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She snuck into the garden, knowing she shouldn’t be there, but feeling strangely drawn to the place. He would be there. She didn’t know who he was, just that it was not the monster. No, not the horrible monster who stalked her nights, the vile thing that would take away everything she loved. Can’t touch me here. Not out in the sun.

She whimpered and collapsed to her knees beside a tree, out of sight of the house. Hush, Dru, it’s alright, I’m here, love. I’ll always be here. Words whispered in her mind by a beloved voice she had yet to ever hear. She laughed and sobbed at the same time, knowing that the voice was lying, though he didn’t realize it. Never mine to keep. Only to hold for sunshine.

She closed her eyes, wishing he was there, even though it was much too soon. The one who would understand the poetry of her encroaching madness and learn the tune of her visions. The one who would offer comfort when all she deserved was pain.

“Miss? Miss, are you alright?”

It was all wrong, much, much too young and refined, but she knew the voice. It soothed her, quieted her racing thoughts. She opened her eyes to look at the little boy kneeling beside her, the beginnings of a wildflower bouquet clutched in his hands. So young and sweet in the sunshine, where he belonged. An innocent little puppy of a child, all unruly brown curls and big blue eyes.

Visions flashed through her mind. A white-haired man in black who looked like he could have been the boy’s father. A night blooming flower that yearned for a girl made of sunshine.

“Miss?”

Drusilla smiled at him and wiped the tears from her eyes. “It’s alright, little one. I’m feeling a bit sad today, is all.”

The boy tilted his head, studying her curiously. Then he plucked a daisy from the little spray of wildflowers and held it out to her with a shy smile. Such a sweet, trusting nature, to offer comfort to a stranger crying in his family’s back garden.

“Thank you,” she said softly, accepting the flower.

“William!” a voice called from the house. “I will be going into town with Abigail soon. Do you wish to accompany us?”

The boy looked towards the voice then back at Drusilla, clearly torn. Before she could shoo him away to join his family, another vision came to her. A carriage driver not paying quite enough attention. A little boy lost in daydreams. Screams and blood and a small coffin lowered into the ground.

She reached out and grabbed his wrist. “Stay with me. Please.”

He hesitated before looking back towards the voice. “I should like to stay home today, Mother. I’ve been gathering flowers for you.”

Once the boy’s mother had called out her goodbyes, Dru repositioned herself against the tree and pulled the little boy – William, she reminded herself – into her lap. He squeaked in surprise but didn’t try to get away.

“I’m sorry,” she sobbed, holding him close and petting his hair.

“I-it’s alright, miss,” William said, misunderstanding the reason for her apology.

She was a selfish, evil, horrible person, just like the monster said. The sweet little child in her arms would have died today if not for her. An angel sent back to heaven. Now he would die in roughly twenty years when she found him again and killed him.

Worse, she would take him to the monster, who would try to tear him down to be rebuilt in his image. She had seen, in her visions, that her William would never quite lose the sweetness in his heart. He would love her and take care of her, and she hadn’t had the strength to give that up, even though she was the moonlight, and he was meant for the sun.

As she sobbed and held the boy, Dru consoled herself with one thought. She’d been weak today, but when the time came, she would be strong. She would push away her sweet boy and send him to the sunshine.


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