Ebony hovered somewhere in the void between sleep and waking.
It was wintertime, cold and smelling of ice and dead trees. She knew this memory taking form, and in her half-sleep she tried to tell herself to wake up and forget this place.
But the pull of the dream was stronger.
She saw herself as she tagged along behind the village boys from somewhere just behind and above–an invisible observer.
“I can play!” her seven year old self had insisted, stomping her feet on the forest floor.
Ian, the butcher’s boy, turned around, and she could feel her heart thump as her childhood crush turned to look at her. “You want to play the game?” he said, and she saw herself nod eagerly.
“Okay. You hide up in a tree so the Fae don’t get you. That’s them.” He pointed at half of the children. “Me and Sam are the Guild. We’ll come rescue you.”
“He won’t,” Ebony tried to tell her younger self, but it was like speaking from behind glass. She couldn’t hear herself.
“Okay!” shouted little Ebony before running off into the deepening woods, finding the best tree and climbing to the very top. Adult Ebony floated along of her own volition like she could fly.
She had always felt that the tops of trees were a safe place. The pixies liked it–why not her, too?
“He’s nothing but a liar. Go home,” big Ebony whispered, and with the weird inconsistency of dreams, little Ebony shrugged and responded.
“I know. But I liked him.”
“Idiot.” Big Ebony shook her head incredulously, but waited on branches’ edge.
Hours passed. Young Ebony fell asleep in the crook of two branches until the search party came and scolded her. She wasn’t frostbitten at all.
“But Ian said–” and Ebony watched her little heart break for the first time as she realized the truth.
Grown Ebony lay wide-eyed in the dawn-light, staring at the ceiling, breathing deep.
Some hurts never faded.
This entry is based on original characters and storylines from my original YA fantasy novel, Ebony BOOK 1: Ragnor’s Bane, currently in submission to agents.
This fulfills the requirements of Trifectafor the week:
safe adj \ˈsāf\
1 free from harm or risk : unhurt
2 a: secure from threat of danger, harm, or loss
b: successful at getting to a base in baseball without being put out
3 affording safety or security from danger, risk, or difficulty
4 obsolete of mental or moral faculties : healthy, sound
This week’s word is safe.
As well as storydam’s prompt:
Dam Burst: You are given a unique opportunity to go back and talk to a much younger you. What would you tell them about an old flame? And better yet—why? (We’re not trying to screw up your holiday. Please feel free to be completely fictional with this story.)