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Bloody Thanksgiving (IC)

Curious Key

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Kat understood why uncle’s farm might be called beautiful. Fields stretched far as the eye could see, interrupted by a single long, gravel road. Old barns and granaries rose around the farmhouse, all clean, with clear blue skies. Objectively, Kat knew that it was beautiful. But mostly, it seemed lonely.

When they’d arrived, Kat had been prepared for the thanksgiving routine. For the laughter at things she did not understand and the talk of the bad harvest and cheek pinching and ‘how you’ve grown’ and ‘any handsome boys?’ Kat endured it and smiled and shook hands until she couldn’t take any more, and escaped for a short moment out the back.

She was wearing a little plain, black dress. The air felt cold on her skin, and the sun was setting. Kat walked out to the edge of the porch and let her hands rest on railing, rough and scratchy under her fingers. Kat closed her eyes and breathed in through her nose, the near-winter air filling her lungs to the brim.

There was a murmur of warmth and light behind her. Kat sighed, propped her shoulder against the wood and let her chin sit in her hand. She stared up at the silver sickle of a moon. She longed for of chrome and metal and people; for the high walls of a city rising around her.

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The wind whistled. Grass rustled. A Door creaked.

Kat turned toward the house, her body tense until she saw her mother’s silhouette outlined in light. “Lilly?†She stepped forward, her arms coiled around herself in defense against winter. “Is something wrong?†Her mouth was slightly open, eyes almost sad.

It hurt to see her sad, a little, so Kat put on her best smile and took two steps forward, crossing her arms behind her back. “Nah Mom, I just had to get out.†She rolled her eyes. “If I have to hear about their broken tractor one more time . . .â€

“Katharine! They’re family!†Her mother put both hands on her hips, but her mouth tried to twitch into a smile, and the worry fell out of her eyes.

Convinced she’d found a good angle, Kat kept going. “Oh come on,†she waved her hand as though to brush the thought aside, “I’m sure whatever they’re on about is just fascinating, but I . . .â€

Her mother took another step forward, and put a hand on Kat’s shoulder. “Lilly, I know it might not be the most exciting thing in world. But they’re family, and they’ve barely seen you all year. They miss you. Come inside.â€

Kat knew they didn’t. But she had been at Claremont for the past two years, learning the ins and outs of her own powers—sleeping in a room full of power nullifiers to make sure she didn’t dream of astronauts and wake up on the moon.

Kat blinked away the tears rising behind her eyes. Her aunt and uncle and cousins didn’t miss her. Mama was talking about herself.

She threw her arms around her mother and hugged her—not tight; she’d probably do her Mom an injury if she did. Kat shut her eyes and felt her mother’s hand running over her hair. “I'm sorry, Mama. I will.â€

It was at that moment that the laughter stopped and the lights went dead.

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