(1) Rain beat on the roof of her house as she flew down the stairs. Done. So done here, she thought to herself as she donned her jacket and ran out into the night. She didn’t have anything on her
but a stack of cash. 60K to be exact. And a letter her mother had given to her foster-parents to give to her when she could read well.
The ground sloshes beneath her bare feet. She didn’t need shoes, they confine her feet. Feet needed to be free, just like her. She dashed into the woods, lights starting to flick on at her house. She wouldn’t let them catch her. She wouldn’t, couldn’t. If they did, she’d never be allowed anything in life, ever. She glanced back at the fortress she was gladly leaving behind.
They think they’re so smart, her parents, or rather her foster-parents. She found out something about her, why her real mother and father had given her up. To save her from the war that was tearing her homeland apart. She read, and read the letter, and committing the clues to her homeland to memory. They thought she wouldn’t understand, but she was different and she had always known she was. “You’re the same as everybody else!” her foster-mother had said. She thought then, how very Forrest Gump-ish. Now, she understood they were sheltering her; so she would never find out.
But she knew, and Gods, how it had hurt her to find out. She felt a pain in her chest when she found what she was and why she was cast away. It wasn’t even because of the war, the war happened because of her. But she was not accepted into her mother’s race. Her chest burned, bringing her back to the here and now.
A pine branch, thicker than her foster-father’s enormous arm, smacked her in the head and she went out.
A hand petted her face. She didn’t open her eyes, couldn’t open her eyes. Every time she tried, pain shot through her head. She felt hands under her but she didn’t feel like she was moving. Carefully, she opened her eyes. Pain radiated from her forehead. She winced.
“Shh, human. You are fine; just wait until we get to my village.” She didn’t speak, she was afraid it would break the dream and it would melt away like wax from a candle. The man holding her had wheat colored hair and brows. His lips were set grimly, his jaw squared, and a tick working in it. His head was framed by white wings that beat, sending air over her face. It smelled sweet, sickly sweet. “What is your name, human?”
“I don’t have one.” She murmured. She did, of course, it was Hilary, but that wasn’t her name anymore. She reached up and petted his face, just as he had petted her. He looked at her, his eyes seeming to glow orange.
“I need no comfort, human.”
“Would you stop calling me that?” She said, irritated.
He blinked at her in surprise. “You dare get snippy with me? When I saved you from my meadow?”
“Your meadow nearly killed me!” She hollered, earning herself a headache. She groaned, and he petted her head once more. “Make it stop.” Her words were barely audible. He gave no indication he heard her as his wings continued to beat.
Wings. She reached out to touch them. “No! We will fall.” Lies, she thought, yet she continued to reach. He landed just as her fingers skimmed them. He groaned, his head falling back. “Again.” he said, hoarsely. This time she was about to placed her whole hand on his wing. He seemed to shake himself, and backed up. “Enough. Let’s go, human.”
“I told you to stop calling me that.” she snipped.
“Propose something else to call you then.” She thought as he began to walk at a brisk pace.
She had to jog to keep up with him. “Well, seeing as you found me in a meadow, why don’t you call me Meadow? I would very much like to be called that. It sounds nice.” He gripped her jaw, and turned her head.
Dozens of mushrooms, taller than three story houses stared at her. They were all different colors, red, yellow, pink, black, orange, white, purple. Spots decorated them as well as windows with drapes. Her eyes felt like they were bugging out of her skull. She stepped forward. “Wow. This is where you live?” He nodded, taking her arm and propelling her before him.
They past beautiful children following beautiful mothers and fathers. Was her mother among them? They all, except for the men, had long flowing hair and beautiful wings in array of colors and shapes. The women all wore dresses made from leaves or the skin of animals. The men wore shorts made of animal fur. The man leading her wouldn’t let her stop to talk to any of them.
She twisted her head all around. They were beautiful creatures; could these really be her mother’s people? The ones that disowned her because she was part human? Agony ripped through her. Could she live here if they were her people? They didn’t want her when she was young, why would they want her know?
She looked up at her savoir. He was handsome, she’d give him that, but he was stern. She stuck her tongue out at the back of his head and earned laughs from the younger ones.
A beautiful girl, looking about Meadow’s age, bounded forward, her pink wings fluttering. “Vince! You’ve returned…with a human?” The girl’s face scrunched up. Did they hate humans that much?
“Yes, Freya. I found her in the meadow, passed out. I brought her here to help her.” Then, in a different language he spoke to the girl. She spoke back and they began to converse. Meadow looked around and whistled at a girl that had purple eyes like her own.
“Come here.” She said when the girl looked. The girl came forward. “Hey, I’m Meadow.”
The girl nodded her bushel of raven hair bobbing. “I’m Se.”
“You’re very beautiful, you know. My mother said you would be.”
“Who is your mother, and how does she know of us?” the girl asked, her purple eyes darting.
“I was adopted, but my mother wrote me a note describing our people. I think she came from here. How many of you have purple eyes?” The girl shrugged.
“It’s a family trait. The male’s trait anyway.” Meadow frowned. “It doesn’t matter who the mother is, the father’s eyes color dominates all.”
“Do you think we could be related?” The girl shook her head.
Meadow was yanked forward before she could say she was only half. “Laters, Se! Can’t wait to talk to you again!” Vince yanked her again.
“Meadow, stop talking.” Meadow sulked for a moment before the two of them past a mother with a baby. She smiled, such a cute baby with silvery hair and greener than green eyes. Vince looked at back and saw the same sight. “Grandmother, did you find another babe to nurse while I was gone?” he asked, tenderly.
“Yes, I did. This poor thing was left at Freya’s doorstep. Freya can’t take care of a young one yet. She’s only seventeen.” Vince nodded in agreement. The women had copper colored hair, silvery eyes, laugh lines and blue wings that glowed. Meadow was mesmerized. “Who’s this?”
“Meadow. She’s my own ‘babe’ I’m nursing, and then she’s gone.” Meadow’s heart thundered. She can’t leave her people, ever. The foster-parents were cruel. “But I need to bring her back to my house. Goodbye, Grandmother.”
“Goodbye, Vince.” They parted ways and Vince resumed his brisk pace. Meadow stayed with him easily. Once they reached his spacious house, Vince threw Meadow inside.
“Sit, human.” Meadow refused. “Sit.”
“Not until you call me something other than human. You only use Meadow when addressing me to other people, and that isn’t polite.”
“Neither are you!” He hollered at her. She winced and skirted to the other side of the room. Realizing what he just did, Vince approached her. “I’m sorry, Meadow. I’m not use to responsibilities of others. Just myself. Forgive me?” he held out his hand. Meadow took it and he hauled her to his side. “Now, why were you in Deer Meadow?”
“I ran away.”
“Why is that?”
“My foster-parents suck. They shelter me. I also ran away so I could find my mother. She left me note.” Meadow began pulling out the note. When she unfolded it, Vince snatched it from her hands. “Hey!”
Darling, I know you don’t understand why I had to leave you with the humans but hopefully this letter will help you. At least a little. My people want nothing to do with you, but you’re my life. I never wanted to give you up, but I had to or they’re kill you, like they did your father.
You were born April 30, 1783, but my realm slows time, so you’d be only a few months old in human years when I brought you in on August 14, 1989. Trust me, I didn’t want to leave you with your father’s family, knowing how you’d feel among them, if you could ever forgive me…
You’re probably wondering how I met your father. Well, I had ran away because my mother told me that I had to be what she wanted me to be. I couldn’t stand that, so I left my realm to be myself. I walked into a diner and your father was there. He walked up to me, and asked me who I was and if I was a traveler passing through. I told I was passing through, trying to find myself. And I did. In him.
You will recognize my people if you ever wish to find me. They’re beautiful, more beautiful than models. They will take your breath away. I live among them. Sometimes, I wish you could be here with me. This letter, by time you get it, will be over two hundred years old, and you’re close to three when you’re foster-parents get it.
If you want to find me, wait until you are of legal human ago to leave your house, darling, please. I can leave no other clues but these to help you find me:
Run headlong into the forest on a rainy night.
Pass the first meadow you come to, and if you fall asleep it will be fine, someone will get to you.
I will find you in the place they call Tiger Spring
Don’t worry about what forest. I had specifically asked Leon and Shay to live there, for you, my baby.
Forgive me my darling. I’ve always wanted you but they never let me have you, because of your human father.
Vince handed the paper back. “This is Tiger Spring.”
“Really? No joke! Can I live with you until my mom finds me? Seeing as I don‘t know anyone else around here?”
“We don’t know how long it will take for her to find you.” Vince said, looking at her as she folded up the paper and putting back in her pocket.
Just as she was about to speak, Vince snatched her 60k. “Hey! That’s mine!”
“What is it?” He sniffed it, and turned it this way then that. Has he really never seen money before?
“Human money, Vince. I was going to use it if I couldn’t find my mother’s realm.” She snatched it back and stuffed in her pocket with the letter. “And I’d like it very much if you did not touch my stuff. You never answered my question.”
“And what question was that?” he asked, watching her and she watched him.
“Can I live with you until my mom finds me?” she asked, clearly irritated. “I wont be of much trouble, though I was sheltered, I can still cook and clean.” Not that his house needed cleaning. It was perfectly spotless.
He thought for an endless moment, “I guess.” he said. She smiled.
“Great! Where will I sleep? Won’t I need blankets and such? Oh! I can’t wait, but where do we bathe? I need clothes and some shampoo and soap.” Meadow trailed off as she saw Vince looking at her oddly. “What?”
“Do not.” He shook his head and walked into another room. When he came back, he had a towel and something that looked like a ball.
He held it out to her and said, “Soap.” Meadow took it. He scooped her up and began to fly. She didn’t say anything so it was quiet ride, and she didn’t mind, she needed time to think about what had happened in the last few hours. She thought of man carrying her and the people she met and saw on the way to his neat and orderly house. This would prove to be an interesting adventure.
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