Today is one of those days… You know the ones. The days when you just can’t focus, and no matter how long you stare at the screen or page, nothing wants to make itself known. I’ve had this blog post open and blank on my computer for 11 hours. No word of a lie, it’s been 11 hours and I have written nothing. Nothing I want to write seems quite right to post. So I’ve been putting it off all day, working on other things, cooking, planning projects that have nothing to do with writing. And still, nothing is sparking in my mind.
This is what I came up with. It’s just the first part of the story, and I’m not sure if the rest is getting posted tomorrow or at all, at least until I’m done with the entire thing. I may wait until it’s actually done so I can post it all at once. It’s going to be several thousand words once it’s done, and I’d rather not dump that much on you all at once during this writing challenge when I’m posting so often.
This is something that may or may not end up in the novel series I’m writing, but it’s not pertinent to the main story. It won’t give anything away, at least it shouldn’t. I’m out for the night, hopefully to actually get some sleep tonight.
There was a sound behind him, and he whipped himself around quickly to find a small girl walking through the forest. Her dress was torn, her hair a mess, and tears stained her cheeks.
He remained still, trying not to scare her, watching to make sure it was safe to approach her. This country was strange to him, and he had been fighting in war for so long he thought she may only be a hallucination conjured up by his exhausted mind.
She tripped over something he didn’t see and fell to the ground, then remained there crying harder. Standing from where he had been perched, he made his way over to her cautiously, trying desperately to hide his strange features quickly enough so that she did not see what he truly looked like.
Before he could hide everything, she looked up, obviously startled. He cursed himself for not being quieter, bracing himself for the screams that were inevitable.
When she didn’t scream, he waited in silence, not moving for fear of startling her. Her eyes were fixed on him, the wide blue and green orbs framed by the dark locks that stuck to her wet face. She showed no signs of fear, though. The teary eyes staring at him seemed more in awe than anything else.
Pushing herself up so that she could see him better, she wiped the hair from her face, her eyes still locked on him.
Taking a deep breath, he hid everything from view, pulling his wings and horns back into himself the way he had taught himself a long time ago.
The gasp from her was audible, and she lifted her hand as if to reach out for him. It was almost as if she were mesmerized by him, and he wondered briefly if that was even possible.
Deciding her safety was more important than her possible fear, he kept walking slowly, getting closer to her. She didn’t back away or try to leave. There was no shriek. Instead, she got to her feet and met him halfway.
This simple action made him even more cautious. It was not normal for any human to approach him willingly when he looked the way he did, much less a small child.
“Sweetheart,” he said quietly as she reached out to touch his bare stomach, “Are you lost?”
“No,” she answered, walking behind him and touching his back with her hands, the little fingers exploring the muscles, then the long scar that ran the length of his spine.
“Do you need help?”
She came back to stand in front of him, looking up and making eye contact confidently.
“Where did they go? You had wings only a moment ago, did you not?”
He was startled at how well she spoke for someone who looked so young.
“I hid them so I wouldn’t scare you, child.”
“They didn’t scare me. They were pretty. Can you show me?” Her gaze didn’t break from his, and he could tell she was serious. She seemed so curious that he was not sure whether it would be a good idea or if maybe it would scare her if she saw them up close and realized how real they were.
Taking a deep breath, he let them out again, allowing his horns to come back as well.
She ran around to his back again, and he felt her touching the leathery webbing between the long bony fingers of his wings, then touching the fingers themselves. A small giggle sounded, but he remained still. She had noticed his tail, grabbing it in her tiny hands and running one of her hands down the length of it as if to test if it was real or not.
Keeping a hand wrapped around the end of his tail, she came back to stand before him.
“You are so beautiful,” she said, smiling up at him, her cheeks now dry.
“Thank you, little one.”
“My name is Sara. You can call me that. What can I call you?”
“My name is Julian,” he answered, realizing he had given her his real name, but then thinking it didn’t matter with one so young, anyway.
“What are you?”
“I am a Guardian.”
“Are you my Guardian angel?” she asked in awe, her mouth gaping as she stared up at him wide-eyed once more.
“For the moment, yes. So tell me, little sweet, can I help you with anything?”
She huffed dramatically before crossing her arms and scowling at the ground. He knew he had touched a nerve, but waited for an answer. If nothing else, he could get the answers he needed in order to help her just with a simple touch. Any contact would do, and she was still holding his tail.