Bones of the Earth

One day Lilly woke to find her closet especially dark, more dark than the night, but the dark wasn’t sad or wrong; the dark called to her and she heard the song of it. Lilly entered the darkness. The dark stretched on and on. She followed the song through earth and water and rock and wind.

A light appeared ahead. No, more like a place where there was no darkness. Not really a light. More like an absence of light or darkness. Lilly stepped forward and touched the place of no light or darkness, the place where the song came from, and the song filled her, gently and with her permission.

The song was very old, from before her room, before Lilly, before the light or the darkness. And Lilly sang too, all small and fragile. She knew this place was safe and the place also knew she was safe. Hey sang together until the song was done.

Lilly grew tired and sat down, resting against the place that sang. The bones of the Earth shifted after eons of waiting. Lilly was lifted by the bones of wood and crystal and rain.

She woke up for the second time and this time her room looked like it did most days. There was no darkness in the closet save that which belonged there as its rightful place. There were no bones, although she could still smell something akin to the spores that mark the end of a storm. Sadly, Lilly couldn’t hear the song anymore and she couldn’t remember the song, although there was a hint of an echo and she held onto it as best she could.

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Lilly and the Trees

Lilly knew that the trees never moved other than swaying in the wind, so the day the trees moved, she knew it was special. She just wasn’t sure if special was good or not. Lilly wasn’t skilled in the art of divining good from evil. She wasn’t even sure if they were actually opposites, good and evil, good and bad. Did that mean that evil was bad?

The day the trees in the park across the street from the family’s brownstone apartment moved, it started when there was no wind and no swaying. Instead, the trees reached, bent, straightened, turned, and uprooted themselves. “Trees don’t walk,” said some. “You must be mistaken,” said others. But the trees didn’t care what anyone said. They clearly had something in mind, and to Lilly, they seemed angry, intent on punishing someone. Lilly understood anger and punishment. Those were easy for her.

The trees, however, seemed to want to punish Lilly. The trees started by throwing stones at her window, but trees were not designed for throwing and they were not very accurate. The trees soon gave up throwing stones and Lilly climbed out from under her bed where she was hiding from the angry trees and the stones they threw to look out the window to see what they were up to. The trees were striding across the street, planting themselves close to the front of her apartment, and they were swaying.

Again, there was no wind, or nothing but the trees that the wind saw fit to move, and yet, the trees, relocated as they were, swayed and struck at her apartment. The brick walls were stronger than the trees, but the windows were too brittle, like Lilly. The trees crashed against the windows and glass shattered everywhere, even under the bed where Lilly had hidden herself again. She covered her ears and shut her eyes to the trees, but she knew they were still there, angry and smashing at her, punishing her. Had she been bad? What had she done? Lilly didn’t know, but sometimes punishment came without knowing. Someone knew. The trees knew and that was enough.

The pounding stopped, Lilly could tell because she lay on the dusty hardwood floor and could feel when the trees stopped. She felt the thudding change to grating and creaking as the trees uprooted themselves and walked back to the park. Lilly was afraid to look, but also curious about what she might see. Curious was another thing Lilly understood. She slid out from under her bed, brushed the dust and glass from her smock, and peered out the window.

The trees stood tall and unmoving in the park across the street where they belonged. Lilly wondered again what she had done to provoke them. She’d loved the trees before today, as much as she understood of love, and wanted to hold onto that feeling, but now there was another feeling along side of it: fear. What had brought the trees? Why had they planted fear? Had she done something bad? Was bad the same as evil?

Lilly & the Day of Exploring the Neighborhood

One day Lilly decided to explore the neighborhood. Mostly, she felt safer staying indoors, or spending time in the park across the street; some days she almost felt safe at school, but the adults there took care of her so she didn’t need to worry about things. Mostly. At home, Mom and Dad looked out for her. So, stepping out on her own, without her parents, was a pretty big deal, big enough that she didn’t tell her parents.

Still, she was only so strong, and decided it would be best to keep her eyes closed and explore only with her other senses. Perhaps, she thought, the world would be easier if she only had to contend with sound and smell and touch. No seeing, and she certainly wasn’t going to taste anything, so three out of five felt manageable.

She knew the feel of the cool iron hand-rail and the sound of her shoes as she stepped down the front stairs to the red flagstone sidewalk. This part of the neighborhood she knew with all of her senses and felt confident using only three. Usually the pink and purple of the pansies caught her eye, but now their floral scent came to her. She felt a little disappointed that she couldn’t tell them apart.

Another smell came to her, this one made her feel hungry. Fresh bread. There was a bakery just down the street, and as she followed the smell, she imagined creamy butter and the warmth of fresh rolls in her hand made her wish she could taste the bread.

The bell over the door dinged when she entered the shop. She knew the counter displaying all of the baked goods would be to her right, and the small tables where people might enjoy their pastries or baked goods would be to her left. The kitchen where the smells were coming from, would be straight ahead. She stepped into the middle of the room to avoid any customers who might be coming or going. The door dinged again.

Lilly raised her nose to follow the wonderful smell, stood up on her tiptoes to get even closer. She caught a trace of raisins, could see them in her mind, the dark nuggets of sweet fruits.

A hand rested on her shoulder and she settled back down to the floor on her feet. The hand felt warm and reassuring. “It’s okay mom. I’m strong today.” The hand left her shoulder, and Lilly listened to the steps that followed her all the way home; the rustle of a paper bag from the bakery in her mother’s hand, a loaf of raisin bread safely carried home.

Lilly Misses the Sun

Lilly loved listening to the rain. If the wind blew right, from off the lake, which it often did, there would come a tapping against her window pane. She loved lifting her window and sniffing in the smell of the rain and feel the cold drops splash against her face, but she always kept her eyes closed. She did not wish to offend the rain or clouds if she should happen to look a little nervous if she couldn’t see the sun up in the sky. She loves bed the rain, but she knew she needed the sun, too.

Lilly Missed a Step

The next day, Lilly missed a step. She wanted to go back and try again, but time twisted and tomorrow became today and yesterday became tomorrow, which left today as the missing step. She looked for it when she walked to school, but the day was extra dark making it difficult to find things that went missing. Later, or earlier, when she went to bed, she had a difficult time falling asleep owing to the brightness of the night filling her room with invitations to get up even though she knew she should be sleepy. She missed her dreams that night, almost as much as she missed her today.