Evadna didn’t go far before she ran into her mother in the hallway. “Mama, there’s an old woman sitting by the fire. She says her name is Mallory and that you know her.”
“Mallory?” her mother said, in a bit of a daze.
“Do you know who she is?” Evadna said, doubtfully. “I don’t see how. She’s not from the village and you would have said if you had family coming over.”
“Yes, I know Mallory,” her mother confirmed, still looking confused. Taking Evadna’s hand in a firm grip, they returned to where Mallory sat, patiently waiting.
Mallory’s gaze was searching upon their reentrance. Evadna observed curiously as both Mallory and her mother sized each other up. Using her cane, Mallory rose to her feet. “Funny weather you have here. All is bright and cheery in the village. Then I come here, which is only a stone’s throw away, and it’s as if the heavens are mourning. Is it always thus?”
With a sideways glance at Evadna, her mother replied, “For about a month.”
“Hmmm…” Mallory gestured at Evadna. “Your daughter, I presume.”
“Yes. Mallory this is Evadna.” Giving her daughter’s hand a squeeze, she added, “Mallory has come a long way to see you.”
“Indeed I have, child. But no matter.” Bending down with surprising ease, Mallory looked levelly into Evadna’s eyes. “You’ve a strong will about you, I expect.”
Silently, Evadna continued to stare back.
Mallory’s lips pursed, her wrinkles becoming more pronounced. “Tell me, child, what dreams cause you to wake up in the middle of the night? Excepting your nightmares, of course.”
Intrigued, Evadna thought carefully on her answer. She’d been having such a dream only a couple nights ago. “Sometimes I dream about storms. They don’t frighten me.”
“Why don’t they frighten you?” Mallory encouraged, an unexpected gentleness in her expression.
Giving her mother a nervous glance, Evadna said, “Because I am the storm. I’m in control.”
Evadna’s mother squeezed her daughter’s hand tightly, but a glance at her face told Evadna nothing of how she felt at her daughter’s revelation.
Mallory soon stole Evadna’s attention back. “When you wake up, is there anything unusual around you? Anything out of place? Anything different from how it was when you first fell asleep?”
Surprised and curious, Evadna nodded her head.
“What had changed?”
“My window is always open when I wake up from such dreams and Mama always closes it before I go to sleep each night. And there’s a great, gusty wind!”
Mallory gazed intently at Evadna, then straightened up to address her mother. “You were right to come to me.”
Evadna’s mother took a deep, steadying breath. “I’m afraid I insist that I come with you. I will not be parted from Evadna. I cannot do it.”
Mallory didn’t blink. “I expected as much. Fortunately for you, I came prepared for such a happenstance. Do we depart now or do you have arrangements to make?”
With a look at her daughter, she replied. “At once, please, if it’s not too much trouble. Our bags are packed.”
“Then let us depart.”