I sweep the frost from the path, whisking it away, just as my lady always asked of me when winter came. Some small part of me asks why I bother, when it will only build up again, with no feet to wander it but my own, and that of my broom.
It’s a curse that brought this everlasting winter on the castle of my birth. A curse, and love. Though what the difference is these days, I’m only half sure I remember.
With the grounds cleared, I gather my courage, to walk among statues.
I lean over in bed and tug on the curtains to see if the rain has stopped. No such luck. It’s still dark out there. The sky is a sickly kind of grey. It’s been drizzling for hours and the late morning is starting to look more like dusk.
Each time I check I’m more convinced I should stay in my pajamas and pull the blankets back over my head. But that would just mean dragging myself out later, and the prospect of being in a grocery store crawling with people I might know… well that’s even less appealing than the rain.
If I’m gonna go, I have to go now. If I don’t, it’s another night of Ramen Noodles, and I’m not sure my body isn’t already morphing into a pillar of salt.
Moisture is everywhere so I don’t even try and tame the frizzy mop of hair on my head. Ponytail it is. A yoga pants and hoodie kind of morning, all dreary and gross outside. Pretty much how I’ve felt all week.
The street was littered and unkempt, and my heart thundered as walked down it quickly, my eyes darting back and forth, taking note of every face.
It took me a moment to spot him, a wiry man with curly dark hair in a threadbare brown jacket, patched at the elbows. There in his buttonhole was the blue paper flower that marked his profession. He wasn’t my usual—my usual was captured, or killed maybe, by now, though I pushed the thought away. I hated going up to strangers. No one liked it nowadays. But there was no choice in it for me today.
As I got nearer the man, I made the sign that I wanted to make a transaction—I took my hat off and rolled it in my hands. I only ever wore a hat to take it off as a symbol.
The man crossed my path, casually. “So, you’re a new one, are you?”
Surprise! Bet you weren’t expecting to see me yet again this week. While my other creative half Lisa is enjoying the breath-taking Rocky Mountains, I figured I’d fill in with something a little different. I don’t claim to be a poet, but sometimes, there’s something to be said that cannot quite be said within the structure of a story.
Either way, we love that you come to visit us here at Tales From the Hollow Tree, and we hope you continue to swing by. We really love the company. ❤
Everything about him was the same. From the sharp, arrogant angles of his jaw to the pitch black of his hair. He stood with the same rigid tension, the same restless frustration. An animal, caged in, waiting to be released.
He hadn’t let it consume him. Yet. But it would. The imperfections of a man he used to be would creep to the surface until he became the same controlling, cold, difficult leader Syr was. The man they both used to be, some distant lifetime ago.
Still, looking at him, she found it hard to believe it. Standing right there, just a few feet away, was the man she’d loved, all over again.
Welcome to The Hollow Tree! This is the free read fiction journal of Lisa Asanuma and Isabelle Santiago. Every other Friday we’re producing a new piece of short fiction somewhere in the YA fantasy genre, for you to enjoy for free!
All books herein reviewed have been purchased or borrowed from a public library unless stated otherwise. There is no compensation for these reviews. They are simply meant to provide informative entertainment options.