In her dream, the tendril of smoke rose from the ruins of the barn. She could feel the grass on her cheek where she lay, feeling as if the weight of he loss was holding her to the earth. She was aware of the acrid smell of smoke and fire in her nostrils. Catta started awake, out of the dream that was a memory. Into the darkness turning light. She could hear the crackle of a fire somewhere near and the rustles of bodies awakening and starting to move outside the tent. The smell of smoke was not entirely in her imagination, then.
She lay under the warm blankets, listening now to her sleeping father's regular breathing. She knew if she rose, no matter how quietly, he would wake, and the routine of the day would begin for her as well. Her mind went back to the memory her dreams brought her so often. She didn't want to remember, but she couldn't help but gaze on the wound in her heart.
Wallach Kelling had taken his younger daughter, Cattarina, on that early spring trip into the village. He had meat, and cheese, to sell or trade for some flour. He had money for seed for the kitchen garden they would soon be planting. He and Mam had planned a grand kitchen garden this year, with plenty to put up for the winter months. Catta never looked forward to the work of the garden, but she appreaciated the eating from the garden so she did her share of the work without complaint. After all, she was the practical one. The hardy one. The one that followed Pop around and helped him with whatever needed doing. She helped at the forge. She helped with the animals. She even chopped wood into neat piles for the winter months.
Lily was the beautiful sister. The one who took after Mam, with her dark curls, and graceful hands. Lily was the one who had patience for the garden, and would plant and tend flowers so she could cut them and arrange them for the table. She made the bread, and delicious pies. Lily could make delicate lace and embroider intricate designs of ribbon and yarn. Lily who put the smiles on the faces of all the young men at village gatherings, dancing with as many as she could. It was Lily who was gone now. Gone with the neat homestead they had called home. Gone into the smoke and flames with Mam and the baby boy Pop had been so proud of. Gone like everything Catta had known of life.