Both men let out long, hearty laughs.
Kieran sounded completely unhinged, while the stranger’s tone was triumphant.
Sophary flushed as they continued to laugh.
“I’m glad you two are amused,” she muttered as she passed through the sunlit living room. “Maybe you two should hook up. It would be a perfect ending to this fiasco. Oh look, here’s your soulmate. Too bad you took so long trying to remember him. He got bored and eloped with your weirdo neighbor.”
Her bitter thoughts followed her into the dim bedroom where she stopped short. The cheery warm atmosphere of the cottage ended at the bedroom door. Here the ceiling was much lower than in the rest of the house. Rocks and mortar peeked from beneath crumbling plaster and the floor appeared to be little more than dirt beneath the faded rugs. An unmade bed with a cast iron frame hunkered in a corner as if to hide from the gaping fireplace stretched across most of the far wall.
“No,” Sophary shook her head. Something about the fireplace dredged up terror and shadowy memories from the depths of her soul.
“This can’t be right,” she studied the fireplace as she fought the urge to take refuge in the bed.
The dimensions on the fireplace were not possible in such a small house. As she stared at the low fire, the entire thing grew wider and higher, wrapping itself around the room. Smoldering coals threatened to tumble across the ill-formed hearth and set the threadbare rug on fire.
She opened her mouth to scream for help, but a name came out instead.