(Missed Part One? Read it here.)

When Emma finally woke, she lay in a small bed, covered by a thick warm blanket. For a brief moment, she thought she was back home, in the safety of her own room, but as her eyes focused in the dimly-lit room, she realized she didn’t recognize the cold, blank walls. Slowly, she recalled the events of the morning.

Quietly, she sat up and swung her legs off the bed. They touched the freezing floor, and she shivered. From a dark corner of the room, something rattled and then fell to the stone floor with a clatter. “Who’s there?” Emma called.

From out of the shadows stepped a girl who looked to be about the same age as Emma. “Hi.” Her voice wavered as she spoke, and she didn’t look Emma in the face. “I’m Annabella. I wanted to meet you and−” At the sound of something in the hall, she jumped and forgot what she was saying. “Um, sorry.” She squatted down and picked up a spilled tin cup. “I was bringing you some tea, but I spilled it.”

“That’s okay.” Emma stood and approached the girl. “My name’s Emma. Is this Grey Island?”

Annabella nodded, but a voice from the hallway made her freeze. “It’s Mayhew,” she whispered and scurried over to a closet. “Please don’t tell him I’m in here. It’s for your own good.” She quickly disappeared into the closet and shut the door behind her.

“Ah, you’re awake,” Mayhew said as he entered. “Are you ready to have a tour of your new home?” He stepped forward into the spilled tea. It splashed against his foot. “What’s this?”

“I don’t know,” Emma said. “I just woke.”

Mayhew looked down at the tea and then back up at Emma, narrowing his eyes. “Has anyone else come to visit you?”

Emma shook her head. “No, unless I was still sleeping.” Though she tried not to, she couldn’t resist glancing at the closet.

Mayhew took a few confident strides to the closet and pulled open the door. “I knew it!” He seized Annabelle by her arm and yanked her out of the closet. “I told you to stay away from new members of our family.”

“I just wanted to bring her some tea,” Annabella said. “She was still asleep though.”

“If that’s all, why did you hide from me?” he asked.

“You scare me. I was afraid you wouldn’t believe me,” she insisted.

“You’re right. I don’t believe you,” Mayhew said. He dragged her across the room toward the door.

“Please, don’t hurt her,” Emma said.

Mayhew threw the girl out the door. “Go wait in your room for your punishment.” He turned back to Emma with a pleasant smile on his face. “I’m sorry you had to witness that. You see, Annabella is actually quite dangerous. She is always up to no good. I advise you to stay away from her.”

Annabella seemed nice enough to Emma. In fact, if anyone was starting to scare her, it was Mayhew. The way that girl jumped at every sound made her seem more like she was a victim of some sort rather than an instigator.

“She seemed nice to me,” Emma said.

Mayhew continued to smile. “Let me rephrase that. Stay away from her or I might have to punish you too.”

Emma didn’t want to know what kind of punishment was common at Grey Island. “Yes, I understand,” she said. The sooner she learned the layout of this island the better. It was one step closer to her escape. “So, how about that tour?”


Image by Nightqueen (nightqueen.de)

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