~The Listener~ pg 2

He did not hear her footfalls when she returned, but a cough and a stirring of the leaves around his feet told him she was back. He turned to glance as she went right to work putting things back into her pack. He frowned at her appearance, still in the same dress as yesterday. Its fabric hung all the way to her feet ready to snag on any stray branch, bramble, or bush. It would slow them down if she didn’t put on some trousers. “Aren’t you going to change?” he grumbled hoping she also had something with long sleeves to cover up the evidence of his abuse.

“Worried I’ll get your future bandages dirty?” she tried to joke but no laughter found her eyes. The girl would not look at him and he felt a shift in her demeanor. She turned her attention back to packing before giving him a more somber answer. “I… I have no other clothes… “

“What?! Why in all Kavaccet would you not pack more clothes??”

She turned on him with a stiff breeze ruffling her hair. “I don’t own any other clothes!” she huffed before rolling her bedroll with a bit more force. “If you remembered anything about me, you’d know I grew up at the Sanctuary. The Bloom comes into her promise with nothing else.”

Bloom, promise, Sanctuary… none of these words held any meaning to him, but he did remember the forlorn words she had uttered the day before. “But I just came home…”  Could it be the girl owned nothing? “Didn’t your family know you were coming? Didn’t they prepare?”

She pursed her lips as her chin quivered. Her voice was very quiet. “I did not have time to ask.” Another sting of guilt. Oh, how she vexed him! With a few yanks of the chord, she finished securing what she did have. “The pack and bedroll belonged to my father,” she commented with a gentle stroke to its rough fabric before hefting it onto her shoulder. “Everything else my mother provided me with.”

She looked at him expectantly and he hefted his pack as well. He did not know why but he felt the need to ask, “Your father does not need his pack?”

The wind died to a standstill though her face showed no emotion as she stared at him. “My father is dead.” She turned her back on him and started towards the mountain pass at a good clip. He had to rush to keep up with her.

The End

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