Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chapter I (cont.)

Alana found a boulder and sat for a while taking in the cool refreshing river. And she thought. And then she wondered.

After some time had passed. Alana stood up determined to finish her walk through the orchard. It was still warm and the breeze had died down. She found her path and continued north. She had always taken this path and was determined to reach the end. As she walked she suddenly realized that there was no sweet fragrance of apple blossoms or lavender and the ground felt dry. She looked about and found the trees laden with ripe deep red apples and the grass had turned brown and it felt like straw beneath her bare feet.

How could this be? She had not spent a season by the river. She had only left her room for this walk only a few hours ago. A chill ran down her spine. Was this fear? "I have never been afraid in my own orchard," she said aloud.

The chill in her spin radiated to her arms and her legs. She held her arms close to her body. The sky grew dark and then tiny drops sprinkled down upon her face when she looked upward. The sky was dark gray with patches of white. The chill in the air grew steadily colder and Alana shivered. The rain became icy and it stung her fair skin. Confused, Alana looked around to see that the orchard was barren. Not one leaf or bud - just black branches and trunks wet from the rain.

Snow began to swirl around her like a wild dervish. The finger tipped branches of the apple trees stretched out to catch her hair, now drenched from the snow. The dark red strands against her skin looked like blood streaming down her face.

The wind howled through the orchard like the pained cries of a wolf lapping up the cracked brown abandoned leaves that covered the orchard floor. The long folds of Alana's skirt clung tightly to her damp legs almost restraining her and preventing her from moving forward. She pushed; determined to reach her destination.

Logically she knew this was absurd - why fight against the elements because of will. Any right thinking person would have turned back to seek refuge and shelter from the storm. She must be crazy; she thought to herself. That could explain her determination to press forward and finish her journey.

Alana struggled through the snowy drifts and could see that she was near the opposite side of the orchard. it seemed that the sky was lighter ahead. With each step closer her spirits began to lighten. She saw Sebastian at the other end prancing across the path.

Three more steps and she would be at the end. Two steps - the air moved warmly across her face and arms. One step - lavender and apple blossoms filled the stale crisp air with renewing and soothing fragrances.

Alana's bare feet felt the cool soft grass below and the breeze rippled the tall grass in the field before her. Sebastian disappeared stocking the butterflies that fluttered above the tips of the grass spears.

Alana's stood silently; breathing softly and enjoying the surroundings; only unconsciously she knew this field did not belong here. The peacefulness and serenity of this place calmed her senses. She knew she was where she should be.

Overcome with exhaustion; Alana lay down facing upward and watched the cotton-like clouds sail by. This place soothed every part of her being. The gentle breeze flowing through the grass ebbed and flowed rhythmically in time with her steady breath. the sun warmed her from the inside out and the flow of its energy filled her at the core and then over-flowed and spread through her body leaving from her fingers and toes. She felt revitalized and full of power. She felt peace. She was content. Nothing could be better than this respite from the storm. "This must be heaven..." the last thought before she drifted off to sleep.

"The fever has passed," the physician stated directly to Leanora. "She needs to rest; her body is exhausted. She is as strong as iron though and this fiery furnace she just passed through would temper any steal into a fine sword."

"Thank you," Leanora softly spoke; continuing to look upon her eldest child. Orrin stood beside her, his hand upon her shoulder. His reassurance along with the words of the physician was all she needed to keep hope for the life of her first born.

"She looks so peaceful," Leanora said - trying to reassure herself. Still gazing down at her daughter she observed a tiny smile across Alana's lips.

"We should send word to the rest of the family that Alana has passed through the worst," Orrin stated. "Would you like me to take care of this?"

"Yes, and I will tend to the rest of the children and ready them for bed. I think we can all sleep tonight." Leanora stood; wrapping her fingers around her daughter's hand - slightly squeezing to let her daughter know all is well.


Anonymous said...

Whoa, intense!

Zaphod said...

Keep it up. It has promise. George MacDonald and Stephen Donaldson used similar techniques to introduce their readers into another world.