#WOW 555 – Changing Seasons

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Happy Friday!

I’m proud to report that my ankle is well enough for me to Zumba! Huzzah! I’m jumping, skipping, running up and down stairs, etc. I recovered much faster than I anticipated, so hooray! Unfortunately, between the time I’ve spent away from Zumba and my ankle not being exactly in peak shape, the workout was much tougher than I anticipated. I know it’s only a matter of time before I get back into the swing of things, but damn. I haven’t felt this tired after a workout in a very long time. Not to mention, I was being careful with my ankle so I didn’t even dance at full capacity. Anyway, here’s hoping I can (eventually) Samba once more without fear of breaking my ankles!

In other news, my #TuesFlashFicTrain contest is still running, and I’ve shortened the word count. Still working on getting participants, though. If you like my flash stories and think it’d be fun to do something similar, give my contest a shot! Or – even better – give all the flash contests a shot! Both #WOW555 (I won last week!) and #ThursThreads are quite awesome.

Speaking of Wendy’s #WOW555 contest, this week’s prompt was deceptively difficult. It’s a simple enough prompt, but I feel like I almost forced it into my story. I’m not very proud of it.

Prompt: this week’s prompt incorporate a seasonal change.

~~~

No Regrets

We spent much longer than I would have liked looking through those books – to the point where I found myself dozing in and out of sleep. Malakai and Esther didn’t seem to tire at all, and I wondered how much of that was part of being a shapeshifter – or maybe I was just too exhausted. After the fifth or sixth time I had to wake myself, Malakai spoke.

“Alright – you need to sleep.” He looked at the clock over our mantel. It wasn’t until then I realized we’d been at it for most of the night.

“No, I’m fine. I just need coffee.” I rubbed my eyes of their grogginess, before moving to stand. Stumbling over my own feet didn’t help my case.

“You need sleep, Emma.” Esther put her book down – the fourth one she’d gone through – and made her way over to me. She helped me stay upright, placing a comforting arm around my shoulder. “Come on – you’re exhausted.”

She led me to my room, leaving Malakai behind to keep going through books. I hadn’t realized just how tired I was until Esther was helping me change into pajamas. Every inch of me felt like lead. “What about you guys?”

“Me? I was asleep for months – I can stay up a few more hours. Besides, we’re nearly done going through the books. You can afford a night’s rest.”

“Why am I so tired?”

“Your body is probably recovering from being in Sídhe. Human bodies aren’t meant to travel back and forth like that. It’s usually a one-way trip.” That did very little to comfort me. Before I knew it, I was lying in bed. “Now try getting some sleep. I’ll send Mal to keep you company.”

A moment later, my door opened behind me and I felt Malakai’s weight on my bed. He put an arm around me, tucking me into him and placing a kiss on the back of my head.

“You still awake?”

“Yeah.” I couldn’t help but stare out the window, realizing for the first time that the leaves in the tree had changed – that I’d really been gone for what was probably weeks. When we left to save Esther, they were still green. Now, even in the moonlight I could tell the tree was speckled with yellows and reds, the light breeze loosening the leaves so that they’d fall. When we finally rescued her, would it only seem like a few hours to my mother? “Did you find anything?”

“A couple of mentions, but nothing concrete yet.” He tightened his hold slightly, trying to comfort me. “I’m so sorry, Emma.”

“It’s not your fault.”

“But if-”

“She would’ve found me eventually.” I turned to face him, placing my hand on his cheek. “And you couldn’t know what was going to happen. I don’t regret choosing to help you.”

With a sad smile, he leaned in to kiss me before tucking me against him again to sleep.

~~~

Come back next week to check out how this story continues (and my other posts). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the entries on Saturday/submit your own by 5PM CST today.

As always, think happy thoughts!

Image Credit: Image found via Google Image Search on hdwallpapers.cat

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