I was sitting in the parlor again. It was so hot and the red that surrounded me everywhere just made it that much hotter. I sat up straighter in my chair. I did not want my mother to catch me slouching, it would mean another hour of reading the horrid tome she had forced upon me. I looked at the two men sitting on the sofa opposite me. Mr. Clapham was so hot that he was beginning to melt, his body like candle wax, he was dripping onto the carpet. I closed my eyes unable to look at him any longer.
When I opened my eyes again, Mr. Clapham was a puddle on the floor. Malcolm sat there leering at me. I found him even more frightening than Mr. Clapham. Without rising from his seat, Malcolm reached towards me. I pressed myself back into the chair. He was grasping, his arms elongating. I could not breathe, I could not move.
I cast my eyes downward and realized I was wearing the white dress from the attic. It was obvious to me now that it was a wedding dress. Suddenly I noticed the woman from the portrait in the attic. She was standing behind Malcolm. She was silent, but the tears spoke of her disappointment in me. I felt tears begin to coarse down my own cheeks. I could hear the sound of Jasper’s laughter coming from somewhere, but still I could not move.
Then I felt strong hands on my shoulders. Without being able to look behind me I knew it was Gideon. He had come to save me.
The train jerked to a stop, jolting me awake. It had reached the end of the line. It took me some minutes to come fully awake. I had an overwhelming feeling of dread.
Once again my carriage ride to the Manor was silent and Mrs. Kerr did not bother to greet me upon my return. Instead of retiring to my room, I climbed straight to the attic. I found no trace of Gideon anywhere. I began to wonder if he truly existed, it was so hard to seperate the real world when the dream was still so vivid. I sank down onto the sofa opposite the portrait. I could feel the dream crowding my thoughts again and at last I gave into my despair, crying myself to sleep.