of the house." I felt him shake his head. "At first, Elvira was going to sleep in her old room. There was no way that would be happening. Bryant set up new rooms for us on the right side."
This time, his voice was hesitant. "Where did you disappear to at the wedding?"
I looked up at him. He was watching me with an arched brow.
"How'd you know? I thought nobody saw me."
He smiled. "You're my little sister. Now where did you go?"
I sighed. "I was getting uncomfortable so that man, Silas McGregor, led me to this hidden clearing. It's really pretty there."
His voice was halting again. "Do you... like this Silas?"
I laughed quietly. "No, Thomas. I don't like Ewan or Roderick, either."
"They're stuffy," I said, repeating what I told Elvira. "And they made me feel a little awkward."
This time I heard the frown. "What do you mean?"
I told him what they said while we were dancing and he chuckled.
"They were flirting with you, Megan," he said. "They didn't mean anything by it."
"That's what Elly said."
He sighed. "Daniel aside, why have you shut yourself off?"
I sighed, too, and it took me a while to answer. He didn't press me for an answer, either. I shut my eyes, trying to block out my tears.
"I.... I don't have anything to give, Thomas," I said in a choked voice and heard his heart beat faster. "I can fight and I can cook. That's it. And, I guess I'm beautiful but-"
"Megan, I love you, but you are wrong." I sighed. "No. I'm serious. Look at me." I obeyed. His eyes were burning with something I've never seen before. "You have more to give than just your wonderful cooking. You're a sweet, caring young woman. Any man would be more than lucky to have you."
I shut my eyes again. "I can't get past it," I admitted, my tears spilling over.
"Past what, Meggie?" he whispered.
I gripped his shirt and hid my face in his shoulder.
"You know," I mumbled.
I sighed. "Daniel."
His arm tightened on me. He didn't say anything. I wasn't sure if I should say anything, either, so I kept my eyes closed.
I ran for the door.
"No!" Elvira shouted. "Don't-Don't come in here, Megan."
"Let Miss Elly go!" I sobbed.
"Megan, go," Elvira said. "Go, baby. I'll be fine. He's just-"
"Don't lie to the girl," Daniel snapped. "I'm going to kill her, Megan."
I sobbed. "You can't kill Miss Elly!"
Elvira started to cry. "Go, Megan. G-Go see Mr. Bryant."
"Don't you dare," Daniel snarled. "If you send her to get Bryant then I'll kill you right here and now."
"Just run," Thomas whispered. "Just go, Meggie."
"Let me take care of Miss Elly's dragon," he whispered. "I need you to be strong for me Meggie."
"Yes, Tommy," I whimpered.
I ran down the road, sobbing. I ran into Mr. Pink and he looked at me in alarm.
"Megan. What in the world is wrong?"
"You have to help!" I sobbed. "Please! You have to help T-Tommy and M-M-Miss Elly!"
He frowned. "What do you mean, Megan?"
I grabbed his hand and pulled him up the road, crying too hard to tell him what happened.
"He wants to hurt her," I sobbed. More people were staring and following. "He said he was going to kill her dragon!"
"What dragon?" my teacher asked.
I didn't get the chance to answer. I heard Elvira scream and I ran, ignoring Mr. Pink shouting for me. When I got to the door, I sobbed even harder. Elvira was on her knees, clutching her throat. Blood was seeping through her fingers and down past her hands. She was watching the fight between Thomas and Daniel, a look of terror in her eyes. Mr. Pink ran to her and took his jacket off to put on her neck.
Suddenly, Thomas shouted and I tried to run for him. My teacher stopped me. I screamed for him as Daniel yanked a dagger out of his side. He plunged it back in but Thomas didn't stop. Then Bryant appeared and pulled Thomas off of Daniel.
I ran to Thomas but he was just mumbling some words. Elvira held his hand and someone carried him. Bryant picked me up and stroked my hair as we went to the doctor. Over his shoulder, Daniel was shouting and thrashing in Mr. Pink's arms.
"Wake up, Meggie," Thomas's voice floated into my brain. "Wake up, baby. Elvira, get some water, please. Come on, Megan. Wake up. It's just a nightmare. You're okay. Wake up."
My eyes shot open. I was on the floor, the blanket tangled around my legs. I let out a hoarse sob and sat up into Thomas's arms. He rocked me gently. Elvira sat beside me and stroked my hair, humming the melody she made for me.
When I got myself under control, she handed me the glass of water.
"You're okay," she whispered, kissing the side of my head.
"I'm sorry, Megan," Thomas sighed, wiping the tears off my face. "I shouldn't have-"
Someone knocked and I jumped.
I frowned. It was Silas.
"Hello? Is everyone all right? I heard screaming."
Elvira grabbed a robe and tied it around her. I hid my face in Thomas's chest as she opened the door.
"Mr. McGregor," Elvira said.
"Is everything okay?" he asked.
"Yes, come in. You must be freezing."
The door shut but I didn't look up. I didn't want him to see my tears.
"Miss Buckley?" Silas asked in shock. "What in the world happened?"
I didn't answer so Thomas did for me.
"She's okay, Mr. McGregor. She gets... night terrors. What in the world are you doing walking around in the middle of the night?" he asked.
I could hear Elvira making tea. She paused to pass me a handkerchief and I blew my nose.
"I'm not," he said slowly. "I live next door now. I heard screaming and I got worried. It sounded like someone was being attacked and I-"
I erupted into more tears and heard him swear.
"God, I'm sorry," he said.
"Don't be," Elvira said softly. "Here. This will warm you up."
"Uh... I kind of feel like I'm invading here," he said. "Perhaps I should go."
"At least drink that first," Thomas said over his shoulder. "You did a kind thing and it's very cold."
"Thank you," he muttered.
"Are you okay now, Megan?" Thomas asked, making him look at me.
I nodded. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to cause trouble."
"You didn't," Elvira said.
I laughed, wiping a few stray tears.
"I woke our neighbor," I sniffed.
"I'm a light sleeper," Silas muttered. "Um.... Thanks for the tea. I'll just...."
"Mr. McGregor," Thomas said, standing up and turning to him.
I looked up. Silas looked a little intimidated. I didn't blame him. When Thomas wants to, he can be very frightening.
"Speak of this to no one."
He frowned. "Of course I won't," he said. "Why would I tell anyone?"
Elvira sighed, sitting beside me again. "You'd be surprised, Mr. McGregor."
Silas looked at me and I lowered my eyes, embarrassed. He nodded and went to the door. He hesitated, though.
"If... if it makes you feel better, Miss Buckley," he whispered, "I get nightmares, too."
He left and I shut my eyes.
"Oh, I'm so embarrassed," I mumbled, covering my face.
"That was very kind of him to come check on us," Elvira said. "Does he know you live here?"
"He does now," I said, trying to joke.
Thomas sighed and sat on my other side.
"I really am sorry. I didn't think it would cause the nightmare."
I sniffled. "It's okay, Tommy. What time is it?"
He looked at our clock. "A little after one in the morning. Can you get back to sleep?"
I shook my head.
"I'll help you," Elvira said and Thomas passed her the pillow.
I immediately curled up by Elvira and put my head on her chest. She ran her fingers through my hair and hummed her melody. I shut my eyes, letting her voice and Thomas's whispers lull me to sleep.