Warm fingers of sunlight tickled her eyelids. Collianna O’Glacken stretched. As was her usual habit, she reached for the coin that hung from a fine gold chain around her neck. She rubbed it between her finger and thumb. It’d been a good night’s sleep. For a change the voices had been quiet. Until now that hadn’t bothered her. Now it did. Sitting up, Colli brushed silver white hair from her face.
Something’s wrong. She swung her feet over the edge of the bed. An icy chill spread through her. Not only were the voices gone, but all sense of anyone close was gone as well. Even the soft acknowledgement from her sister Mary was missing. They’d grown very close over the past year.
“Hey sleepy head. When are you coming downstairs?” Mary stood in the doorway. “Mom’s got breakfast ready.
“Where’d you go?” Colli rested her face in her hands.
“Huh?” Mary moved into the room. “What do you mean?”
Colli shook her head. How can I explain this? Before she could try to put it into words, her young brother Jake came in.
“Hey Colli. Come on. I’m hungry. Mom says we can’t have breakfast until you come down.” He jumped on the bed and wrapped his arms around her. “Aren’t you hungry?” It was hard to ignore his seven year old enthusiasm.
“Let’s go Jake. Leave her alone.” Mary pulled him to the door. “Come down soon.” Mary turned back to Colli. “Don’t forget we have to report in.”
Report in. Yes. But what am I going to tell them? Colli couldn’t rid herself of the sense of devastating loss. It settled in to rob her of the ability to reason. Even after taking a hot shower and putting on her favorite green top with jeans, she felt empty.
Downstairs, Mary waited, worry etched on her face. “Are you any better?” She whispered the question, as if she could keep the words from hurting.
Before Colli could answer the front door slammed. “Hey, where is everyone?” The warm rich voice of Keleon Tamtersine sent a chill through Colli.
I didn’t even feel him. Their friendship had evolved to a higher level after the battle that brought them together near McAllister.
“What’s going on?” Keleon chose a chair near Mary. “Come on Colli, sit.” His smile brightened the room.
Colli slipped into the seat he indicated. She shrugged and remained silent, hoping that some how Keleon could help her feel again.
He leaned over and brushed his lips against the side of her face, then whispered in her ear. “I know something’s wrong. What is it?”
Tears spilled down her cheeks. “I… I don’t know.” Her whole body quivered. No words formed to explain.
“Mary. Contact Sung. Tell him we’ll meet him…” he hesitated, “at the complex.” Keleon put his arm around Colli, pulling her to him. The warmth of his body did little to comfort her. “You’re coming with me.”
Chairs scraped. “I have to…“ There was something she had to do. What is it? She couldn’t remember.
“No.” Finality in Keleon’s voice allowed no argument. He guided her out of the house to his car.
She pulled back. “Why?” The old black car that sat in the yard had always repulsed her.