Wow, this place gets dusty quick. Gone for barely two months, and I can write my name in the top of the dresser.
Not sure what the following portends. The title–at least, the title when it appears by itself like this–should give away my worst fears.
In her dreams, she could fly.
Up through the roof of their small house, and then higher, the village below her. Over the forest, and the mountains to the east. It’s cold enough for the snow and ice to drape the peaks, even here in summer, but she feels none of it through her thin nightgown. And then, though she’s never left the village, never listened to the stories about what might lie on the other side of the mountain, she soars over them, and down the steep slopes to the sea stretching away beyond.
Here she drops down, until she’s barely above the waves, feeling the salt spray on her face, tasting it. And she goes faster, further than she ever thought possible. And They come, and They speak to her.
They tell her that someday, men will come to her village, Fighting Men with Swords, and she will have to leave the village with only her sister and one other. They don’t tell her anything about the other. And though They also don’t tell her anything about what will happen to her parents and brothers, she’s old enough to put Fighting Men with Swords together with her and her sister alone, she knows they will die.
Lying in her bed, asleep, tears come, though she does not wake.
In her dream, They tell her—as They do every time They come to her dreams—that when the Fighting Men with Swords come, and she and her sister and the third leave the village, she must find Them. Everything depends on this, not just for her and her sister, but for everyone in the world. They will be waiting, and if she is strong enough, and believes enough, and trusts enough, she will find Them.
They don’t tell her what will happen after that.
When she wakes in the morning, the sun not yet up but its silvery light creeping in and around her home, the dream stays with her. That’s how she knows it’s real; all her other dreams fade quickly, unraveling until all that’s left are disconnected bits and pieces that mean nothing, and are washed away with the shock of cold water on her face as she washes up before going downstairs to help her momma and sister make breakfast for her daddy and brothers before getting started with the day’s chores.
But the dreams where she’s flying, and They come…those stay, whole and a new part of her. She’d tried to tell her sister about them once, but couldn’t find the words. They all thought she was different anyway, broken maybe, Not-All-There, and half-hearted mumblings about flying and the Sea and Them just added to what they thought they already knew.
But every night, as she lay herself down to sleep, she hoped that they would come again.
And every morning, when she woke and the dreams stayed, and thus were real, before she crawled out of bed, she prayed to Them that what they had told her, what she knew was true and would someday happen, wouldn’t happen that day. That she could have at least one more day with her family, safe in her home, with chores and meals, her brothers’ teasing, the feel of her father’s rough beard…
That fall, just after her ninth birthday, as the harvest was ending and the air was turning from chill to cold, the Fighting Men with Swords finally came. And it all began to happen, just as They had said it would.