Cecelia gave a quiet little gasp and sucked in her breath, then held it in and attempted to sit stock still. Her eyes were wide with disbelief and fear and her heart pounded in her throat. She listened but heard nothing. Perhaps her mind was playing tricks on her. She slowly let out her breath, trying hard to remain silent and still. Just moments ago, thunderous footsteps pursued her through the cold, night air; invisible fingers grasping her shoulder as the branches of the forest ensnared her long hair. And in an instant, she was here. But where was here? Where was her sister?
It was then that Cecelia realized she was no longer cold and although she was sitting in the middle of what appeared to be a very large lake, she was not wet either. The moon reflected off the mirror-like surface of the water and illuminated the vast expanse, revealing nothing as far as the eye could see, save what appeared to be a very dark forest surrounding the lake on three sides. She squinted and strained her eyes in an attempt to make out what lay in the space without trees, but the distance was too great. And then, without warning, she was plunged beneath the water, pulled down, by what she did not know.
“Ssshhh. Stay still. Don’t fight,” it commanded. There was fear in the voice of the whisper. Terrified, Cecelia opened her eyes wide, but still could see nothing. And then…there…in front of her… a flash of iridescent green and a small bubble appeared then grew, slowly, to the size of a small melon. As her eyes adjusted to the water, Cecelia saw a very small hand extend in front of her, holding the shimmering sphere. It pushed the bubble toward her, pressing it to her mouth. “Breathe,” the whisper said. Cecelia pursed her lips and drew it in. Her lungs expanded, their thirst for precious air quenched. “Stay,” it commanded, and then it was gone again. This time, it returned quickly, casting a blue-green glow so bright that Cecelia could not quite make out what was in the middle of it. Seconds later, they surfaced, and Cecelia was in the center of the lake once more.
Without the water to distort her view, Cecelia found herself face to face with a beautiful creature. She was small, with fragile features and skin that glimmered in the moonlight, from topaz to emerald green and back again. A golden shimmer trailed her as she moved about; delicate, iridescent wings holding her just above the surface.
Cecelia was wet now, and growing cold. But before she could say a word, the whisperer placed her finger upon her lips to quiet her then turned her tiny palm toward the sky and lifted her hand. The gesture raised Cecelia from the lake and moments later she was dry, and warm, and once again sitting above the water.
“It appears we were not followed. You’ll be safe here…for now,” the creature said. Her voice was small, like her stature, but somehow powerful and calming. It sounded different than it had as a whisper, less urgent, yet it still possessed a hint of trepidation.
“Hester. Where is she? Where is my sister?”
The creature looked away as worry spread across her face. “I’m so sorry,” she said. “I was not strong enough to carry two of you. I had to choose.”
© Kelly Rainey and 500wordsandcounting.wordpress.com, 2015.
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