In bed, suffocated by heavy crimson covers, I heard her tread eight steps, a pause, a muffled sound then steps, again, eight repeated endless into the hours of the morning when I'd sleep, at last, tongue thick with loathing, cursing her name silently to the dry beams above. At least she was sleepless too.
At first, I thought it was regret. I even spoke to her, after the first night of that sharp, measured stride. I thought to reason with her, make her reconsider. Neva was her sister, after all. She must feel something from her absence, miss that light voice in the halls, that sun-blossom of smiles. How could such a thing be torn away without leaving the seething hush that lingered here now, this silent fury that stalked the rooms even the walls seemed to rail against her absence. But when I spoke, her eyes turned hard, cold as her clocked steps. I shouted, brandished rhetoric, used the reason she had before admired all this in