Maddox was sitting in her newly acquired home in Mondrago, thinking. She did that quite a bit lately, trying to relax. She was back to dancing with Erehwon and she rode Loren as often as she could, but in the recent days, it was getting harder to concentrate. She started thinking that perhaps it was time to go back to Babbage and the Asylum. She hadn’t written to her father yet to tell him that she was coming back, but part of her wasn’t sure that she should. Canergak had somehow approved her leave, but even this was more than most women got after having a child. Not only that, but now that she was sleeping regularly, the dreams were back.
Horrible images would flood her head at night while she slept. Visions of her husband locked in mortal combat with shadows, things that looked like shadows, demons, beings made of pure fire… It was always such. The dreams were always about Heliotrope fighting to live. Once or twice, they focused on the child, but not often. She knew from her studies that one’s personal issues bled into their dreams and made them worse… But she didn’t know that the nightmares would be so vivid, or so episodic. She tried to keep up with drinking the tea that Miss Lynn had gifted to her. She tried to take a scalding bath before she plodded up to bed. She tried counting sheep and kittens while relaxing. She’d tried just about everything she could to better her dreams and came to the conclusion that perhaps it was boredom that was fueling her head to try and deceive her. Perhaps she needed to go back to work. It would serve to take her mind off of her absent family members and put it back where it should have been all along — Right in the middle of helping the patients that were in her charge. She only hoped Lizzie and Mary hadn’t fought too much, or hurt themselves in her absence. She sat at her desk, dipped pen into ink and began to write her father a letter.
When she was finished, she blotted it and sprinkled the sand on the ink to dry it. She would give it to Beryl or Ereh soon, so that she could focus on packing some clothes and books to make the trip home. She thought idly about how much less of home that Babbage felt to her than the new house in Mondrago, but she tried to keep her spirits high by remembering all of the good things that happened to her since they came to Babbage. Her thoughts were interrupted as she found she was missing some books and notes. She busied herself gathering her remaining things, got dressed, and sat to wait for Beryl. She could call Beryl to her, but she’d learned to avoid issuing commands. There were airships leaving at different times of day tomorrow, so she had some time. Sitting back in the overstuffed armchair, she softly nodded off.