Log:Back from the Bayou
It wasn't as if the change of venue, or the change of faces, made the experience of family fundamentally different. Life did not magically become perfect: bickering did not cease to be, sickness and death never abandoned them, and differences of opinion failed to dissolve utterly into the ether. Happily ever after was a thing for storybooks, and this was, to the best of her understanding at the time, a life as real as it could be.
It took time for her to realize she would have had it no other way. The peace she found in accepting that simple truth was the sort of solace no fairy tale ever conceived.
There had been, however briefly, a glimpse of this place before. She recognized it in the instant before she recognized the single thought that told her where she was: This is just like college.
She tried to catch hold of the last flash of memory from before she woke, squeezing her eyes shut.
It was nearly Christmas. For the first time since she had learned of The Reaping, it was not simply the end of the terrors of the rainy season, and time to begin mourning. The house was decked out magnificently, though there was no trace of snow. Fleur's brother, Jean, had come down with his family from Philadelphia, and his four children raced through the house until the feast that was dinner, and old family met new. There was dancing, and laughter, and later by the fire she told stories about how the house had been when the children's father and aunt were growing up.
Still, she drifted to the back veranda as quiet settled over the house, and looked out toward the family crypt, at the far end of the gardens. A second was underway, the first having filled too quickly, and somewhere, one of those damnable peacocks screeched. There, she took up residence in a rocking chair, and drank a silent toast to those no longer with them from a new, shiny silver flask of rum she could not taste.
It moved like a flip-book, flickering images alternating with sensations, voices, flashes of emotion. Turning it back, she found some of those faces familiar, while others were less so. Relief flooded her at the recognition, no matter how strange, but as ever, there were many meaningful question marks left in the ether as painful unknowns, and likely as not, mere ghosts. They would always haunt her, even as their significance was beginning to diminish in time.
The Visionary's ghosts were enshrined in a case set into the wall, and surely she could open it if she liked. She did not. The survivor's guilt was too strong for that. It slammed into her like a sledgehammer as the events that transpired in Prosperity rose in memory.
And in the midst of it all, a familiar face. Breath rushed back into her lungs, and she put it to use.
No pause, no hesitation. She grabbed the blanket from the bed to drag with and at least somewhat around her, and bolted into the hall to plow through a door on the other side, a few rooms down.