Chapter 3: Better Safe Than Sorry
The rest of my evening was spent locked in the bedroom — our bedroom, I suppose, though it had formerly belonged to Polly's parents —and cowering in bed. I kept the covers pulled over my eyes, like I was a toddler who still foolishly believed that sinister supernatural things were somehow incapable of penetrating the sacred barrier of blankets. But it made me feel better, even though it was completely stupid and wholly unnecessary. What was actually keeping me protected was the room itself, or rather, what encircled it. Along the edge, where wall met ceiling, was a thin line of golden script in a language I couldn't read. It had been added by Luc right after we had moved in… just in case. Even though the danger of the demon had passed, we didn't need to be reminded that it was better to be safe than sorry.
And, now, I was thankful for his precaution. The ghost girl couldn't get me in here. I kept referring to her as the ghost girl in my head, despite the fact that Tory and Luc had insisted that it wasn't possible for her to be one. Or, that if she was, I didn't have the power to see her. But I had seen her, twice in fact, and "ghost" was the only way I could even think of describing her. The way she moved, the way she looked… she certainly wasn't human. I shuddered as I remembered the way her body seemed to wither away with each step she took towards me.
And yet, they insisted that she just couldn't be a ghost.
But what was the alternative? That the stress of the past few months had finally caught up with me and broken some crucial part of my mind? That I was finally, truly crazy? I felt like this situation was all too familiar. Trapped, alone in Polly's house, wondering if I've lost my mind…
I desperately wanted to consult Luc about all this, to figure out if it was in my head or what — who — the girl was, but he had broken his promise again. He had not come back in the "few short hours" that he assured me the meeting would take. I wasn't surprised; this was common behaviour for him these days. I wasn't mad, I couldn't be, my emotions were clashing with my fear. On one hand, I was far too frightened to maintain any anger towards Luc, I just wanted to have him come home and be with me, protect me… but my pride, for some reason, prevented me from actually calling him. Instead I just huddled in the bed, swaddled in my cocoon of sheets.
What time was it? Maybe he wasn't actually late. Maybe my anxiety had made the time pass at a sluggish pace, and in reality only a few hours had passed. I hadn't exactly been watching the clock. I peered over my protective barrier, and caught a glimpse of the figures illuminated in the digital alarm clock that sat on the far side table.
It was after one in the morning. He was definitely late. Really late. Was he even coming back?
Or, what if the girl — ghost or not — had been waiting outside? What if he had returned and found her at the doorstep? What if she turned on him, hurt him?
What if I was trapped in here? Trapped again, but without Luc… or Polly? Alone, with no way out?
In the few short moments it took for my imagination to run away with me, I was diminished to a shaking, sobbing wreck. My breath came in short, panicked gasps and my world seemed to constrict inwards, tightening around me, squeezing my chest. My heart throbbed painfully, each beat pushing a little wave of pain through my body. I was having a panic attack. I clawed at my chest, like my heart had swollen up and was now too big for my small chest, leaving no room for my lungs to expand; I needed to release the pressure. Breath, breath, breath. Breathe in, breathe out. Gasp, gasp, gasp.
I hoped that this was just all a nightmare, maybe I had simply passed out and didn't realize when the dreams joined seamlessly with my real life. I screamed inwardly to wake up, to snap out of it, but it did nothing. But it sparked something — a little thought, lightning fast and razor sharp, flashed through my mind, cutting through the darkness that enveloped me. This may not be a dream, but I could escape to one. There was something I knew would calm me down and ease me into a peaceful sleep.
I rolled over, to look at the nightstand closest to me. It was still there, as it always was. Kept close, just in case.