A Story About Fishes, Part Something

It was later, when she was older, but not old enough, that Tiri woke with a start one morning, saying aloud, “He never told me!”

Hekka whuffed lowly, then yawned and stretched where she lay on the rug, then got up, turned a circle thrice, and laid back down, brush of a over her wet black nose.

Muttering irritably, Tiri stomped all the way through her day, grousing at her brother, who for once did not particularly deserve it, She stomped to the table at mealtimes and angrily ate, though she turned her nose up at buttered toast. For lunch she would not take any egg buns, only cheese and pickle.

And she visited the river, but instead of throwing crumbs, she threw angry words, and the silver fish swam off upstream until she could not see his glittering scales.

At dinner time, she ate only gravy and no biscuits, declaring somewhat snappishly that “I hate bread. All things bread. I never want it again.”

When it was near dusk, and she had had quite enough of her own attitude, she stomped off to bed, grumbling all the while, until her mother came to blow out her lamp. “No bread to-morrow,” her mother soothed. “Though I don’t suppose you wish to tell me what fouled your mood so?”

“A friend of mine kept secrets from me,” Tiri said, bunching her blankets in her fist. “On purpose. I’m cross with him.”

“Mm,” said Tiri’s mother, nodding. She’d been a child once, herself, and knew quite well the fits of passion that all growing children felt against the injustices visited upon them. “Sounds quite terrible.”

“It is!” Tiri griped. “He was quite unreasonable.”

“Certainly! One should never keep secrets from someone they trust,” Tiri’s mother said mildly, smoothing the coverlet.

“Never!” Tiri agreed. “I told him everything!”

“Oh!” Tiri’s mother exclaimed. “Everything?”

Everything,” Tiri confirmed, her eyes wide and solemn.

“That’s quite impressive,” Tiri’s mother said, thoughtful. “You told him about breaking grandmother’s favorite glass dish and blaming it on Hekka?” Tiri’s cheeks grew red, and she opened her mouth to answer, but her mother kept talking. “And where you keep your sweets money hidden from thieves?” Tiri’s eyes grew wider, and a furrow formed between her brows. “I suppose, if you tell him everything, you even told him where I keep my mother’s brooch? The one I told you was very very special and we must keep it safe so you can have it when you are grown?”

Tiri cleared her throat and wrung her hands, sadly, saying, “I did not.”

“No? But you said you tell him everything,” Tiri’s mother said, looking not quite as surprised as her words might have indicated.

Tiri said nothing aloud, but her expression, of course, was quite telling.

“Well,” her mother murmured, reaching to pet Tiri’s hair back from her face, as soothing as only mothers can be. “Of course you had good reasons not to tell everything, I’m sure. And it’s only that your friend kept all his secrets for no good reason, hm?”

Tiri’s was silent for quite some time, and when she did finally speak, her voice was very small, but very genuine. “Mama. Will you please wake me early to-morrow? I want to help bake the bread. I need an extra loaf.”

“Of course, my heart,” Tiri’s mother said, her eyes twinkling as she leaned down to kiss her child’s forehead. “Of course. Now sleep well, and I will see you in the morning.”

About Catastrophe Jones

Wretched word-goblin with enough interests that they're not particularly awesome at any of them. Terrible self-esteem and yet prone to hilarious bouts of hubris. Full of the worst flavors of self-awareness. Owns far too many craft supplies. Will sing to you at the slightest provocation.
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