An older woman in a blue dress was kneading bread on a butcher-block center island, and a woman in her twenties, with spiky razored hair that would look more in place in a big city, was shaping dough into rolls. The younger woman had half a dozen ear piercings, and eyeliner done in a cat-eye style.
“Why, you must be Katherine McNamara,” the woman in the blue dress said, smiling. “I’m Imogen, and this is my great-niece, Marigold.”
“’Sup,” Marigold said, with a definite New York accent. “Do you need help carrying in your bags?”
“No, thank you, but there’s a woman in my car who I think is kind of confused. She was standing in the middle of the road. I think she’s blind. Although it also seems as if she can see.”
Okay, this is a good introduction. They’re going to think I’m Looney Tunes.
But both women were staring at her with great interest.
“You think it was her?” Marigold asked her great-aunt.
“Oh, I hope so. I haven’t seen her in years.” Imogen was beaming hugely, which made her face break into a million wrinkles.
Two more women walked in, identical twins in their seventies. They were even dressed alike, in flowery dresses with Peter Pan collars.
“Haven’t seen who in years?” they asked Imogen, both speaking at the same time.
“Alma, Emma, this is our guest Katherine. I think she’s got the Cypress Woods Witch in her car. Tell me, did she babble a lot of nonsense and then say something that sounded like an omen?” Imogen asked, wiping her floury hands on her apron.
“Well, yes, actually. How did—”
But Lainey was speaking to an empty room as they all dashed outside. She followed them, breaking into a jog.
The woman was standing beside Lainey’s car, staring off into the distance. Lainey was startled to see that the milky white of her eyes had vanished, and now her eyes were a perfectly normal blue.
“Oh, drat, she’s gone,” said Imogen.
“What? She’s right here,” Lainey protested, pointing at her.
“I was so hoping to hear one of her predictions,” Alma grumbled.
“She’s. Right. Here.” Lainey said very slowly, as if speaking to a child. Was insanity catching? Should she be wearing some kind of hazmat gear?
“Yes, yes, Myrtle is right here, but the spirit of the Cypress Woods Witch has left her,” Imogen said impatiently.
“I’ll call the nursing home,” Emma sighed. “They really need better security there.”
“It wouldn’t help,” Imogen pronounced firmly, as they walked back to the house, with Myrtle following them. “When the Cypress Woods Witch has a revelation, she can walk through walls, and she’ll keep walking until she finds the person meant to receive it.”
“I imagine it’s tea time,” the now-normal Myrtle said to Imogen.
“Come on in out of the sun, dear, and we’ll make you some tea,” Imogen said.
They went to the parlor and sat down at a round table with a white tablecloth that was embroidered around the edges with blue flowers, while Imogen went to the kitchen to make tea. Marigold sat next to Lainey, and Myrtle folded and refolded her napkin into the shape of a swan, and then Imogen came in with a tray holding a teakettle and cups for everybody, with a pitcher of milk and a porcelain bowl of sugar cubes.
“Welcome to Blue Moon County,” Marigold said to Lainey as everyone poured themselves tea in gold-rimmed cups. “Don’t let this scare you off. Most of the time it’s pretty normal around here.”