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"Maggie" I manage a tight smile as she opens the door wider to let me in, the pain shooting through my leg has become unbearable, maybe it is worse than I first thought.

"Why are you limping?" her voice is smooth but sharp at the same time, like a mother trying to calm her child whilst worried. I drag my leg to the nearest couch that sits on the shiny wooden planks that form the floor and crash on the black cushions that mould my figure.

"Dogs; guards' dogs, they bit me in the calf" I answer, hoping she won't get angry at my lack of hello and getting comfortable on her couch. She has been one of the people who has cared the most for me and, every time that she was accessible, has helped me through tough times, but everyone knows how bipolar she can get. I've only seen her furious twice, I can easily say it was one of the scariest sights I've seen in my seventeen years of life.

"Let me see it dearie" she commands, sitting next to where I've slumped down and gently grabs my leg in her bony and wrinkled hands. I bite my lip hard in an attempt to stifle the scream that threatens to come out when she rolls the trousers upwards, the fabric tearing the bite further.

She stares at the perforation on my skin for a moment, a thoughtful look on her face, before getting up and fetching through the cupboards stuck to the walls. Now that I'm in safety I feel all the stress and fear evaporate out of my body until I'm left slightly shaking and exhausted. The pile of wood that's gradually combusting in the black-stoned chimney brings a sense of comfort and home that I've never known in any other places except here; three-quarters of the walls, at least, are covered in cupboards or shelves that are stacked with jars, sacks, strange instruments and other things I don't know about.  In the middle of the room stands a medium sized table made in a light-coloured wood, cherry tree I think she once said, with four chairs made of the same wood around it.

Next to the couch there's an old and comfortable looking armchair where Maggie always sits on, both pieces of furniture are facing the fire. On the other side of the room there seems to be a cut made in the wall, only wide and tall enough for a skinny woman like Maggie to pass through, that leads to the kitchen; and next to this small overture is a wooden staircase that leads upstairs, to what I suppose is her bedroom, even though every time I spent the night here I slept on the couch I'm currently on.

"I'd thought that by now you'd know my home like the palm of your hand dearie" she chuckles, making me turn my head to meet her sparkling eyes, I'd always found funny how her body looks old and is wrinkled in every visible part but her eyes are still so sharp and alert and reflect so many things.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to let my gaze wonder" I quickly apologize, hoping she won't have one of her mood swings and kick me out.

"Oh don't worry, every time you come here you look so captivated, I just thought you must know every single corner of this place" she smiles and sets a couple of pots on the tiny wooden table that separates the sofa from the chimney before entering the kitchen where I hear water running.

"It just looks so... welcoming I guess" I shrug my shoulders even though she can't see me.

"Glad to hear it, I do what I can" she answers, her voice muffled by the sound of pots banging and I briefly wonder what she's doing but I quickly dissipate the idea away from my mind. It doesn't matter how many time I've been here and how much bond I have developed with her, if there is one thing for sure I know this old woman hates is people minding her business.

"Here give me your leg" she asks, sitting back down next to me, the fact that she moves soundlessly doesn't surprise or bother me anymore. The first year I was always startled when she appeared from no where, her footsteps making absolutely no noise. Sometimes I screamed bloody murder and then realized how stupid I must look to her eyes, so I got used to the fact that Maggie can move through her home without a single noise being made.

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