The Companion

As the last of the dried sea salt dissolving from her aching body, Sydney felt a renewed sense of purpose. She maintained a strong commitment to her goal but regretfully wished that she had asked someone how long it would take to get to the village.
She stared at the road ahead; it looked much smaller and darker than before. She could see the arms of the huge knurly trees connecting in tangles high above and could hear them creak and moan as they reached out to each other. A shiver of doubt washed over her and she began questioning herself, “Are the trees larger than before? Where is that wood sprite thing? Why did she leave? I think I made her mad, and come to think of it, I haven’t seen that big black bird anywhere, I wonder where it flew off to. Why didn’t I ask more questions?”
The darkness was falling in on her and although it gave her a horrifying chill to think of spending even one night alone in these woods, she was failing to find an alternative choice. Selena’s last words echoed in her mind, “Do not wander off the path as you will certainly get lost.” She would have to be cautious, and definitely keep an eye on the road, but she had to find a safe place to sleep.
A short time later she located a cluster of shrubs surrounding a large tree. Making her way through the brush she saw a patch of tall green grass and spying a pile of leaves in the hollow of the tree, she whispered, “Yes, this is perfect.”
She was curling up in her make shift bed and praying for an uneventful night of sleep, when the blackness of the night engulfed her and the exhaustion of the day quickly wrapped her in a blanket of dreams. She was walking through mystical lands and places with a dark foreboding presence. Morphing shadows were often following her and every once in a while she could see large bird-like creatures and strange mechanical things flying overhead. She was floating past unknown objects, some lying in dark rooms covered with dust and some glowing in blue light under the water. There was a metal box with a key sitting next to a rock that sprouted wings and flew away when she tried to pick it up and then something fell from the sky.
“Ouch!” she cried, finding herself suddenly awake and rubbing her head. It took a few moments for her eyes to adjust to the morning light pouring into her little tree cove. A sunny meadow of painted flowers stretched out before her, like a colorful tablecloth.
Hey, what the heck? That hurt! Who’s doing that, she exclaimed as she searched for the source of pain.
“Oh gee, I’m sorry, came a voice from somewhere above her. I am not usually so clumsy but what can someone expect when they sleep inside a tree?”
She rubbed her head and found a small hard object that, on closer observation, appeared to be a walnut shell, “Who’s there?” asked Sydney, “What’s this?”
“I’ll be having that back, if you don’t mind. There’s a new arrival expected at silver grove that’ll be a needin’ that.”
Within a blink of an eye, a wee person, smaller than could possibly exist, was sitting on her thumb, pulling with all its might at the shell in her hand. “It’s really cute”, thought Sidney, “maybe it’s some kind of fairy?”
“Hey, can I please have my protector?”
“Oh, sorry”, replied Sydney, letting go of the little shell. She was humored by its bold attitude and nearly laughed out loud as the little thing toppled back when she released the shell. “Are you a fairy?” she asked.
“Is something wrong with you? Of course I’m not a fairy. You don’t see any wings, do ya?
Its rich brown skin glistened in the sun revealing a delicate face, a slightly turned up nose, rosy cheeks and amazing blue green eyes. It had tiny green leaves for ears and there were only four little fingers tightly holding on to its precious “protector”.
To be continued……

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