By Scarlett Mosher, TIWP Student
The girl’s eyelids fluttered open, filling her pupils with moonlight. Something—she didn’t know what—was tickling her hands.
So that’s what they were called.
She didn’t know why these words popped into her head, attaching themselves to what she could see. The tickling sensation was growing stronger now, like water swirling around her palms and legs.
Her body twitched and loosened as she pushed herself up from the ground. A shifting white cloth was draped over her body, held together at her right shoulder by a metal pendant. She ran her hands over the cloth, feeling the soft fabric end abruptly at her knees.
She took the first breath she’d had in forever, sucking in the crisp air and holding it in the back of her throat. Suddenly, a thump came from inside her chest, and she felt her body fill with a warm sensation. A whimper broke from her lips. It was not because of the sudden, and seemingly unrelenting thumping in her chest. No. It was because she was suddenly overwhelmed by the sudden flood of emotions that swam in her head.
Her feet started to move, and she began her way down the grassy slope. Stars sprinkled the sky like little fireflies, all swarming around the moon.
There was a small water-hole at the bottom of the slope. It was decorated at the edges by blossoming cherry trees and tall reeds, their reflections turning the small pond into a melting pot of vibrant color. She didn’t know why she was so drawn to this, but something deep, something primal drove her to the water’s edge. The cherry trees spindly arms caught a strand of her hair, sending her into a blind panic.
She screamed as she hit the ground, as the sensation of pain being something she’d never had to burden before.
There was something lapping at her fingertips, trying to pull her away from the safety of the land. It was cold and calm, like the air around her. Pulling herself to her knees, the girl stared deep into the pond’s surface. Through the moonlight she could see something—someone—staring back at her. A girl, with short, tufty blonde hair and gray eyes smiled back up at her. The girl’s face was partially decorated with small, light brown spots, like little stars of her own.
The girl reached a tentative hand out, lightly brushing the water. She gasped as it rippled, smudging her reflection. She began to claw at the water, desperate for the smiling girl to return.
Something slipped, something went wrong, and the girl found herself wrapped in frost and tangled in a watery web. Her whole body was immersed, sinking to the bottom. She didn’t try to stop it, even though the water was pressing in on her from all sides, she could still breathe better than before.
And just like that, the water was gone. She felt something cool and flat pressing against her back, It was completely dark now, no moon or stars to guide her path. Just pressing darkness.
She felt a sense of calm ripple and shift in her core, spreading its wintery breath through her body. She wasn’t on the ground anymore. Something had lifted her up, pinching her around the waist and gently letting her slide back into the darkness.
She reached out-wanting to feel, wanting to grasp a hold of anything that could bring her back to the moonlight grass and cherry-stained pond. The darkness pulsed around her for a second, responding to her plea with only piercing silence.
Then suddenly, like a spark in the sky, a small orb of glowing gold light sprung into existence. It’s glow lit up her face, turning her body into a mix of light and shadow. The light hung, suspended in the air, before briskly floating to the right, leaving a trail of dying embers in its wake. She watched, mystified, as it swirled and played around her. As it brushed her leg, the frosty calm suddenly being overtaken by a warmth she’d never felt before. It felt like a fire in her heart, billowing a smoky concoction of joy and love into her body, warming her core, and sending a tingling feeling into her fingers and toes.
Something clasped her face. Something made a fire that never burned, a frost that never froze. A thousand thoughts and yet never a single word. A love that lasts a lifetime dancing with a sadness that breaks the mind. She suddenly was filled with a million words, words she could only have learned over thousands of years. Knowledge and kindness and passion and every emotion she never knew grasped her body, turning her mind into a melting pot of emotion.
“Day.” The voice was as smooth as silk, flowing into the air and dissipating into the darkness. A woman, one who’s waist dissolving into gorgeous golden flakes, held the girl’s face.
“Day.” The woman’s voice was calm and yet seemed to hold so much within her single muttering.
“I…” She felt a slight twitch in her mouth as the world tumbles out. “Who, who are you?”
“You, my child, are Day. An embodiment of the light, child of the night and love.” Day whimpered as the woman’s hand left her face. “You’ve only seen your mother, am I correct?”
“The night. Nyx.” The woman’s hand dropped to Day’s, grasping the girl’s soft palms.
“Yes. The night.” Day whispered. The memory of stars and the moon swam in her head, pushing out all other thoughts. She was snapped out of her mindful stupor by a slight tug on her hand. She looked up to see a large, slender portal. She could see through it and what she saw nearly made her run back into the darkness. Trees and grass and flowers as far as her eyes can see. That part was ok—but it was the light that bothered her. Light, nothing but light, was draped over the land, piercing the girl’s eyes. The sky was colored an unnatural blue, a blue so vibrant it hurt.
“It’s alright, my child.” The woman pulled Day towards the portal. “You’ll get used to it. I promise.”
Day took a deep breath, before following the golden woman into the portal. She was afraid, and yet, at the same time, she was ready. Part of her wanted to crawl back into the darkness and let it swallow her.
“No,” Day whispered. “Breathe.”