“I had no idea,” Sarah said after Rebecca had finished her story. “Did Thomas know you had escaped from a cult?”
Rebecca looked surprised. “They aren’t a cult. They’re my family.”
Sarah wasn’t sure if she was just telling herself that or if she really believed it. Whichever it was, Rebecca clearly did not like the word ‘cult.’ There was no reason to push the issue. “I’m sorry. Did Thomas know about your family?”
“No. I hadn’t told anyone. It’s been years since I left, so I thought they had forgotten about me. Until now.”
“And you said Julia got rid of this Peter?”
“She sent him through a portal. I don’t know where.”
Sarah looked over at the rabbit who was David. He was sitting on the couch a bit away from Rebecca and showed no reaction. That Julia had stepped in to protect Rebecca was a promising sign. Unless there was some other reason she had for getting rid of the outsider. For now, though, she would give Julia the benefit of the doubt. It gave her some reason to think Julia hadn’t turned against everyone in the house. She needed to hang on to that hope. Still, this group coming after Rebecca added to the growing list of concerns that needed to be addressed.
“Do you expect Peter to return? Or someone else from your family?”
“If he isn’t dead, he will probably come back.” There was genuine terror in her voice as she spoke. “He may not have told anyone else where I was, though, so if he is dead . . .”
“Okay.” Sarah had made at least one decision. “We need to speak with Julia. She can tell us where she sent Peter. And she can also help us get David’s body back.”
Rebecca nodded quietly. David perked up when she mentioned his body. Reading the body language of a stuffed rabbit was beyond her, but she guessed that he was eager to go.
Back into the hallway, things still appeared to be normal. Julia’s room was only a few yards away, and Sarah reached it without incident. David was close behind while Rebecca slowly followed them both.
Knocking on the door repeatedly elicited no response, however. Before she gave up and left, Sarah tried the door and was surprised to find it unlocked. “Julia?” She called out as she slowly pushed the door inward. It was pitch black beyond the threshold, and the room sounded empty as her voice carried on into nothingness. Caution spoke against entering a mage’s chambers uninvited, and as her eyes adjusted, Sarah was glad she had listened. It wasn’t that the room was dark; rather, the room wasn’t there at all. Beyond the door was simply void.
Sarah slammed the door shut before she or anyone else could fall in. Had Julia moved her room, or had it always been elsewhere? More importantly, where was she now?
“Have either of you seen her since Jason . . .” She stopped herself. Jason. She remembered a wall blocking the hallway to Jason’s room when she had come upstairs earlier. At the time, she had put off worrying about it. Now it made sense that Julia might have put it there to keep people away from her and Jason’s room.
Just past the door to David’s room, the wall still stood as though it had always been there. She needed to get around this obstacle, but how?
“There’s a wall.” Rebecca’s voice from behind startled her a bit.
“I know that. I’m trying to think of a way to get through it.”
“No, Sarah, not you. David asked why we stopped . . . What? What do you mean there’s no wall?” Rebecca stepped up next to her and knocked on the wall. “See? Pretty solid.”
“He doesn’t see the wall?”
Rebecca looked back to Sarah. “Apparently not. He is still adamant that there’s nothing there.”
That didn’t make sense, did it? Unless . . . “Is it possible that Julia set this up against humans, but not against other things? Like animated stuffed animals?”
Rebecca shrugged. “I don’t really know anything Julia’s spatial magic. I suppose it’s possible.”
Sarah turned to the rabbit. “David, would you please go to Jason’s door and try to get Julia to come out? Or at least confirm she’s in there?”
“He said, ‘yes.'” Rebecca answered. “He wants his body back.”
“Okay, then. Good luck.” She watched as the rabbit walked through the wall and disappeared.