first story i actually finished!
|Water trickled down crisply, splashing a few velvety pebbles now and then. The luminous sky was fighting with itself again; the clouds were beaming lightning bolts at each other and growling threats of down pour. The air stood still as if it knew of the war about to rage through the land. A few ignorant songbirds were frolicking through spider-web-like branches. The various wildflowers shamelessly added their own toxic scent to the already stifling air. Exhaling deeply, I lifted up the skirt of my light summer dress and started picking my way through the overgrown garden, back to my home. My head swiveled every which way in response to slight sounds my ears caught. However, like always, I saw no other being. Sure there were plenty of animals; like a few deer, some cottontail rabbits, various exotic birds, and even tiny fish swimming back and forth in the narrow stream. But no humans, I am doomed to live alone in this accursed oasis, I thought to myself. Everyday I leave my home in hopes of finding a way out of this paradise, but it keeps me tightly in its clutches. I ducked under a thick vine and entered the shady grove below the ancient weeping willow tree. I look at this tree and smile every time. It’s trunk is the size of a house; it’s bark a scarred witness of various events I can only dream about. The tree’s rooftop shuts out most of the sky due to the intertwining vines that have been thriving off the tree like a parasite for many years. The tree sighed, communicating how I felt. Every evening I come back, the weeping willow droops its branches and the wind rustles the leaves into a low sigh. I always grin a little and reply, “There’s always tomorrow!” The mystical tree would then shake its branches furiously in agreement. Hopes then revived, I sat at its trunk and ate the food I scavenged. It was mainly vegetables, a makeshift salad of green lettuce leaves, radish leaves, carrots, cucumber, and some olives I found near the stream. I’ve eaten this almost everyday and now I must force myself to choke down as much as I can. Like clock work, images of my past start to flash rapidly through my mind, too fast for me to comprehend. The tension is too much; my eyes clench shut in reflex. The images slow down and piece themselves together. A little girl about the age of seven, wandering carelessly through a field of flowers, she giddily chased a silvery dragonfly. The air was sticky and calmly blowing the wildflowers into a sleepy careen. The child was sweet and ignorant; she didn’t know that by the end of the day this beautiful garden would become her prison. She should’ve heeded her mother’s warning. I should’ve listened. Now I am stuck in this forbidden garden guarded by an evil witch who is missing in action. The last I saw of her, she was cursing me to stay here forever. But with every curse comes a way to uncurse yourself, and being the true witch she is, she left cackling without any mention of uncursing myself. It’s been nine years and still no one has arrived in the garden. I fear I will be left alone, forgotten, for the rest of my life. Sighing, I watch the splatter of raindrops; they show no sign of ceasing, probably not even for dawn’s warming fingertips. That’s when I noticed it. A particular spot in the garden, completely dry, while the rest was drenched. My eyes where glued to the spot, the rushing rain seemed to match the beating of my heart. Like a sickening wave threatening to carry me away, my emotions flooded my body. My brain no longer had control; everything inside of me was getting ready to explode. Could this be what I’ve searched for? A way of escaping my prison? Finally, my body exploded with raging passion and frightening energy. I ran swiftly, my feet picked out the ground like a pro, dodging rocks, flower patches, even raindrops. One last leap off the ground shot me right into the center of the dry area. Ignoring the fact that my body wasn’t receiving as much oxygen as it let out, my eyes hungrily searched for anything inconsistent. An object blinked out of the corner of my eye. My body lurched forward, my muscles reacting without signals from my brain. My hand clasped around a cold surface. Bringing it closer to my eyes, I noticed foreign symbols lining the tip of the object. I racked my brain; I’ve seen those symbols somewhere before! My head pounded, my brain was jammed, pathetically trying to chug it’s way up an imaginary mountain. Unable to turn the gears in my head, I exhaled (I hadn’t realized I was holding my breath), surrendering to my aching body. This was too much; I slowly walked back to the tree. Luckily, the rock protected me from the on slaughter of rain. My knees gave out when I was next to the massive tree trunk. I curled into a little protective ball; mysterious object tucked safely in the middle, I slipped into a warm slumber. The next day, I awoke to a splitting crack of lightning. This made me happy, however, rain meant that if there were more of these mysterious objects, they’d be easily found. My fingers wrapped around my stone tightly as I shuffled off the ground and stumbled out into the garden. It took a few moments, but my eyes finally started processing images and movements. They combed through the surrounding area ahead of me. Nothing caught their attention. I walked to my left and stared at the west area of the garden. The river was flowing along madly due to the rain; I wonder how the fish are, I thought as my eyes followed the river. I walked closer, my eyes in search of their orange and white bodies. I stepped to the edge of the “waterfall”, which is only a manmade stonewall that is backed up against the garden wall with water trickling from random parts. I walked the path of the stream slowly. As I reached the middle of the stream I froze. My eyes rapidly roamed up and down the body of water both ways. A part of the stream was unmoving while the rest was gushing madly. I leaned as close as I could, my eyes widened at the sight of two fish lazily swimming around. They circled a white stone; I narrowed my eyes and caught a glimpse of tiny etched marks on the stone. My hand shot through the glassy water and plucked the stone from the riverbed. As soon as the stone left the water, the fish were swept away in the swift current. My hands fumbled excitedly and I could no longer control the grin from spreading across my face. I skipped back to the tree and placed the new stone carefully in a hole under one of the tree’s sprouting trunks. The weeping willow lowered its trunk to the ground, inclosing the stone until I would return. I hurriedly walked back out of the tree, original stone being smothered in my anxious palm. I was now searching the south side of the garden. Many spinney trees grew wildly here. None were as wide as the willow, but they grew in hordes. It provided the perfect home for most of the animals of the garden. Rain was only partially blocked out by skeleton branches filled with assorted leaves. If any stone were hidden here, it would be impossible to find. I stood, starring blankly through the forest. This is hopeless, I thought Rustling snapped me out of my thoughts. A bush next to me was being disturbed by something. I held my breath, between my speeding heartbeat and the pitter-patter of rain, I heard a deep growling. I hesitantly outstretched my hand; pushing some branches aside, I peered through the opening. Two glowing eyes met mine, the mysterious animal then jumped out of the bush making me stumble and fall on my back. I opened my eyes to find a black cat sitting on my stomach licking it’s paw. At first I starred dumbfounded, I’ve never seen this cat before, but then I shoved the cat off of me, I don’t have time for this. I stomped over to the east side of the garden and looked around. The area was barren, except for a few bushes, some weeds, and a wrought iron bench. The wind was blowing the weeds every which way. Even though the stone kept me from getting hit by rain, it didn’t stop the strong gales from blowing me as easily as the weeds. The sound of the rushing wind and loud, clashing lightning bolts had me hysteric! I panicked and tried running back to the tree but tripped and fell to the ground, this time I stayed down, hands over my head. The stone must’ve fell from my hand for I could feel the needle like raindrops pounding into my back.
The next thing I knew, sunlight was glaring down on me. I groaned and sat up, and then I remembered what had happened. I had lost my stone; tears were brimming in my eyes. I was so close to becoming free. As tears leaked out of me, the same black cat from yesterday approached me purring. I glanced down at it and gasped. In the cats mouth was my stone! I cried for joy and smothered the cat in hugs and kisses. That’s when I felt something cold on my chest. I looked down and saw that the cat was wearing a collar, and on the collar dangled a small, crimson stone. I removed the stone and saw the similar symbols. I carried the mewing cat and the two stones to my tree. From the hole in the trunk I gathered up the other stone. The symbols were the same style but somehow different. I stared at the scarred trunk of the weeping willow to think. Wait a minute, I thought while backing away from the tree. When the whole trunk was in my view I saw the symbols. Those scars aren’t scars. They’re the symbols on the stone! The first set of symbols matched that of the white stone so I walked under the scarred bark on the tree and found a notch just the right size to place the stone in. I did the same for the other two. The once calm air grew wicked as soon as I let the last stone go. I stepped away from the tree, my body throbbing in excitement, and my palms sweating. The symbols on the tree lit up like magic. Their glow growing so intense that I had to shield my eyes. A slow haunting song lifted from the ground and the wind calmed its self to match the swaying lullaby. The light itself became warm and forgiving. I peered through my fingers to see a swirling hole in the middle of the tree trunk. Before I could act, the black cat left my side and ran straight into the hole and disappeared. I slowly walked up to the tree, eyes filled with terror and curiosity at the same time. I edged closer to the hole, why am I hesitating, I asked myself. Suddenly the wind picked up and blew me through the hole! I tried screaming but I heard no sound come out. Swirls of brilliant colors made my head pound; I couldn’t help but shut my eyes. My mind slowly grew blank; my body grew numb. I slipped into a black pit and forgot about who I was and what was happening.
Buzzzzzzzzzzzz. Bzzzzzzzzzzz. The low, silky humming made me smile. I opened my eyes, and then quickly shut them. The sun’s beaming rays almost blinding me. I opened them again, this time more slowly. The buzzing was coming from a vaguely familiar silver dragonfly that was resting on my stomach. I sat bolt upright. What happened? Before I could try to remember, an elegant lady dressed in a beautiful summer dress towered over me. “Elizabeth! What are you doing in the filthy grass like that?! Didn’t I tell you not to wander beyond the mansion grounds? Honestly, child, one day your curiosity will get you into a lot of trouble.” Even though the lady was frazzled she still looked lovely. I smiled and got up, “Oh mother! I’m sorry I must have fallen asleep. But I caught the dragonfly!” My mother smiled despite herself, “Where is the dragonfly then?” I looked down at my little blue dress to find it completely void of any kind of insect. Laughing, my mother picked me up and walked back towards our home. I looked over her shoulder, back at the weeping willow tree, and smiled to myself, as I saw a strange black cat licking at its paw.