“Iris promised me you would come” the girl says.
They head outside to play. Lisa runs around in the grass, laughing and giggling, and smiling a lot. The sun is very bright and the air is really clear. They sit on the bridge and throw pebbles into the water for a while, and then they lie down together on the grass. Sophia is playing with a blade of grass. They both have their eyes shut, and they lie there in silence for a few minutes.
Sophia opens her eyes and looks over to the girl. “Is it real?” she says, breaking the silence.
“What?” the girl says, in a soft and gentle voice.
The girl looks at Sophia “Of course it’s real. It never sets, you know”.
Sophia says “here” and waves a locket at her sister in a teasing way. Lisa takes it from her with a grin on her face.
“Where did you get it?” she asks her big sister.
“Someone gave it to me” she replies. “Someone I met in the House. Someone I like. His name is David.” Lisa is looking closely at the locket she is holding in her small hands.
“Can I put it on you?”
“Yes please” Lisa says. Sophia gently puts the chain around the girl’s neck.
Sophia and Lisa are lying in the long grass, enjoying each other’s company. The old woman is keeping a close eye on them from her elevated viewpoint.
“You remember Mum, don’t you? Sophia says to her sister.
“A little bit … what was she like?”
“Pretty, like you” Sophia touches Lisa’s cheek and grins. Lisa grins too.
“I remember her smile a little.” the girl says “What about you?”
“Her hands in my hair … like this” Sophia strokes the girl’s hair. “And the bedtime stories she told us”.
“What kind of stories?” the child asks.
There is a short pause in their conversation. And then Lisa speaks again.
Lisa looks at her big sister, very intently. “You won’t leave me, will you?”
Sophia looks at her beautiful younger sister, and says nothing. But her distant eyes reveal her inner thoughts.
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