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BUMBLE by Adelyn Ann

604 48 49

TITLE : Bumble


SUB-GENRE: Magical Realism



Are you going to the Bramble Berry Fair?

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme;

Remember me to the one who lives there,

For once she was a true love of mine

~Adapted from a traditional English ballad

Penny Hale was perfectly sane. At least she'd thought so. Penny hadn't recently questioned her soundness of mind until she woke to find the imaginary friend she'd played with as a child perched on the end of her bed.

The air was hot. Choking. The fan overhead turned lazily, doing little to stir the heavy air that filled her room. She kicked off the sheets tangled around her ankles and slid from the bed that took up most of the space in the attic bedroom. The bed that held a boy who was hardly a boy anymore. Funny how the attic had seemed so much bigger when they were both too short to ride the ferris wheel at the Brambleberry Carnival.

Penny took two strides to the window and hefted it open. A cool breeze and the music of spring peepers eased into the room to sing in time to the rhythmic clicking of the old fan. No one'd told them it was no longer spring.

There was thunder on the air when a very corporeal hand touched Penny on the elbow.

"Look at me," said Leander.

Penny went out the window instead. Outside, the metal roof was still warm from the beating July sun, but the breeze was cool enough. Leander followed. Penny finally obliged his request as she recalled the summer nights they'd spent gazing at the stars from this roof.

Leander, who was very much as grown as she, looked at home sitting at her side. The sleeves of his white linen shirt were rolled past his elbows, his beige linen pants cuffed at the ankle. His hair was the same golden blonde Penny remembered from her childhood. His eyes, the same dark brown. She shook her head, eyes pressed shut. This was a terribly inconvenient time for a mental breakdown; she was supposed to be going off to college in August.

"Penny," he said, his voice as gentle as the breeze against her cheek. "This is real."

She'd been ten when her parents first took her to a therapist. Ten was too old to still be playing with imaginary friends.

Penny took him by the hand. Dream or hallucination or figment of her imagination, he sure felt real. She turned it over to touch his palm, to trace the lines. His arms were dusted with freckles and his fingertips were stained purple from picking her mother's blackberries off the vine. Eight years had passed but so much of him was the same as she remembered.

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