The man does not answer, only holds out a hand like chicken legs and grabs at her wrist.
She feels his fingers clutch around her liquid bones.
He tugs her along after him, coat flying out in a scholarly portent of tweed and suspenders.
A piece of her breaks free, spilling away from her shoulder in little taffy pulls.
The lake rises up before her again, beckoning, from her memory.
Her feet are small again.
She can feel the warmth of her little red boots.
“Help me, somebody! Help me?” her youngest voice cries out to him.
There are tears welling in his pale green eyes as he holds her close to him, plasters a kiss against her frosted hair, then shoves her head under the icy water.
Her eyes slide shut on a single thought.
“It’s so warm here… so warm…”
Above the ice, the nauseous wet glomp of someone throwing up fails to reach her ears, but she hears it anyway.