The clouds coiled lazily throughout the sky, their thick and bulbous bodies trapping the sun behind their very girth as they moved over a clearing, the sun slowly disappearing, leaving behind the
statue of an angel. The angel, long ago hewn from some rock now unknown to man, stood in silent watch over the small clearing it had been erected in. Even as the sun began to disappear, small
snowflakes no bigger than shriveled peas began to float down into the clearing, their small, cold bodies lighting on the ground, surrounding trees, and the statue of the forlorn angel. The
snowflakes continued to fall, not too thickly nor too thinly, covering all about them in a perfect layer of purest white. The clouds, continuing their implacable advance, continued to thickly
and slowly stream about the sky, the light of the sun muted, save for a few fledgling rays that broke through and dimly lit certain parts of the forest. One beam fell on the lone statue of the
angel, its light illuminating the snowflakes with a soft intensity as a small bird flew through the trees and landed on the head of the angel. It stood perfectly still, that blue jay, as it
regarded the forest around it, it’s head cocked in examination and its tail fluidly bobbing up and down as he hopped about the head of the angel, though not stirring a single snowflake.
A boy, his head now covered in the soft powder from heaven, wandered through the forest, his ragged shoes and clothes grudgingly offering him just enough warmth to prevent him from dying in the
cold forest. He brushed a few flakes from his jacket, a dark green item with small holes and patch marks randomly decorating it, combined with the similar appearance of his dark grey pants and
black boots, he looked for all the world like any one of the millions of orphans throughout the war-torn world. He continued to brush off the snow, slightly stumbling around the roots and trees of
the forest, not really paying attention to where he was going and occasionally stumbling against several trees in his absent-minded state. His right foot, encased within the surprisingly warm,
though dilapidated boots, hooked under a root, and sent him flying forwards. He landed on the ground a few feet from where he had tripped, his body remaining prone as he huffed out a shallow
breath, sending small flakes of snow twisting and dancing wildly before his face. He put his hands beneath himself and slowly stood back up as he cursed softly, his voice slowly dissipating in the
air as surely as his warm breath did slowly vanish before his eyes. The sun, hidden up to that point, suddenly streamed out with a vengeance and struck the clearing, bathing that lone spot within
the forest with its warmth. He looked down at himself, starting to brush off the dirt that had mixed in with the snow, but then he just sighed, his breath misting before him as it had been for the
past few weeks. He turned around to see why the light was suddenly brighter in this part of the forest, having recognized the pointlessness of brushing off his already, dirty clothes. He was
standing at the edge of a clearing, the ground was completely covered with snow, and had not been disturbed since its fall. He turned back to the forest behind him, wondering how he had not seen
the clearing from the trees, and then turned back to the clearing, just in time to hear the faintest rustle. He looked about the clearing for the sign of an animal, but all he saw was the snow
and….a statue. The snowflakes around the head of the statue were gently floating from some disturbance, and were slowly falling, seeming to from a veil of floating white specks that danced about in
the light. The boy stood at the edge of the clearing, unable to avert his eyes from the figure of the angel.
“Wh-what is this…this statue?” he whispered to the trees and the snow.
He moved forward, the light playing about him as he slowly walked, though he did not notice it for the aura the angel seemed to possess in the light, each individual snowflake that adorned its
perfectly hewn body glowing softly in the warm brilliance of the sun. His steps, at first hesitant, became more purposeful as he neared the angel, but then he stopped as he saw that, what he had at
first thought to be a robe covering its body and forming the hood over its face, was actually composed of long, thin, intricately carved strips of cloth. So finely hewn were they that it seemed as
if the angel had been dipped in liquid stone and then set in the clearing to dry, forever destined to watch the clearing in which it now resided.
“What a sad, lonely angel, out here in this clearing in the middle of the forest.” The boy looked down at his hands, folding them together to help keep them warm. “Just like me.”
The boy reached a hand out and lightly touched the stone, but then he pulled it back abruptly with a look of shock on his face as he looked down at his hand. The stone had been faintly warm for
some reason, as if the heat was resonating from within, though it was not melting the snow, which puzzled him all the more. He slowly approached the statue again and laid his hand fully on its
surface, marveling at its inner warmth, and even running his hand over its surface a few times, dislodging some of the flakes that had somehow clung to the lateral surface. A slight breeze escaped
from the forest, surprisingly warmer than the rest of the cursed wind in the country that always threatened to freeze your bones with even the smallest gust. The boy looked to the side, his hand
falling slightly, and then turned back to regard the statue. His hand brushed the stone again, and, suddenly, the statue seemed to explode, or, rather, the stone seemed to fly off of the figure of
the angel, all at once the stone flew off, as if it had been shocked from the angels very body, flying off in all one layer and dissipating into a million tiny snowflakes that fell about the boy
and around the clearing. In place of the once dark stoned angel now stood a girl, her eyes closed and her chest rising and falling with deep breaths. Her eyes opened slowly, their chocolate colored
orbs locking on to the boy’s dark brown eyes, pinning him in place, freezing him to his very soul, and stopping his heart. Her eyes were like pools, infusing him with a necessity for life that he
had not known in all his years, even making him feel as if it had all been worth it; the trials and tests the world had put him through, even the inner wars he had been forced to fight with
himself. It was as if everything in his life that had happened to him had been for the sole purpose of bringing him to this lonely angel in the clearing.
His thoughts were nonexistent as he tried to say something. “Wh……how…….” His voice trailed off as she
smiled at him brightly, stopping his heart again. She shook herself slightly, her eyes sweeping around the clearing again as she backed away from him and stretched.
“Wow, I have been like that for ages!” She exclaimed with a soft laugh, her dark brown hair, cut in layers
and not much longer than the back of her neck, fell forward and curtained her face as she stretched towards the ground. The boy stared at her, his face a mixture of shock and extreme curiosity.
“How….but you’re a statue…” he mumbled, blinking his eyes rapidly a few times and rubbing the back of his
neck as he continued to regard her.
She whirled around and stared at him, her eyes flying wide, her mouth hanging slightly open. “Wh…y-you
released me?” her voice was barely more than a whisper, but, when spoken towards him, the boy could not help but feel calm for the first time in his life.
“I…only…uh…touched the statue…” He pointed stupidly at where she had been standing, encased in stone,
moments before, and then blinked again, bringing his gaze back to her face. “Well, I guess that I….touched you then….?”
She smiled softly to herself as her light brown wings unfurled and snapped out to her side with the sound
of a thousand stalks blowing in the wind. “Heh….well….bah…” her eyes snapped up from the ground and met his again, making the boy feek dizzy again as she studied him. “I can…see why it was you…” he
voice trailed off as she tilted her head back to regard the sky.
“Uhm…you can?” The boy was still looking at her with awe as she smiled at him, making his knees go weak.
“Yes.” She looked around the clearing again, and then let her eyes fall on the boy one more time, taking
in his appearance. The wind-blown and snow-covered dark brown hair, the puzzled expression, the ragged clothes, and the way the light played about his figure. She smiled to herself again as she
slowly approached him.
“Who….who are you?” The boy was looking at her nervously now, though he did not feel frightened, only
“I could ask you the same thing.”
The boy continues to stare at her, making her feel a little giddy. “I’m….my name is…Maen.”
“Maen” she repeated softly, liking every second it took her to pronounce his name. “My name is Caera. It
is very nice to meet you Maen.” She stopped walking a foot from him, her eyes penetrating his as she held out her hand. “How are you doing?”
“I’m….good?” He shook her hand sheepishly but firmly, his eyes averted to the ground. “You’re shy, aren’t
He looked back up into her eyes. “Nah, just in front of you.”
She laughed at that, a joyously rich sound that made the boy blush, causing her to smile more. “Well Maen,
what are you doing here?”
He thought back to when he fell into the clearing, “I wondered in here on accident.”
“Haha, it looks like that.”
Maen laughed, a low sound that had Caera’s eyes dancing in amusement. He was starting to feel more
comfortable around her.” So, why were you a…statue?” His eyes were still slightly large in awe.
“I…well…I’ll tell you some other time.”
“Some other time?” Maen looked confused.
“Yeah, let’s just get out of here for now. This clearing served its purpose, but, now I can serve mine.”
She flashed a smile at him and laid a hand on his arm as she went to move past him.
He grabbed her arm, gently but firmly. “May I come with you?” He felt his mental clarity returning
with each passing second as he grew used to her splendor and realized that he really did not want to be alone in this forest anymore, contrary to what he had thought before when he had tried to
leave the war behind.
“It would be my distinct pleasure.” She took his hand, making him blush a fiery crimson, and then led him
to the edge of the trees, facing the opposite way from which he had first entered the clearing. “Which way do you want to go?”
Maen smiled nervously when she looked at him, though his eyes sparkled with resolve. “Let’s take the most
forgotten trail in this world, and see where we end up from there.” He met her gaze, a smile on his face, his hand in hers.
She laughed, tilting her head slightly to the side. “Ahhh, yes, let’s do that.”
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