The house was well insulated against both the weather and noise from outside, but even so, the sound of rain was unmistakable in the foyer. The doorbell rang again. Sarah could not remember if she had ever heard it ring before. Both curious and cautious, she opened the front door.
The person standing on the front step of the brownstone was soaked. Their shoulder length hair, heavy with water, was plastered against their head. The small awning over the top step provided minimal protection from the seemingly endless downpour.
Half yelling to be heard over the sounds of the storm, the person asked, “Is Rebecca here?”
Sarah studied the visitor and tried to recall whether she had seen them before. They were young, early 20s probably, with soft features blurred by water droplets. Nothing stood out as familiar.
“Who are you?” Recent events had made her increasingly suspicious.
“Um, I’m a friend of hers? Well, she helped me out a few years back and gave me this address if I ever needed to find her. I don’t have anywhere else to go.”
“Are you a member of her Family?” Would Peter or Marie have sent someone new after Rebecca, to bring her back? What sort of danger did this person represent?
“No. We’re not related. She was just . . . just helped me once.”
So either they really didn’t know about the cult, or they were prepared for the question. Sarah didn’t like feeling so paranoid, but it couldn’t be helped. Even telling someone that Rebecca had left the house might put her in danger.
“Unfortunately, Rebecca is not available at the moment. I will tell her you dropped by.” Sarah began to close the door.
Sarah paused and looked at the visitor.
“My name is Bailey. Please. I . . . I don’t have anywhere to go.” They seemed to be trying to hold back tears.
What should she do? it would be dangerous to let a stranger into the house, but turning them away felt wrong. Who would she be putting at risk, after all? Rebecca had left. Jason was dead. No one knew where Julia might be. Only she, David, and Thomas were left. Was the risk really worse than turning Bailey away?
Just as Sarah was resolving to take the risk, Thomas walked up behind her. “Who is it?”
Surprised, she looked back at him. “They say their name is Bailey.”
“Oh?” Thomas raised one eyebrow, appearing more interested than she had seen him in some time. “Let them in. It will be alright.”
That raised several more questions, but Sarah moved to let Bailey walk in. “Stay near me, or you will get lost. This place is bigger than it seems.” She led them to the living room. Thomas followed.
“My name is Sarah. Please, have a seat. Do you like tea? Or coffee? You look chilled to the bone.”
“Tea would be nice.”
“Okay, we’ll be back in just a moment. Whatever you do, don’t leave this room. Understand?”
Sarah started heading for the kitchen and dragged Thomas along with her.
“You know them?”
“After a fashion.” He was as cryptic as ever.
He didn’t say anything.
“Thomas, we’re not doing this again. What do you know?”
He gave a sigh that was heavy with resignation.”I saw Bailey’s arrival when I was observing the future. As far as I can tell, they aren’t the source of any trouble.”
“They said they know Rebecca.”
Thomas shrugged. “I cannot say. It was not something I saw.”
“But they don’t pose any danger?”
“Not that I could see.”
“Okay. Might as well become a halfway house.”
“That is not . . .”
“It was a joke, Thomas. If you think you can be appropriately social, you can join us for some tea.”
“Good. Let’s go see what we can find out about our new guest.”