Thursday, October 23, 2014
She ran over the barren land toward a tree without leaves, its scraggly branches stretching before it like fingers from the village's old herbal witch. It wouldn't offer any protection, but it was the only thing to run to, and she needed direction.
The clouds followed her, except now they billowed up into the sky, almost blocking the light, like a smoke signal declaring her location. And the were thicker, whiter.
She ran faster, not slowing as she neared the tree. She stretched out her hand, grasped the narrow trunk, and whirled around to a stop, facing the way she had come. The bark cut into her hand, making it sting, but she ignored it.
The cloud of light marched across the land, slower than she had run. Which meant it couldn't keep up. Her speed made it thicker, not faster. She could get away.
She didn't move. The clouds, thicker than ever, could be hiding anything. Nothing but dead, blackened spindles of bushes lay between her and the forest, but the forest was still miles away.
She should go. She should outrun the cloud of light. She should run all the way to the forest without stopping.
But she couldn't leave the tree. Her fingers wouldn't let go. The tree, though bare and scarred and small, brought her comfort.
The cloud came. She kept her hand on the tree and stretched her other arm open to greet it. It swirled around her, engulfed her, warmed her like a bright summer sun. She tilted her face up and closed her eyes. The warmth trickled from her face down her arms to her fingers, down her torso and legs to her toes. Her whole being felt light and warm, like the sun was within her.
And then she began to cool. Her toes and fingers were first, then her legs, arms, torso. Then her face.
She opened her eyes. The world around her was dark once more. The cloud was gone, but so was the warmth. So was the sun. So was the light.
She wrapped her arms around her, finally releasing the tree, not caring about the blood left there from her scraped hand. Let him find it. It would do him no good.
She turned and, focusing on the ground before her, walked slowly off, toward the forest. Toward the image of protection that would never be hers.
Sabrina also continues her story.