Tami Parker Other Duties as Assigned

Finish the Story – Winter

F

As always, beware the comments section if you plan on writing something, so as to avoid being influenced.

I look forward to seeing your responses!

 

The wind whispered through the dark, empty trees like a warning in a foreign language. Winter was coming, and with winter …

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  • The wind whispered through the dark, empty trees like a warning in a foreign language. Winter was coming, and with winter always came the Diamondbacks.

    That's what the townsfolk called them, anyway. The Diamondbacks themselves never spoke, so we didn't know what they called themselves.

    Tucked into the craggy arms of the mountain valley as we were, we didn't get much opportunity to ask what others called them, even if we'd been bold enough to ask. There was only one road — it led in from the south and out the same way, as if even cobblestones didn't dare venture farther up the mountains.

    The Diamondbacks didn't come by way of the road.

    The day after winter's first snow, they arrived without fanfare and without discussion.

    Nobody in town ever claimed to have actually seen one, mind you. It was bad luck to actually lay eyes on a Diamondback. For the price of a mug of cider, Granny Myrtle over at Hogshead would tell you the story of her little sister waiting up all night to spot one and her eyes turning hard and shining as gemstones the very next morning.

    You plant seeds in Spring. Collect berries in Summer. Set aside food in the Fall.

    And in the Winter, you left milk in a saucer behind your door and apples in your shoes you needed mending. Drape a bolt of fine cloth over a sick horse and you'd like as not have a healthy horse and no cloth the next morning.

    They didn't want money. Wouldn't accept payment from those as had none. Never took what wasn't given.

    And sure as they'd come in the Winter, they'd be gone before the first daffodil reached out of half-thawed dirt to kiss the sun.

    The wind picked up, brushing through my loose black hair with fingers of frost.

    I'd been waiting for tonight since Melania fell off the Gunder's mule and hit her head on that rock. Gentle Melania who always smiled. Lion Melania who'd scolded the older boys for picking on the lambs. Dying Melania who lay on an old quilt in front of me, breath barely whispering from pale lips.

    The Diamondbacks had arrived last night.

    I was just a scullery maid. For all I knew, Melania didn't even remember the time she caught me singing in the woods — alone so nobody could tell me to stop my racket. She had told me my music was beautiful. Magical. She'd danced barefoot among the dandelions to my tune, laughing as a storm of puffy white seeds sailed around her.

    She probably didn't remember leaving me half her lunch during school, because I had none to bring.

    She certainly didn't know it was me who left her flowers every morning, just so I could hide out of sight and watch her smile at petals that paled beside her beauty.

    It didn't matter. I loved her, and I would give everything for her to smile again.

    I brushed a thumb across her pale cheek, then took a deep breath.

    I lowered the rough cloth I'd fashioned into a blind over my eyes, and began to sing.

    I offered myself, for what that was worth. More than that, though, I offered my music.

    The Diamondbacks took my offering, which means that somewhere out there, Melania is smiling.

  • Liked yours, Faith!

    The character limit thing annoys me and makes me not want to bother the double copy pasting/posting it'll take to get mine up, but it exists!

    I am also playing along ^^

Tami Parker Other Duties as Assigned