Fantasy Fiction Romance

The limbs of every tree were whipping. As his eyes grazed the leaves above, he wondered if each leaf stood threatened, wondering when the gust would pull it to the hardened ground. A spiral into clutches, a knock into oblivion. A new start, but a long death.

It was cold, and it was misting. His skin felt coarse in this weather. When the sun was warming, it was almost as if he, himself, lay dormant. Ready to feel, and ready to become. When the flowers bloomed, and the sky shone in the utmost blue, he was lost. It took a good freeze, and a stroll through the harshest of days, to awaken that which lay within him. When everyone was gathered together in front of the fire, he was out. Alone. Always alone. In his own company, he could express those words to his own heart that it already knew, for it couldn't dare be open to another soul.

No longer among flies, among lilies, or staring passed the eyes of those who spoke just a little too much about a life that he didn't lead. The pursuit of material things, a loving arm about the waist, little feet pattering through the mud. Laughter around the circle and the soft breath of air across the ocean as the gentle waves met the sand. No, the wind was stronger here. It had a mind of its own. It promised to meet him, and it made good on its word. He shuddered at the chill. 

The path wasn't well-worn. He never chose the trail that led anywhere. He preferred to mark his feet in those places which were known to beasts and birds, and they alone. The world was full enough, and calls and scampering led him to where he thought he should go. 

It was then, as a single maple leaf was ripped from its branch, traveling in the grasp of a mother we only just so understood, down, down to a nest of burdens, that he thought of her face. Skin so smooth, and eyes like glass. Hair the color of straw, which covered her eye as she laughed with perfect asymmetry. Beatrice. 

Beatrice of unmet beauty. Not just of the body, and the face. Her soul lit him on fire. Her voice, her song, her hands upon the lyre. It was when he dove into her person that he understood what his life was missing. What he had been without. And that strange, new fear. What he hoped to never be without again. She, with her passion, and her smile. Her hands held the mirror, showing him how empty he had never realized he was. Would it have been better to never have met those eyes, those lips, that reflection? 

Divine bliss. A hellish awakening.

The draft tore him from his thoughts, and perhaps the skin from his bones. He pushed on, despite. Was it difficult to put one foot in front of the other? Or did the pain tear him from a true objective, that of running from what was behind? He blazed his own road, but what if there was no road willing to be made? The thorns snatched at his clothing. He had meant to dress for the weather, but when his door was flung open, and a whole new world at his feet, his mind was so far that he hadn't thought of the state of his dress until it was too late. 

No turning back, that was gone. Continue ahead? Perhaps that was, too, lost. No melodic voice to guide him. Just an angry, darkening sky, and a howling element that begged his core to turn to ice. His rough hands gripped the young trees, as they could fit around them. He could pull himself up, and ahead, and make his way through brush and stumps, and terra firma that sank below his steps. 

He could notice the picturesque sunset above, through the crowns of branches and leaves. It was time to stop and look. Recover, and recount. Be made aware that even at the moment in which he had nothing, he may just have everything. The deep blue hung overhead, snuffing out the day's illumination and bringing in the stars, like a blanket of the unknown. The visible, yet unreachable dark universe. Out of reach. Beatrice. 

What's burning will cool, and what you ache for will pull away. But the deep, dark arms of the wood will always reach for you. It will never leave you alone. And indeed, perhaps in the depths of nothingness, you feel less alone than in the company of every laughing face, a glint in the eyes of those who feel.

He stopped. He felt tired, and after a chill breath that hung in the frost, he lowered himself to the ground. He placed his back to the branch of an old oak. He imagined in its majesty a tired soul, old and worn. Wise, yet gleaming in its solitude. Not to be felled. Not to be found, except by those persons with nothing to speak of. The wind had plenty to say as it ripped at the threads surrounding his form. Quiet contemplation, that's what he sought. 

Life was made up of those beautiful moments, and their shadows. The strings of pearls of memory, where in one instant you were holding the hand of that special person, and the next, they were walking away. A dangling carrot that you knew would be gone as soon as you made up your mind to come toward them. The years that pulled on, when a tiny fist held your finger, and before you blinked, they were holding little fists of their own. The voice in the dark, a shape lit by moonlight, promising that they would always be there to sing a duet with your own. 

No, Beatrice, he thought. When night comes, I have my bones. I have my skin. I have my longing. And I have my thoughts. These poisoned thoughts bring you to me with the wind. 

And as he drifted, a single leaf was ripped in the cyclone of hurried air, landing gently on his lap, the promise of a new start. But a long death.

March 12, 2023 21:05

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