Sarah, was often on her own at the Bruer estate as Philip traveled long, and frequently for weeks at a time. When her husband was home, Philip barely spoke a word to her. When she tried to converse with him, he generally ended it. Sarah eventually gave up trying to talk to her husband, and soon loneliness set in.
She wandered outside the estate, the inside of the castle was often cold and drafty. A few times she came upon Aki, the Japanese woman that Philip had forgotten to mention, but like her master, Aki barely ever said a word to her. Sarah gave up trying to engage her too in a conversation.
By happenstance, Sarah was strolling through the gardens when one afternoon she came upon a seven year old boy, Aki’s son. Philip had also forgotten to disclose this small detail. She wondered what else her husband had forgotten to impart.
The seven year old boy, like his mother was coy, and hid behind an array of blossoming tulips, reluctant to approach her. Little did she know, he had been watching her since her arrival.
Sarah took one step toward the boy.
“Hallo,” she greeted him. “How long have you’ve been hiding there?”
The boy gave her a puzzled look.
“You have been hiding, haven’t you?” Sarah asked again. “Well, it’s all the same. This place is so large I wondered who else I haven’t met. You wouldn’t be the first to not speak to me. That’s all right. I’m getting use to that too. See you around.”
Sarah sighed, and began to turn away.
“Where are you going?” the boy finally spoke up.
“Ah!” Sarah exclaimed. “He speaks.”
“I could always speak,” he said.
“Then, why didn’t you say anything before?” Sarah asked him.
He simply shrugged.
“Where are you going?” he asked curiously.
“Just around the gardens,” Sarah said,
“Oh,” he became disappointed. “I wasn’t hiding.”
“You weren’t,” Sarah acted surprised. “You sure fooled me. Were you following me?”
He shrugged again.
“Are you leaving or are you staying here?” he asked.
“That’s a funny question to ask me,” Sarah said, but before she could ask him further, something to the left caught the boy’s eye, frightening him away. She watched him run towards the castle, disappearing around the corner.
“That’s odd,” Sarah remarked.
“What’s odd,” came a familiar voice behind her, startling Sarah.
It was John Hawthorn.
“I didn’t mean to frighten you,” he said.
“I didn’t hear you,” Sarah said.
“I have light feet, I’ve been told,” he smiled. “Having a stroll this morning, I see.”
“Yes,” Sarah said. “Do you know how far the town is? I thought I might take a walk there.”
“It’s probably around 8 miles from here,” he said. “It’d take you a good half day to get there, though I wouldn’t recommend it today. Those dark clouds in the east are rapidly rolling over here.”
Sarah turn to look to where he pointed, and saw dark, menacing clouds moving swiftly in their direction.
“Perhaps another day,” he said, giving her a wink, and walked away.
Disappointed, Sarah went back to the castle. The rain went on for days, trapping Sarah inside its cold walls. She wrote a few times to her sister, and tried to contact Philip, but he was out of reach, as he was most of the time. Bored and lonely, Sarah meandered the castle.