It was one of those nights when it seems dawn will never come, just an indistinct pearly-gray smudge on the horizon, too distant to be any comfort. It almost seemed to hover, stubbornly just out of sight, like a diva primping before she hits the stage.
Sleep was as evasive as sunlight and lying in bed felt like a waste of time. Not that I had anything better to do, really. Except for that jittery sense that I ought to be doing something, and laying in bed didn’t feel like something.
I pulled on a pair of sweatpants and an oversized sweater and dragged a pair of old galoshes onto my feet. It hadn’t rained last night, but the woods always felt somehow soggy to me in the morning.
I was right. The grass was squishy, on that well-trodden path to the woods behind our house. Someone else, a more cautious someone, might consider going to into the woods in the still, dark early-morning to be a dangerous idea. That someone is not me. And if something in there was going to bite me, I imagine it would have by now. Or at least, that’s what I’d like to think.
I’m a miniature giant stomping through the woods, smushing clover underfoot, into the damp soft soil, and otherwise enjoying the almost-silence. No place is ever completely silent – the woods least of all. Snippets of pre-dawn birdsong. Twigs snapping. Still, it’s more peaceful than a complete silence could ever be.
It’s almost completely dark…. Except… Except….
There’s a strange glow, somewhere off in the distance. I’ve been in these woods every day of my life, for as far back as I could remember – nothing’s ever glowed before. This isn’t a campfire or a flashlight. It isn’t disoriented fireflies. It’s a clean, white glow.
And I’m not exactly one to battle my curiosity. Call it a personality flaw, but as soon as I see it, I’m walking towards it, weaving a slow and steady path through the trees.
But it isn’t until I’m almost there, when the glow began to substantiate into a human form, that I heard it – the crying. It was quiet; a dull desperate sort of sobbing.
That made me move faster.
The pale, sobbing form resolved itself into a girl – sorry, a young woman – crouched awkwardly on the ground. The glow was coming from her. It was enough to make me stop and stare for a moment. Long, silvery hair, done in braids and then arranged intricately on top of head, pinned with what looked like real diamonds. Her long, silver dress pooled around her like spilled liquid, molten and flowing and completely concealing her legs from view. But the most startling thing was her skin – a pale silver-gray, with a startling sheen.
She glowed, her hair and her skin exuding a light that flickered as she sobbed. Her hair and her skin and – as she turned to face me, suddenly aware of my intrusion – her eyes, stark, bright silver, with startling black pupils.
She hiccupped, swallowing the last of her tears and glared at me.
“What do you want?” she asked.
To be continued …..
350-500 words * mystery * morning
(obviously I’ve exceeded this word count as well…)
Prompt courtesy of: