Gemma stumbled to her feet and clumsily grabbed hold of the front door.
"Hello?" she yelled, pounding down the steps into the garden. "Lady? Please, come back, I need your help!"
"Hey!" came a voice from the other side of the garden hedge.
Gemma's heart leapt hopefully as she rushed to the thick cluster of leaves and peered over, her toes pointed and aching below her. But her stomach dropped to the ground as her eyes fell upon a woman, also in her sixties perhaps, who was sunbathing in her garden in shorts and a bikini top. A pair of purple oversized sunglasses hid half her face.
"Would you mind keeping it down, please?" the woman asked.
Gemma's mouth jerked open an inch. The woman was nothing like the lady she was looking for, yet she'd just spoken in almost the same manner. Maybe her memory served wrong, and this was who she neeeded.
"Um... The shade, you said? The shade will help?" Gemma asked.
The woman tilted her sunglasses, and peered at Gemma as though she were a curious unknown specimen. "The shade? How could I get a suntan in the shade?"
Gemma wanted to cry. This wasn't her woman, and she knew that, but she now couldn't stop the words from flowing from her lips. "But... His eyes!" she whimpered, no longer aiming her speech at the sunbathing woman, but voicing her fear.
"If you're worried about the eyes, try sunglasses."
Gemma started to run from the hedge, flying back up the steps two at a time. Her pulse almost ceased as an empty hall greeted her.
"Brom!" she shouted.
Gemma started, her eyes snapping to the left. She wandered stiffly into the kitchen, which was distinctly cooler than the hall had been. Brom stood by the sink holding a glass of water.
He stared at Gemma.
"You okay, Gems?" he asked.
Gemma warily stepped closer to him. He seemed alright now. She noticed now that the room was cooler because no sunlight reached it. The kitchen must have been at the west of the house.
"Are you?" she demanded.
He nodded slowly. "Apart from my parents being gone, I'm..." His voice faded, and he gulped down some of the water.
Something clicked inside Gemma's head. "Sunglasses."
Brom licked his lips. "What?"
"Are there sunglasses in your house?"
"Yeah, in the drawer in the hall." Brom put his glass down and took a step towards the hall door.
"No!" Gemma gasped, pressing her hands to his chest to stop him from moving into the sunlit hall. "Stay in the kitchen, I'll get them. Stay in the kitchen." She scampered to the hall, and pulled open the top drawer of the dresser.
"The next drawer down," Brom said, moving closer again to the hall.
"Stay back!!" Gemma screamed at him, her heart clenching with fear. Brom's eyes flickered with fright, and he crept backward into the shade.
Gemma yanked open the next drawer, without shutting the top one, and grabbed a pair of rounded square sunglasses that she realized were pink, but didn't care. She sped back to the kitchen and slapped the glasses towards Brom's face.
"Put them on," she commanded.
He grabbed them as one of the handles poked his forehead, and slid them carefully on. "You do realize they're -?"
"Pink, yes," snapped Gemma. "Just shut up. Come here." She took hold of his hand, and stepped back into the sunlight. The yellow light passed over his wrist first as she brought it with her, and as he stepped forward, the light flooded his entire body.
Although terrified that the demonic fit would return, Gemma kept hold of her friend's hand. After several moments, nothing happened.
"It works," she whispered.
She couldn't see Brom's eyes through the glasses, yet she got the feeling they had locked with hers. She could almost feel the gratefulness flowing from him.
"I can barely remember what's happened, Gemma. What's his working for?" he asked, and Gemma had to hold back a sigh of disappointment.
"I can't explain, Brom. Trust me... Leave the glasses on. And tell me what's happened."
Still holding Gemma's hand, Brom nodded and headed towards the stairs. "Last thing I remember was standing in my parents' bedroom."
Brom turned back to face her.
"Brom, do you remember a woman being here?"
"Yeah. When you came downstairs; do you remember seeing a woman here?"
Brom slowly shook his head. "No, it was just you here, Gems."
Gemma blinked, feeling something very bad deep down as Brom led her again towards the stairs and they began their ascent.