When Rose Wakes

When Rose Wakes by Christopher Golden Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: When Rose Wakes by Christopher Golden Read Free Book Online
Authors: Christopher Golden
memories into returning—not that she’d actually lived in a castle or seen war up close and bloody, or known anyone who believed fairy women lived in the forest—but that her mind was trying to use the images from those childhood games to tell her something.
    Maybe the castle was meant to symbolize her coma. She’d been trapped inside it. And the king she always seemed so afraid for in her dreams, well, that was obvious. Her father Guillaume, brother to Fay and Suzette, had died when she was only seven years old. So at least the fear of losing her father made sense.
    She had to make
some
sense out of the dreams. If they meant nothing, were just her imagination run wild, then she feared she might be just a little bit insane.
    “Rose?” Aunt Suzette said. “Are you listening?”
    “I’m sorry, Auntie, my head was in the clouds.”
    “I asked how the test went.”
    Rose hesitated before replying. “Well enough, I guess. But there are some things that just elude me, you know? Things I feel like I should know but don’t. The author of
A Tale of Two Cities.
Or the date of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor—”
    “But you’re French,” Aunt Suzette said. “Surely you can’t be expected to know everything about American history or English literature when you’ve never been to an American school.”
    They pushed through the front doors, the chilly October breeze embracing them.
    “I suppose,” Rose said. “But I feel like they’re things I do know and I just can’t come up with the answers.”
    “You’ve been through an ordeal, darling. They’ll take that into consideration,” Aunt Suzette assured her.
    Rose glanced down as she descended the steps in front of the school and frowned. For just a moment she had thought she had seen writing chalked there, the peculiar symbols that were on the wards and little wooden and metal charms that hung in front of most of the windows of the apartment on Acorn Street. But she must have imagined them, because looking at the steps now, they were just ordinary granite, tracked with city grime. When she turned toward the school, something similar happened with the keystone carved with the school’s inception date.
    “What the hell?” Rose whispered, blinking and shaking her head.
    The keystone was ordinary, except for the engraving. She had been spending much too much time cooped up inside that apartment with her sweet but superstitious aunts. She needed normal people and the real world. No matter what year the principal placed her in, she couldn’t wait to start school. At first she had been anxious, but now she was glad that Aunt Fay had rushed her.
    “Are you all right?” Aunt Suzette asked, taking her arm.
    Only then did Rose realize just how weak she felt. Her legs felt unreliable. She looked around, thinking she needed somewhere to rest, and then sat down hard on the stairs, breathing deeply.
    “This was too much for you,” Aunt Suzette cried in alarm. “I knew it!”
    “No, no. I’m fine,” Rose said. And she was. Her head was already clearing, momentary disorientation fading. “I’m just not used to so much exercise, but I need it. You know what Dr. Kittredge said.”
    But Aunt Suzette did not seem convinced.
    “I do. But I still think we’re going to have to postpone our shopping until tomorrow.”
    Rose might have protested but she was distracted by movement off to her left. She turned to see Aunt Fay coming around the corner of the building. There were several trees obscuring her view—the only foliage on the street was already turning the oranges and reds of autumn—but she stared in fascination as her aunt appeared. Aunt Fay swayed and then twirled in a circle before pausing to close her eyes and clasp her hands together as if in prayer.
    “What the heck is she doing?” Rose asked.
    “I told you she needed some air,” Aunt Suzette said, as if what Rose had just seen was perfectly ordinary.
    Aunt Fay waved to them and started walking to

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