Something is wrong.
The earth blooms on June 1, every year.
It has always been so, at least since man stopped aging.
The snow piles higher than I’ve ever seen, in any season.
I’ve spent the last eight days shoveling around the place, but the blizzard refuses to abate.
I climbed atop a pile of crates stacked in the center of the room.
Shoved my way up the chimney.
There are footprints in the snow.
I’ve loaded all three shotguns.
I drank the last of the elixir.
Now I wait.
I am ready.
He opened the door and stepped aside, allowing her to cross the threshold.
You’re late. Testing me, are you?
Why am I here?
This is what you want. This is what you need. And you know it.
What have you done to me?
I’ve done nothing but allow you to be you.
You’ve freed me?
You’re free. Everything you are, from the surface to your core, is free.
She covered her face with her hands, weeping silently into them.
Why do you weep?
I’ve never been free.
Pulling her hands from her face, he firmly spoke, Get used to it.
The spray struck her full in the face. She gasped in shock, then erupted into a fit of giggles.
Smirking, he pulled her back from the ledge and used his shirt to dry her face.
“Well? How was your first taste of whale spray? Gross, right?”
“No way,” she retorted with an unabashed grin, “I just felt and tasted the magnificence of nature!”
“Only you,” he laughed, eyebrow cocked and head shaking. “Anyway, you think that tasted magnificent, just wait’ll you taste what comes next.”
With a mischievous grin, he grabbed her ankles, lifted her up and slid her overboard.
Fearsome winds whipped sodden detritus about her feet, the ground slick from last night’s storm.
Only mist now meandered its way down from still laden clouds, caught in wisps of wind here, trickling down a lamppost there.
Adjusting her hoodie and leaning into the wind, she stuffed her cold hands into her pockets and trudged forward.
Heart pounding, she couldn’t stop, magnetized toward something unknown. Heady from winds of change, dizzy in contemplation, she didn’t see the limb in her path.
Looking up at the boy that caught her, she knew she had finally found the source of the pull.