Life at Temple Bruer became stodgy, and dour as Sarah grew miserable. It seemed the castle fed off of the melancholy of those that inhabited within its caliginous walls. Philip was once more leaving on his mysterious trips that kept him far from home. Sarah couldn’t help, but become crabbed at his absence. She hated what her life had become, and the future that didn’t seem to exist. She meandered the castle during the day, and at night, when she couldn’t sleep, she could hear Aki’s weep echo through the night. Sarah knew why she cried, but instead of being lenitive towards the woman she grew to disdain her.
One night, Sarah had enough of Aki’s weeping. She got out of bed, opened her door, and as loud as she could told her to quiet down. When she realized what she had done, and the bitterness that consumed her, she felt compunction to her actions. Aki had lost her son, and Sarah had no compassion.
“What have I done?” Sarah couldn’t comprehend her callousness. “This place is changing me.”
Sarah didn’t sleep well that night. She had visions of Philip and John, sometimes through the nightmares she could hear Haruki’s voice.
“They want you,” Haruki said. “They won’t let you leave. They won’t let you leave. They will never let you go…”
Sarah woke with a start, and saw that the day had already commenced without her. Feeling overwhelmed she hurried out of bed and got dressed. She had searched for Aki, to apologize her for her abruptness, but she couldn’t find her. Distraught for her behavior, Sarah wandered outside into the garden. She didn’t expect to find John there since she hadn’t seen him in days. She stumbled near the stables, and hurried silently away, watching apprehensively that they seemed more dilapidated then before.
Something was amiss, and Sarah, couldn’t say what it was. She walked to the gondola, taking a seat inside, quietly admiring the sights, and sounds around her. The day was bright, and sunny, though the sun felt warm, Sarah felt cold, putting on a sweater before going outside. She couldn’t seem to warm her blood no matter how long she stayed outside.
“He’s coming,” someone whispered loudly in her ear.
Sarah turned to the voice and saw John approaching.
“Enjoying the weather?” John smiled at her. “It’s a nice day, isn’t it? Have you looked at the flowers? They are blooming today.”
He kept on walking never stopping to hear her response.
Sarah thought it odd, and when he vanished around the corner she looked down on her leg as she felt something crawl on it. To her horror, her feet were muddied and soiled by the muddy waters and overgrown grass that filled the gondola, a black worm had crawled up her leg. Sarah yelped as she brushed the worm away, and ran out of the gondola. The gondola had altered from a beautiful structure into a decaying frame.
“That wasn’t there,” Sarah only muttered to herself. Feeling uneasy she decided to walk away. She hesitated about going to the garden, deciding to avoid it. She didn’t want to go back inside the castle as it was too cold and her bones still shivered from it.
She wondered about the family Sheriff Crosby talked about, wondering if they still lived around here. She wondered if John knew about the family, and if he lived nearby them. Lately, John had a volatile disposition, one minute he was kind and generous other times he was ill tempered.
She wondered if that’s what Haruki meant when he called John a bad man. She couldn’t say, but she evaded him when she could, never knowing what mood he was going to be in. She sighed in frustration.