“Who is it?” Thom whispered loudly, as he crouched down near his friend.
Jamey made a face, craning to see through the tall grass. “A girl.” He said finally, annoyed.
“A girl?” Thom scratched his head. “What’s she doing?”
“Sittin’ down, hangin’ her feet in the water.” Jamey scowled.
“Lemme see.” Thom dropped to the ground, straining to get a good look. He saw a girl, in a purple shirt and worn overalls sitting on the edge of the old wooden bridge, dangling her bare feet in the water.
“Who is it?” Jamey inched away to the cover of nearby trees. “I thought this was our secret hole.”
Thom shrugged. “I dunno.”
Jamey rolled his eyes. “You know everyone.” He peeked back through the brush. “What are we gonna do now?”
Thom straightened, slinging his fishing rod over one shoulder. “Talk to her I guess.” He started down the path as Jamey jerked him back.
“Are you crazy?” His blue eyes flashed angrily.
Thom shrugged again. “Got any better ideas?” Jamey let him go.
He strolled down the dirt path and around the big oak that stood just before the bridge. The girl looked up as he came closer and half-smiled in greeting. “Hello.” He gave a little wave.
“Hi, am I in your spot?” The words came out in a rush as the girl quickly got to her feet, worry creasing her small face.
Thom found himself shaking his head. “Not really, I was just going to fish a little.”
The girl sighed in relief and stared at the fishing pole curiously. “With that?” She pointed. Thom nodded. She giggled and quickly slapped a hand over her mouth, speaking through it. “Sorry. I forget.”
“Forget what?” Thom offered her the pole, curious.
She shook her head quickly, pigtails slapping her cheeks. “Keep it, I don’t need a pole to fish.”
“You fish?” Jamey appeared around the edge, he eyed her skeptically. She stared at his fishing pole and stifled another round of giggles. “What?” He frowned.
She grinned. “Are you eating them?”
“The fish?” Thom shook his head in puzzlement. “Why?”
The girl shrugged. “Why stick a hook in it’s mouth if ya aren’t gonna eat it?”
Stepping off the bridge and into the water, she barely made a sound, keeping still for a moment as the water flowed.
Cupping her hands, she stooped down and scooped something up, offering it for a look.
Jamey took a step backwards, staring at her in surprise. “How did you do that? You’re a girl!” He sputtered.
She winked, bending down to release the captive fish to his native water. “Yep. Name’s Shana, I’m 13, I just moved here to King Manor.”
Thom’s eyes grew wide with awe. “The haunted place?” He whispered. “And old crabface?”
Green-gold eyes twinkled merrily. “It don’t seem haunted to me.” Shana bent down and scooped up another fish, she offered it to Thom. “And ‘ol crabface’ is my uncle."
He took it, briefly, before it sprang out of his hand. “I’m Thom, I’m 14, that’s Jamey, we’re the same age. Where’d you learn to do that?”
Shana’s smile flickered. “My pa taught me. He died and Ma’s dead, so I’m staying with uncle. Pa was a fisherman.”
Thom slowly set his pole down. “Oh.” He stared down at the fish below. “Can you show me? It looks like fun.”
Jamey splashed into the water first. “Show me too!”
A wide smile slipped onto Shana’s face. “I’d love to.” She began. “First, you have to cup your hands like so…”
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