Lilly peeked out of the windows for what felt like the millionth time in the last 30 seconds. After confirming once more that her parents were still away she ran into their room and began searching the drawers. Her body made the decision to act before she truly weighed the possible consequences. It was now or never. Her fingers twitched with adrenaline as she began making her way through the folded garments and woven plant. I know it’s in here. When she found nothing in the drawers she started towards her mother’s mat and shuffled it out of its place. She began tapping away at the wooden tile. And then at the walls. Her fingers trembled. But I saw it here. Her dreams hadn’t been this misleading since she was a young child. No one knew nightmares like the Water Villagers.
“Looking for something, child” asked a calm voice from behind her. Lilly could feel her eyes wanting to water. Shutting them quickly she turned to face her mother.
“I was just looking for you”. Although she managed a smile, her voice cracked in the tense air. Her parents stood silent in the doorway.
“I was asleep, and I thought I would come by and see if you and father had returned”.
Her parents exchanged glances, their raised eyebrows mirroring one another’s.”Well listen to that Coy, we have been missed”, said her mother placing her hand on his chest light as a feather. Restraining a laugh, he kissed his wife before passing into their bedroom. She glanced over at her daughter once more.
“Yes…I’m sorry to disappoint.” Her lips curled into a smirk. “I didn’t know you’d be looking to find me under my resting mat.” That stupid mat. Her mother caressed her daughters cheek. Now…is there something you would like to tell me?”
“No, I just got a little carried away I was just um…seeing if I maybe left my necklace” she shrugged, heading towards the door. Her mother shifted her weight, blocking her path. They stared at each other in brief silence. “Of course I could clean this all up first…I didn’t find it” she responded, trying to break the tension before it could build.
“No…I’m afraid that will be the last lie you will tell tonight. One more time, is there something you would like to tell me? Lilly, have you been dreaming?” She shifted her eyes to her husband and then back to Lilly.
“No, no mother” Lilly replied, too quickly. She cleared her throat, “I mean, I was really just passing the time. I am sorry for messing up your space.” She looked to her father, “It was really nothing”.
“Indeed.” muttered her mother. She took a deep breath and looked her daughter over. The guilt was piled heavily on her face, she could barely suppress her tears. She had not been this bad of a liar when she was Lilly’s age. “Child, move my mat back where it was and have a seat”.
Lilly wasted no time obeying her mother. She didn’t need to reference a dream to know that she was caught. Her heart beat was a sickening thud in her chest. She tried to take a deep breath. Her mother began to pace back and forth, pausing every so often to glance over at her father who was sitting silently by the window. The tension in the room seemed to draw the oxygen from Lilly, making it hard for her to focus on keeping up her already flailing facade.
“Lilly…you’ve been dreaming. I know this, because you have been dreaming so often that your visions are tapping into my own dream waves.” She tried to soften her expression. Lilly looked as if she would faint at any moment. Still she pushed herself to respond. “Are you angry with me?” she asked, her voice broken by the threat of tears that would surely fall at any moment.
Her mother danced over to sit with her daughter. She turned a fragile Lilly to face her. “You want to learn about the Dayai tribes don’t you?” she smiled hopefully at her daughter, then at her husband Coy, whose face was tight as stone.
“You’re not mad”? Lilly asked, tears beginning to fall. “I thought you would be upset with me…” for every tear she swiped away another two fell past her cheeks. Her mother embraced her. This budding woman, shackled in childlike sensitivity. “Is this what you’ve been looking for?” she asked standing to her feet. She tapped the walls between the two windows of the bedroom and a small book shelf came forward from behind the walls. She ran her fingertips over the dusted books. “Ah, here it is” she whispered pulling a book out of the shelf. She tossed it to her befuddled daughter. She wondered if it had been wise to access the shelf in front of her. It was too late now. “Do with it what you will child,” she smiled. “But do not lie to me again…you will surely regret the next lie you fix your tongue to speak”.