Instinct took over the instant the glass slammed on to the table with enough force to dispel the olive from the martini.
"Run Henry, run!" Sylvie grabbed her younger brother and half dragged him out the front door.
"No." He resisted her efforts and dug in his heels.
Their father lumbered to his feet and beat them to the porch edge. "Wait!!"
"Sylvie!" Both of the males in her life impeded her flight.
Henry slipped around in front of her to restrain her with two hands on her arms. "It's okay, Sylvie."
She shook her head. It wasn't okay. It would never be okay. The rancid scent of fear filled her nostrils
"Sylvie." Her father settled his weight on the top step, effectively blocking her path. Henry enfolded her in his arms and slowly lowered the two of them to the porch floor. "It's okay."
Feeling and sense slowly returned to her limbs as Henry gently stroked her hair and whispered assurances.
"She's gone." Her father placed a tentative hand upon Sylvie's foot. The familiar gesture cut across the terror and years. "She can't hurt any of us now."
Sylvie shivered then exhaled a long breath.
"That's my girl." Her dad offered a bittersweet smile.
"How long did it last this time?" She shoved her hand through her hair, amazed as always to see white streaks in the long blonde strands.
Henry smoothed his hands down her arms then set her away from him. "Just a minute. Dad knocked his glass to the floor. Ice cubes went everywhere and you bolted."
Her father patted her foot. "No one got hurt."
She searched her brother's gaze for any contradiction. "Dad's right. No one got hurt. You shut down right away."
Sylvie shuddered. It had been years, decades really, since she'd withdrawn so deep into a memory. Therapy and a wide variety of coping mechanisms made all the difference.
But the sound of smashing glass never failed to strike her numb with terror.
She traced the ropy scars on Henry's forearm and hands. Her kind, gentle brother was the bravest man she'd ever known. The first time she'd lost herself in the rush of traumatic memories she'd knocked over a candle and set her dress on fire.
Henry had reached into the flames and saved her.
As he'd continued to save her from danger, both real and remembered, ever since.