Ursula pushed open the door to her parlor.
Seventeen hooded faces turned her way.
Her knees threatened to buckle. One of those hooded faces would be her dear Sydney, the father of their small son, Ernest, and the other child in her belly.
Somehow, this tragic realization gave her strength.
“Sirs, I must ask you to leave my home.”
Allison jerked awake. She’d been dreaming of Ursula, Marilyn’s grandmother, again.
Haunted by the image of hooded faces, Allison stood and paced the floor of her room. Stuck in her parent’s home by the quarantine, she inhabited their guest room along with most of what they had been storing in it for years: stacks of jigsaw puzzles, and old upright piano, discarded pillows, a non-working turntable, and a shelf full of dusty books.
This did not leave much floor space for pacing. Allison peeked out the window, saw the sun was nearly ready to rise, and decided to be up for good.
Quickly, the day’s tasks overrode her conscious mind. The details of her dream, of Ursula confronting the men meeting in her home, melted into the sequential focus on making coffee and breakfast for her parents: oatmeal for her dad, with his heart condition; bananas in milk with a dusting of sugar for her mom, who seemed comforted by the food of her childhood.
But the central emotion of the dream, a kind of potent combination of terror and strength and hope, churned in her stomach all day.
My battle is small compared to the one that took place in my green house so long ago, she considered, as she moved through her day.
That evening she found a moment to call Kassandra back on Pine Street.
“How are you, Kass? What’s happening with the coffee shop?”
“We’re take-out only, like all the places around here. I’m fine, the owners give us as many shifts as they can. I’ve got my art to do, and a bit of money set aside. It’s just so weird around here, you know. The streets are empty, the town feels like only ghosts are walking around.”
“This is our war, I guess,” Allison offered. “Our chance to step up and write our chapter in the history books.”
Kassandra was quiet on the other end of the phone. She wondered what the history books would say about her.