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Episode 14 Part 36

By:  Lenady

“Is the horse gonna die? ‘Cause if the horse is gonna die, you may as well stop telling this story right now.”


Tilly turned her head around at the interruption, “Huh?”


“If something happens to the horse I will start crying.”


She stared at Sanrook for a moment, trying to decide whether or not she was actually being serious, but turned her attention back to the sauce when she felt a prickle of heat on her arm. She swiped at the red dots of sauce and turned the heat down.


“So anyway,” she continued, stirring the pot and smiling at a little, content to let Sanrook squirm. “The girl…” Tilly paused, gathering her thoughts once again. “The girl walked back to the small cottage on the edge of the village with mixed emotions. She was happy to have met a friend so quickly, but she also knew that it wouldn’t be long until she and her mother would once again be leaving.”




“You know, the living room isn’t quite as big as I remembered,” her mom said as Tilly came in the back door. Tilly had managed to slip past the lecture going on outside, waiting until her dad’s back was turned to dart around the side of the house and in through the kitchen door.


Tilly walked through and peaked around the door to the living room. “It’s just ‘cause all the boxes are getting piled in there.”  She grimaced at the large collection forming, covered in red and blue and purple stickers, her dad’s organizational system evidently ignored thus far. Tilly bit her lip and turned back around to face her mom, who was bending over a box of pots and pans. “It’ll be better when you get everything set up how you like it.”


Her mom hummed in assent.


“What are we doing about food? Do you want to go out for groceries, do sandwiches or something? I mean I could run out with you. Or just-"


“I’ll go for something. Or your father can. You stay here.”


“But I just-"


“There’s boxes everywhere to unpack.” Her mom said, moving over to open a box labeled ‘dishes’. She sliced open the top and rustled around though the contents. “Focus on that.”


Tilly shrugged, not caring whether her mom could see the visual response. Before, they’d always gone out together to get stuff on moving day, scoping out the local markets and restaurants, laughing at the sheer lack of them in some cases, and typically picking the smallest, most local looking one they could. They’d found some of their favorite places that way: the Threemile greengrocer, JL’s  Drive-in, and that greasy dive in Woodvine Virginia which served the absolute best gravy and biscuits. Well, best under her mom’s of course. The past few moves though…


Tilly turned to the box sitting on the table, labeled ‘kitchen misc.’, and, using the keys out of her pocket, sliced it open. Mostly the contents were random odds and ends: the extra can opener, a few placemats that hadn’t found their way into the box of kitchen linens, a green plastic leaf shaped dish that acted as a catch-all. At the very bottom though was a white binder, slightly worn around the edges. Tilly smiled and pulled it up, rattling around the other items in the process. Muffin and cupcake stickers dotted the outside cover, some peeling and some stained from mid-project spills.


“Hey,” she said, flipping it open, and scanning the contents. Their favorite recipes were organized nicely in plastic sheets while the stuff they hadn’t tried yet was dumped in a blue folder on the left side. “Here in a few days. When things get a little more normal,” she added quickly. “Once everything is kind of settled down and stuff. Do you want to go through the recipe book? We haven’t tried out any of the new stuff in a long time.”


“I don’t think so.”


“Ah, okay,” she said, putting down the book. She turned towards another box, distractedly, slicing the top open with perhaps a little more force than needed. “Well, we could-"


“Tilly,” her mom sighed. “Would you just take these boxes with you?” she pointed towards a small group with a purple sticker, those for Tilly’s room. “I need to get this straightened up and things just aren’t getting done.”


Tilly opened her mouth, yearning to tell her where she could put her stupid boxes, but blocking off the biting retort, partially because they were Tilly’s boxes and partially because she had no interest in pulling her dad’s ire onto herself, which she knew would happen if a shouting match started up. “Yeah, sure.” Tilly said roughly, walking over to the pile and picking up the one on the top. She turned around and walked out into the hallway without another word.


*     *     *


“You see,” Tilly said, opening up a box of spaghetti and dumping it into a large stock pot. She eyed another box, then ripped it open and dumped it in as well, for good measure.  “The girl’s mother was under a curse:  to keep moving, to never stop in one place for more than a very short time. The girl didn’t know where the curse came from, since she’d lived with it for as long as she could recall. It was something that was there, and she dealt with it.” Tilly paused, staring down at the undulating, bubbling water. “She always hoped that as time went on perhaps the curse would fade, but instead she found it affecting her mother differently, making her callous and turning her heart, which had always been so warm and loving, cold.


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