I awakened slowly unsure of where I was or what I was doing. I could feel the texture of carpet beneath my cheek and I questioned why I had fallen asleep on the hotel floor, but then I realized that the carpet was much too soft for a hotel room. Suddenly the memories returned and my eyes flew open.
I was lying on the floor of the hallway at the top of the stairs. The feeling of nausea was gone now replaced with a sensation of hunger. I was alone, but I sensed that I hadn’t been alone the entire time. I sat up. The hall was dimmer than before and I could tell it was very late in the day. All around me was a circle of small white stones, my protection. It must be very late indeed.
I felt tempted once again to leave the circle and as I got to my feet I heard the familiar voice.
“I wouldn’t leave the circle if I were you,” he said with a sigh.
I whirled around to the wall behind me. He sat in a tall chair with his elbows resting on his knees. I hadn’t seen him for almost three days and I realized how much of his appearance I had forgotten. This time, however, his piercing blue eyes didn’t have any of the sparkle to them.
I raised my chin defiantly. “Why not?”
“It’s not safe at night here, I thought you had figured that out,” he said annoyed. “Why did you come up the stairs?”
“Because I didn’t hear the voice telling me not to,” I replied petulantly. I sat down on the soft carpet. “Why am I even here?”
“I need you.” His voice was on the edge of emotion.
“What do you need me for?”
“I can’t tell you that,” he said bitterly.
“Of course not,” I sighed. “What’s the point of being stuck in a silent land or mystery if I don’t even know why?”
“Do you want to go back?” he asked carefully.
I bit my lip. Part of me did want to go back, but I was too involved to turn back now. If I left I would always wonder about everything I had experienced here.
“No,” I replied, “but a little help would be nice. Who are you?”
“You already know the answer,” he replied. His eyes had just a glimmer of the previous twinkle.
“All I know is that you are the son of Rutheus’ youngest daughter, but who are you?” His evasiveness was starting to annoy me.
He looked at me carefully and then spoke, “My name is Antheus. I am the only son of Sareanne, youngest daughter of Rutheus and Abrigal, King and Queen of Anderosea, and the only one of my family still living.”
“What happened here, Antheus, what happened to Anderosea?” I asked softly.
“My father,” Antheus replied bitterly dropping his head into his hands.