Grandma stood at the threshold of her front door. Her white hair was bundled haphazardly on top of her head, pinned in place with several bone combs. The layers she wore hid her body and swathed her from head to toe in various neutral shades. Her mismatched eyes stared out at the vegetation that hedged her in. She waited.
They were only minutes away. The swamp knew their every move and she could feel their worries and fears and the little girl’s confusion. She knew when they hesitated outside the clearing that surrounded her house. The overgrowth looked impenetrable but Grandma only allowed them to wait a moment before she reached out with her power and pulled the hedge back, just enough to show them which direction they needed to go.
She didn’t even have to move. She could do everything from her front porch, the land so steeped in her presence that it forgot how to act without her direction. Visitors were rare but she knew that these ones were special; they came to give instead of take.
Their bobbing heads were the first things she saw. Both the mother and father had tangles of brown hair, struggling to hide pale, drawn faces. The little girl was the last, holding both her parents’ hands, her eyes darting back and forth between them anxiously.
The mother looked relieved when she saw Grandma standing, waiting. The woman didn’t hesitate but rushed the other two up the stairs to stop in front of the older woman. Grandma’s mussed hair did nothing to hide her face and the burning eyes in it.