Today on Drabble Wednesday I muse on things lost: memories, guardians, children...
I remember the days before the Great Kingdoms.
Before the War and the Invaders from Across the Sea.
Before we served our conquering masters.
In those days we lived free. We were not governed by cruel kings, or benevolent queens, or petty warlords. We lived as nomads and farmers, each town, village or tribe ruled by Elder Councils, chosen by the people. And we had no need for mercenaries or soldiers, for we had protectors.
Until their blood spilled by the betrayer’s hand. Then they left us to the Invaders.
But they’ll return, one day.
The Dragons will come home.
I traced the flower pattern on the tea cup with my finger. It seemed familiar to me, a fragment of memory floating out of reach. The afternoon sun was warm, and a breeze wafted the smell of gardenia. The table in the garden is set for two, a pot of hot tea ready, and a plate of pretty sandwiches.
But I’m alone.
A shadow fell across the lace tablecloth.
A woman sat down at the table and smiled at me. “Sorry, I’m late.”
I stared, suddenly confused. I grip the table edge. “Who are you?”
“It’s me, Mom, your daughter.”
Such a small mistake, ignoring her father’s warning, running after a bird into the trees.
“Stay on the path, Anna. Always stay on the path. You don’t want to lose your way in the forest.”
Now the sun had set and the weather turned cold, the bitter wind made her bones shiver. The moonlight snaked through the tree cover, enough light to that the child stumbled about underbrush for hour or two before collapsing in fright and exhaustion. She leaned against a tree, her face wet with tears.
She knew. She was lost in the night.
Lost in the woods.
© A. F. Stewart 2016 All Rights Reserved