Jen DeSantis’ Choice: 2
Title: Beginning at the End
The last two hundred feet to the summit were the hardest, littered with jagged-edged rocks and pebbles. Still, Lily removed her shoes, wanting to feel the loamy dirt rise up between her toes and let the coolness of the stones seep deep into her bones. This was what she’d come for, both the challenge and the peace.
Her fingers caressed the bark of an impossible tree that grew seemingly from within a rock. Its spidery roots stretched like veins through the split boulder, peeking through the cold, grey granite with a defiantly rich brown.
The light shone brighter through the thinning canopy of trees as she neared the peak. Lily’s breath came in small pants, the oxygen so thin and so pure that it left her dizzy with exhilaration. Freedom was so close.
She tiptoed on weary feet along the narrow path that led to the edge. She didn’t dare to look to either side for fear that gravity, or her own traitor equilibrium, would pull her down. Lily paused when she reached the last boulder before the drop off, closing her eyes and slowly tilting her head back.
As the wind blew gently through her hair, Lily exhaled all of the hurt and pain that she’d held in for too long. She felt it leave her, and a palpable weight was lifted off of her chest. She expected a tear to fall, marking the end of her life as part of a pair, but it never came. When she returned to the city to start her new life, she knew that she’d be able to begin again. Fresh and clean, with the past hurts released into the pure air above the mountain.
The fluttering of hundreds of wings caused her to gasp and open her eyes. Swallows, too many to count, swirled around her in dizzying circles. Lily sat down hard on her bottom to keep from losing her balance. She sat in wide-eyed wonder as the sparrows danced back and forth above the mountain, higher than she could ever reach on her own.
She dug her toes into a patch of dirt that had collected within a gully in the boulder. Lily felt rooted in the soil, but there was freedom in her newfound roots. As the murmuration of sparrows dispersed, Lily felt her breath regulate to the higher altitude and to the dropping temperatures. She knew that she would need to head back to the surface, back to the start of a new life that was waiting for her.
“But not just yet,” she whispered, digging her toes in deeper.
That life could wait just a few minutes longer as she nourished her impossible roots in the summit’s soil.
Jennifer DeSantis is a Horror and Paranormal Author and host of the #FridayPictureShow. She lives near Philly with her family. In her spare time is an aspiring ninja.