"I'm not subject to nightmares," she protested, brushing her hair away from her face. Her muscles ached from struggling. Her head ach-- No, it felt fuzzy, but did not ache at present. She slipped off the edge of the bed, wanting no more of it for now.
The cold air in the room raised goose flesh along her arms. She hastened to the fireplace and tried in vain to stir the dead embers to life.
"I'll get Thomas to build a fire, Missy," Lula said, and started to leave the room.
"Wait." Ella Ruth held up her hand. "Is it night? How long did I sleep?"
Lula turned in the doorway. "It be cloudy outside, Missy. You slept about a hour. Do you want a fire?"
Ella Ruth began to pace, rubbing her bare arms. She had to get out of this confining room.
"No. Help me dress. I will take a walk in the garden to warm me."
"The garden pretty bare this time of year," Lula protested. "Nuthin' to see out there."
"Nevertheless, I need the air." She paused and looked at her servant. "Did Momma leave?"
"You will say nothing of this . . . bad dream to anyone. Do you understand?"
Lula nodded, a baffled look on her face.
"No one. Tell me you understand."
Yes, ma'am. Missy, I don't tell tales."
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