It was hot, stiflingly so, to say Summer was over. The leaves were just beginning to fall – ochre, russet and gold – otherwise you’d hardly know that Autumn was closing in.
Avery was filled with a restless energy, constantly fretting about the cottage, checking she had what she needed, wringing her hands, wearing grooves in the floor with her pacing.
Laurel lay silent, as motionless and ghostly pale as she’d been since her consciousness slipped into the Other all those weeks ago. It made Avery uncomfortable to look at her. She didn’t feel like a living presence, despite her slow breathing and the subtle rise and fall of her chest. She looked more like she’d been laid out for a wake.
She drew close to the bedside, and stroked her sister’s ash blonde hair gently. Gone was the rosy blush to her skin, her freckles standing stark against the pallor of her cheeks. Not even a twitch to indicate she could feel her touch. She knew her sister’s soul wasn’t present, knew she’d somehow been trapped in the Other when she’d gone World Walking, but it had so often felt like she was gone altogether.
The equinox, a time when the veil between worlds drew thin. The only chance she’d have to perform the ceremony to tether her sister’s soul back within her body. The question was: would her body stay here to reclaim her soul, or would her body go there to be reunited with it.
Avery could only hope and plead and pray for her safe return to their world.
Laurel had been here, adrift with no physical form, for too long, but it was finally time.
The autumnal equinox had arrived and her saviours, her family, were going to pull her body through the veil.
They were going to bring Avery, too.
This was where they truly belonged, Laurel knew that now, among the people their mother had stolen them from. Their people. The Fey.
She wouldn’t go back to that colourless, magic-free world. She was a Princess, Avery too, and she was here to stay.