Ch. 21 - Conversation in the dark

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Seduction of the Dryad

Leading with delight, he faire beguiled her way,

Under darkened sky, with storm o'erblowne.

Pining heart and starrfilled eyes she fell astray

And lost the path which first was shown.

Further from home she ne'er had been,

She made her way through labyrinth unknowne

Crawled on bloodied knees through briar, cave, and stream

Until she found her prince atop his gilded throne.

Lifted upon his mount by hand so strong,

She laughed and joyed that her love she had found

Little she did know that her choice had been wrong

E'en after he stole her to his faerie mound.

Laying on her bed, propped up on her elbows, Rhianna ran her finger over those final words on the brittle page. It was a heavy book. Not just its weight, but much of it was difficult to understand. Words were spelled oddly. Some of the lettering was very bizarre. It took her a while to figure out that the tall squiggles that looked like the letter L were actually the letter S and that the V's were actually U's. But once she figured that out it was easier to read.

Not at all easy to understand though.

This passage was one that seemed pretty clear though. Rhianna could almost see the woman in the poem, bloody scrapes on her knees. Lost in the wild fairy land. Captured. Imprisoned.

She couldn't help help thinking of her mother, but the pages we much too old to be telling her mother's story.

A floorboard creaked outside the door to her room. She snapped the book shut and pulled a pillow over it, holding her breath and listening.

No other sounds came and the doorknob did not turn. Maybe it was her imagination. Gran had found things to keep her busy and away from Rhianna ever since they had come home from town.

They'd had a brief encounter at dinner, but other than calling her down, Gran hadn't uttered a word. Not even to give her chores.

Rhianna had washed the dishes anyway. She wasn't going to give Pippa the satisfaction of being able to call her a poor house guest.

The night was black against the window and the storm that Gran had predicted, had mostly passed now except for the rain that beat down with a monotonous roar.

Rhianna sat up and tucked the book into her backpack. She opened one of the side zippers and found the mini padlock she sometime used on the road. It was the perfect size to slip through the two zipper tabs where they met and create a small measure of security.

She hooked the two tabs together and pinched the lock closed. Snip. The sound calmed her nerves. If Pippa started to snoop she would not know exactly what was in the backpack unless she cut it open.

Sometimes, on the road, even the smallest sense of privacy was priceless. In this house she had a room and a door she could close, but they felt like illusions. It wasn't really her room or her door.

Rhianna tiptoed to the door and listened again. The only sound was the rain. She opened the door a crack. The hallway was empty, the house was dark and quiet except for the ticking of the clock downstairs in the living room.

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