She sat cross-legged in the clearing with her back against the sapling; the sparse, dappled shadows dancing lightly across her skin.
She closed her eyes and listened to the wind.
Listened to it rustle the leaves above her and the grass below… felt it tug the branches, and gently sway her and her shady companion like a babe in arms.
If she strained as hard as she could…
She fancied she could almost hear him circling the clearing. He’d promised… But those words had turned to dust a long time ago, she reminded herself with a bitter smirk, absently rubbing the phantom ache in the palm of her right hand.
That’s what happens when you push hard enough that they push back.
The charred posts stood stoic sentinel above the razed earth, where she had watched him burn the footbridge like so much tinder and turn his back that final time… stood there unmoving as the heat threatened to blister her skin, howling rage and indignation.
Day after day she had come and poured her grief into the soil and salted it with her tears. Grief still stripped her raw from time to time, but it was enough now to carry it within her, without balancing on the precipice of the abyss that called below.
Berryl brushed away the brittle leaf that landed on her thigh, knocking her out of her reverie. Chiding herself, she stood up and dusted off the grass and dirt, scanning the empty clearing with practised familiarity.
Gone, gone, gone… why was she even here? she chided inwardly. Because she needed to be, she supposed.