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Griselda Rice

Put on a brave face, it's not a lot but it's a start

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Griselda Rice

It had been a while since Griselda had seen Mae. Their mums usually got together to discuss their respective businesses together: Mae's mum's potions line and whatever whimsy name her own mum fancied for her inventions that week. The girls had engaged during these appointments in something that amounted to a casual friendship, although they never saw each other enough to grow beyond their two parents. Still, it had been longer than usual between visits.

 

Something had happened to Mae's mum recently. Griselda didn't know the details, but she'd hid behind the door when Mae's dad had Floo called. It had been hard to understand him through the crackle of the fire, but Griselda's mum had offered for Mae to come visit for a few days to 'get some space'.

 

That had been odd.

 

See, Kitty Rice didn't really like other people. She wasn't the type of neighbourly woman who opened her house and home to others to come and go as they pleased. She never greeted other people in the street and Griselda didn't think she had actually ever met the muggle friends Zelda had made in the village.

 

So for Kitty Rice to invite Mae Schiferli to stay with them for a few days, well, it meant something unusual was going on.

 

It was a hot day, sun desperately trying to stream through the grime-covered window above Kitty's favourite cauldron, casting a dusty light through the otherwise fairly clean room. Griselda was dressed in her pink swimsuit, body already lightly bronzed from spending most of the summer outdoors, white flip-flops dangling from her feet. The tote on the floor already contained a large bath towel and several snacks Zelda hoped Mae would like too.

 

Hearing the girl enter from the back of the house, Griselda looked over her shoulder, smiling brightly. "Are you ready? You're going to love it, it's like a private beach."

Edited by Griselda Rice

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Salomé Schiferli

Things have been an utter disaster. Truthfully things have been rubbish since Samael– left. Since her brother left them everything has fallen apart, and it was more than the newly eleven year old could handle.

 

Her birthday had just passed. It wasn't a great celebration. Gran made her a cake, but Mum was still out of it, and her dad was worried about mum. It was a rotten birthday.

 

She still didn't expect what was to come. Without thinking about it, things with her mum went from bad to worse. The night before she laid in bed listening.

 

Salomè acted like she didn't hear. It was easier that way. Regardless she woke up one morning and her mum was gone, and now her dad wanted her to go stay with Zelda.

 

Salomè considered protesting, insisting he tell hers everything, but by the look in her father's eyes, she knew better than to ask.

 

Gran helped her pack her things. They were silent. Everything was silent. Was that her life now? Sighing, Gran braided her hair, and it was time to go.

 

Salomè use to love coming to Zelda’s house. Their mums would work on their potions, and she would spend time with Zelda. They always had a good time.

 

Maybe she needed that.

 

They finally arrived at Rice Residence, and Salomè spotted her friend, dressed in a swimming suit. Did Gran pack one?

 

Forcing a fake smile, she nodded. “I think? I don't know if I have a suit.”

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Griselda Rice

"You can have one of mine!" Griselda offered immediately, jumping up from her rickety chair and hurrying over to the wooden closet in the corner, jerking open one of the heavy drawers. "If you want, 'course—the water has warmed up quite a bit though, so it'll be fun to swim."

 

She held up a couple of the options: an orange two piece with a big bow on the top, and two swimsuits, one a solid king's blue, the other black and covered in cherries. She put them down on the couch for Mae to observe. "If you want to change, I can wait! I still have to plait my hair." She tossed the long curtain of blonde hair over her shoulders and started intertwining the strands, pulling it extra tight to it wouldn't come loose once she went under water.

 

Once this was done, she just needed to grab their sunbrella an an extra towel for Mae. "Do you like Every Flavour Ice Cream?" she asked Mae as she finished the plait, referring to the ice cream that changed flavour with every spoonful. Zelda enjoyed it, but understood if other people preferred something a little less adventurous. "I've packed some in my mum's Cooling Lunchbox, but we can take some other things if you want. I've also got lemonade and crisps in there."

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Salomé Schiferli

Salomè watched Zelda, kind of glad she didn't ask questions. Questions she didn't even know how to answer. For a moment she hoped this would be a good distraction. She did quite like swimming. Running her hand through her plait, Salomè watched as Griselda grabbed some suit. "I'd like that." She said politely.

The suits were interesting. Her clear blue eyes peered between the swimming suits, deciding on the blue one. "Okay. I'll be right back." She headed to get changed. Their bathroom was quite large. It always took her by surprise. Folding her clothes, Salomè looked at herself in the mirror, adjusting the top and making her way back outside.

Griselda already had her hair plaited. "I do." She loved ice cream. It was one of her favorite things to eat. Lately she ate what she wanted, and truthfully it was always rubbish. It wasn't like dad cared, though when Gran caught her, she'd usually make Salomè eat something healthy which was a letdown. "Alright, I'd like that, Zelda. Lead the way."

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Griselda Rice

"Not so fast," Kitty Rice said, having opened the little window in the door that led to the back garden. "Girls, make sure to take suncream with you. I've put a bottle on the shelf over there. And use it, too!" she added, probably noticing the sly look in her daughter's eyes.

 

Griselda resisted the urge to sigh. She hated putting on suncream. "All right, all right, I'll take it," she said, grabbing the bottle and tossing it with all her other things. The label on the thing caught her eye and she recognised it as a suncream Mae's mum had formulated. Not the best choice. However, she didn't feel like putting Mae in the spotlight, so she simply picked another beach towel and handed it to the other girl. "Here, and if you could help me carry the sunbrella…"

 

 

The sunbrella wasn't very heavy, thanks to some careful spellwork, but it was large enough that it was inconvenient to have one person carry it. Zelda and Mae walked down the street, each blonde girl grasping an end, until they reached a break in the neatly trimmed hedges along the pavement.

 

Zelda manoeuvred herself through, knowing this was probably going to be the hardest part. They had arrived at the entrance, if one could call it that, of the beach, and it was a rather steep little path. Someone had clearly tried to make steps at one point, but either they had given up or the frequent rain had washed away most of them.

 

Wiping some sweat off her brow, Zelda glanced back at Mae. "Okay, this may be a little scary, but there's soft sand at the bottom. Here," she gently pulled the sunbrella out of Mae's hands. "I'll show you how to go down." There was nobody around who could see them now; muggles from the village rarely came here.

 

Griselda carefully stepped onto the sand. Her right foot found footing on a rock, and she made sure to use that as she made her way down. The overhanging plants would have made great help for leverage, but with her hands full, Griselda was only able to use her legs, and frankly it was rather difficult in flip-flops.

 

Once she reached the last part, she turned around and called back, "It's best to just slide down from this point!" It was about two metres straight down. Zelda tossed the sunbrella down before taking the leap herself, sliding down the nearly 90 degree slope in a few breathless seconds.

 

The salty sea breeze touched her face, the water itself sparkling invitingly. As expected, the beach was deserted. Griselda smiled, turning back up to Mae. "Come on, Mae! You can do it!"

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Salomé Schiferli

Salomé froze when Zelda's mum stopped them. Avoiding the witch's gaze, the young girl waited for her friend. She appreciated Mrs. Rice for letting her visit, getting her out of her house, but at the same time it reminded Salomé her mother wasn't well. She hasn't been well for a while. It hurt a bit. 

 

She waited while Zelda grabbed their things and she took her towel. Holding it in her arms, she eyed her bag and saw the sunblock. Mum had her own line. Salomé didn't even know what was going on with it at this point, but she pretended like she didn't see it. Nodding her head, she took the end of the sunbrella.

 

She followed Zelda for what seemed like a while holding her end of the sunbrella. She didn't really know where they were going. Judging by the way her friend looked she assumed she came here often.  They started pushing their way through some path, and Salomé stopped for a moment.

 

A rush of adrenaline shot through her when she realized what they were doing. A smile appeared on Salomé's face, and while she thought this looked scary, it seemed exciting. In the past few months, Salomé has been taking a ton of risks. Doing things she would never really do, just to test her limit.

This seemed perfect.

She watched Zelda's movement with curious eyes, taking in each step, and each motion. She was going to have to replicate it. When her friend finally made it down, she heard her call out to Salomé and the girl nodded.

"Alright." She said grabbing a hold of the nearest branch. Stepping onto a rock, she followed each part almost tripping, but she was able to hold on with her hands, and didn't fall.

When she finally hit the slope, Salomé took a deep breath, closed her eyes and she jumped.

It was like free falling, there was no other way to explain it. She fell straight down the rabbit hole, and she felt alive, more alive than she has felt in ages. With her legs curling a bit, she landed, looking at Zelda and actually laughing.

"That was incredible." She admitted dusting herself off. Glancing around the beach, she didn't expect it to be essentially deserted. 

"Wow." 

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