Ready, Pumpkin

“Do you want a story?”
Rhynn shook her head. Pink plastic butterflies clipped to her pigtails swung.
“Do you want three stories?” Annie asked.
The pink butterflies swung vigorously.
“What do you want from, Nana, pumpkin?”
Pursing her lips, Rhynn cocked her head to one side. Anne leaned back in the glider and fished through her craft bag. She fingered past her embroidery hoop and a bundle of tightly bound sage. The pink curtained bedroom grew quiet.
“Nana, why do people stop talking when I enter a room?”
Annie pulled out a small suede pouch. “It’s the stories, pumpkin. The stories you tell.”
Tears sprang to Rhynn’s eyes. “My dreams—“
Annie shushed her granddaughter. “ Pumpkin I know. Tell me about your dreams.”
“I’m not a liar. I dream. People come to me in the night. First I was afraid. Some people had no mouth. Some people had big black eyes. Then nicer people with regular faces would come and sit with me in my room. It was, it was…” Rhynn’s voice trailed away.
“It was peaceful and you wanted to share what you saw. Share the stories these people whispered in the night. And instead of afraid you were—“
“With like family,” Rhynn answered.
Taking a breath, Annie put down her patchwork bag and jiggled the stones in her pouch. “Dreams are an in-between space like a waiting room or a doorway. Think of them as open where different things can walk in and out. Most people can feel the,” Annie scrambled for a word, true but gentle, “former people in the in-between, some can hear them, but only a very very few can see them and hear them and with training learn to talk with them.”
Rhynn tilted her head to the side. Her pink plastic butterfly barrettes bobbed as she jumped up and down on her princess bed.
Annie held up her right hand. Five gemstone floated from the pouch spiraling above Annie’s outstretched palm.
“Ready, pumpkin.”

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