Welcome to my weekly Wednesday Brief flash fiction entry! This is just a free piece of flash fiction (between 500-1,000) words based off of a prompt. I’m part of a wonderful group of flashers 😉 and I’ll have a link to a site where you can read other stories, after my piece.
“Good.” Her hand moved against mine, our fingers interlocking. “Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and hold onto me.” I could feel her magic seeping from the gem at her throat. It was warm, comforting, creeping along my skin the way flame takes paper. I could hear the mechanical whir of the generators starting up once more.
There was a loud rush of air, the feeling of being pulled violently away from everything. Astrid’s grip was tight on my hand, despite the ferocious wind that battered at us. I pried open one eye to see nothingness staring back.
My knees hit the ground with a solid thump, the dampness soaking through my tights. The air was clean and crisp, it almost seared my lungs to breathe in. My fingers curled in the damp grass, and I found the courage to open my eyes. The ground spread out green as far as I could see. Above us the sky was crystalline blue, wisps of white dotting the horizon. There were no buildings to be seen, and the sounds of birdcalls filled the air.
“Where are we?”
Astrid sat in the grass next to me, not minding the dew on the grass. “This place is called Rauha. We’re on the outer fringes of the planets. It’s a safe place for us to stop, and a safe place for you to have a bit of culture shock.”
“That doesn’t sound fun at all.” I laid back, the sun warm on my face the grass cool against my skin. “This is all real, isn’t it? Real grass, real birds.”
She nodded, her knees pulled to her chest. “It is. This is a place of sanctuary. It’s a stopping place for pretty much all of the Touched when they’re rescued. The people here are peace-loving, and mainly healers. Green, earth magic flows freely here.”
“Are they touched?”
“It’s a different type of magic. They call it from the earth and sky. Other elements too, but there’s such a strong tie to nature here, that the earth willingly gives up her magic.”
“Was my brother here?”
“Yes.” Astrid said laying down next to me. “His partner, has a home here, closer to one of the small villages. Where I transported us to is uninhabited for the most part—by anything you would call human.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“This isn’t human planet, which is why their magic is different than ours.”
Overhead, birds swooped in lazy circles. I could hear the faint buzzing of insects, and once more I was overtaken by how green everything was. I no longer felt tired, my body didn’t hurt, my head was clear. “So they don’t look like us.”
“Not at all.” Astrid laughed softly. “But you’ll get used to it. There’s so much more to come.”
“How long are we staying here?”
“Until you’re healed. You’re feeling the sedative magics, and the slow beginnings of healing. But your soul is hurt, your heart is aching. This place will heal you. You can learn what it’s like to be Brooke again.” She rolled onto her side, supported by an elbow to watch me. “I also need to rest, transporting two people is a little more than I can handle.”
“Don’t apologize.” Astrid said. “I’ll heal, and everything will be okay.”
“Can I walk?” I sat up, feeling energy move through me. I wanted to go somewhere, do something that I couldn’t quite put into words.
“Yeah,” Astrid said. “There’s not a lot of trouble for you to get into. I’ll be here, call me if you get lost.” With that she rolled onto her back, and closed her eyes.
It felt good to stretch my legs, though a little strange not to be restricted in where I could go. I went down the hill we had ported to, picking my way along wildflower patches and the tall grass. The path was hard packed dirt under my feet. The scent of summer grass filled the air, and I found myself letting my feet take me where they will. At the base of the hill the ground spread out long and flat, I could see long into the distance. A few hundred feet to the left were what I longed to see in person, after only ever seeing them in the pages of forbidden books. I ran, clumsy over my own feet, giddy toward the dark smudge on the green expanse.
Trees rose out of the flat ground, tall and strong. Rough bark covered their trunks, my fingers tracing over the cracks and bumps in the wood. It was cooler here, darker, protected by the towering canopy. I threw my arms around the trunk of the tree, hugging it, the bark rough against my face, the smell of fresh, earthiness rocking me to my core. My footsteps were whisper quiet, the ground covered by long needle-leaves which had fallen from the trees. I climbed over fallen trees, working over the large branches, going further into the woods. My braid caught on a low hanging branch, and once I was free, I glanced around—seeing no one, no one to report me, to cite me for being outside of regulation.
My fingers trembled as I undid my braid, my hair falling into heavy waves around me. A small rebellion, that set me uneasy, but I came to the realization that I was for once in my life free. I came to a clearing in the woods, breathing heavy, unused to being so physical. In the center sat a stump, low and flat to the ground, wide enough to be used as a table. I climbed up, standing in the center of it, eyes closed, hands at my sides, taking in the sounds of the forest around me. Birds chirped, melodious songs talking to each other. I could hear the scramble of smaller animals in the brush.
I was free, and nothing could ever cage me again.