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Sunlight streamed through the heavy patches of leaves as the girl struggled along the rocky trail in the forest. Wind gusted a bit too strong, a little too abrupt, but enough to make the girl close her eyes and feel the summery warmth of it. It smelled of flowers, and leaves, and woods, and so many pleasant things that she had to smile. It was perfect here, she thought, so much different from her house. In here she could feel childish; she could act like her age; and she wouldn’t need to constantly apologize for every little detail that had gone wrong.
In this lively forest, the girl took her first taste of freedom.
So, happily, she ignored the ache in her feet and went on sauntering in her joyous, little steps. There was a river beside the trail, teeming with agile fishes and sinuous as it led a snaking line. It was crystal blue, and she could clearly see the grey rocks that rested beneath; it made her happy.
When she reached the meadow, she took the moment to absorb it all in. It was extremely beautiful, almost as if the fairy-land she saw on television. Rays of sunlight struck the ground in its mighty force, giving the soil a warm sheen; trees were tall and richly green, their roots scattering to the ground as though creeping fingers; flowers were everywhere, blooming in red, in yellow, in green, and in white. They smelled absolutely wonderful. More wonderful than Mama’s perfume., the girl had thought, and felt guilty.
But when she turned her head to look at the right side, she all but fainted. A man, a giant man, was watching her with dark, green eyes. He was holding a cane, and he looked . . . he looked like one of those scary guys in Disturbia she secretly watched.
She started to run, but the man caught her wrist.
“Don’t be scared,” The man noticed how the girl was trembling, and so decided to free her wrist. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
“Please don’t hurt me. My little brother is going to be sad.” Her lips were trembling as she spoke, and she hated it.
“I just said I won’t hurt you. Now relax.” The man said in a genuinely warm voice.
“Okay.” The girl was still suspicious.
“Why don’t we talk for a while?” He said. “I’ll tell you a good story.”
“My parents are going to be mad if I’m late.”
“They won’t.” The man grinned. “You’re with me.”
“Who are you?”
“I’m a friend.”
She thought about that, and then frowned. “My parents’ friends always wear a big coat and a tie. And they’re always black. You don’t look like their friend.”
He laughed. “I don’t, because I’m a special friend.”
“Does that mean you’re good at piano, too?” The girl’s eyes lit up with excitement. “My little brother is very good at piano, and he’s smart. Maybe you’ll be his friend someday.”
“I will, in time. And I know you’re special, too.”
“I’m not special. My Dad said I’m stupid and useless. My Mom doesn’t talk to me.”
“Really? Then I guess they don’t know you’re good at writing.”
At his words, her eyes widened. “How do you know?”
He winked at her. “I’m a friend.”
“But don’t tell my parents. Please?”
She paused, then spoke. “They’ll probably think it’s stupid.”
“You don’t know that.”
“I suck at school, and I’m not pretty. I’m not good at ballet, or singing, or swimming. They made me try many things, but I’m always not good enough. My Dad said ‘I couldn’t understand why the hell I was a damn failure’.”
He thought about that. “But you’re good at writing.”
She shook her head. “I try.”
“You know what? I know a good place where they teach you how to become a writer. They have many books, thousands of them, and they’re all arranged in giant shelves. It’s a palace of books, and of young writers like you.”
“There’s a palace for me?”
“Yes, there is. It is painted white, and blue, and green and many more colors.”
“Is it bigger than my house?”
“A lot bigger. I can take you there if you want.”
“Do they have many pencils? And papers?”
“They have everything you want.”
She beamed. “I want to go there. But I can’t.”
“My parents are waiting for me.” But tears spilled from her eyes, baffling her. She wiped them away, but they kept coming. “I’m sorry. I don’t know why I’m crying.”
“You don’t need to know. Come, I’ll take you to the palace.”
“Can I at least say goodbye to my little brother?”
“You’ll see him someday when time comes.” The man answered.
“Why did my parents do it?”
“Your parents did it because they don’t know you’re special. Too special.”
She cried more. “I wanted to show my little brother and Anna my new story.”
“You’ll show them someday. You just have to wait.”
“Okay.” She went to his side, held his hands. “Are parents nice there?”
“Yes, they are. All of them are very nice.”
“Do they hit children?”
“No, you’ll be happy there.”
“Do they love children? And they don’t call them ‘stupid’ or ‘dumb’?”
The man smiled. “They are very good people.”
“So they aren’t gonna hurt me?”
“They will take care of you.”
“Then I want to live there forever. Forever and ever.”
And with that, the man took the bloodied girl to the white, brilliant light. And finally . . . finally, after hundreds of years of suffering wait, the girl ascended to her true home.