(Photo found at this site: http://tinyurl.com/a8r7a6n)
Luena held her silver heart-shaped locket in one slender hand. In her mind’s eye, she could hear the tap, tap tap of the big black bird‘s sharp beak against Brunda’s windowpane. Tap, tap, tap it came again and she saw a sleek, black cat jump up onto the window sill and bend its head to one side as it gazed toward the bird.
Rowena turned her narrow, feathered face so that one black eye glistened at the cat. “Caw, caw,” the sound leaped from the yellow beak. The tapping resumed.
Disgruntled, the black cat turned, giving a swish of his tall to the feathered fiend and jumped down onto the floor. The cat glided across the room toward a darkened corner where his mistress slept.
A cacophony of snoring issued from the withered lips of the old woman. It took several pats from Mandrake’s paw to awaken her. Brunda’s eye lids parted. She was not pleased.
“What?” she thundered. “This had better be good, drat you!” She pulled her aged body up from the bedding.
Poised beside the window, Brunda glared at the black bird. “Rowena!” she scowled. “You mangy crow! What does Druzelle want now?”
The bird cocked her head, ruffled her feathers and dropped a rolled parchment onto the windowsill.
Brunda drew back the latch. Lifted the glass pane. Her irritation was obvious as she read through the note. Nonetheless, she scowled and nodded her assent. Rowena flipped her tail feathers and flew back to her mistress.
Luena and Druzelle walked along the frosty, cobbled path; they could smell freshly buttered toast and potatoes frying. Brunda drew back the front door and motioned the pair to enter.
With a gently hand, Druzelle pulled Luena to the front porch. The lady’s stiff, white apron and the pungent smell of starch filled the little girl’s senses.
“This is Luena Pierce. I found her in the cellar of her home after those…” Druzelle leaned forward to whisper in Brunda’s ear. “Monsters came and took her poor mother away to the witch trials. They hanged her yesterday evening.” Druzelle tried desperately not to let the little girl hear the gruesome tale. But Luena did hear. Cold tears spilled down her face.
Brunda stood arms akimbo. “Well, what made them think Mrs. Pierce was at fault!” Brunda didn’t bother to lower her voice. Her tender-hearted sister glared at her.
Druzelle took Luena by the hand and lead her to a far corner of the room where Brunda’s work table stood. Then she whirled on Brunda.
“Can we please talk outside?” Druzelle called over her shoulder. She was already heading for the door.
Brunda rolled her eyes in disgust and followed. The front door clattered shut. Druzelle drew herself up. Her blue eyes were ice chips.
- Tales of Nightshade: Nightshade (Part One) (creativemusingsoflediar.wordpress.com)
- Tales of Nightshade: Nightshade (Part Two) (creativemusingsoflediar.wordpress.com)
- Tales of Nightshade: Nightshade (Part Three) (creativemusingsoflediar.wordpress.com)
- Tales of Nightshade: Nightshade (Part Four) (creativemusingsoflediar.wordpress.com)
- Tales of Nightshade: Nightshade (Part Five) (creativemusingsoflediar.wordpress.com)
- Making the Mandrake (madebymothereagle.wordpress.com)