“Alice, Alice!” The girl almost tripped on the stairs as she tried to take two at once.
The young woman, who had smiled at Elizabeth earlier this morning from one of the house’s windows, ran out with her arms wide open. She caught the girl in a tight hug. Then she released her and held the girl at arm’s length.
Elizabeth couldn’t make out what Alice, as it appeared was the young woman’s name, said to the girl. But she could hear the girl’s clear bell-like voice. “It’s over, it’s over! I don’t have to go there anymore. And I can go back home!” The girl’s voice suddenly changed, still loud, but without the initial merriness in it. “I can leave now.”
The girl stopped and looked back at the woman, who must have driven her to this house.
The girl had tears in her eyes. “Mummy, I don’t want to leave.” She said these words quietly, but Elizabeth could lip-read them.
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