Lyn was the person Tia turned to after her mother disappeared into the lake. As Tia matured, the confidences were less, but they usually spoke every day when Tia did their delivery runs. If there had been a confidence entrusted on this matter, Lyn would be the keeper.
The seamstress held out the basket with the previous day’s finished alterations for delivery and asked for Tia to be on her way. After a few ungracious moments of delay, the delivery girl rose from the previously motionless rocking chair, slowly accepting the morning’s delivery, before exiting the seamstress’s residence at half the speed she entered.
Tia took a deep breath as she paused outside the residence, just as a small bright green something resting by the corner of the door caught her eye. Tia gasped as a stray unripened juniper berry came into focus.
What’s that doing here, she wondered.
A few dazed steps down the street, another berry. This one nestled in the cobbles in front of her. Tia looked on in confusion and saw something glinting as the sun lit up the morning dewdrops on its tight green skin.
Another berry. This time on the windowsill of a nearby building.
Tia balanced the basket with one hand as she reached over and picked this one up. The berry dampened her fingers with its dew as Tia moved it to her ear. What was that noise?
A passerby said a friendly ‘hello’ to the usually cheerful delivery girl standing outside in the chilly morning sun. She didn’t reply.
What was she doing. Mer’s daughter kept shaking her hand and putting it to her ear. It looked like she was listening to something. To what? The local resident wondered. They guessed Tia must have picked up a singing insect of some sort, she just didn’t look so happy about its song.
Peculiar, they thought, as they walked on, leaving the girl shaking and listening, shaking and listening.
Tia saw the resident watching her and knew it was time to move on. She was certain she heard a sound, a calling coming from the berry, but couldn’t be sure. As she dropped the berry in her apron and turned the corner, Tia stopped dead, the perfectly altered clothes tumbling from the basket, just as the buns fell from the tray the previous day.
This excerpt is published by New Idealist Publishing, all rights reserved.