Stark Differences

The girl sat on a large rock, a perch that would otherwise be considered too hard for a little girl of seven or perhaps too dirty a place for the pale green dress that sunk all the way down to her skinny knees. Hugging her knees and gazing out over the depths of the still lake contemplating the house at the far side, her eyes following the wispy trails of smoke that rose from the houses that she had slowly grown to regard as symbol of something she'd never be.

For a girl so young, Clodia had begun to show a certain wisdom that her round face and bright eyes hid behind their mask of 'adorableness'. But this was often shadowed by the people's constant attentions to the fact that in the last five years she'd aged more that they were known to age in half a century. This constant fawning over her and the way her mother slowly reaching a social status that even the most ambitious of politicians wouldn't have imagined, resulted in Clodia regarding her village, the otherwise picturesque collection of wooden houses as sort of giant spotlight from which she'd never be freed. What with people regarding her mother as a possible savior of their people by some, by other's a miracle woman, and by a select few as she had unfortunately found out, the bearer of a defective child. See, that was the thing about aging faster... no, aging at all in a society where after a certain limit, the effects of time overlooked you - Most regarded your ability age with reverence seeing a means to escape the dementia that came with longevity, while others who valued their agelessness regarded you with a ill disguised disdain. It didn't help that the former were the majority and that her mother was treated with the same sort of reverence that one would expect to be seen afforded a god.

She didn't see her mother as much as she liked to anymore. While her mother had seemed resistant to the attentions they slowly began to call to her until at last for the last month she seemed to fit into a role so uncannily easily that Clodia was left with unshed tears as she started to be told how she was expected to behave in public. The transition had torn the girls’ heart apart... Not as much, however, as it did to hear the not-so-hushed whispers of people's doubts about her and her aging. Quite a few were of the opinion that she'd stop aging as soon as she reached te same level of physical maturity as the others.

A few strands of her blonde hair flew across her field of vision with the wind that passed her by with enticing, almost mocking carelessness. Pushing them back behind her ear with a sigh, she rested her head on her knees, watching the wind ripple the dark lake... the sole being who was brave enough to caress its deadly surface. She'd been warned against the Lake for as long as she could remember of course... to the point that she was genuinely afraid of it. At the same time, equally in awe of the nigh still expanse. How often she'd gazed at it from the shores near the village, so close to the surf that she'd often be reminded to move away or not to go any closer. It didn't really matter where she was... they were always around. Handlers, caretakers, or just plain anyone who was nearby. She was a reluctant celebrity.

It was this celebrity that had forced her to slip away today. She'd been in her room, asked ever so sweetly by her mother, whose hair cascaded around her angular face in the most elegant of fashions, to change into the dress that had been prepared for her. The dress she wore now. The decision to sneak out the window had been more of an impulse than anything else. She still didn't know why but guessed that the excited sound of her mother's 'friends' in the living room, just outside may have done it.

Clodia had never felt so alive though. Sneaking past one cheery household after another, trying to stay as hidden as it was possible while wearing a pale green dress that quite obviously wasn't meant to be worn anywhere but indoors. Still, she somehow managed to make her way out of the small village, at which point she ran... ran faster and harder than she could ever remember doing so. She didn't stop till the sound of people was nothing but a memory... till all she could hear was the wind whisper to her, the leaves rustle indignantly underfoot and the occasional song bird questioning her presence so far from home. She didn't stop, though... there was no need. She hadn't felt so good, so free, so... herself in far too long a time. And so, conjuring up fantasies of elves and fairies the girl let her feet carry her till she was finally met by the sobering presence of the Lake... And it was then that she found the rock on which to perch and let her heart slowly begin to heal itself within the solitude she'd purchased for herself. She knew, deep down that it wasn't to last... Already she could hear the shouts of people off in the distance. She was in trouble. No doubt her mother would be giving her a lecture on how she ought to behave... rather than the lecture of how she had been worried for her. But somehow, to the girl all of this had been worth it. Maybe she might even find a way to come back...

But to do so, she'd need to leave now, before her little place of solitude could be discovered. Quietly, she slid off the large rock and began to walk towards the nearest of calls, pulling up a small smile on her face that she was sure would feign childish carelessness.


What she didn't see however... what she couldn't have possibly expected... was the tiny pebble that slid off the rock as she got off from it, and bounced its way towards the edge of a tiny cliff over which in the most cheerful of manners it fell... straight into the Lake.

The End

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