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Leaf Pattern Design

Something for your wait

Here's one of my short stories to keep you busy while I work on my blog schedule. Enjoy, or don't, but I hope you do!

The Waiting Lady

The lady built her throne atop the hill, on stone so sanguine and starving. Iron thread formed its frame, woven from tragedy.

Two children danced in the sweet green fields below, dewy blades of grass clinging to their sinless feet.

So many catastrophes in a world so wide—so many dangers to harm them, but the lady was always waiting, always watching.

If she looked away, would thorns grow amongst the green? Could the angry winds, roaring across the valley, carry away the scent of wild flowers and spring?

No, no, that certainly would not do.

Her eyelids were difficult to peel away, but the redness streaming down her cheeks did not stop her—and now so high on her hill, her watch would never falter. Weariness would never shut her eyes again. No thorns, no pricked heels.

Her blood more iron for the frame.

But what of the wind?

The lady inhaled, filling her lungs with all the goodness of the valley. With the sunflowers and daisies. With the little bees, reeds, and the soaring of wings. Of all things cherished, beautiful, and merry.

She cupped her hand and blew, and from her ragged breath a crystal dome grew, so shimmering and lovely—all to protect the children from foreseen calamity.

Now spring would never leave, would always be filled with laughter and honey. So many treasures, now guarded forever.

Her blood more iron for the frame.

Thunder rumbled across the plain, masked behind far granite skies. If they prowled to close, would the lightening follow? The children shouldn’t know, shouldn’t see. Not while they played in their bliss, free of horror and grief.

The lady looked, and looked, but there was nothing she could build. No logs, no stones, nothing she could sew or weave.

But wait . . . she glanced at her limbs. At fingers that curled, and knees that bent.

Bones—she had bones. Bones to give, bones to protect. Bones to create an inconquerable defense.

The crack was loud as she snapped them in two. One by one in the ground they grew, marrow flesh stretching toward the sky. Broken and splintered, the bones fit together like pieces in a puzzle—so tall, so high. A pale, pale wall no cloud could climb.

There . . . the storm would never touch them. Their playing could continue on well after twilight.

Her blood more iron for the frame.

The sun! It couldn’t fall—that would never do. It wasn’t safe to play in only the light of the moon. But what could she give that could hold off the night? She’d offered her bones, her breath, even her sight.

Her soul. . . of course her soul. She had nothing else left.

The lady clutched her chest, blood filled tears staining her ruined eyes. What would become of her without a soul, if she was just a graying husk? Would the thorns grow, the wind blow, and the thunder roll if she wasn’t there to wait?

Singing . . . the children were singing.

The lady crawled from her throne, farther down the hill, wanting so badly to listen, to dance. The soil packed beneath her nails as she clawed herself forward. Maybe she could still protect them without having to die. She could move her throne lower, watch closer. There was always a way before the night.

So close, she was so close now. Warmth kissed her icy skin. Grass tickled her thighs. A thrill pulsed through her waning heart as for the first time she could clearly see the children’s eyes.

Blue eyes.

Blue eyes, freckles, and swirling yellow dresses. Their dancing slowed, and they looked up at the sparkling shield as they began to talk together, eyes wide and frightful.

What could be wrong? What could they see, but the love she fought to bring?

She had to crawl faster.

The sky was darkening when she made it to the edge of the valley. The children were huddled together beneath her bone shelter. So close, the lady stretched out her fingers, but the crystal she breathed stopped her from moving deeper.

Wait, wait—this can’t be right. If she didn’t hurry, day would turn into night.

Cursing and screaming, the lady clawed at the shield. The harder she tried, the further it pushed her from the children, back toward her hill.

No, no! How could what she made stop her?

The children saw her then, their faithful guardian, and their skin drained of color. The younger began to cry, and shouted that she saw a monster.

Weeping, weeping, why so much sorrow? She gave everything to protect them in their little hollow. The lady looked again, and the children were gone, replaced by two grown women. Angry and bitter.

They were going to leave, she could see it in their dimming eyes. “Take me with you.” The lady cried. “Don’t leave me here to wither and die.”

They turned and faded, disappearing into the night. Leaving her with nothing but a hill she couldn’t climb.

The lady gave everything, but it wasn’t enough.

What was there, if not waiting? If she had legs she could dance, if her eyes could rest she would sleep.

Maybe, maybe . . . yes, she should weep.

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Celeste Bokrony
Celeste Bokrony
Mar 24, 2021


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