I swing once more for good measure, before letting go of the branch between my fingers, I swing to the ground. Landing perfectly, without so much as a stumble.
“And she sticks the landing!” I dip into an exaggerated bow, to my imaginary audience.
“Thank you-thank you, you’re too kind.”
Silence fills my ears, only off set by the faint sounds of wild life, scurrying about out of view.
Stifling a sigh, I flop to the ground, legs folded beneath me.
“Well this is depressing.” I groan, falling onto my back, into the lush undergrowth of the large Oak tree.
The moss tickles the back of my neck, and floods my nose with the scent of stale molded, musk.
Laying completely still, I listen and feel.
The ground sings to me, humming its vibrations into my bones.
It’s old magic dancing with my own.
My only friend, Haygarth, if she could be called a friend. Told me of my origins, and my birth right, when I was still wet behind the ears.
A wican, heart forged from Gia her self, nature fuels my power. One passed to me by my birth mother.
She had given me to Haygarth, for reasons I do not know, and likely never will. But whatever her motivation may have been, I wish she would have stayed with me.
Haygarth never hurt me, although I always had the nagging suspicion that she was physically unable to.
My suspicions were confirmed when I turned thirteen.
On the eve of my birthday, something shifted within Haygarth.
She’d loomed over me, when she thought me asleep.
Her clawed hands reaching for me, murderous intent rolled off of her in palpable waves.
One razor sharp finger tip grazed my cheek, drawing a few drops of blood.
Haygarth sucked in a sharp breath, sounding more like a hiss than anything else.
“Damned child, blasted curse, foolish wican.” She grumbled, backing away from me.
“I know you are awake, child.” Her voice had rattled, sounding as if phlegm blocked her air way.
“By right, your life is owed to me. You are no longer a babe. Grown past the age that protects you from my curse. Your blood should already be spilt. But I have softened, in my centuries, and I find the idea of your flesh tearing beneath my claws.... off putting.”
Unsure of what to do or say, I remained still as death, and waited for her to fade into the shadows, as she often did.
I hadn’t fooled myself into thinking that Haygarth loved me, regardless of her raising me. But the slap of reality that night, fueled many, many, restless ones to come.
Along with some uncomfortable questions.
Did my mother love me?
Would she have looked at me with such ire at being unable to take my life?
I hoped not.
Not that I would ever know.
I spring into an upright position, my bare legs sprawled in front of me.
Haygarth stood mere feet away.
Her hunched, skeletal form, draped in smoke and shadows, swayed like a cattail in the breeze. Giving me the impression of a snake, ready to strike.
“Good morning, It’s so lovely of you to visit.” I clasp my hands together, in my lap.
Haygarth doesn’t scare me, not anymore. But her presence is unsettling to say the least.
Seeming agitated, she scratched at her stringy, frizzed, white hair, that stuck out in all directions, resembling a nest of some sort.
“Lies don’t suit us, wouldn’t you agree?” Her green eyes flash, her skin taking on a transparency that only happens when someone crosses her hollow.
But that can’t be right.
Haygarth doesn’t allow intruders.
“Don’t be like that, we’ve had some good times, you and I. When you aren’t fantasizing about my death, that is.” I wink, standing to my feet and brushing off the clinging debris, from my bare legs.
I am naked, as the day I was born, and as I have been ever since. My long black hair, drags the ground as I step closer to Haygarth.
“You have grown well past the age to Safely, speak to me so brazen.” She warns, ice coating her words.
“Ok ok, yeesh.” I retreat, hands up in surrender.
“Why are you here then? if I might ask.”
“I thought that I might owe you a kindness.” Her face fills with what can only be described as elated... relief?
“A kindness?” I ask, retreating. Something in her tone, held a deadly warning.
“Yes, little devil. A kindness.” She quirks her thin lips into a sinister grin.
“And what would that be?” My heart begins to pick up its pace, as I reach for Mother Natures gifts. Reading myself to defend against the only guardian I’d ever known.
“A head start. Although, you’ve wasted most of it with this idle chatter.”
My blood runs cold.
“What am I getting ahead of?”
“Not what, who. A hunter to be precise.” Her grin deepens. Seeming to suck the light out of her surroundings, with her ghastly aura.
My eyes stretch so wide, I feel they might tear at the corners.
“A hunter!? But no one enters your hollow.” I argue.
“Unless I allow them.” Her smile falls. Eyes narrowing to slits, she fixes me with her glare.
“I may be too soft to get rid of you myself. But this hunter can and will, take care of that for me. It’s high time that I return to my solitude. And your presence is taxing.”
Pain stabs though my chest at her admission.
Though I am not surprised.
She is a cursed spirit, an evil one at that.
I should not have expected anything different from her.
“Ah, he’s arrived. It would seem that your tongue has finally brought you to your fate, time wasting muscle as it is.” She almost sang in delight.
How could you? I wanted to say. But I knew how, and why. I would just be wasting more of my time dallying with this matter.
Time, it would seem, was not on my side.
Just as Haygarth finishes speaking, she blinks out of existence, disappearing into the shadows.
In her place stands another person.
The first person I’d even seen, aside from my reflection.
They are tall, much taller than me.
Their shoulders stretch wide, and muscular, matching the rest of their physique.
Deep brown eyes, the color of bark and honey, with flecks of amber throughout, pin me to my place.
Sandy brown curls, lay softly against their tanned forehead. Framing their chiseled face, and full lips.
They are beautiful.
And to my shocked realization.
So wrapped in my inspection of the very person I should be running for my life from, I miss that he is returning the favor.
Taking in all my features, his eyes linger on my breasts.
Never demanding my attention before, I am startled as my small mounds begin to ache, their peaks, hardening painfully.
And then his gaze travels to the juncture between my legs.
And my breath catches in my throat.
I watch the lump protruding from his throat, bob spastically.
And then my eyes drop as well.
Oh my Gia.
What the hell is that!?
He seems to notice at the same time as me. For his eyes go wide with shock.
“What the hell?” He mirrors my words. Eyes locked on the massive bulge, growing between his legs.
His hand shoots to whatever is in his pants, gripping it roughly. He lets out a strangled, awe struck, groan.
Fear laces within my spine.
I don’t know what he has.
But I don’t want anything to do with it.
The look on his face as his eyes slowly travel to mine. Tells me, he might have other plans.
Without a second thought, I call forth my power. Reigning in the roots beneath my feet, I pull them to the surface with a flick of my wrist. And propel them towards the man, with the scary stick in his pants.
To my absolute horror, they fall harmlessly, at his feet, not even coming close to touching him.
I try again, this time pulling water from the dew on near by leaves. I shoot them at him one after the other, as crystalline projectiles.
They fizz and pop out of existence, mere inches from his face.
He smiles, and I’m horrified at the sudden, unfamiliar heat that pools in my middle at the sight.
Why does the first man I ever meet, have to be so beautiful, and intent on harming me.
I glance over my shoulder, planning my escape.
“Don’t-” he begins.
But I’m already off, sprinting through the foliage at neck breaking speed.
“Damnit, they always run.” I hear his curse, just before heavy foot falls pursue me.
I pick up my pace, even though my instincts tell me it’s a futile effort.
I can’t let this beast catch me.
And I certainly don’t want to know what he has hidden behind his zipper.
Gia, help me.