Every night since I crouched with Mama beneath that upturned hull, I have dreamt of Alder Mere, of Mama's wet hands and sleeves, of my own blood dripping into the water, of something shifting and moving in the murky depths. Something growing, something wrapped in mud and shadow. Something hungry. Something that has learned to lurk and wait. The same as me.
One day, I paused in the middle of my scrubbing to stare into the sky. The sun had gone behind the Turrets, throwing a long thin shadow that seemed to stretch forever. Thick clouds wreathed the tip of the spire, and every now and then I caught a flash of lightning, and then the low rumble of distant thunder. “What’s up there?” I asked my mother.
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