Answering the call to the void.
“Nyx, come on, it’s time for dinner” Dea’s voice sails through the misty paddock, up the tree that Nyx is perched in staring at the sky. Nyx is careless as she lowers herself from branch to branch. She drops off the lowest branch gently and crushes the mushrooms that have sprung up under the shelter of the evergreen. Her feet float as she sprints through the paddocks before catapulting over the fence. As she reaches the back door it springs open before she can turn the knob.
“Get those shoes off lass.”
“Alright Nan,” she kicks off her muddy sneakers.
“What were you doing?”
“Just climbing that tree, you know the one.”
“Always up in the clouds aye, just like your mother. Dinner’ll be getting cold.”
Nyx skips into the small kitchen, the aroma of stew is hot and heavy in the air. She opens worn, wooden cupboards and pulls out two bowls, two forks, a plate and a knife. She pulls a couple of slices of bread out of the rickety bread bin and starts buttering the bread at the table.
“Good girl” Dea shuffles in carryings an earthenware pot, her hands swaddled in checked tea towels. She places the pot at the centre of the table and takes off the lid. The vapour rises and they start to salivate at the savoury smell of meat and onions.
As they sit there eating a storm begins brewing outside the window. The wind whistles through the worn wood holding the house together.
“Lucky Mak brought me some more wood, looks like winter’s settlin’ in.” The small potbelly fire in the corner crackles in response.
“Come on girl, let’s wash up.” They start clearing the table. Whilst Dea washes she hums a familiar song. Nyx staring at the knife she is drying presses the point into her finger and watches as blood wells up.
“What are you doing!” Dea snatches the knife away from Nyx and grabs her hand to have a look.
“I, I’m sorry Nan.”
“Well don’t apologise to me, look at what you’ve done. You should apologise to yourself. Why’d you do it eh?”
“I just, just wanted to see how sharp the knife was.” A little blood trickled down her finger.
“Silly girl, I coulda told you. Your father just sharpened them up for me. Go on, go clean it up in the bathroom.”
Nyx runs her finger under the tap. She grabs a plaster from the cupboard that’s paint is peeling and wraps up her cut. She looks up into into the mirror at the girl with bronze skin, black hair and wild eyes, and smiles at her.