I push open the door. On any other day, the windows would be open, gauzy curtains flapping in a light breeze. The scent of baking and flowers would tickle my nose, make my stomach growl.
There is nothing today. The windows are shut tight, the house in a shambles. At the best of times it was cluttered, but each thing had a place. This is a disaster. Whatever happened involved violence and struggle.
Mother Nature was gone, and no one knew where she was.
A humorless smirk pulls at my mouth. The irony of sending Death to find Mother Nature is not lost on me. They seem to think I can find her faster. But it isn’t going to work that way.
I wonder if this is a sham, a play. If she finally got tired of being locked in her little house, a prison with gilded bars. She is not stupid. She remembers what it was like to be free to do as she pleased.
If she decided to leave, no little lock and charm would keep her.
Georgina Westerly, the West Wind, had also been missing a few days. There was no coincidence there.
I leaned against the doorframe to the living room, spotting a silver coin, and my breath hitched. I knew if I touched it, he would be there.
I sighed, smiled. Knew it for the gift it was. I leaned down, my fingers closing over the metal. It was warm to the touch. Blood heat.
Closing my eyes I allowed the magic to move over me, engulf me. Making me less and more.
“Thank you.” I said, the words a whisper. I opened my eyes, felt blood pulse in my veins and my magic and responsibilities slip away like a heavy cloak.
Ethan stood next to me, smiling, whole.
As we walked out, hand in hand, I fancied I felt a breeze from the west ruffle my hair, scented with flowers and cookies.
** This week is inspired both by this picture and by a MUSE from over a year ago. Here's the original MUSE snippet:
It's All in the Details
The first sign things wouldn't go well was Georgina Westerly’s bicycle propped up against the garden shed. She’d made it to Leota’s before me. Freakin' A.
I pushed the old gate open and picked my way through huge tufts of sunny black-eyed susans. All the flowers turned, watched me as if I were the criminal. I stuck my tongue out and forced myself to tread lightly on the chunks of flagstone that marched through the overgrown beds to the back door. Hardly anyone used the front door.
Those that did, didn’t leave standing up.
Nerves fluttered in my gut, surprising me. It had been a long time since I'd felt that sensation. I’d done what she asked. Everything. Even things that made my heart feel like it would never beat again. Today was proof of that, no matter what that harridan told her.
I lifted the pin from the lock on the door and entered, flipping a tiny ball of magic behind me to replace it. People never needed help getting in. It was the getting out that was tricky. A children’s poem about spiders and flies flittered through my mind, but I pushed it aside. I would win in the end. You can’t argue with the inevitable.
Rounding a corner, I could see Leota, a large green mumu draped over her ponderous form, sipping tea from a delicate china tea cup. Georgina sat across from her, a thin beanpole next to Leota, her flapping jowls puffed out as she spewed her version of the truth. You never knew Georgina would blow hot or cold. Today was probably cold. After all, she feared and despised me. And she enjoyed ratting on me to Leota.
I rested a hip against the doorframe, crossing my arms. “Why hello ladies. How lovely to see you here, Georgina.”
Her face paled, and she exhaled loudly. The shutters outside the window flapped against the siding at the sudden gust.
“Dana. I’ve just been telling Leota about your escapades this morning. Did you think I wouldn’t see?” she said.
I raised an eyebrow and inspected my fingernail. “Did you think I’d care?”
Leota rose from the table. Her palm smacked the lace-covered top and thunder rumbled over head. “Stop it. I sent you on a simple mission, Dana. Georgina tells me you didn’t do as I asked.”
I pushed away from the doorframe and frowned. “You’re Mother Nature, Leota. I’m Death. We all do as we’re told. It’s the methods that differ. What the West Windbag over there thinks she sees isn’t my affair. I took care of the creature. That’s all you asked me to do.”
Tears rose in Leota’s mad eyes. “I didn’t ask you to kill him, Dana.”
I sighed. “You asked me to get him, Leota. I’m Death. I can’t get someone who isn’t dead. You, better than anyone, should know that no one can go against their nature.”
Georgina hissed a curse. I flipped a hand at her and then reached into my pocket, pulling out a small silver disc. Pursing my lips, I blew the pocket lint off the metal and it dissolved in my breath, a familiar form taking shape in wispy, white hues. I closed my eyes, tracing his form in my mind without the aid of sight.
I loved him. But he'd never really been mine, even in death. Leota wanted him, and what Mother Nature wants, she gets.
I turned, leaving the women with my love. The room was fuzzy from the tears in my eyes. Everyone always forgets one thing: I’m Death. I take souls to their final resting place, give people peace and introduce them to eternity.
But who will take mine?
Hope you enjoyed it. Totally turned out different than what I started with, but I liked it!