Chapter 2

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October 10, 1870

The impatience that builds in me is almost more than I can handle as I unsuccessfully try to fall back asleep in my small, dark corner of the cabin. I've never been a good sleeper, too many nightmares keep me awake, but lately I've been a borderline insomniac as I anxiously wait to see if my memories of this man, the ones I've had for two lifetimes now, are actually real, or if I truly am insane.

I've learned from my past mistakes. This time around, when I was a child, I no longer played with my imaginary friends, instead I just dreamt about them every night. But along with the dreams came the nightmares too. I remembered being pushed off Potter Falls, dying of the fever in the institution, and losing everything I loved. The old memories never faded away, I was just smarter this time and kept them locked away from the new ones.

To say this lifetime has been hard on me would be an understatement. So far, it's been much worse than the first, and to be honest it's even given my second lifetime- dying at ten years old, alone, and institutionalized- a run for its money.

I've been taking care of myself since I was four, ever since my mother took her own life. Of course she wasn't really my mother; I've always known that, just like before. Unfortunately she found out again too, and like Ma, it broke her.

It was 1862 and my father was off fighting for the Union in the war. We were left alone to support ourselves and times were tough. Everyone thinks that's why she killed herself, but I know the truth.

I should've never gone with her across the bridge that day. She was talking crazy, but there's only so much a four-year old can do when a grown woman makes a decision. We had gone to town to try and pawn her grandmother's bracelet; we were in desperate need of some money and this was the only way. While my mother haggled with the man behind the counter, I grew restless and wandered outside. There was a dark mare tied up to one of the posts two shops over and I watched as it kicked its hooves. An image of Leprechaun, Levi's beautiful horse, popped into my mind and I could almost picture him there in front of me.

Without thinking I wandered over to the beast, and let my mind drift back to Levi. There hadn't been a single day that had gone by that I hadn't thought of him and what might've happened to him that night at Potter Falls. I slowly approached the horse and ran my small hand down its side remembering Levi's face in the water that night. I know I saw him there, searching for me.

The horse snorted and stomped its foot and I smiled sadly. I could only hope that Leprechaun finally gave Levi some luck and he survived that night. I wondered if I'd ever know.

Just then my mother came storming up behind me and roughly grabbed me by the arm. Her face was drawn up in anger and the bracelet was still in her hand. She drew me up in her arms and charged down the dusty street babbling incoherently about lies and threats as I was jostled against her bosom.

I clung to her as her walk turned into a run, knocking me about in her arms as she navigated the dirt road. I remember her boot hit a stone and she started to go over, taking me with her, but miraculously she was able to catch herself before we hit the ground.

She kept running and I began to cry, sensing something was terribly wrong. She didn't stop to comfort me as she normally would, but instead tightened her arms around me and crushed me against her heavily perfumed chest.

"Think I don't know. Think I can be threatened like that? I know!" She muttered to herself, sounding mad.

We weren't headed home anymore; she'd changed course and I didn't notice until it was too late.

"She thinks she can do that?" My mother mumbled. "She can't! He thought he had me fooled! Giving me the babe while I was still grieving. No one will hurt the child! Not going to let it happen."

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