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The hallway was quiet when Sonora stepped out into it. The muted lights cast friendly shadows on the sage green wall and ancestral portraits alongside decorations hung in intervals along its surface. The scent of flowers filled the air from the garden on the other side of the corridor.

Sonora pulled the door of the guest room shut, hoping that the guests would be able to sleep after everything they'd been through.

If one only knew the end of an incident at the beginning. If she had known, if her visitors had known, what this year would bring, would they have acted differently? Of course, they all would.

If I had known how my life would change-- but how could I have known? Her eyes lingered on the hall as she thought back to the time when she hadn't known any of this existed, hadn't known he existed.

The Sonora of last year would have thought this not only impossible but a fantasy. In fact, she was sure that if someone had confided it to her, she would have thought them delusional.

Sonora wondered how many people were left up there, how much of her beloved little town still stood. She should ask, but she was afraid of the answer.

The door ahead of her clicked as it opened and a man stepped out from a second guest room. Hearing her footsteps, he looked up and smiled.

Sonora returned his smile as her mind cast back to the beginning of this strange story.

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