Something tickled Sophia's face in her sleep and she twitched, rolling over in annoyance.

The sensation came again and she blinked awake, staring up at the ceiling, only to see spindly legs step over her right eye, carrying an oblong body.

She shrieked and jumped up, brushing herself off rapidly, trembling with the knowledge that a spider had been crawling on her in her sleep.

Sophia noticed the nasty little thing trying to escape her thundering feet, running toward a crevice, and she stepped on it.

When she lifted her foot the slightly-squashed insect peeled itself off the floor and continued fleeing.

Her temper flared and she reached her hand out and grabbed the spider off the floor, taking a leg in each hand and pulling them in opposite directions until it tore into a mess of innards and juices in her grip.

Macdonald suddenly became aware of Alice looking over her shoulder, who was pointing to one of the shapeless lumps in her hands.

"Oh, you've found a nice one! The egg sac is still intact!"

Sophia quickly and desperately wiped her hands on her dress in disgust, shaking her head to forget the sight.

"What a pity," Alice mused, "We might have even been able to watch them hatch."

Without any further encouragement, Sophia retched unceremoniously onto the wooden floor.

Alice patted her back reassuringly, helping her stand upright once more.

"Don't be too disappointed, I'm sure we can find another."

The sound of footsteps caused Sophia to turn toward the doorway, only to see the scarred woman standing there, glancing briefly at the puddle of vomit before meeting the eyes of its origin. 

"I suggest you two prepare for our departure. The sun is about to rise."

With that she turned and left, her black skirts swishing against the dusty floor.

"Her name's Pollyanna, or something like that, I think." Carrol commented, her tongue tripping over the pronunciation, "She always wears dark colours. I wonder who she came here to get back at...probably whoever did that to her face."

The girl shuddered, but turned and smiled at Sophia.

"I'm going to go and change into my traveling dress. It's quite wonderful, I'm sure you'll agree. It's a robin's egg's blue and it has these wonderful leg of mutton sleeves, with a hem full of frills. What about you, what will you wear?"

Sophia sighed inwardly and put on a weak smile.

"Oh, I don't know, I'll find something."

Fat chance. All she had left were the clothes on her back, after all. 

And her sanity. Perhaps.

She watched Alice skip off somewhere and walked toward the old, unbalanced dresser in the room, glancing down at her reflection in the washbasin on top of it.

Her eyes held her own gaze for a few seconds before her hands broke through her twin, splashing cool water onto her stained palms and her face. 

When she looked up into the cracked mirror, drying her skin with a musty towel, her green eyes were streaked with red and her fiery red hair seemed to have dulled to the colour of dried blood, a deep crimson.

"Hurry, Sophia!" Alice's voice called from somewhere, breaking her from her reverie.

Sophia pulled on her coat and hat and, throwing a final look at the contents of her stomach, walked down the stairs and out into the chilly air. 

Carrol was already sitting inside the carriage, patting the seat beside her for Macdonald to take. Sophia clambered in with little poise and took it, pulling the door shut and watching the scenery outside the window.

The lady in red was sitting out, beside the driver, chatting freely with him even though it was somewhat unfitting for a woman to do. The gipsy, the scarred woman and the elderly one sat on the bench across from Alice and Sophia, all silent and occupied in either the outside world, their hands or a book. 

Alice, however, seemed to want to do no such thing.

"So, Sophia," she started curiously, "Where do you come from?"

It seemed there would be no more quiet for the duration of this trip. 

The End

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