Autumn watched the dust swirl into the air. The narrow drive to her cottage was drier than usual. Rain was expected, but hesitated to fall. As the Jeep sped toward her dwelling, she released a calming breath. She heard a thump behind her and footsteps fade into stone. Alone, she organised her thoughts and prepared her defence for when her younger sibling arrived.
She pasted on a smile, realised it was too large and bit her lip. Her brother was becoming increasingly suspicious of her well-being. If she appeared too happy, he may think she had gone completely insane. He had to believe she was comfortable with her living arrangements; she was where she wanted to be even though he disapproved.
The Jeep ground to a halt. The engine stopped, and a strange woman slid from the driver’s seat. The passenger door opened. It was her brother. He had never brought anyone with him. Who was that strange woman? Why was she driving his Jeep?
Autumn stretched her neck to scrutinize the woman. The lanky female wore a long grey overcoat and heels that elongated her height beyond that of an average man. Had she been infected? Her short, thick, blonde hair stood an inch high, adding more height. Large hoop earrings reflected the glint of the early fall sunlight. If Autumn had met her on the road, she’d be certain she had been altered by the shift. But she had to be a natural; her brother didn’t associate with mutants.
Before Autumn could fulfil her thoughts with possibilities, her brother knocked on the door. She was certain he’d noticed her at the window. She rushed to the door, took a deep breath and swung it wide open.