Dale stepped in over the threshold of the door, rubbing his hands over his thin arms. There was a chill in the air and he had no real weight to buffer himself from it. Maybel had known Dale from the time he was a baby. They hadn't exactly grown up together, but they'd known each other and played the normal games children play when they see each other at family reunions or the like. That said, things between them changed when Maybel learned about the Shaking and Dale had not been given that sacrement.
"Maybel, I need to ask you something." Dale turned and faced her there in the foyer. The light was continuing to fade.
"Yes?" Maybel breathed. The Shaking hadn't ceased or even slackened. If anything, it had taken on a new thread of purest, brightest excitement in the idea that he might soon hear the screams.
"It's about Daddy. I ain't seen him in two days and nobody knows where he is. I know he was partial to coming over here and visiting and I thought you might have seen him." Maybel shuddered and tried not to let it show. She couldn't give it all away just now. She couldn't control it much longer, though, and soon he'd see too much.
"No, Dale, I haven't seen him. Did he say where he was off to?" Dale shook his head. He was such a boney boy. She could probably have counted his ribs if his shirt had been off. Something about the idea of touching his flesh covered bones with her fingers made her shudder again.
"Maybel, I know he comes out here a lot. I know he'd say he was gone on business and he'd be here. I know he'd spend nights here." There was no accusation in his words, just cold harsh realities. "Is there something you want to tell me?" Maybel wanted to tell him all of it. Her relationship with her uncle these many, many years. The way he'd shown her that other place. The way he'd taken her, after her first Shaking, down into the depths of the well. The things she'd seen down there. The bones and decay and the stagnant water.
It was there, standing beneath the steep walls of layered stones that he'd confessed to her his first Shaking. And he hadn't been alone. He used to partake in it with her mother, his sister. They'd done it since childhood, they had. And it was there in the darkness and the stink and rot that he'd initiated her into that unholiest of places.
"I think maybe I should you something," Maybel said on the exhale of a deep and hot breath.