Dinner went well. Rhianna made it clear to her friends that they could not mention the woods at all, and although they touched on at least a hundred different topics of conversation they didn't utter a single word about fairies or secret adventure plans.
For Gran's part she never let it slip about Rhianna's transient past, which was a bonus because Rhianna hadn't figured out a way to explain to her grandmother why appearing "normal" was so important.
Maybe the whole pretense of seeming normal didn't matter anymore. But if Mom did come back then she would expect Rhianna to have kept to their code.
They waited out several more hours in Rhianna's room until the sun was well down, sharing knowledge about fairies in whispers and talking more loudly of mundane things after Gran poked her head in once or twice wondering why they were being so quiet.
Jenny finally explained to Rhianna the roots of the town's name. "It's the Dutch. A lot of the places around here are named with Dutch words. It means "mother creek." Murder equals mother and kill equals creek."
"Ooooh. That's still weird. If someone named the creek after their mother why not use her name?" Rhianna was sitting in the floral patterned chair again; Jenny and Raisen sat on the bed opposite her.
"Maybe it wasn't someone's mother but, like, the river on the other side of town feeds off into a hundred little baby creeks," Raisen said with a shrug of her own.
"Or maybe it is something to do with the Mother Goddess," Gretch said from across the room. Her back was to them as she tried to bring some life to her phone signal by balancing it upright against the window pane. "I can't believe how bad the signal is out here. I can't even get Facebook. And why doesn't your grandmother have a computer?"
Raisen laughed. "Haven't you noticed this wall paper? This whole house is trapped in a decade before computers existed or something."
"Ugh, don't even say that. I can't imagine how anyone could survive without computers. Just murder-kill me now." Gretch tapped daintily at her screen, trying not to wobble it too much.
"Why don't you put that phone away, come over here and discover what life was like in the olden times before they had good taste and microchips." Raisen patted rose-printed bedspread between her and Jenny.
Gretch made a disgusted noise at the back of her throat, grabbed her phone and held it up toward the top of the window.
Rhianna covered her smile. "What do you mean Mother Goddess?"
"It's a Witchy thing," Raisen said.
"Yes, Witches. With a capital W, because Witchcraft is a religion," Gretch said, finally leaving her phone balanced against the window pane and coming to join them. "We Witches worship the Mother Goddess instead of the Christian God."
"We?" Rhianna arched an eyebrow. She actually did know a little bit about Witches. Living on the road she met a lot of different people. And Witches were some of the kindest, if sometimes a little out there, people. But she was surprised her friends knew anything about them. Murderkill was a small town and she hadn't noticed a Pagan presence in town.
"Don't let her fool you. She has only been a Witch for like two days, ever since she started researching fairies on the Internet." Jenny rolled her eyes.
"Are you mocking my religion?" Gretch asked, her pale eyebrows furrowing.
"Nobody is mocking you Gretch. We are just waiting to see if it sticks." Raisen patted her friend's knee.
Gretch threw herself backwards on the bed. "I am so tired of waiting. When are we going to be able to run free in the woods and be one with nature. I feel the Mother calling. It's the Summer Solstice. Maybe we should dance in the moonlight."
"Naked?" Jenny giggled.
"Ew. Not all Witches dance naked you know," Gretch said peeking out from under the hand she had laid across her forehead dramatically.
"Let me check." Rhianna crept to the door and opened it. On the bedside table, the red numbers of the alarm clock read 11:59. She listened at the door and the room grew hushed. There were no sounds in the house except the ticking of the brass clock in the living room. "I think she is asleep.
The girls blew out a collective breath and Gretch slung her backpack over her shoulder. "Ok let's go!"
A/N: Just a short installment this week. Today was so hectic I almost didn't get any done. But I made myself carve out a little time at the end of the day and I did it! Hope you enjoyed it. Can't wait to see your votes and comments. What do you think they will find in the woods?
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Rhianna and the Magic HorseFantasy
**Updates every Sunday** Rhianna was a free spirit on the road with her mother, until something changed. Something that left her abandoned on a farm in the middle of nowhere, with a stranger she is supposed to call Grandmother. Grounded. Now Rhianna...