The winds were chasing each other back and forth across the plain, diving back into the stand of trees and giggling within the leaves. The undergrowth muttered at the disturbance, but the young winds would not be held at bay. Playful and free, and acutely aware that there was none to stop them, they upset piles of leaves and forced a few saplings from their path.
It was a day meant for playing, he had to agree. Or he would have, had such thoughts entered his mind. Instead, he grudgingly pulled his cloak back about himself, away from the grasping hands of the childish zephyrs. The winds ruffled his hair, teasing him, begging him to join in the fun. Absurd. He kept his tread steady and walked out from the copse of trees.
The sun reflected off the yellow blades of the tall grass which waved to him in greeting. He had little mind for such pleasantries, yet as he cut a narrow swath in the cheerful crowd, his hand stretched out to lightly offer salutations to those nearest him. The winds laughed, mocking him. He drew his hand back inside his cloak, though the day was warm even through the breeze.
The wind followed him as he went, at times pushing him forward and
at others holding him back. It had been early morning when he had
set out, alone as usual. And it had been alone that he had journey
most of the day until he met the two winds. They collided around
him. Small children feigning at making war. At times their swords
bit a tad too harshly into his skin and he brought up his cloak to
sheild his face. They would then calm down, as if conscious of the
discomfort they had caused. But the respite was always brief. At
times they would leave him and go cantering off in one direction or
another, intent upon an imaginary quest which led them away, but
invariably back. They bestowed him with the treasures of their
conquests. Leaves. Twigs. Dust. A few small pebbles when they were
And so for the first time in many years, he had company. Not that it
did him much good, at least at first. they were hardly apt
conversationalists, choosing to laugh or whistle rather than speak.
The few times he mumbled to himself, or even to them, they caught at
his words and flung them back and forth, distorting the sounds, and
in their own way twisting the meanings.
For all their seeming perception, however, of when he was irritated
at their wild games, they never caught the underlying tones of his
desire for them to leave. but then, maybe those tones really were
not there. It had been a long time since company had availed itself
upon him. He could not say that in all that time he had not felt the
grip of loneliness. There were times when he had wished for fellows
to join in with his own laughter. Companions from which to take
The winds provided an easing of that sensation. A feeling which had
once been a gnawing pain and was now merely a hollow emptiness. A
recognized, accepted defecit in the core of his being.
The winds kept with him for the remainder of the day, settling down
at evening as he set camp, which consisted of no more than a small
fire and his cloak layed out on a bed of flattened grass. Or at
least, what was meant to be a small fire. The winds, eager to
please, followed his example in blowing at the tiny flame, and
fanning it that it might catch. The logs were dry and quickly
caught...but the winds kept blowing. The fire sprang higher,
devouring the air around it. In an attempt to block the zealous
behaviour of the winds, he grabbed his cloak and held it as a sheild
before the fire. But the winds merely circled round to the other
side and continued in an alternating pattern. Their activity nearly
cost him his cloak. Stamping out the sparks before they had a chance
to grab hold, and before the winds could take advantage of the
escapees, he cried for them to stop.
The words were bandied about for a while, then disappeared. So too,
apparently did the winds. He felt a sting of remorse then. They
were, after all, only trying to help. And he could not deny that he
had a very good fire before him. Better, perhaps, than he alone
could have built. Sitting down heavily, elbows on his knees, he
gazed at the act of friendship as it flickered and danced before
him. Everyone made mistakes. Even the wind, he supposed. He ate his
dinner in the silence and stillness of the night. It was too late
now to call them back, he thought as he rolled himself in his cloak
and watched the embers' glow. It wasn't that bad. He was used to
And sleep he had, but not for long. A shrill cry was soon racing through
the air, between the trees which surrounded his little camp. It died
away again, as quickly as it had come. He settled back down,
prepared to let sleep embrace him once more, when a new sound filled
the night. A muffled, quiet, too quiet, shuffling just beyond where he
lay. A glint, as of a star, or the light of a star off something
reflective. It landed beside him as he rolled, the dagger burried up
to the hilt in the soft earth. Bandits. Then the cry again, complete
with a forceful rush of air. The fire ashes were thrown up, creating
a choking haze. In a moment they would float back to the ground. But
that moment was all he needed. He was already up and running, racing
through the trees, the winds chattering merrily in his ears.
He ran on through the night, stopping only to catch his breath, the
air always there to provide it for him. Once a good distance and
several hours away from his camp, he allowed himself to rest
outstretched on the ground. The winds were still with him,
whispering nervously nearby. He smiled, a touch ruefully. He had not
forgiven a simple misunderstanding, yet had in turn been forgiven
his error through the winds' warning.
The night was chill, but he was hot from running, and he had friends
to add a different kind of warmth.
|26 Aug 1999|| Chris Brant|
You're an excellent writer, and there is some wonderful personification going on here. I like it! It almost ended too soon though...yet, I suppose all great things have that feeling, now don't they? *grin*
|29 Aug 1999|| Elizabeth Barnett|
I love the wind... the idea has been played with before, but I've never read it done so skillfully. Keep it up!