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Chapter no 41

Then She Was Gone

THEN

The summer slowly died away and nothing changed. The nights became longer; the temperature dropped five degrees. Noelle bought Ellie a fleece-lined hoodie and some warm pajamas. The foliage around the basement window was still green. It was, Ellie imagined, September. Maybe early October. Noelle wouldn’t tell her.

“Oh, sweet girl, you do not need to know. It’s of no use to you to know. No use at all.”

And then, one morning, lying on her bed, Ellie felt something very strange. A small judder, like a pop going through her middle section, as though a person living under her mattress had just nudged her in the back. For a terrible moment Ellie thought she was lying on a hamster and quickly jumped to her feet to check. But no, there was nothing there.

She sat gingerly on the edge of the bed, waiting to see if the sensation returned. But it didn’t so she lay back down on the bed. As she lay down it happened again. This time she could place it. It was coming from within her. Bubbles popping inside her stomach. She rubbed and rubbed at her stomach, trying to ease the bubbles away. Eventually the pops dissipated and the inside of her own body stopped doing surprising things; by the evening of that same day Ellie had forgotten entirely about the otherworldly feeling, the sense of being occupied, the sense of no longer being alone.

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