An icy storm howled and groaned about me, whipping the trees to and fro in its insatiable wrath. Sheets of rain poured from the murky sky, a torrent of water and wind pummeling my aching body.
I felt so small as I stood in the midst of the raging storm. So small and useless.
What was I but a mere ant, an insignificant worm in the face of this world? How could anything as small as I carry a ripple?
The world would still wage its wars, blind to the evil it was; injustice and oppression practically embroidered into the fabric of existence. Rulers would still dictate and control. The poor citizens would suffer in their poverty as the higher up drowned in their riches. Those who stood up and spoke out against the nobles were persecuted for questioning authority.
And so it seemed to me as if nothing we ever did would make a difference.
Lowering lashes glimmering with dew, I let the rain wash over me. It seemed an ironic time for a storm, and I wondered if maybe the world was crying—lamenting over what humanity had come to.
“Why are you standing out here amid the rain?”
I took a ragged breath before turning around, blinking water out of my eyes. Eleanor stood behind me, leaning against a jagged pillar and studying me with an inscrutable expression.
“I thought I’d find you out here.” She said and pushed herself off the rock to face me. Her curly dark mass of hair was plastered to her face, and her fierce hazel eyes glimmered with condensation. “Moping won't get you anywhere you know.”
I shook my head at her. “I’m not moping.”
It was easy, easier than it should have been to slip on the masquerade, to look as if there was not a care in the world. The recent ordeals had left me drained and numb.
Eleanor threw her head back and laughed loudly. “I know moping the moment I see it. Now, spit it out.”
I clenched my fists in the pockets of my thick coak. “I am simply debating the best course of action to take from here.”
She grinned humorlessly. “You little liar. I see right past your guise down into your soft little heart. You can't-fool me, Flynn, I’ve seen more in this harsh world than someone twice my age.”
I tried to push the smoldering anger away, but her words sparked an inferno. She had no idea, no idea, of what I have gone through. How dare she make rash assumptions off of her own feeble experiences?
“You know nothing of what I have endured,” I said quietly, eyes flashing as I met her gaze.
Eleanor took a few steps closer until she was nose to nose with me. I could count every freckle on her bronze skin, every eyelash.
“You don’t sit around waiting for things to get better, you do something about it.” She whispered fiercely. “The world won't change itself, things won't just automatically get better. Everything that lasts takes time.”
Eleanor turned around and faced the setting sun; the sky lit up with the hues of the sunset. Her silhouette composed an impressive figure against the horizon, glistening with raindrops from the dull drizzle that now swept over the distant mountains.
“Someday,” she breathed, “you won't have to hide.”
I stared at her, enraptured at the quiet strength that overtook her features as she gazed out into the distance.
Eleanor twisted around again, her face somber. “Someday the world will accept you for who you are. But don’t wait for that day, don’t wait up for them—beat them to it and accept yourself now.”
A small beam of trembling sunlight entered into the suffocating darkness, thawing away at the ice that had slowly taken over within. I felt something I had not felt in a long time.
Overwhelming in its promise and almost tangible to the imagination. I knew it was far away, farther than the length of the stars and back. And though everything was against me, though I would be met with opposition and suffering—would anyone else raise their voice for change?
I opened my eyes and found them full of the sun. “To an new dawn.”
Eleanor flashed her teeth in a voracious grin, her eyes full of promise. “To a new future.”
I held my breath at the words I would say; terrified my wish would disappear once uttered aloud. “To a world where those born of darkness, can shine just as bright.”
-Esther L. Krenzin-
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