I hadn’t seen any of my family in three, four years, and hadn’t lived with them since I was a kid. But I knocked on my mama’s door anyway, because I sure as war didn’t know where else I was going.
The folks as answered shook their heads. “This is our second summer here. We don’t know. Ask in town.”
What else could I do? I thanked them and went on into a town I hadn’t seen since I was small, asking around in stores and offices til I found someone who knew them.
“Not a lot of folks stayed after the flood a couple years back,” sie told me with a shrug. “I think I remember her saying she was taking your sisters to family up north, but I really can’t say, everybody was leaving then.”
Why would anybody care? The maggots were having a grand old time, and it was getting harder to ignore them. Forgot you/don’t care/didn’t matter. Now that was plain ridiculous. I’d been fed and warm and took care of, and them not.
“You need a place to stay?” sie asked, distracting me. “Anybody with temple training has to be able to help me with my books, correspondence, that kind of thing. We can send off some letters asking after your family. Do they teach you kids computers?”
“Not much, but I can learn quick,” I told hir. “I’ll stay a while, if you’ll have me.”
I stayed through the harvest, learning to keep up the website and practice typing. The night the last grain came in, they asked if I’d see to the ritual.
“Ain’t a lot of trained priestesses out this way,” said the older woman doing the asking. She was the kind of old where you can’t rightly tell if she’s somebody’s mama or somebody’s grandma, a wild-looking lady lived outside town in the woods. I remembered being terrified of her as a little one.
“I ain’t finished-”
“Closer than we had in a long time,” she insisted, and I supposed I was still a little bit terrified.
The maggots told me I couldn’t, but I’d been trying real hard to fight them lately, so I said I could.
“Hurry up then,” she said. “Don’t wanna keep her waiting.”