by Paul D
An unnatural storm.
|Nothing moved in Treegestal village as a storm of ice, wind, and bitter cold raged against it. Winter began two weeks earlier than normal, and its grip tightened week after week.
I've never seen a storm so fierce, Fanistia thought as she sat near the fireplace. Slivers of bitter cold, which seeped under the door and around the windows, touched their icy fingers along her back and wings, and she shivered. She turned her back and wings to warm up also. In all the twenty years of her life, she could never remember a winter this harsh one. It was as if all the warmth of the world had been sucked out. Spring flowers should be appearing everywhere, but trees and bushes were only decorated with ice and snow.
The village storage cellars were almost empty. If this storm didn't break soon, they would all suffer. We need help.
A loud rap at the door startled her. Who would be about in this blizzard? She hurried toward the door wondering what could be the matter. She opened the door slightly, and the fierce wind ripped the handle from her hand, slamming the door againt the side of the house. Biting cold and freezing snow slashed at her. I should have put on my coat. Her thoughts were pushed aside by a tall man dressed in the skins of animals. His face and waist length beard were covered with snow and ice. She realized she was dithering and said, Come, sit by my fire and get warm.
He didn't move but only looked at her. Then she remembered the people of Aireth did not mindspeak; although, she'd heard of one who did. She motioned with her hands for him to enter, and she pointed toward the fire place.
He took one step and fell like a tree, crashing half way over her threshold. She squatted down and shook him, but he was unresponsive. She shivered and shook from the icy wind as she hurried to his feet. She lifted them and pulled them around into her house. Somehow she managed to get his body clear of the threshold. She closed the door and rushed to the fireplace.
Fani pressed herself as close to the fire as she dared. It would take time for her house to warm up again, but the man on the floor needed warmth now. She doubted blankets would be enough.
She had a talent she'd never revealed to anyone. She could heal by entering a dream state. She used her talent on animals and birds where no one could see. She'd never used it on a person.
She left the fireplace and leaned over and put her hands on his head, wondering if this would even work. A beautiful place of harmony filled her mind. She was in this place with the man. She touched his mind with hers, saying, Your mind and body is healed. You can hear me now.
Fani closed her dream and opened her eyes. His face was clear of ice and snow and had a pinkish look to it. She put her hand near his mouth, felt his breath, and released a huge sigh of relief. She hurried to her room and brought out some blankets to cover him.
As the day continued and he didn't move, she worried even more. By nightfall, she was close to tears. She was up and down all night, checking on him and finding no change. She managed a few hours sleep. Morning came, and he still lay not moving. Fani began to cry, feeling so foolish for her impulsive action.
A hand touch her head and a deep voice said, "I'm okay now. Whatever you did cured aches and pains I've been living with most of my life, and now I can hear your distress. Your thoughts are as clear to me as speech."
Fani's eyes opened wide in disbelief as she felt the truth of his words. She knew his thoughts and feelings. I believed I was healing your body of its chill and your mind so you could hear me. I have done that, but somehow I have also bonded us together as mates. Even now the strength of the bond grows stronger and stronger.
"I know. I can feel it too, Fani." He lifted her up in his arms and carried her toward her bedroom.
Fani laughed as she caressed his facial hair that almost touched his waist. You need a haircut, John.
He grinned at her. "Not now, there is another need that must be satisfied first."
She wrapped her hands in the long hair on his head and pulled his mouth to hers. I feel it too, and it keeps getting stronger. Walk faster, John. Run even.
* * *
John Klaxon opened his eyes. His arms and legs were wrapped around a lovely faerie. He thought he'd awakened from a beautiful dream only to find a more wonderful reality. He kissed her lips, and she opened her eyes.
I'm glad it's not a dream, she said in a mental voice that sounded like music.
He kissed her harder. "If this is a dream, I would hope to never awaken." Her laughter filled his mind, then the fierce heat they both felt took over.
A few hours later, they sat close together at a table, eating some food. "I work as a guide and a trader," John explained. "I have been thinking about--"
Fani's fingers came to rest on his lips. I know, dear, what you are thinking. Remember? Your idea to establish your holding facility nearby is a good one. This winter has me worried. It doesn't feel natural.
"I agree. It's not at all natural. How is your supply of food, and the village's as well?"
It is quite low.
"I will go out and see what I can find."
"It is okay. I know how to survive in this place."
What happened that brought you here?
"I was guiding a group of people when this latest storm hit. I wanted to return to the space port. They wanted to stay. When I decided to leave without them, they ambushed me. They took my environ-suit and left me in a cave to die of 'natural' causes. Their plan didn't quite work as they anticipated.
"I made clothing from furs and snowshoes from branches. I knew of this village and started here. I found the people frozen to death on my third day after leaving the cave."
A terrible way to die.
"I agree. They were very foolish and paid a high price for their ignorance. I'm going now and may not be back for a few days."
Please be careful.
"I will return. I promise."
John was only a few minutes from the village when he began to regret his decision to return to this wintery nightmare, but these people needed food, and he had the ability to find some--he hoped.
He kept an eye out for signs of living creatures. While he walked, he had plenty of time to think. He felt like he was still in a daze. He'd been mated to a woman of dazzling beauty who resembled a normal woman of Earth, except for the four wings on her back, which were a luminescent pink with silver and white patches.
The bond they shared was not like anything he'd ever experienced. Even now he could feel her presence in his mind. It was a feeling he couldn't express in words. He knew he'd found the home where he belonged.
The storm wasn't as strong as when he came here, but it was still continuing. How could a storm last for two weeks and still have energy to continue? He didn't know what to think, except this storm was creating a lot of damage and death.
Even with snowshoes, he struggled to reach the top of the low plateau. The top of the plateau seemed to reach all the way to the horizon. He started off at a half trot. It was near sunset when he reached the other side. He decided to descend into the valley below and not wait for morning.
His descent went quickly. At the bottom, he dug a hole in the snow and crawled inside. He was exhausted and fell to sleep with no problem.
He woke early and began to search the valley for signs of life. He was surprised to find nothing. Even the birds were quiet. He saw a large mound of snow and wondered if it was rocks or something else. He dug at the snow with a tree limb. His gloves protected his hands, but it was hard work.
He was surprised to find legs with hooves. He uncovered four large animals of a kind he'd never seen before. It looked like a wolf, except it was twice as big. John built a travois. He tied all four wolves to it and began the long trek home.
His legs and back started to hurt before he was even half way up the plateau. He pushed past the pain, thinking of Fani and the others who needed this food. He focused on the next step and moved forward.
* * *
Fani missed John before he was even out of sight. She felt the chill of winter within him and shivered. She watched his slow progress up the slope of the plateau. Soon he was just a speck, then he was gone. After he disappeared, she could still feel his presence.
She returned to the fireplace to thaw out and to think. She had the gift of healing. This storm was not normal. What if the weather was sick and needed healing? She laughed at her silly thoughts, but in the back of her mind, she thought about what it might mean to heal the weather.
Fani woke early the next day, ate her breakfast, put on warm clothing, and went outside. She decided she could at least attempt to heal the weather. She visualized the dream and entered.
She sat on grassy mound. Her body embraced the warmth of this place. A huge pool of water spread out below her, and on both sides of the pool were the slopes of a large hill. Strange structures covered with moss were built on both slopes. Water trickled down all around the structures into the pool.
Toward the end of the pool were multiple shafts of light that dazzled her. This place of beauty was her heart's dream, and she hoped to never leave.
* * *
John felt a chill he couldn't comprehend, freezing him to the core. Fani. He dropped the poles of the travois and ran. It was hard to run with snowshoes, and he fell a few times, but he needed to get back to her quickly.
When he reached the other side of the plateau, it was already dark, but he didn't care. He ran down the slope. His mind was frantic as he drew nearer. He felt a chill beyond cold. He hurried to the village square and found Fani sitting frozen like a block of ice. Her skin was white with frost and icicles hung from her hair and wings. He wrapped his arms around her and screamed, calling her name again and again.
* * *
Fani heard a familiar voice. She didn't want to leave this place. It was too wonderful. I will take it with me. Fani opened her eyes. John? He gave her an odd look. What?
'You are not frozen anymore." He looked around. "I don't believe it. The snow and ice are all gone. What happened?"
Fani explained bringing her dream into reality.
John sighed in relief. "Don't ever do that again."
She laughed. Yes, dear.
word count 2000
prompt element: Telepathy