Blue skies and home]
I stood in the new place, my left foot coming to rest by my right. A chill ran down my spine, my teeth beginning to chatter. I cupped my elbows, twisting as far around as possible while being sure to keep my feet flat.Slender, naked trees rose up around me, their branches dropping small flakes, making it appear as if it still snowed. Wind whistled through the forest, raising goosebumps along my exposed skin. Wetness started to seep into my shoes.My knee twitched, preparing to take a step and move on from this place. I paused, however, when I caught sight of the boy.His skin and clothes were so white that I might not have seen him had he not moved. He sat in the snow, caught in the process of making angels. A giggle rose in my throat for he looked to be at least a foot taller than me. His green eyes, widened in surprise, added a splash of color to the washed out backdrop.“Hello,” I said, my voice feeling incredibly small.He rose, clumps of snow falling from his legs. He took a step toward me, resulting in a soft crunch. “Hello.”“Could you tell me where I am?” My lips were cold against each other.He drew close enough that I could see that his eyelashes were like icicles. “You are in the forest, just outside of the home of the Prince of Wales.”“Ah.” My breath clouded around us. “And what year might it be?”An uneasy expression crossed his face, as if he did not know what to think of me. “1778.”“Thank you,” I let the sentence hang.“George. And you are?”My face felt frozen, so that when I smiled, I worried that my skin might crack. “I am the wanderer Mycele.”George nodded and then he must have noticed the redness of my face for he exclaimed, “Look at the clothes you wear. You must be bitterly cold. Please, come with me to my home where you can warm by the fire.”“Do you live close by here?” I stalled. I knew if I were to go as if to follow him, I would disappear and move on. And it was not often that I enjoyed conversation.“Why, yes. Did I not mention that we are near the home of the Prince of Wales?” He raised his eyebrows.“Indeed you did. I assume you live there, then.” I rubbed my hands along my arms, the coolness of my fingers raising the hairs.“My dear, Mycele, I am the Prince of Wales.” He laughed. “Now come, let us warm you up and find you more suitable, dry things.”“I cannot follow you to your home.” Even as I spoke, I shivered.A frown creased his face. “Why, that is insanity. You will catch pneumonia.”“I cannot come with you,” I repeated.He crossed his arms. “And why not?”I swallowed and opened my mouth several times, waiting for an answer to spill out. “My feet are frozen to the ground,” I said lamely.George laughed again, placing his hand on his forehead. “Why didn’t you just say so? Here, let me help you.”“No, thank you.” I stuttered as he reached his hands around my waist. “I’m fine, really.”“Don’t worry. It won’t hurt. I will simply slide you right out of your shoes.” He pressed his body against me and lifted.I squeezed my eyes closed, preparing myself for the new scene that was sure to meet them. My feet dangled in the air for what felt like eternity. Hot breathe blew in my face. “You can open your eyes. It’s over.”The green of George’s eyes filled my vision. He still held me, his chest pressed to mine. He coughed uncomfortably and went to set me down.“No,” I cried.He paused.“I mean,” A fierce blush crept over my face. “I don’t have anything to cover my feet. The snow will surely burn them.”He grinned, looking as if he was holding back laughter. “Of course. I’ll just carry you to my home. It isn’t far.”George threw my legs up over his other arm, holding my weight easily. I let my head fall against his shoulder, glad for the warmth. He turned and headed home, leaving a footprint in the middle of his angel.
My feet have not touched the ground in fifty-two years. My muscles have forgotten how to walk, though my mind still remembers the motions.I have my assistant carry me out to the forest, set me down in the exact place I met George. The earth is warm from the sun and my toes curl in the dirt. I look over, a young memory of George playing out before me. A phantom of snow makes me shudder.“Augustus, please step back.”My assistant backs away, still ready to catch me if I should fall.“What you are about to see may frighten you. When it is over, return home. Tell them you haven’t seen me. You don’t know where I’ve gone. They will search for me, but I assure you that they will not find me.”Pity crosses his face. He thinks I have gone mad at the loss of George.I ready my legs, give him one last smile, take a step, and vanish.I end up in a clearing, in a forest. In the snow there is the outline of an angel with the impression of a rather large foot inside it.
Prompts #35, #36, and #37 will be posted on Saturday.