Friday, September 9, 2016

The Stones


                I tripped over my skirts several times while sprinting to The Stones.  It didn’t matter how torn my clothing was. It didn’t matter how ragged I looked. I couldn’t let him marry her. 

                The day started with the smell of distant snow in the air. There was surely to be a storm on this day that lead to the longest night. My morning chores were nearly complete when I reached into the pocket of my lamb’s wool cloak to warm my hands. I was surprised to find a letter stashed there. My hand trembled a bit as I unfolded the missive. Creighton’s familiar handwriting danced across the page. 

“I’m marrying Rhiannon. I do not want or need to hear from you again.”

                My overwhelming anguish manifested in a strangled sob. He’d loved me once. Or so he claimed. Wanted me. Needed me. He would tell me how his heart raced at the thought of us together. And now this letter exposed the depth of his lies. I felt my heart hammering in my chest while wrenching itself to pieces. I desperately fought to draw in air. My head was spinning, and all I could smell was the stench of bile as it rose its way from my twisted stomach.  I had to go to him.

                Father said he’d seen Creighton with Rhiannon and her druid earlier in the morn. I frantically searched the entire village for them, and they were nowhere to be found. It was nearly suncrest. I knew I had no time to waste. There was only one other place they could be.

                I grabbed my heaviest wrap and took off toward The Stones.

                Blinded by winter winds and scorching tears, I rubbed the back of my wool-wrapped hand across my leaking eyes. The snow fell harder and harder. It endangered my plan and nearly forced me to return to the safety of my home, but my desperation to see him overrode all reason. I had to hear it from his lips before I could truly believe the ugliness of his written words.

                I made it to The Stones just before the sun hit its zenith on the shortest day of the year. Three figures stood in the middle of The Stones. There was still time for me to intervene.

                I drew a deep breath into my blazing lungs. “CREIGHTON!” I screamed with every last ounce of strength I had. I fell to my hands and knees, exhausted. 

                My voice caused all three figures to turn toward me. The druid looked smug as he lowered his hands to his sides. Rhiannon looked radiant and triumphant. Creighton looked at me like he was reclaiming a long faded memory.

                I looked at Rhiannon. “Don’t do this,” I pleaded. But the incantations had already been chanted and the offerings had already been burnt.

                The sun peaked and bathed The Stones in white light. I raised my arm to shield my eyes from the glare. I saw the kiss they shared as a silhouette against the shimmering ice crystals. My love was lost. The ceremony was over. Creighton belonged to her.

                “You WITCH!” I screamed. I tried to stand, but my legs refused to heed my wishes. 

                Rhiannon leaned in close to Creighton’s ear. “Remember her.” It wasn’t a question. It was a command.

                Creighton turned to look at me. His eyes rushed full of tears while the bewitched memories came flooding back. “Lioslaith…” he whispered as his tears embodied his heartbreak.  

                “Now watch as your beloved dies,” Rhiannon purred.

                My eyes widened it terror. 

                Rhiannon lifted her graceful arm and backhanded the air.

                My head jerked violently to the left as my neck cracked.