Wiping her mouth, she stood, found the silk-covered bed, and fell atop it, letting her arms fly freely over her head. She lay still for a long time, just staring at the many imperfections of the ceiling above, waiting for her mind to stitch itself back together. Slowly, the repulsion and sick desperation faded, but Maira still felt empty. Somewhere, deep in the recesses of her mind, she knew why, but to bring it to the forefront, or to verbalize it… well, that was forbidden.
A stale breeze blew in from the open balcony, gently moving strands of black hair across her face. She didn’t bother brushing them back. There was no one to see her here. He knew not to call on her when she first returned; her mind was still fractured, the pieces slowly sliding back into place. Each time, the process took longer than before, and she wondered if this was the time she’d be trapped in between, knowing what she had been and what she was now. The body was such a simple thing to tear down and build up, but the mind… It was far more fragile.
She allowed herself to close her eyes, daring to drift into the dark corners of her shifting memories. It was dangerous to be certain, but the temptation was often too great. In a few more moments she would forget the journey anyway. She needed to see… to feel the life she had so long ago left behind. I’ll return again, she said to herself. When all of this is done, I will return. And for what was done, I will watch the world wither and die. She smiled at the thought, even more so than from the memory of a life left behind. He had promised her, promised that if she followed, that she would be there for the end. It was all she wanted now. It was all she could want. She opened her eyes and sat up, turning to look toward the balcony and the ever-present night beyond. The air was stale and rich with death, but perhaps it would do her some good, serving as a reminder of what she was.
Title: The Girl With Red Hair
Author: Michael J. Sanford
She was just a lost girl when they found her.
The circumstances are odd, that much is true. But she’s just a child. She needs protecting. She needs guardians.
Before long, strange magic manifests from the small girl, equally awe inspiring as it is terrifying.
Does she control the fire and light?
Or do they control her?
Shadows are rising from Alfuria, the very world beneath their feet. Sometimes they call, wishing for an unending embrace.
Dragons have risen as well, from myth and legend, stalking land and sky. The roar of such beasts shakes even the most resolute warrior.
Shadows, gods, dragons, and the girl with red hair. What is real and what is merely illusion?
Adelaide is undoubtedly important.
That may be the only certainty
Michael has always been a prisoner to his imagination. His childhood was spent running through the forest, pretending to be a gallant warrior saving the countryside from certain destruction. Or he was a ferocious beast terrorizing the very same countryside. There is always a story spinning through his mind. As an adult, writing has become the only way to keep his head from exploding.
He lives in upstate New York with his loving wife and two cats. If he’s not writing, he’s likely reading, weightlifting, or forcing his players into difficult situations from behind his Dungeon Master’s screen. He is a storyteller first and a writer second.
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