I woke in the dead of night with a start.
The inn was quiet, just when I longed for the sound of another human being. A late drinker stumbling upstairs from the taproom or a guest clumping down the hallway to use the outhouse. Anything.
But my only companion was a cold feeling of dread.
I needed to master myself. It was nothing, merely the tail end of an unremembered dream.
Still, I reached for the candle on the nightstand. In my haste, I knocked it to the floor, and I heard it roll away.
“I need a light,” I whimpered, ashamed that I was afraid to leave the false safety of the bed.
A scarce-heard whisper of steps brushed through my chamber, and I drew breath to scream.
And the candle was put into my hand.