“Lies. Lies we tell ourselves to make things better. I’m never leaving this place. I’m bound by the walls that contain me. These castle walls…it’s a fortress, a castle of lies where promises drift up into the air never to be seen again.”
“A castle in the air,” Clara said slowly.
“Why don’t you leave then? Come away with me. I’m going. I’m going very soon.”
“You said that before.”
Theodora clicked her tongue in a tisking manner.
“You’ll meet the fence if you do.”
“What fence?” Clara thought about it as she spoke. There wasn’t a gate or fence of any sort that she could recall. Where was there one she missed?
“You can’t see it. But it holds you in. It rips you apart, slowly cutting into your flesh as you press forward.”
“Like barbed wire.”
“Precisely. Like barbed wire cutting into your flesh but leaving more than mortal wounds. This place…it binds you. You never really leave.”
Clara tried to process the conversation. How words so quickly leapt from Samuel’s intuition to family visiting to lies she tells herself to…To what?
“Now if you don’t mind leaving I’d like to take a nap. I’m terribly tired. I think I might be coming down with something. There’s a chill in this spring air, don’t you feel it? Amongst the blooming flowers and pollenating bees the air of a deathly winter looms.”
Without another word, Clara stood. But just as she was closing the door behind her Theodora shot her a look.
“My wise advice…”
Theodora got to her feet and walked to the window in the room, pushing back the curtains.
Clara stepped back inside the room and pulled the door partly shut.
“Don’t let it get you.”
Her pointer finger began drawing on the window, over and over again over the same sections as if spelling something.
“What are you writing?”
Theodora didn’t respond. Clara took a step closer trying to decipher the tracing on the dusty window.
“Theodora is that…”
“My name,” the willowy woman replied, her back still turned to Clara.
“It’s important to remember who we are. Otherwise things can be lost in translation.”
Clara’s feet felt like weights, chained to the floor. Theodora turned ever so slightly.
“2 Timothy 4:7,” Theodora’s fingers followed her words. Clara noticed how upon drawing her
“7” she drew an extra line through the center of it. “You can be going now.”
Clara nodded and pushed against gravity to remove her sticky feet. Closing the door behind her, she wanted to run away. She wanted to sink down to the ground in tears. She wanted to do so many things. But the faint sound of crying in the distance forced her to regain her composure. She was needed.