She asked turning back as she noticed the lack of footfalls behind her.
"Do not be sad," She said softly, her eyes changed to a tender gaze as they fell on his smaller form.
I want to see it all again, I want to lie in the sweet grass and feel the crickets chirp lightly above my body. I want clear water from the spring to wash over me, blessedly cool.
"And so you will, my Brother," She replied, reaching for his empty hand and leading him on.
"Come," She said excitedly, "Let us arise a warrior spirit from underneath the snow."
At that she sunk to her knees beneath the leaf-bare oak and then fell back with her arms outstretched playfully, letting the white fluff break away into two large wing shapes, head to leg. The sticks she held tossed carelessly aside for the task at hand. He did it as well, and they laughed together. As a quiet exhaustion overcame them she crawled over to him and lay her head lazily to his warm, rosy cheek. He smiled when he felt her eyelashes give him the tickles as they brushed against him. Rebecca sighed in girlish contentment.
They were trampling through the snow on this a lazy winter morn, gathering small bits of firewood for the day as they often did for early chores. He would walk behind as she lead the animate, lively troop through her favorite path bordering the frozen lake, where the tree branches swoop down to greet them, kissing their snow laden foreheads. The high white drifts sparkled and shined in the weak sunlight. When they were alone these times were magical to him, precious, free. Rebecca would sing her songs that flowed from her so naturally, notes he had never before heard in church, whereas that was the only music that could be heard throughout the valleys. It seemed the angelic music flowed from her as if by way of some lovely goddess. He dreamed about her voice at night, and she often spoke to him both then and in waking moments. But not in the way others did, for rather than speech they spoke to each others minds. He knew when she wanted to tell him something, or wanted a little trinket maybe, which he always found. Ripe blackberries, or a shiny berlie stone from the deep blue lake, or once some flyaway red silken ribbon that was spotted from a sparrow's nest.
She was always scented differently it seemed to him, last week it was a strawberry odor, though he didn't know how that could have been since they weren't near in gathering season. As he struggled through the knee-high drifts behind her he could catch a pumpkin scent from last fall's harvest about her. He stopped short on the trail and closed his big, blue eyes for a deep inhale. She felt like summer, like sunshine, like warmth and happiness. Yes, like green, and fields of golden, waving grain, and Ma's smile.
You couldn't see it at first but if you took a second look, out the coner of your eye, you might catch a fleeting glimsp, that locked away inside these young souls were hearts thousands of years old. And they were pretty together, everyone agreed, but the strangers and friends looked at the little girl mostly. Such a vibrant and pretty little thing, with her pale skin, and merry green eyes. Like within a painting, these bright colors of brush strokes. She would dance and sing for the guests, asking her sweet, innocent questions. He wanted to laugh, but they pulled too tightly when he used to do it. His sister could do it for him now, as he was lonely and thoughtful in his never-ending silence. Like a story book he thought. The never-ending story of how things came to be in their tiny lives.
"Brother, we must head home, for the sun is nearly over the hill."
She sighed again, and thrust herself upwards. He watched her face as she stared down at him with raised eyebrows.
I like it here. Let us stay.
"Not but a short while," She replied relaxing back onto his chest. "No need to catch winter death."
He snorted pleasantly.
You sound like Ma.
She erupted in silent giggles, hands over her mouth, trying to keep it in. Then sat up once more, quite recovered from her outburst, eyes serious with sudden knowing washed over her pale face.
No, not yet.
"But we must, it's time..."
The pause was long and finally he conceeded.
Then we will do it.
He sighed, for all his troublesome bindings, he was content in his private, silent universe with only Rebecca and the forest and the animals. Sometimes he felt as if he almost heard the birds were talking to him, the trees, the sky and waters. He didn't like the world of conversation, of tiresome adults and serious faces. He possessed no expression but the unchanging one, of which he could not alter no matter how long he stood in front of Ma's looking glass and flexed his facial muscles. He could recall the day he was sick and stayed back at the cabin, freed from his duties. He remembered the looks of horror as they came home from the chapel service and saw his lips, bleeding and swollen from such ugly strain. Pa had fallen to his knees, and Ma ran back outside screaming, hands to mouth. Rebecca had walked to him, her hand on his shoulder, and leaned down to his level on the mat by the fire.
"You're beautiful, my little Kell." She said. Then did the strangest thing. She lent in and kissed them ever so softly. Her cherry lips sweet and childish, her face relaxed and lovely. She then her arms around his neck in a tight embrace and rose to hurry out and comfort Ma. Rebecca had a strength held within her breast, and Ma had soon come to accept what Kell had done with the little daughter's soft coaxing.
He wouldn't let any of them touch him, for he screeched out like a caged animal when they came close. She was the only one he would walk hand in hand with, to keep them warm. To make her dreams turn into magic. They held hands now as they retraced thier steps through the darkening wood, each clutching burdensome armfuls of wood sticks under one arm.
He closed his eyes, he didn't want this but he would do it for her. He was 10 moons old now, and she was right. It was time. He could feel the cold metal grace his left side of his mutilated lips. He could feel his mouth opening slightly to allow it's entrance more easily. The shears had closed. The shreds snapping one by one as his jaw opened slowly. Once, twice a snip. And no more. Little tugs here and there could be felt, as the spidery veins of leather were carefully plucked out of his flesh. It didn't even hurt as they had long ago healed, but his jaw was weak in the absence of such delayed use. She wasn't talking as she worked, but she felt what he was thinking. He wanted them back more then anything, he wanted to remain who he was. He wanted the woods, and her singing, and her scent. He wanted the sun.
"Will now you speak, my Kell?" She asked inquisitively to his still face. His blue eyes remained closed.
I don't wish to. I never wish to.
"Then you shalln't." She decided with a sudden humph of conviction. And deciding he truly was beautiful she looked full on him, wondering if he was a warrior spirit.
I think not Rebecca.
She grinned, surprised at his protest. Kell smiled too, the holes gaping and reddened and ugly.
"Sleep now, I'll keep watch over you." She brushed his hair with her hand, and started to hum a lullaby.
He sank into her sentry, joyous behind those sky blue, closed eyes.
She leaned forward to brush her lips to his darkened eyelashes.
"You're perfect now, my little Kell."
And she sang her sweet melody.
And they laughed forever.
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