A Gathering Storm
By Pilar Lu-Heda
I wrote this piece as a 200-word exercise but ended up liking it enough to continue it. Like it or not, here goes.
We made fairy houses out of cardboard when the world was shiny and new. Rain boots sunk into freshly dewy grass and fingertips grazed the mellow May breeze. Gates swung and smiled upon our eager faces. The world was our stage. We found happiness in simpler things. Promises and tree houses. Melting ice cream and friendship bracelets. Woven with much more than craft strings and plastic charms, they held our pasts and what we wished our futures would be. But threads do not stay bound forever and frays turn to rips. Now, we sit under the willow, the sunlight dappled through the branches. All is forgiven. The wind and birds sing together in our moment, weaving in and out of harmony. They sing an old song. I know the tune but not the words. The notes creep into my mind, erasing all other thoughts. I feel panic rise in my chest. Why can’t I think? The breeze shushes my mind, reprimanding it for not remaining idle and letting the light soak into my body. The air smells like fresh earth. A newly placed bracelet glints softly in the splatters of light. When was the last time I was outside like this? Somehow I don’t care to find the details in the back of my mind. Am I awake? We are blissfully unaware of the storm lurking and threatening to swallow our world until it arrives. The flowers between my fingers curl away, shrinking into dust. A hand tugs mine and we run. To what? I can’t remember. The dust swirls around us, like a sick tornado, chasing me and diving away. I try to swat it away but it circles my head. The tune grows stronger. I look up but the swirl of dust attacks me as the tune surges to a pulsing ring. The bracelet rips and flutters into the dust. I reach out. Where are you? The tears don’t have time to fall. The ringing subsides. Silence. I’m awake. The clock above the window ticks on, dragging out the minutes. The room is remarkably quiet; the only noises are the clock’s steady ticking and the drowsy drizzle of rain sliding down the roof. As if I don’t already know the answer, I pull my wrist from the tangle of covers. No bracelet.
Pilar Lu-Heda is a high school junior who enjoys creative writing and sculpting. She writes a range of work, including reviews and editorials for her school newspaper. Her favorite books are Anne of Green Gables and The End of Everything, and she hopes to study Gender Studies and Children’s Literature in college. She lives in Brooklyn with her family and her dog, Sadie.