For lilfluff‘s commissioned Prompt.
Eva tried not to have any expectations or hopes about Robby being there the next morning.
She did, however, do a little research, sending out e-mails to cousins, nieces, and nephews of about the right age, until she got back an answer: Robert Thompson, lived about two miles down the street. He was a senior at Chalcedony’s school, not a great student but not a bad student, rode the bus with the family kids. He was, Chalce said, a stoner, a burnout.
He was, Stone said, a kid with a problem.
He was, Beryl said, “Interesting :x”
Eva took in those answers, and the answers from several other relatives, and slept on them, confident that a teenaged kid was not going to stab her in her sleep and was, in this case, pretty unlikely to steal anything important.
She didn’t discount the idea that he might actually be a demon, but if that were the case, the secondary wards would kick in if he tried to enter her house and either he, the wards, or the house would light on fire.
(Which could, of course, be why he didn’t want to come in her house, or it could be a new rumour about The Witch’s House that hadn’t gotten to her yet. Or just some parental rule or law she was also ignorant of).
She slept on it, thinking about what Fallon had written about Mr. Thompson.
In the morning, the whisps of dreams still teasing at the edges of her consciousness, she drew one card from the special Tarot, and studied it, wondering at the draw she felt.
Five five-pointed stars, etched over a stone, stared back at her. Rain fell on the stone, which looked disturbingly like a grave-marker. The sky was grey and bleak.
“Wonderful,” she told the card. “I knew that already.”
The deck slipped out of her hand, another card crossing the five of pentacles: A regal woman, her crown a slim diadem. She looked, Eva thought, much like old photos of the Aunts.
“More interesting. Thank you.” She pricked her finger, feeding the deck a drop of blood, and headed down the stairs.
Before she looked, she started breakfast. It gave her some time to clear her brain, to think about the mundanities of the situation. There might be a teenaged runaway in her Florida room. If there was, his mother had died a year ago. And his father was not known as the most pleasant man in the world.
With each thought, she added ingredients to the pancake batter. Pinch of soda, dash of seltzer water. Vanilla. Extra sugar, just a tad.
Beryl thought he was interesting-with-a-emoticon. But Chalce just thought he was a stoner. He had come to her barn, but he wouldn’t come into her house. Buttermilk, walnuts, eggs, flour. He knew she was a witch. But that was common gossip – and he thought of witches like Hallowe’en, still. Tiny pinch of salt.
And the Cards had given her an extra message. That bore thought. She poured the pancakes on the griddle, and wondered if he was even still out there.
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