The marbled moon, a wayward teacup poured out illumination, reflected jaggedly in the frigid water below. The silence of the night was deafening and the chill of the winter wind bit sharp at any tenderness. The hibernation of most animals underway. Others, in a survival – of – the – fittest world. All stars hidden behind darkness as snow would soon blanket the land. But death would soon relent and the golden globe would rise and fill the world with light and hope. It is always darkest before the dawn. And when dawn comes, a new life begins.
It had been too long. She needed to have fun. Dinner and dancing girls night was what was on order. She had dressed in those leather leggings and a white crochet blouse that accentuated her petite frame and her favourite red pumps. Tonight, she was doing this for her. She needed to let loose. With a precise cat eye, neutral lip and her wavy hair flowing in all its glory, she was ready to have some much needed fun.
The rolling green hills surrounded her. The wind pulled in the dark heavy clouds, making the landscape greyish and drab. Her raven hair whipped around, tossed by the strengthening wind. She was alone in the field save for one full oak tree not far from her. The encroaching clouds were suddenly lit up by a streak of lightning. The rain, with no warning started to pelt her face. This was not good. Trouble was brewing and she had a job to do. The line of the trees was far off, but she had to make it there. Thunder rumbled the earth and shook her to her soul. Lightning immediately responded by striking that lone tree. Instantly a section of the tree fell away and it all ignited. A fireball that would cause those hunters to come looking this way. She needed to leave now, or they would catch her. She pushed herself forward. Limping from the injury, but she ignored it as best she could. She quickened her pace and limped all the faster, grimacing as the pain shot through her leg all the more. The treeline neared slowly, but she heard a shout of alarm behind her. The bounty hunters would be on her in no time.
The cave glowed with a faint blue light, emanating from the veinwork in the stone. The three walked cautiously deeper and deeper inside. The legends had said that within the heart of the three, would the stone reveal itself. Everything was riddles, a play on words the entire journey. After all the hardship they had endured together, would it just be so simple? The farthest they could go was a natural lake where the water was crystal clear and a tiny island in the center which bore the ancient ruins of The Protectors. As the girls entered the water it challenged them so much more. The water was so cold it felt like knives slicing all over. Not one wanted to move, but they knew that they needed to get to the island. Their cloaks, the last pieces of clothing to absorb the liquid, pulled them deeper. The tallest was just able to keep her head above the surface, but the shortest struggled to keep afloat. The two others looked to her and stretched their numb hands out to her, but caught hold and grasped tight to her. They helped each other to the shoreline of the island. The greenery out of place in such a cold and desolate environment. They staggered to the pedestal in the center. A circle they formed. Pressed hands together and…nothing. Something was missing. Their bond as the protectors needed to be proved. To be sealed. Their hands. Their marks they were each born with that had drawn them together. The shortest of the three traced the insignia imprinted on her palm. The others followed suit. They placed their right marked palms onto the unblemished palm of the one next to her, letting their blood spill onto the pedestal and down the center to the heart of the world.
“Here stand The Protectors. The Protectors are we. Called by The Heart. We stay for eternity.”
They chanted in unison. Once, twice, three times. Louder each time. Then the earth started to rumble. The stalactites started to fall, but the three stayed where they were. The trembling continued on out into the wilderness, out to the rivers and oceans, the mountains echoed the sound of rocks falling, it continued on through the torrential path they had taken. To their homes and beyond.
And then, silence.
A white light. Radiated and rose up towards them from The Heart. There it was, ascending to them before their very eyes. Exactly what they had travelled all the way here for. Hope.
She didn’t have to look twice to know that it was him. He didn’t see her, but she saw him. His style, his hat, his build, his walk. It was him. And within that few seconds, all those old feelings started fighting their way back. Her heart beat faster, and she could feel her body warming, her face flushed. She wanted to hide, but at the same time she wanted him to see her and see how she had changed for the better and regret what he had lost. Not minutes later, she pushed that all down. What was she thinking? She was better off without him. The way he had shucked and jived her. He had not once treated her as special. As a priority. She was always near the bottom of the list, and he only wanted to be around her when nothing else was planned or everything else fell through. She could do SO much better. She was going to find that man who treated her right. More precious that jewels. Love her for her. She just had to have faith and keep that faith. Good things were coming. Someone was watching out for her and He had it all planned, and her man was already picked out for her. Faith, trust and a little bit of God’s dust.
Memories. They plagued her head like a virus, making her feel so sick and exhausted all the time. She felt like she was sinking underwater and nothing could save her. All she wanted was to forget them. Those men, with their lies and charm. The happy times turned to pain and tears. So many things triggered these memories. A piece of clothing, songs, people who looked the same as them, same model vehicles, so much, she just wanted to run away, to seclude herself in the middle of nowhere to be away from all the reminders. But, she wouldn’t go that far, because it wasn’t sensible or reality. She just really wanted to move on.Something to happen in her life that would take over and bring her nothing but happiness. Give her a reason to keep living, and living a life worth living. She felt like she was going insane. She wished she had a pensieve like in Harry Potter, where she could pull out and discard her bad memories into it. Yes, bad situations can mould us into who we become, but it was time to let go and move on. But, she just didn’t know how.
She felt so alone. So betrayed. Nobody believed her or agreed with her. Some people knew her situation and agreed with her in private, but when it came to supporting and defending her in public, they stayed quiet or said what she had done was wrong. Where was justice, real justice when it mattered so much? There was evidence of her innocence, but they only brushed it off as if it didn’t exist. She was so frustrated. There was nothing she could say or do that would change their minds. She had no bad reputation, so she couldn’t understand where this was all coming from. She felt so stuck. Was there any hope at all?
She stared at herself in the mirror, surrounded by those soft Hollywood lights. Her silky purple hair being unrolled to reveal bombshell waves. Her face painted dramatically. Those green eyes looking back at her, framed by thick, luscious lashes. A last mist of hairspray and she was called. Tonight was her night. Her moment. She made her way from the ladies in the hair and makeup department to just backstage. Her nerves started to take over. Her palms sweaty as she took hold of her mic. Her knees trembling as she walked out onto the dark center stage. The blind stage lights solely on her now, cancelling the faces awaiting her. What if she forgot the lyrics? That note, that single key. B. That was her que. She took a deep breath from the depths of her diaphragm, and opened her mouth, releasing the most velvety sound ever heard.
She closed the door with her back and the tumbler rolled into place as she locked herself in. The house smelled old, stale. Untouched for years the place seemed to have resisted the change of time. She walked down the hallway, her heels only padding on the elaborate runner. The door to which she approached on her right was open ajar, she pushed through. It was dark as she made her way in. Drapes blocked the light from entering. Carefully she made her way over, trying to avoid bumping into things. With effort she threw back the closest set of heavy velvet drapery. The sunlight pouring in a shaft of light, illuminating the place. Dust particles danced in the ray. Sheets, now covered in a thin layer of dust, blanketed furniture, making them appear as ghostly figures. Plush chairs and chesterfields, lamps and cabinets. She awoke a side table from it’s slumber, revealing framed pictures of people long past.
She picked up a photograph of a couple, obviously in love, gazing into each other’s eyes, sharing a laugh. The lady in a gorgeous evening gown, her hair pulled up in a trending style and her lips painted the latest shade. The man looked debonaire in his suit and oiled hair. His arm wrapped around her small waist, and her left hand upon his chest, revealing a dazzling rock on her finger, appropriately sized for her slender hand.
She sat down on the floor against an overstuffed chair. She held the picture to her chest and looked at her ring on her finger. The same ring. The same hand. Everyone was gone, but she was back. She was home.
She ran through the woods. The trees blurring past her like sentinels of the night. There was no wind, only her pace making the air fly through her hair. The skin of her bare feet got scratched and pricked by the forest foliage and the cold sleeping earth dirtied them, but she didn’t care. Her muscular legs drove her forward to where she did not know. Apart from her ragged breathing, and the disturbance of the trail she left through the maze, there was not a sound, as if all the creatures knew something was wrong and they were too scared to emerge. The moon high above highlighted her as she shimmered in sweat. The endless escape opened finally to a lake. She stopped at the shoreline, thinking, What next? It would take her too long to go around and there was no way across. She had to go through. She waded into the freezing water and plunged into the depths, she had to make it to the other side, but she would have to stay under for as long as she could, because if they followed her path and saw her in the water, they would surely catch her. She needed to continue on her way and quickly.