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As the sun rose on a hazy summer morning, she scratched and picked and prodded; opened all the locked doors she could find. I always have to see.

Some of the rooms hidden by the doors were bloodier than others. Some still had red handprints on the shiny brass door handles. Some had been washed clean and painted over a pristine white.

Some of them charmed her with their sweetness. She could hear the songs, and the doors opened willingly under her hands; they were sweet and bright and some of them hid trapdoors that pulled her equilibrium out from under her. Left her shaken, unsure.

Of course, some of the rooms were familiar. She’d painted the blood on those walls all those years ago, after all.

Some of them were rooms that she had painted more recently, to her horror.

She opened almost all of them.

There was one that she found in her wanderings that remained locked to her. She touched that door, pressed a hand up against it, but made no move to pick at the elaborate locks. She knew this was one door she wouldn’t open. It was as familiar to her as the ones she’d painted, in its own way.

There was one door that had been left open. The (white) roses in that room weren’t a snare or a ruse or a booby-trap.

She hid a secret little smile pressed against his shoulder. The smile was more of a secret from herself than from him; he felt every curve of her mouth. “You remember,” she said, despite herself.

“Of course I remember.”