chapter 11

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"Nidria...Nidria wake up," a voice whispered.

I sat up suddenly, and in a panic, flung my arm out at whoever was in the room with me.

"Ow! What was that for?"

I closed my eyes and sighed, falling back against my bed. 

"Enoch, why are you in my bedroom?" My words came out tired and frustrated. I looked over at the clock on the wall. It was 2 a.m.

"Well?" I asked expectantly as I turned to face him.

"A thank you would be nice y'know. After you fled, I'm guessing you fell asleep. You were muttering and crying in your sleep. I thought it was probably a nightmare and came in here to wake you up since your moaning wasn't letting me sleep."

I remembered rushing out of the room after Horace's projections in a panic. It was then that I realized there were dried tears all over my cheeks. I let out a small 'thank you'.

"Why did you act all jumpy when you saw that ymbryne in Horace's dreams?" I looked up at Enoch's words. His face was blank. No emotion at all, "And who was that bloke? The one you were crying over?"

I looked Enoch in the eye, "I don't mean to be rude Mister O'Connor, but I do believe that's none of your business."

His eyes widened, "You're beginning to sound like The Bird, Nini. What business was so important that you, out of all peculiars, had to be sent to London?"

I look down at his question, before realizing something very important: he had eavesdropped on my conversation with Jake. 

"Hey!" I feel myself smirk as I say my next words, "Polite persons don't eavesdrop on other's conversations."

Enoch threw his head back and groaned.

***

It takes me some time before I'm able to get Enoch to confess that he eavesdropped on Jake and I.

"I was curious," that's his defense, "Can you blame me? You leave, an annoying little child, and come back three years later, beautiful and older, without an explanation?"

His eyes meet mine and widen as he realizes what he just said.

"So Mister O'Connor, you uh, you think I'm beautiful?"

We're both blushing at this point.

"Shut up!"

***

"So what were you doing in London?"

It's now 3 a.m. and we're both sitting on my bed. I pause, debating on whether or not to tell him.

"Enoch," I start, "I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say, I mean The Bird-"

"No," he interrupts me, "I'm tired of not knowing. I'm one of the oldest in the loop and only Emma and Olive get to know? I mean I understand Emma, but why would Olive need to know?"

I look at him before relenting, "Fine."

No sooner has the words left my mouth that Enoch motions for me to explain.

"There were some...troubles emerging back in 2013. In many loops, everywhere. The Bird would constantly check up on all the ymbrynes but she firmly believed that one of her sisters was in danger and because of my peculiarities, which I'm assuming you also heard about," at this, Enoch looks down, ashamed. I continue, "She sent me to help keep her safe. It was a trap."

"What do you mean?"

"Hollows, Enoch. I'm talking about the hollows. They were waiting for us to make a move. They had been expecting us. When we got to France, The Bird sent me into some loop. She couldn't stay, at least, not at that moment. Everything was fine for the first few years. I was left in the care of none other than Miss Avocet and I got to help her keep the loop safe. But, her loop was old. Very old. Two years later the wight arrived. It had brought a hollow so we fled. But before we escaped, it revealed that I had unwittingly led them to the loop entrance, when I had first arrived. We never did get to figure out why they waited so long to attack."

"But you said France...I thought the loop was in London," Enoch chooses his words carefully and I realize it's because I seem a bit hysterical. I take a deep breath to calm down, breathing in his cologne once again.

"It was," I continue, "I used my teleportation to get everyone out of France, to safety. I just wasn't thinking about where. We ended up in London, and I asked around to see when we were. I found out we were in 2016 and Miss Avocet decided to make her loop. That loop didn't last very long either. It was made in January and by February I was back here. There was another raid. The wights never stopped tracking us. I lost Miss Avocet in my panic to get away and most of the kids were dead."

I'm well aware of the tears streaming down my face. It was a horrible experience. I had been cornered and three hollows were closing in. I had shouted an apology to everyone before I teleported out of there. I look at Enoch to see nothing but pity in his eyes.

"Don't," I begin, "Don't look at me like that, like I'm some fragile thing that gonna break just because she's reliving some horrible memory."

"I...I wasn't..."

"Yes. You were."

Enoch takes a deep breath, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for being such a dick. For tormenting you all those years ago. For listening in on your conversation with Jake."

"Apology accepted," the words come out much quieter than I expected. Enoch seems surprised at my answer.

He gets up to leave, "Well uh, I should be getting back so..."

"Please stay," the words tumble out of my mouth before I can stop them. I look down in embarrassment, "I uh, you don't have to if you don't want to. I just ah- I'm sorry."

By the time I finish my little word vomit, Enoch is back by side.

"Are you sure Nini?"

"Please. I just cant be alone. Not tonight."

Not ever. I think bitterly to myself.

Enoch lowers himself onto the right side of the bed, facing me. All I can think of is the smell of his cologne as I finally let sleep overcome me.

***

word count: 1046

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