10. At the height of the dead's high Moon
"I can't stand it anymore, Thomas," Sarah said, holding her head in her hands.
"You have to. It will pass, like all untrue gossip," he said as he put his hands on her shoulders reassuringly.
"But it's not all of it untrue! She isn't our child, but she's not a changeling. I know that. My heart tells me that much. Yet…"
"Oh, no, Sarah."
"You know it! You know that she is different from us. It's not just the red hair. It's how she looks at the stars, how she sings to the birds. How that girl connects with her! They both are strange."
"They're smart is all. Sarah, we've been blessed with two girls who are thinkers, not cursed with changelings or imps. Don't let that silly gossip corrupt you!"
"I just wish they would stop," Sarah said, crying. "I just want the best for my girls."
"I do, too. We'll be strong. It's just talk and we are stronger than that."
Jessica crept away from the door, hating the sound of Sarah's tears. She was such a kind and loving woman. And she thought of her as a daughter, which warmed Jessica. But it was Savannah she loved, and Savannah who needed to be protected. Fear hit her in the chest and she ran to find Savannah.
"Jessica, what's the hurry?"
"Nothing, I just had to make sure that you were still here."
"Of course I am. You know we never go out at night."
"I know. But that's not what they say, is it?"
"What, those lies? I don't worry about them. I've got my family and Eric, so everything is as it should be."
"I said 'family'. That's you, too." Savannah looked at Jessica again. Sometimes the girl stared at her with an expression of such miserable dread that it scared her. She was looking at her that way now. "Come here and tell me what's wrong."
"Scared of what? Not still of werewolves? Nothing's going to come for you."
"Not me. You."
Savannah laughed. "No werewolf is going to get me. I've got Eric to protect me. Besides, there's no such thing." She thought of the paw prints and smiled. "Now, it's getting dark so you must be getting to sleep. You can teach me more about flowers tomorrow. Okay?"