“Seelia!” Her mother calls. She abandons her hiding spot behind a couple of barrels and creeps into an empty one that is lying down. “I know you’re in here. You’re always in here.” Light goes out for a moment as her mother stand in the doorway but comes back gradually when she begins her descent. The stairs creak. “You’ve better not eaten all the apples.” Seelia hides away the apple she’s holding into her little purse.
Silence. Waiting. She knows that her mother’s eyes scan the room and that she will be found. She peeks out of the barrel and comes face to face with her mother. “Your brother used to come down here too but he always went straight for the jellies.” Her mother tilts her head the way she always does when she’s trying to figure something out. “If not sweets, what is it that draws you down here all the time? It’s just a root cellar.”
With her eyes tied to the floor she mumbles something. “What did you say darling? Speak up so your mother can hear.” She looks up, her face in a sour frown. “It’s not a root cellar.” Her mother straightens her back and her lips thin away. Her voice isn’t as soft as before. “Then what is it dear?”
“It’s Skybreak’s Burrow!” That came out to hard. She looks down and hopes that her mother isn’t hurt. She looks up. Oh no. Her mother’s eyes are wide, her eyebrows almost touching her hairline. This can’t be good. She throws herself around her mother’s legs and hug them hard, hoping she can make it right.
She’s startled by her mother’s laughter. “Ha ha ha! You’re a little adventurer, are you? Ha ha ha!” Her mother breaks free from the embrace and squats down in front of her. Her mother’s soft hand lifts her chin so that their eyes meet. “Don’t be scared. I’m not mad.” She looks at the tears rolling down her mother’s cheeks. Her mother catches her looks. “Don’t worry. Those are just tears of laughter. I never imagined we had a little adventurer in our family.” Her mother puts a hand on her shoulder, sits down and lifts her into her knee. “You can play down here if you want. As long as you don’t eat too many apples or harm the food, you can play here as much as you want.” She wipes away a tear of her own. A tear of fear and relief. “I’m sorry for yelling at you mom.” Her mother hugs her tight. “I forgive you. I love you Seelia.”
Seelia smiles. Her mother’s love and support still makes her warm to this day. She would have been so happy to see her now, fully grown and entering the real Skybreak’s Burrow. Her heart pounds as she touch the old grey walls. This time it’s no game. She’s finally here.