“Take a step back and look,” Allen grabbed her hand. She brushed him off, again.
“Don’t tell me what to do,” Charlotte said through clenched teeth.
Allen heard the same noise from before – a creaking that was indistinguishable to human ears.
“Charlotte, please. Trust me.”
The sunlight filtered through the window, lighting up the floating dust that danced throughout the abandoned building. Charlotte watched it, transfixed.
“This building is going to collapse,” Allen warned.
Charlotte laughed. “This building has been here my entire life. I wanted to show it to you and here you are ruining it.”
Allen watched as Charlotte pressed her lips together, eyes looking everywhere but him. His stomach tightened at her words, at the glimpse of vulnerability she rarely let slip.
The creaking made itself known, again. He knew Charlotte still wouldn’t hear it.
“My parents were married in this church,” Charlotte told the floor. “They stood under that stain glass and said their vows.”
A gust of wind came off the mountainside; Allen held his breath and waited for it to be the final straw. As it passed, the building still stood for now.
Charlotte walked down the aisle between the pews. She was walking too far away, he couldn’t monitor the creaking from there. He couldn’t ensure her safety.
Another step. A louder crack. The wood under her feet split into two and Charlotte’s scream cut across the abandoned building.
After all the hiding, after centuries of secrets – he was in front of Charlotte before her scream could end. Lifting her higher and higher. Her head turned towards him, familiar eyes squinting in fear.
“Please, trust me,” he said, again. Only this time the words were lost amongst the rush of air.