“Your sisters?” Marek whispers, “Tell me about your sisters.”

Maeve rubs her temples. She stares out the door. “The night the frogs woke up and sang and chirped in the ditches and low places, my sisters took me out on to the hill behind our house. The moon was bright over the water and the grass and moss were cold with dew. I was very young,” she says, “and my sisters took me by my hands and we danced. Niamh, Siobahn, Sophia, and Rachel.” She tilts her face toward her husband. “My sisters.”

“Were they named after your family?” he asks quietly.

She stares deep into his eyes. “They were named for themselves. My mother said children choose their own names. Why are you asking me this now?”

Marek gently cups her face in his work-hardened hand. “I lost you, Maeve. I lost you for weeks. More than a month. I can’t lose you like that again. You left me.”

“There was a storm…” she says, her fingers tapping a nervous rhythm on his arm. “I thought…” she glances up at the door again, where the black bird pecks at something scuttling in the dust. “Isn’t it interesting how that bird stands there and cocks his head as if it understands us.”

A subtle tension ripples through his body, settling in his shoulders. “That BIRD,” he grumbles through clenched teeth, “should be feeling somewhat nervous right about now.” The raven cocked its head to one side, hopped a few times away from the door, cast one ebony eye back inside, then hopped out of view into the shade. A shuddering sigh escapes his lips. “Maeve, I need you to remember.”

Unexpected anger flashes in her eyes. She pushes Marek away. “I’m tired.” As she stumbles to her feet, Marek follows every movement as he sits silently where he’d held her.

“Before you go,” he begins, “where did you get that tea you drank the night we …fell… into the trough?”

His words stop her cold, although she does not turn to face him. “A man came,” she says, her voice somewhat hollow. “A man whose cart was full of trinkets. He gave me that tea; he said it would bring me pleasant dreams.”

“Did he wear a many-layered coat?” Marek asks quietly.

She whispers “yes”.

Marek watches her pad out to the bedroom. He hears the hinges on the door whine softly. Outside, the long grass has begun to wave again, beckoning him come out of there, or we shall send in your wind.

cenobyte is a writer, editor, blogger, and super genius from Saskatchewan, Canada.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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