Ch. 26 - Star-Crossed Options

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Unfortunately the incident with Kasubia made Gran anxious. She checked on them frequently, making it difficult to really have a good discussion about the mask and the fairies.

Worse, she stayed up late into the night, rattling around in the basement and hauling up boxes to go through on the kitchen table. "Organizing" was all she said when they asked.

Not that they were really interested, they just wanted to know how long she would be doing it.

Longer than they were able to stay awake.

Rhianna had a quiet night. When she woke up in the morning she realized something was missing. The whispers. She no longer heard the voices as she transitioned from dreaming to waking.

They had been somewhat annoying. Always a little arrogant and always vaguely discussing what was best for her. But it was like having a small personal pantheon of beings looking out for her.

A lot of the time she thought they were fragments of dreams clinging to her mind as she woke up, and mostly she just tuned them out.

It never occurred to her that she had been comforted by their presence. She had been dead set on telling them she could take care of herself if she ever got the chance to speak to them.

Now she lay in her bed, feeling a strange silence despite the circus of bird song coming through the open bedroom window as the sun came up.

Gretch groaned and stretched in her sleeping bag on the floor. "Don't those birds know we are trying to sleep? Whose idea was it to leave the window open?"

"Yours I think," Rhianna said, the corners of her mouth quirking up. "It was hot, remember?"

Jenny blocked her ears with her pillow, and then tossed it away, her purple hair damp and sticking the her brow. "I think its hotter, now."

"Shut up birds!" Gretch launched her own pillow at the window, but it was a feeble throw and ended up landing on Raisen.

Raisen squeaked. "Hey, watch it!" She grabbed the pillow and waggled it threateningly.

Gretch held up her hands, preparing her defense, but at the last minute Raisen tucked the pillow under her head and laid down with a comfortable sigh on her double pillow stack.

"No fair! I don't have any pillow now." Gretch turned fluttering eyelashes on Rhianna. "Give me one of yours, please!"

"Don't do it," warned Jenny, snatching her own pillow out of reach. "She is the priestess of pillow fights."

"More like evil cushion commando, disarmament is the only way to defeat her." Raisen nestled smugly into her pillows.

Gretch made a grab for her pillow, but Rhianna held on tight. The tug-o-war ended with her sliding off her bed in a tangle of bedsheets, but she kept her grip on, giggling.

Finally, Gretch gave up and laid back on the floor in sullen defeat. Rhianna lay beside, her giggles gradually subsiding.

"I guess we should get up," moaned Jenny. "We aren't going to with all that racket out there."

She stayed in her sleeping bag.

"It's weird," Rhianna said. "I know they're loud, but I woke up thinking it was quiet."

Gretch propped her head on her elbow, her hair looking like a gilded rat's nest. "I don't even think the birds stopped last night, I think they sleep in shifts so they can keep it up all night. Between the birds and the insects summer in Murderkill is the noisiest time of year."

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