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The Price of Words
“Shhh, calm.” Stroked the shoulder of the other. “Sit here.”
“No!” The other thrashed about. Refusing to sit.
“Sit.” Sternly looked at the other. The other paced the forest floor a moment and then plunked down on the blanket laid out.
Tenderly sat next to the other. “Eat.” Held out some bread to the other, taken from the basket. The other hesitantly took the bread and began to gnaw on it. Gradually took a slice of bread and ate as well, gazing at the other the whole time. The other’s eyes skimmed the forest floor and trees, constant fear blazing.
The other finished the meal and looked around the forest, tensely. Looking at the other, the other looked back. The other’s pupils dilated, as if knowing what was to be done next.
Slowly pulled out the book.
“NO!” The other shrieked, scrambling backwards off the blanket.
“Shh,” Murmured, holding out a hand for comfort.
“NOT THE BOOK!” The other cried, tears slipping down cheeks.
“They’re just words.” Held out the book, while the other jumped up and hysterically clambered back.
The other tripped on a root and fell onto the dry leaves.
“THEY NEVER LEAVE!” The other screamed.
“You don’t let them!” Standing, took a cautious step towards the other.
“They don’t let me leave them!” The other’s head shook rapidly. “THEY NEVER GO!” The other screamed, frustration spewing in speech.
“They will. You have to let them.” Whispered quietly, the forest’s silence engulfing.
The other stared, lip quivering slightly.
“Let them go.”
“Go,” The other repeated.
Slowly opened the book.
“No,” The other breathed.
“Shh,” Began to read, “Collective. Adjective. Of, relating to, or denoting—,”
“STOP!” The others eyes glazed over. “A, A group of individuals considered as a whole.” The other spoke, reciting the words.
“Good. Get it out.”
“No, n-no.” The other sobbed and dropped to the ground. “I can’t. I don’t like them anymore.” The other rubbed tear stained cheeks.
“You don’t have to like them. Just don’t be afraid.” Began again: “Omen. Noun--,”
“An event or phenomenon believed to be a sign or warning of a future occurrence.” The other said without wavering.
“Good.” Motioned to the blanket. “Sit.”
The other’s nostrils flared, but took a step forward. Patted the blanket and sat down. The other lingered a moment and then settled onto the ground as well.
“One more today.” Opened the dictionary, flipping through the pages. “Will.”
The other’s pupils reduced to the size of a pin in their ice blue pools. “Noun. Wish or desire often combined with determination. Something desired, a choice or determination of one having authority or power. The act, process, or experience of willing. The mental powers manifested as wishing, choosing, desiring, or intending.” The other lashed out without pause, beads of sweat dripping.
“Good. One more.”
“No.” The other pleaded.
“Just one.” Nodded, assuring.
“One.” The other echoed.
“One.” Nodded, read: “Word.”