The water brushed up against her bare feet, its cool and tempting touch filled her with excitement. There was only the slightest sigh of wind ruffling through the trees, the air pulling the waves toward the pair. Maybe the wind and the water wanted her to jump in as much as she did, Anna thought to herself with a playful smile on her lips. It seemed that way, like the gentle crash of the waterfall was calling her name, the rustle of leaves daring her to embrace the fresh water spring. She felt Kyle's hand squeeze hers. She glanced over at him, seeing his beautiful smile matching hers, his whole image left her weak at the knees.
For years, the two of them had been escaping from the village to relax by the water's edge. There were many creeks and springs throughout the forest but this one had always been their favourite. Maybe it was the pebble beach sloping toward the clear water, the waterfall across from them with falling droplets splashing against the moss covered rocks and spilling into the creek. But most of all it was the trees, gathered like an audience and they were the performers, or because they acted like curtains shielding them from the rest of the world - or from reality itself.
"Ready?" Kyle asked.
Anna grinned, seeing their reflection in the mirrored surface, knowing she couldn't bear to stand there for a second longer. "Ready."
At her word, they propelled into the air. Although the flight was only a second long, it felt like she was a bird and the air was her wings, it seemed to last forever. The water loomed from below and then swallowed them both. She kicked her legs and made her way through the glossy water to the surface, ignoring her heavy petticoat pulling her down.
The water broke around her, tiny drops lingered on her face and soaked her thick blonde hair. Kyle's hands wrapped around her waist, pulling her into his chest. She turned and wrapped her arms around his neck and could feel his muscles from underneath the wet fabric of his shirt. Anna felt herself melt into him out of pure content. She was in his arms, safe and secure, surrounded by the serene forest and calm water. Their lips locked together, the fire from within her roared with passion, their bodies entwined as Kyle pressed her against the moss carpet of the undergrowth.
It was moments like these, basking in the tingling ray of the sun above and lying on the damp soil with Kyle's arms wrapped around her shivering body, that Anna wondered why they were not betrothed. He had never asked, he hadn't even dared to entertain the idea, but Anna never gave him a reason to do so. It was all fun and games, that's what she told herself, they were just enjoying the time together while it lasted.
When the thought did ever cross her mind, she saw the beautiful happiness and love for a brief moment, then it burned away to pain and misery. She saw her own mother, broken after giving Anna life, ridden with disease and illness. Marriage was a game and the women always seemed to lose, that was how Anna saw it. She was strong, she refused to be broken, perhaps that was why the women of the village hated her so much.
"I love the feel of your skin against mine." Kyle breathed at last, his fingers tracing the outline of her hand, each stroke raised the hairs on her arms.
Anna ignored his remark and gazed past him. "I wonder what the real world is like..." She mused.
With a sigh, Kyle broke away from her; the atmosphere turning sour. "Dangerous. That's what they say. Dark, grey and miserable. The cities must reek of death."
Such a dark subject on such a lovely day, Anna thought, regretting even mentioning the subject. She stared at the forest before them, faced with the idea that there was life beyond the trees, beyond the capsule village. Life that she had been denied access to from birth. People die out in the real world, that's what they were told. But people die here too. Death is inevitable; she knew that but couldn't shake the feeling that she was the only one who really understood that.
"I must go. I'm needed at the Blacksmiths." Kyle said, pulling her up with him. He was a head taller than her, his dusty blonde hair had dried from their swim and covered part of his face. She swept the hair from his eyes and kissed him tenderly before he departed. They said their goodbyes and Kyle left her alone in the dark forest.
Anna wandered aimlessly for a while, fighting her way through thorns and nettles, taking care not to rip her dress. When the route ahead began to look unfamiliar, Anna felt the intimidating emptiness inside her, she ached to find her way out of this maze. She felt eyes on her as she tripped over a tree root, bony fingers scrapping against her skin when she pushed back the branches of a tree, and hushed whispers in the wind. Loneliness was a dark and dreadful place. Her imagination was unsettling her, she no longer felt safe and the sun seemed to have abandoned her, all of her strength had seeped away.
At first she thought the shrill cry was another trick of her scared mind but when she pulled back a prickly holly bush she drew in her breath in surprise. She stood on the edge of a small clearing with only one large willow tree sat in the middle. To the right of the twisted tree trunk was a ring of charcoaled soil, blackened from what she assumed to be a campfire, and within the ring was a nest of freshly picked green leaves plucked from a distant tree. A small red screaming body lay huddled amongst the leaves. Anna gazed at the baby for a while, surprised to see a child here of all places, and mesmerised by his sky blue eyes. When she had approached him, he ceased to cry, and instead watched her with large eyes. She glanced around, the child's parents were nowhere to be seen, the poor boy had been abandoned.
She didn't know what to do. Never had she been faced with a situation like this. Anna counted her options. She could wrap the child in her shawl, take him to the village and wait for someone to claim him or leave him alone in the middle of a forest. It was getting dark and she couldn't bring herself to leave a defenceless baby on his own. She pulled the woollen shawl from around her shoulders and swept the boy into her arms. It was then she noticed the thick silver ring the child clutched in his red fist, she had no time to examine it now so she dropped the heavy band into the pocket of her dress, hugged the baby to her chest then turned on her heel to find home.
It didn't take them long. It was like the entire forest had shifted to form a clear path back to the village. The boy never stirred or made a noise, he continued to peer up at her with those blue eyes.
When they finally reached the edge of the small village, Anna felt the burn of eyes on her, she kept her head down and hurried home. She couldn't face them, not today.
The cottage she shared with her father was situated in the centre of the village, the street ran in a circle surrounding a crumbling old well with the church directly behind. She rushed past the well and groups of gossiping women, clutching the boy tight, her cheeks blushing a deep maroon. She didn't bother with knocking on the wooden door to her home she just pushed the door open and slammed it shut behind her.
"Anna, where have you been?" Her father called from the study. He was the local librarian and was always planted at the seat of his desk leaning over a manuscript or document of some sort. At times his occupation was helpful, such as when she had a test at school and needed the perfect book to study from, or when she ran out of books to read, but other than that it was incredibly inconvenient. Anna was always the one who had to cook, clean, wash clothes, all of the boring chores that every teenager dreaded.
She barged into his study and nearly tripped over a pile of old books. He should really learn to organize his books instead of dumping them in the doorway, she thought to herself.
"I don't know what to do." She admitted, feeling small and childish. Her father turned and his eyes widened as he made sense of the tiny bundle in her arms. She explained what had happened, leaving out the meeting with Kyle as he didn't know about the two of them, and he listened wordlessly whilst staring at the angelic face of the child in her arms.
"Well then," He said when she had finished. "We'll have to find somewhere for him to sleep for the time being."
Anna nodded hopelessly, a tear gliding down her cheek. She hated the way he was looking at her, as if he didn't quite believe her, the sorrow in his eyes was almost unbearable to comprehend. This was one of the few moments when Anna really needed to be held and told that everything would be okay. But her father would never embrace her, not even when she was a child, and for her entire life she thought he blamed her for her mother's death.
A makeshift crib was made out of a drawer from an old dresser, padded with two pillows and a warm cotton blanket. Anna had searched the cellar for an old pinafore of hers from when she was a baby but had only been able to find a white christening gown. She pinned a napkin to the boy as a diaper then dressed him in the gown. It was far too big for him but it would have to do until she had sewn him a new outfit.
Her father and the baby had gotten on well, despite his doubts, he was fond of the light haired infant. "What shall we call him?" He asked, handing the overdressed child a rattle.
"I don't think we're in the position to name him. We should wait until his parents arrive." Anna replied assertively. Getting attached to the child would make letting go so much harder.
Father discarded her comment with a slight shrug of his shoulders. "He looks like a Philip or Peter."
Anna shook her head. "No, if we're to name him, we shall give him a unique name. For a unique child. His name is Fynn."
Her father smiled and nodded. "Fynn it is."
And there it is, the very first chapter of Waiting for the Sunrise! Did you like it? I certainly enjoyed writing it. I literally had my dictionary by my side for the duration, no joke.
Please comment? I'd love to know your thoughts on my first chapter and any advice is most welcome!