The old woman came awake with a start.

She breathed in heavy gasps of humid night air, her flesh chilled to her aged bones even though her bed clothes were damp with sweat from the heat of the night. She struggled to a sitting position, the springs of her narrow bed complaining along with her stiff joints.

Darkness wrapped itself around her, the small room she called her own suddenly feeling much too close.

She sat there attempting to regain her senses as well as her composure. The words that had come to her in her dream still echoed within her mind. The words were crystal clear, though the meaning behind them was not.

Ruby red digits glowed from the nightstand next her. Only three hours into a new day. Much too early for him to be up and about.

Should she wake him, she wondered. Though she did not understand the words, perhaps he would.

She crawled slowly from her bed, though she had no desire to do so. She dressed as quickly as she could without turning on a light. When she stepped into the hall the dim illumination there was sufficient for her to find her way to his room. After knocking softly at the door, she waited for it to open.

“Marta.” He spoke softly, his expression still sleepy.

“I am sorry to disturb you,” the old woman apologized. “I would not have if it wasn’t important.”

“Of course,” he said. “Come in.”


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