Megan looked around at the giant trees surrounding her. It had been a day in this strange place. It was like a place time had forgotten.
Megan had seen many of those. Most of them were in the woods. It was like the woods were the center of time's wheel, so they moved more slowly.
The Tucks were kind people. It felt nice to have someone care whether she lived or died. She had been alone for a few years. Just having someone care enough to ask her whether she was tired was an amazing thing to her. And yet the Tucks did.
Miles Tuck had found her. She had been going to swim when he had come up behind her and brought her here, to the Tuck place. They hadn't threatened her in any way. In fact, they had invited her to eat with them.
There were four Tucks. Angus was the head of the family. He was wise, but doubtful of Megan. Mae Tuck was motherly, even to Meg. She had welcomed her with open arms.
Angus and Mae had two boys, Jesse and Miles. Jesse, the younger of the two, was active and outspoken, as well as boyishly handsome. Miles was quiet and reserved, at least until there was an argument. He was hiding something, Meg had realized, more even than the rest of them were.
Meg had seen that the Tucks were uncomfortable with her, yet they tried valiantly to hide it. There was something strange about the Tucks. Meg wanted desperately to know what it was.
She turned to see whose voice it was. It was Miles. "Yes?"
"It's supper-time if you're hungry."
"Yeah, starving. Just a second. Oh, just call me Meg."
"Anyway, supper's ready."
Meg stood cautiously up on the log she had been sitting on. She watched every step she took as she made her way toward the rocky shore. She breathed a sigh of relief when her footing didn't shift beneath her.
She didn't expect her ankle to roll. She braced herself to hit the sharp stones below.
The impact never came. She fell into someone and regained her balance while he held her up. "You all right?" Once again the voice belonged to Miles.
Meg pulled herself away, but not too far, as she still didn't have a good footing. "I'm fine, thanks."
"Come on; I'll help you down."
He only held her hand for those short moments, but it seemed to Meg that within those few seconds, he wasn't the withdrawn Miles of the day before. A layer seemed to peel off. Only to be replaced a moment later.
When she walked into the house, Mae immediately dashed over to her. "Meg, my dear girl. Are y'alright? Miles said you got your foot stuck in one of those blasted rocks and twisted up your ankle. Are y'alright?"
Meg smiled nervously at the attention. "I'm fine. Miles made sure I didn't kill myself or anything like that." Meg noticed the Tuck's faces change for a moment; only it was so fast that she couldn't tell what they had changed into.
Mae broke the silence again. "Well then, if ya really are ok, let's sit down to supper.
Meg took her place from the night before next to Jesse. Tuck was farthest from her, at the head of the table. Mae was at her left, at the foot, and Miles was across from her. The conversation was light, with both the Tucks and Meg dodging questions about their past. Then Meg asked about the timelessness of the place.
The table went silent, everyone seeming to have taken a bite just before the question. Meg pretended she didn't notice. She inconspicuously glanced at each of them. Jesse and Tuck were staring intently at their plates, chewing slower than usual. Mae was pushing her corn and potatoes back and forth, glancing furtively between Tuck and Meg. Miles was looking at her as if he was trying to measure her.
Meg quickly changed the subject. "The corn is excellent, Mae. Did you grow it yourself?"
The conversation returned to normal, but Miles was still looking, wondering.