Leaving the clearing (Talia, p. 87)

She stands near the edge of her field, facing the tight wall of trees that form the perimeter.  The normally cloudless sky is grey and dull.  The trees shift in the light breeze but otherwise there is no sound.

“I can’t stay here, you know.”  Her voice soft.  “I can’t find her from here.”

The minutes pass, stretching the silence.  She nods once to an unheard reply then shakes her head.

“I know you want me to be safe, but I can’t keep hiding.”  She takes a deep breath, closing her eyes.  “I will be careful. I am not alone.”  The wind picks up around her, blowing her hair into her face.  She turns, brushing it aside and opens her eyes to look at the empty field behind her.  “I’m not leaving you.”  Her voice filled with hurt.  “You will still be with me, but I cannot do this from here.”

The wind gusts again, pushing her away from the trees.  She turns to brace against it.  Stepping forward she reaches a hand out towards the trees.  The branches shiver and twist, crossing together in a lattice.

“Please… don’t make this harder.”  The clouds above roil and large, wet drops start to patter on the ground and her skin.  She closes her eyes, shivering, breathing becoming labored.  “Don’t… make… me…”  The rain is steady now, the grass droops under the barrage, her red hair plastered against her.  She raises the other hand, both outstretched ahead of her.  Her jaw clenches, eyes open, staring intently ahead, glimmering with a light of their own.  Her words are firm, forced.

“I… can’t… stay… here!”  Light erupts from her hands, blasting into the trees.  Branches snap from their locked hold, several trunks pulled from the ground.  Behind her, lightning splits the sky, striking the hilltop . Ahead, the fresh turned ground, the width of a path, soaks up the rain.  The branches overlapping tremble and pull away, leaving the opening clear.

She lowers her hands to her sides and steps slowly.  Rain and tears glisten on her cheeks.  “I’m sorry.”  The words are barely a whisper against the dying wind. She walks past the trees in silence, and without turning, is gone.


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