Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Promise of Snow, part 4

She tossed to the left, and the bark from the tree she slept beneath scraped her skin. She twisted right, straining to find a comfortable spot. Everything seemed to sting or burn or stick. Feverish dreams raced through her brain, difficult to comprehend and impossible to ignore. It did not take more than one night of this to realize that something was wrong with her body, more wrong than just her presence in this world. She felt it in the way the lines of the trees seemed to blur and sway even as she stood still. She felt it in the increasing waves of heat flooding through her, even more unwelcome than the heavy heat of the air. When she woke from sleep, her mouth too dry to swallow and her eyes refusing to focus, she knew she needed help.

She had avoided contact with the humans, preferring to prowl rather than interact. As far as she knew, the man Tomas was the only human who had even seen her. She did not relish the idea of entering the village and finally becoming known to the humans, but even less did she want to die alone, here in this miserable world. So she staggered the short path from the lake to the tiny village, swaying as the colors and sounds seemed to grow brighter, then fade, then swell again.

She'd never followed the dirt path to where it led between the houses of the village, where the rays of sunshine filtered down through the leaves of the jungle and left the forest clearing dappled in sunshine. She felt exposed and vulnerable. Eyes seemed to follow her every step. 

A wave of dizziness swept over her, pushing her forward. She knew which house was his from watching the people--there was no need to ask for direction. She also knew the proper greeting, and once she was near his doorway, she clapped. "Tomas?" she called, her voice sounding tinny in her ears.

Immediately he appeared on the doorstep. In one quick look, he assessed her state. He swept forward and picked her up, not bothering to ask permission. The action was none too soon; she'd begun to sway. The lights of the sun dimmed as he brought her inside, but it seemed to dim more than it should have, and it was becoming foggy and patched with black. Strange, she thought, before she could think no more.

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