“The water rippled in gentle, cold waves against her thighs. Her heart pounded as she looked one way and then the other, staring down streets, or what were once streets. They were now canals, channels for the dirty, debris-filled water. It neither rose nor fell, for it had no tide. The wind did push it just a bit, causing it to lap against the sides of the houses, just beneath the window sills, as if languidly trying to peek inside. Her throat contracted, sickness rising up inside her. Where was everyone? Had they all really fled? While she was tucked away upstairs, the bump that idiot gave her throbbing on her forehead? They had fled? They had fled and left her there, all on her own? Shifting one foot after the other , careful not to run into any unseen obstacle, she made her way down the main street, now a river, growing more and more certain that the town, her home, once frothing and teeming, was now vacant. The castle, in all its sneering, prestigious mockery, still loomed above on the hill, looking untouched by the flooding. She squinted ruthlessly up at it, wondering if he was up there, polishing his bat, grinning wickedly down at all the destruction he had caused. She wondered if he was using his telescope. If so, he was probably watching her drift along between the houses, and admiring his handiwork on her head. Just imagining it made her seethe with anger. She glared with all her might, transferring all her angst and hatred into her eyes, up at the castle, aiming at the window he was most likely using to spy on her. And he was probably laughing. Laughing at her pitiful display of anger. What could she do to retaliate now? What power did she have over him? Hadn’t he done all this to prove to her that she was weak and easily tossed about? There was a whisper of a wish; that she had been awake when all the confusion and fear had gone on. When they were evacuating, running towards hope, she should have been there. She should have participated. Been a part of it. But instead she had been unconscious, splayed on a bed, behind a locked door. He had wanted her to be separate. Maybe because he was also separate. But, that was his choice, not hers. It wasn’t fair. It was even ridiculous. She wanted no part of him, or his life, or his schemes. And he had put her a part from the flooding, made her wake up to it, so that she wouldn’t feel connected to it. So perhaps she would feel a sense of guilt, though she had done nothing wrong. She knew him, as much as she didn’t want to. He had forced himself on her, in every way, and she knew what he was trying to do. And as much as she didn’t want it to, she could feel the stirrings of guilt deep within her body. Her lips trembled, the empty husks of the houses, so many, all dark, all silent, frightened her and burned her heart. Was she really all alone? Well, except for him, and he didn’t count. If he thought she was going to flee up to the castle, he was sorely mistaken. But was there anywhere to go here? Was she really the sole wanderer? She couldn’t be sure. Not without further exploration. Letting her fingertips trail behind her, she continued on, buoyed by the water, her reflection long and murky behind her.” – Emily Kinney, author of The Island of Lote