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Fantasy Teens & Young Adult

After waking up next to Merlin in that flower patch that day was refreshing. I didn't want to wake him up but Tessa and Alwyn's yelling could wake the dead. Looked at me with this drowsy smirk as they coddled me like old friends that haven't seen me in a long time.

I had to protest my well being many times before Merlin pushed them away. I barely knew him a week and there I was sitting in his embrace, watching the sunrise, and loving every single moment. I closed my eyes, letting every fuzzy memory of last night fade into the sound of his heartbeat. His was calm but mine was a fiery pitter-patter with an intensity like the fire, last night.

It hit me like a runaway carriage. How could I forget? Only a week, a few hours after worrying about leaving them behind. My Family.

I yelled it like a canon. Tearing away from Merlin. From Tessa and Alwyn.

Tessa yelled after me. “Dorothy, don’t.”

When I looked back, Merlin was standing between me and Tessa. From what I could see, her face was as red as a blossoming field poppy, her hand to her mouth, shaking her head. 

It didn’t occur to me to stop. Parts of me still wished I listened. 

I should have stopped when Merlin caught me. Whipped me off my feet. “Dorothy, you can’t. Please!”

“Merlin, let me go,” I gasped, “I have to see them!”

Being a quean was always one of my shortcomings. Reminded every time my father called me a silly impudent girl. The smacks that followed never took.

Even now, I probably would have gone forward no matter who tried to stop me. No matter how much their eyes beg. No matter how much it was going to hurt.

I couldn’t stand the sight. I couldn’t stand. My knees pounded into the dirt.

My life long home was gone. The stables where Thomas taught me how to ride a horse were gone. And the fields that my family had worked for the past five generations were gone. 

Just a heap of ashes now.

All those years and memories, gone like the rocks along the shore with me being the last defense before the mighty flood.

My father had kicked me out but I hoped my stay with Merlin, Tessa, and Alwyn was only temporary. I wanted to see my mom and Thomas again to know they got better. See Martha and Susanna learn to walk. See my father welcome me home.

Now, that was never going to happen. Never. I would never see my family again. Never know if my life could have been normal again. 

It hit me like a mudslide and I felt like I was drowning in it. 

I fell to my knees on the scorched dirt. A puff of dust stung my eyes. It was a collection of the times I was cooking with onions and the day Clemen died times eight. 

I felt like I was dying. I wished I was. I wished I had been with them. I wished I didn’t have to go through this. 

Merlin’s hands caressed my arms. “We have to go, Dorothy. It’s not safe here.” 

I guess I didn’t reply fast enough because he picked me up, carrying me bridal style.

He’s lucky I couldn’t kick him. How I wanted to. How I hated that I couldn’t.

I hated everything about this.    

I hated my family. Denying me my chance to come back. 

But, I hated Merlin even more. For not being strong enough to stop me. For not carrying me away when he stopped me. For not stopping me earlier.

And I hated Tessa and Alwyn the most. The cowards. Only sending Merlin to stop me. They couldn’t have said anything.

The hate dried my tears, but didn’t stop the army of sleep from waging a war within my head. 

I woke up on the bed that I have been sleeping on the last week. I guess I could call it mine now. Now that my first is gone. 

My head was foggy. I think that’s why I couldn’t understand what the three of them were whispering about. Or just quieter than last night.

I pushed away the wooden screen that sectioned my space from the rest of the house. As usually, Alwyn was sitting on the table. Merlin’s back was to me and he mostly eclipsed Tessa from my view. 

“Good evening!” Alwyn said, making Tessa and Merlin jump.

“How are you doing?” Merlin asked, strolling closer.

I was about to say I was fine when I was overcomed by the start of another waterfall. 

They all came rushing over like parents when their child walks for the first time and falls. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t tell them to leave me alone.

“Did you hear that?” Merlin asked.

“Horses,” Alwyn declared. 

I looked up at him. I guess those pointed ears did more than look interesting.

“Stay with her, Tess,” Merlin said, before two drafts sent chills through my body.

After the door slammed closed, Tessa bent down. “Do you want me to do your hair?” she asked as brushed my hair out of the flood zone. “I can put some cherry blossoms from the tree out back in your braid.”

She kept brushing my hair until I caved with a nod.

“Perfect! Lets go!” 

She grabbed my hand and dragged me away. She plopped me down under the cherry tree and started dividing my hair into sections.

 I had a perfect view of Merlin, Alwyn, and their guest in armor on horses. They tried to keep the conversation low but I heard every word.

“Why am I not surprised you’re here, Merlin!” the knights said, dismounting.

“The same reason why I’m not surprised you're here, Arthur.”

Alwyn crossed his arms at the name. 

“Trouble always seems to follow you. The both of you.”

I couldn’t tell what Alwyn did but Merlin shot him his notable disenchanted glare that Alwyn got many times this past week. 

“Why aren’t you in town, Arthur?” Merlin asked, with a touch of anger behind it.

“What happened last night?”

“I don’t know. The fire went through half the town by the time we found it.”

“How could you not know! You live less than a furlong away!” I didn’t know who Arthur was at the time. Though he wasn’t the Arthur Pendragon yet. But what I would find out is he's a very animated talker, waved his hands about but only when his knight and father weren’t around. 

“We weren’t here when it happened.”

“The town was on fire, how could you not know?”

“We were busy,” he swung his gaze back at me.

I felt sick. I was looking right at him when he did.

“She got lost in the woods last night. Trying to get home, but took the wrong turn. In a way, I guess she’s lucky. She’s the only survivior of Leeds.”

“I need to talk to her then.”

“Not now Arthur she just lost her family,” he mimicked Alwyn’s armcross. 

I guess his point didn’t get across because he continues. “Lost her brothers, sisters. Her mother.

That last one hit hard, it made his face go big. “We’ll be here a few days. Can I talk to her tomorrow?”

“We’ll see,” he said, turning to Alwyn before they both walked away.

I’ve never seen Merlin be so rude, but, by how Arthur reacted, I think he was used to it.

I averted my gaze after they started walking our way. Tessa tugged on my head as a result. “Will you stop that! They don’t care if you’re watching them.”

“Who’s Arthur?”

“You don’t want me to get started on that!”

“Start what?” Merlin asked.

“Don’t get me started!” She pointed her finger at him like a dagger.

“Don’t get us started! How can you like him?” Alwyn demanded.

He answered with his glare. 

But his silence scared me. “Do I want to talk to him? Why would he want to talk to me?”

“Now, look what you two did.” He knelt down in front of me. “He’s not a bad guy. Ill mannered yes. But bad, no.”

“I don’t want…” The tears started to bubble up again.

He put his hand on mine. “Why don’t you come down to the lake with me?”

I tried to look at Tessa. “Go ahead, dearie. I’m done.” She gave me a pat on the back.

Merlin used both hands to lift me to my feet. We walked only the two of us, hand and hand.

When we got to the lake, the full moon was glincing of the water. 

He sat us at the very edge. With my hand still in his, he said, “You don’t have to talk to Arthur if you don’t want to.”

“And if I did?”

“I’ll be with you the whole time. He only wants to know what happened so he can find who did this.”

“Do I have to tell him everything?” I pulled out one of my blossoms out of my hair.

“No,” he kissed where my forehead cut used to be. “Only what you want to. I’ll make use of that.”

November 21, 2020 04:46

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