The second the words were out of her mouth, Victor found himself reeling backwards in terror; not only from the force of Emily's hasty retreat, but from the tone of voice and the mixture of hurt and anger in her eyes.

"Victor. Victor?"

"Huh?" Victor started, opening his eyes. "Oh! Uh, Victoria."

"Victor, what was all that mumbling about?"


"Yes. It sounded like you were having a nightmare." She placed a hand over his. "Is everything alright?"

"Yes. Everything's fine." He gently removed her hand. "I'm just going to take a little walk. Be back soon."

"Would you like some company?"

"No!" I mean, no. That is quite alright. I will be fine." And before Victoria could say another word, he was out the door.

Hopscotch. Hopscotch. Hopscotch. Victor mulled the word over in his head. It was such a simple word. And yet, at the same time, it was terrifying. Speaking the word out loud would send him back to The Underworld, back to Emily. Not speaking it would leave him here, with Victoria. The woman he was now married to.

"It's not a tough decision," he mused, walking along. "You did choose Victoria. And-and you're happy with her. It's a good marriage." He sat down on a log, head in his hands. "But she wasn't your original choice."