In White Gardens

GreaterRealms

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Two years ago:


Sunlight bright as white silk flooded the bed of greenery at her bare feet. Her feet were just as freckled as her hands and face, pale enough that against the dark, rich brown soil they looked like statue’s feet. Everything for a moment was so bright that all she could see were the few leaves of some plant tickling ankles; the love-sighs of long grass swaying in smallest of breeze played with auburn strands. Spring and summer filled her nose, a scent better felt than described; honey, sunshine, fresh cut grass, rain in the dirt and daisies.


“Ah. You made it.”


Ran turned, found herself looking directly into the sun. Lifting her right hand in shade-salute to keep the brightness out of eyes and peer toward a figure ablaze in the sun. The great ball of brightness bled happy summer behind a tall, reedy form leaving face as well as most of his front in total shadow.


Ran felt her eye brows drawing well before the question came from her lips. “How--?” Birds twittered, chirped and sang to each other cheerfully all around them. She dropped her hand from shielding the sun, dropping both palms to the distant ache in her belly and back.


“Oh, that.” The man’s voice seemed as cheerful and piping as the birds about him but it did not have the true ring of youth.


“I am sorry about that, Ran. I could not let you go, I am afraid that there is need for you still.”


No matter how she squinted, she could not see him. Though the silhouette offered an arm and the hand was age-spotted, wrinkled with blue-spider veins of the old and enveloped in a long sleeve.


“It has been a long time, Little One. Welcome home.”


Ran reached for the hand just as the ground beneath her feet rose up to greet her.
 
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