TITLE: Wolves in Walls
With the first light of dawn, a young girl crawled over a section of the long wall that separated the town from the surrounding woods. She dropped herself to the ground easily, and landed on her feet in a manner that bespoke some experience at this. The girl made her way with stealth and purpose. She kept to the shadows as she walked. The blue scarf covering her soft brown hair might conceal her identity, but she could not risk an early riser seeing her through a window. If someone saw a young girl walking alone in the morning, there would certainly be questions. Even if no one guessed her identity, people looking into things would be dangerous.
She reached her mother’s house by sunrise and crawled quietly through her bedroom window. The front door would have made too much noise for this hour of the morning. At least the thunk from her rather graceless fall from her window to her bedroom floor was not a resounding one. She enjoyed the creep of the sun’s glow over the wall momentarily before she shut her bedroom shutters tight. Any indication that she was awake at such as early hour could induce suspicion. Everything about her needed to seem normal.
Sinking into the chair before her mirror, she uncovered her hair and laid the scarf on the table. Then, rolling back her sleeves of her brown dress, she began to apply the balm from the green jar to her new host of cuts and scrapes. After her arms, she did her legs. Then her feet. Her hands were last. The balm stung her limbs, but the sting was infinitely better than scarring or infection. Especially the scarring. That would invite questions that had no answer. Or, at least, no answer she could give.
She removed the brown dress and hung it on a peg on her white wall. There were grass and leaves on the hem. She would clean it later. She pulled on a clean, green dress, and rebraided her hair. Checking herself in the mirror, she now so a neat and tidy young woman that no one would guess she had seen her bed the past night. She paused for a moment at the thought, and then she made her way into the kitchen. Putting a kettle on the fire for tea, she began to prepare breakfast.
Weaver Alexandra woke to the scents of baking bread and frying bacon. She smiled. ‘She’s home,’ she thought. Comforted by that knowledge, she sat up in bed and ran her fingers through her long, brown hair. She got up from her bed and began to dress for the day. Breakfast was waiting.
In the cozy kitchen, Weaver Alexandra found her daughter pouring water from the kettle into the teapot. On such mornings, Luna was always the first in the kitchen. The kitchen had walls of a warm brown color and a large stone hearth where they did all of their cooking. The kitchen was really the center of the home, and that was the way they liked it. The air outside had retained its night’s chill, however the kitchen had been heated nicely by the cooking fire.
“Hello Luna,” Weave Alexandra said, “how was your night?” There were two plates of food set on the kitchen table. Luna gently set the hot teapot on the table, carefully so as not to spill. Weaver Alexandra glanced at the still closed windows, but made no move to open them. Instead, she examined the fire to ensure that it was not going to go out soon.
Luna looked up and grinned at Weaver Alexandra, “Good morning, Mama. My night was as well as could be expected. I trust yours was good.” She passed her mother a steaming cup of black tea and added a dollop of honey to her own cup. The tea was hot and quite strong.
“As well as could be expected, my dear,” said Weaver Alexandra, bringing a warm cup of tea to her lips. The words they used were the same they used every one of such mornings; the words had become as much of a ritual as any other part of this day. She set the mug gently on the table and walked over to Luna. Gently, she smoothed Luna’s hair, a few shades darker than her own. Luna had her father’s hair. Taking Luna’s face in her hands, she gently examined her face. Ascertaining for herself Luna’s well being, she gently kissed her daughter’s forehead.
“Really, I’m fine, Mama,” Luna muttered. Weaver Alexandra nodded, and released her daughter. She paused a moment before asking the inevitable question. She asked it every time. “The town is still abed?” she asked quietly. Luna sighed. She didn’t like this question, even if she knew that it was coming, even if she knew that it was an important question. It was an unhappy reminder. Stepping back, Luna walked over to the kitchen window, which was still shuttered from the night.
Luna nodded, “Yes, Mama, once again we rise before the town.” She flung open the wooden shutters of the window, allowing the fresh morning light into the cozy kitchen. She inhaled the cool air deeply and felt a little sad. She always felt sad on mornings like this one. She did not quite know why. She heard her mother eat her breakfast but remained at the window without touching her own food. She was not particularly hungry. Rising from her breakfast and clearing her place, Weaver Alexandra seemed to guess the bent of Luna’s thoughts.