(The following is the continuation of a story I began as a result of a prompt given by Kellie Elmore. I continued this story writing as she encourages people to do: with no editing and no backtracking – to write until you can write no more.)
The mists continue to swirl around me. Were they to be my companion on this journey? I welcome them as they give me a sense of protection. I take another step. Nothing so far. I gain courage from the silence surrounding me and begin to walk. The sound of my footsteps echo into the the space around me. I slowly pass the lamp posts standing guard. Was I being watched? Was my test being decided upon even as I breathed in the still, morning air?
I continue walking. The bridge seems to stretch on for infinity. I can see no end and wonder at the mist that swirls around me even though I had already been walking for an hour. Curious, I look over the edge to the swirling waters below. I wonder at the stories of sirens. I see none floating in these waters, encouraging me to meet my death. Unhooking my water skin from my belt, I take a refreshing sip. Time to move on. My fate awaits and I am in a rush to meet it.
Three hours had passed and the view of my starting point on this bridge was long gone. Am I half way? I feel tired. I had walked all night through the forest and had eagerly stepped onto this bridge with no rest. I had not thought the journey would take so long! Dare I rest? Dare I close my eyes? Oh, how I missed the comfort of Roan: his assurances, his humour, his protection. I would have to risk stopping. There, the perfect spot to rest.
Leaning against the wooden slat, I find a piece of roasted rabbit. How good it is to eat and rest my weary legs. I listen to the silence around me; and gather the mist around me like a coat. My body relaxes against the pillar. So weary. Surely I am in no danger here on this desolate bridge. My eyes drift closed. My mind relaxes and the protective mist slowly falls away.
My eyes snap open. I hear voices, angry voices, and they are coming nearer. The mist is gone and I see their faces clearly. They are holding sticks and waving them about. Angrily. With venom. I see men, women, and even children spitting out words of hate. They are surrounded by the intent to kill. It is my name they are shouting. Calling me a witch, calling me an evil one. I try to make myself small, to hide within the slats of the wooden bridge. But to no avail. Fear has frozen my mind and I behave with the instincts of an animal. I get up and run. Panic-stricken. With no thought or plan. I run to flee the threat of beating, the threat of death.
My worst nightmare, my worst fear. They have found out my talent and my ability to commune with the nature around me. No matter that I help to feed their hungry stomachs, or heal their septic wounds. All they see is that I am different. I thought crossing this bridge would help me escape their bigotry, their fear of those who can manipulate the natural.
But I haven’t crossed the bridge yet. I run. I run for my life. I run for my dream of freedom. I run for the sacrifice that Roan made for me. I run for his belief in me. I run.
Until I can run no more. Exhausted, I look on the gaining mob. Their hate fills my mind; and their shouts swirl around me. I cannot let them take my dream from me! I breathe in deeply, focusing on slowing my heart rate. I close my eyes. I take another deep breath and stretch my arms up towards the sky.
What will happen once the mob reaches me?
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012