CHAPTER TWO: Monsters
Story woke to the sound of the most beautiful music she'd ever heard. It was faint and far away, but loud enough that she could make out the melody. All around her, the woods were lit up by fireflies of different sizes, all flying off toward the music.
No, not fireflies—Faeries! Story realized as one flew past her nose.
There was no mistaking the tiny human-like form, as another one landed on her outstretched hand. It was no bigger than her finger, with delicate dragonfly wings fluttering on its back. The faeries were just like the ones from her childhood dreams, only wilder and somehow, all the more real for it.
Clapping her hands with delight, she sprang to her feet and chased after the faeries, deeper into the woods toward the entrancing music. The closer she got, the more familiar the melody sounded—almost as if she should know it, or had known it at one point and forgotten.
The faeries were flying in time to the music; swirling around her, beckoning her to join them in their dance. Laughing, she threw her hands in the air, swaying and twirling with the faeries. There was no fear of running into trees or losing her path; her feet knew the way, and the faeries helped guide her steps. The music coursed through her blood, and her body tingled with magic, all the way down to her toes.
The trees ended abruptly, and there in the middle of a round clearing, bathed in moonlight, sat a boy playing a gold violin. He was perched regally atop a large, flat, moss-covered stone. She guessed he was roughly her age, though his face seemed almost timeless. Barefoot, he was dressed simply in a short green kilt that looked as organic and untamed as he did. Bits of vines and leaves and flowers wound around his body, as if he was a physical manifestation of nature itself. His skin had a faint golden hue that shimmered in the moonlight, as did his matching golden blonde hair. He was so lovely that Story felt as though she would cry if she ever had to look away.
The faeries had all gathered around him and were flying and dancing about, even more wildly than before. The music coming from the beautiful, golden violin increased in tempo and volume, building until it was so loud that Story had to cover her ears. At the final crescendo, he looked up and they locked eyes for what seemed like an eternity but could only have been a second.
Then the music came to a crashing halt, and Story woke up.
She groaned. Every muscle in her body felt like a thousand tiny needles had been shoved into them, and even the thought of moving was painful. As the dream faded, she remembered her fall down the cave shaft. She didn’t know how long she had been lying there, or how injured she was. Her back might be broken, and she was at the bottom of a long shaft where it would be extremely difficult for anyone to get to her. She felt her pulse quicken, and darkness seemed to close in on her as she realized the seriousness of her situation.
She would surely be dead long before anyone ever arrived. If anyone ever arrived. She wasn’t even sure Josh would be able to find the crevice again much less go through it. No, she couldn’t wait around for a rescue.
Steeling herself, she slowly opened her eyes, wincing at the shooting pain she felt all the way from her neck to her toes.
That’s actually some good news, she thought with a grimace. If I can feel my toes, it probably means my back isn’t broken.
The bottom of the shaft was faintly illuminated, and looking up, Story could see she’d fallen a very long way. So far, in fact, that she couldn’t see up to the top of the hole; it disappeared into pitch-black nothingness.
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War of the Seasons, book one: The HumanFantasy
“Are you alright?" The corner of Eirnin’s mouth quirked up with a hint of a smile, probably remembering her reaction when he’d asked her that a moment ago. Story smiled sheepishly back up at him. "I'm fine. I think I just stepped on a rock and cut...