Kestrel shivered in the pre-dawn mist. She stretched the stiffness from her legs and smiled. Her wait was nearly over. It was time to lure Maggie out of the house.
Maggie woke up in her childhood bed, stretched her arms above her head and snuggled deeper under the down comforter. She was drifting back to sleep when she smelled coffee. “Dad,” she thought. “He’s always up early and always makes coffee. Maggie climbed out of bed, grabbed her robe, and headed towards the kitchen. “Smells delicious, Dad. May I have a cup?”
“Of course,” her dad replied. “I was hoping the smell of coffee would wake you up. I want to talk with you – alone. Your mother is worried. She doesn’t need to hear what I have to say.”
Maggie definitely needed coffee before having this conversation. She sipped and sighed at the rich, dark taste and the first hit of caffeine. “Ok, I’m ready. What do you want to tell me?”
“I want you to go away until this is over.”
“Dad, I can’t, and you know that,” Maggie said. “I heard the owls last night. I know Kestrel is close. She’s calling me. I need to confront her and end this. But,” Maggie tried to reassure her dad, “it will be easier if you make your banana pancakes before I go.” Maggie hugged her father and turned to help him prepare his special breakfast.
After they had eaten and cleaned up the kitchen, Maggie pulled on her jacket and stepped outside. The sun was just rising over the hills. A hawk and a peregrine falcon were perched on the roof, watching. Maggie could have sworn they looked at her and nodded. She felt oddly protected. Shaking her head, she headed towards the barn.
Kestrel stepped out from the side of the barn. “I’ve been waiting for you, Maggie. Its time.”
“Hello Kestrel,” Maggie replied. “I am not surprised to see you. Were you comfortable in the clearing last night, or was it too cold and damp for you?”
“Shut up!” Kestrel screamed. “Do you know what today is? It is the day you die.”
“Today is the first full moon after the spring equinox. Isn’t that when we saw you and your mother in the clearing all those years ago?”
“Yes, and it is perfect day to complete the circle. Come to the clearing with me. Unless you’re afraid.”
“You don’t scare me,” Maggie lied. “And, I don’t plan to die today.”
The hawk and the peregrine falcon circled overhead. Two great horned owls watched from the trees.