The long awaited weekend had finally arrived: Abby's family reunion. It happened only once every five years, and this time it was Abby's parents' turn to host it. As great as it was that Abby didn't have to pack a million things and travel, it annoyed her that her parents wouldn't be spending much time with her. She caught glimpses of her mother and father every so often, refilling the punch bowl or stocking the sandwiches. It wasn't all bad. At least Abby was able to use her parents' lack of attention as an excuse to bring a friend.
Casey and Abby were as close as best friends could get. They met in a hair and aesthetics class, and became friends shortly after Abby forgave Casey for nearly burning her mass of brown hair with a curling iron. Now they often had sleepovers at each other's houses. Of course, in order to get permission they had to promise to do homework as well. It didn't matter, Casey and Abby always found ways to make work fun.
They spent the day playing with the 2 year old baby Abby's older cousins Lydia and Gordon had. After that, Abby and Casey worked together on a painting then played a few board games. Abby was about to win when Casey muttered, "I'm sorry for being so awkward."
"What are you talking about?"
Casey glanced over her shoulders and shrugged, attempting to gesture to the people sitting outside the window behind her. "I don't really know anyone. So, I'm being a little quiet..."
Abby smiled, "Oh, don't worry about that. There's so many people here that I don't know either."
"Oh yeah. That's the way most of these things go, and that's one of the reason I really wanted to invite you."
Casey grinned softly. "It's not because you really wanted to kick my ass in Monopoly?"
"Well..." Abby moved her playing piece forward and picked up a card. "There's that too. By the way, I get 150 dollars from each player."
Later in the evening, long after supper had been cleaned up and the sun was beginning to go down, Abby and Casey joined several others at the bonfire.
Abby's Uncle Johnathon was strumming his guitar and filling the chilly night air with a country tune. Abby's mother had passed around hot chocolate and it was currently helping Casey fight off the frost bite lingering on her fingers. Neither one of the girls wanted to go to bed yet, nor did they feel like moving any closer to the fire. They were in their own world, enjoying the moment, until a man appeared and shattered their isolation.
"Hello Abigail," the man greeted. He hand an elderly air about him, mainly because his breath smelt stale. He was wearing a military style jacket along with some black boots and faded jeans.
"Hello.... umm?" Abby stared at the man for a few seconds before he realized this was her way of asking who he was.
"You don't remember me, Abigail? It has been quite some time since I've seen you last... you had short hair back then." His gaze was lost in the fire for a couple seconds. His face seemed pale, until he turned back to Abby. "I'm your mother's brother, your Uncle Ethan."
"O-Oh..." Abby vaguely recalled an image of the man in a photo album her mother had. He was tall and had a mustache in the photo, but it appeared he'd shaved it by now. "It's nice to meet you. This is Casey. And you can just call me Abby..."
If he'd heard her, then he was ignoring her. "You still like scary stories?"
"Yes!" Casey answered for her.
"Good." Uncle Ethan cracked his fingers and turned to look directly at Abby and Casey. His blue eyes looked almost ghostly in the moonlight. "I've got some great ones for you."