Katie-Lee paused as she stomped across the wet meadow. After the morning’s heavy rain, the meadow was swampy and the muddy grass squelched in and out of the thick tread on the sole of her red Wellington boots. With each step Katie had to curl her toes to keep her boots on because as she lifted each foot the mud grabbed hold of her boot and tried to suck it off. Katie giggled at the thought that the mud liked her beautiful red boots as much as she did.
She thought for a minute too on how lucky it was that she had put on her Wellingtons. She inspected the shiny red rubber. Bit muddy but not bad. This mud would have really messed up her good shoes. The thought of messing up her good shoes didn’t really bother her – but she was happy to avoid the telling-off that she would have received from her Gran for being so thoughtless as to ruin them.
She brushed her slightly damp hair back from her ears so that she could hear better. Katie-Lee had been enjoying her muddy stomp, but she was sure she had heard something. Talking? She frowned in concentration. Actually, Katie had also thought she had seen something a bit strange too. For a second Katie thought that she’d seen a group of people in Mediaeval clothes standing next to the tree that she and her new friend Rosemary called the “Witches Tree”. They had looked at her. In fact, if she was being honest, she was pretty sure that they had tried to talk to her too. It was probably just her imagination, though. Or someone who dressed up and just happened to be standing there at that time.
Katie put her hand on her old rose necklace. She often touched the rose pendant when she was unsure about something. It was a pretty necklace, but it was a bit unusual. Firstly, the necklace chain didn’t actually have a fastener – so she couldn’t take it off. As far as Katie was aware she had worn the necklace her whole life. Secondly, the necklace was engraved with the letters “PK”. She wasn’t sure what the “K” could stand for though it was quite possible that it stood for her name, Katie. She had already ruled out another language as she had only ever lived in countries that spoke English. And the “P”? Katie’s surname was Reiner and why put the “K” second if it stood for Katie, which was her first name. Since she couldn’t take the necklace off, Katie had decided the necklace MUST be hers. But it was a bit odd. Gran and Pappy couldn’t, or wouldn’t, tell her anything about it either.
The faint mizzle was making Katie a bit damp and she was beginning to feel cold. Now that she had stopped her steady stomping she was noticing just how wet she really was. Funny how you could get so wet when it wasn’t really raining. Thinking you saw blurry, shimmering Medieval people talking to her in a meadow was naturally making Katie-Lee a bit nervous about being alone in. She shook her head as if to banish the scaredy-cat demons from her bones and continued her damp tramp home. She stomped a little faster now because she was really and truly quite worried that there might be gangs of weirdly dressed, disappearing people in the meadow!
The rest of her tramp home was blessedly uneventful. Home! A wave of relief flooded through Katie-Lee’s body. Hugs, hot chocolate, snuggly pyjamas – and no more seeing weird things. Although she missed her parents, who had died when she was very young, living with Gran and Pappy’s was the next best thing. Their cottage was very much like every fairy tale cottage she had ever imagined, though she didn’t quite believe in fairies any more…well maybe a little bit; but only a little bit; and the cottage was supernaturally pretty in its idyllic village setting… The thatched roof was especially cute and the door was very quaint.
Enveloped in the reassuring warmth and normalness of their lounge room, the uncomfortable feeling left her and the odd sighting slipped completely from Katie-Lee’s mind. Who could remember uncommonly weird things in such a circumstance – especially when they were really very much wishing to forget all about it. She had a good-sized helping of her favourite dinner, Spaghetti Bolognese, and then she went upstairs to read her book. She fell asleep before the strident demand for “lights out!” was made by Gran.
Her Gran, popping into her room to give her a good night kiss, pulled the covers around her and kissed her forehead, “Goodnight, Princess Katie”, she whispered. Every night she said this, and every night Katie never heard her.