~The Dress~

The world was bright and fuzzy when he first cracked his eyes. …and he was not alone. She stood silhouetted in the frame of the open window looking out over the expanse. The breeze tossed her tresses and whispery sleeves away from the deep blue dress she wore. Alex’s breaths came in short shallow gulps and his heart pounded in his temple as he recognized her. She was here… she couldn’t be here… Had she come for him? Why else would she be here? He tried to sit up, groaning as pain stabbed his side, and she turned to face him. The sunshine that hit his face blinded him and forced his eyes shut. He tried to open them again – focus on her face… but his body betrayed him with weariness and he couldn’t keep his eyes open for more than a few seconds at a time. She moved to his side… a floating angel… Avery…

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Nivia had left him in her care. The old woman had abandoned him and he could just imagine her laughter at the irony of it. He almost felt betrayed. 

His lung burned with every full breath, but he knew he was healing. If he had received this injury anywhere else, he was confident he wouldn’t have survived. Nivia’s medicinal knowledge – and no little amount of magic – had him healing quickly. But to leave him in her care… the woman’s sense of humor was torturous.  

Fiora held his elbow as he stood. A surprisingly strong hold for one so slight. Her grip steadied him as throbbing pain stretched through his side. “Come on,” she ordered when Alex hesitated to move any further. “Nivia said you had to do some walking today if you want to go to town tomorrow.”

Nivia said… Nivia said he should listen to the girl’s direction. Why did the old woman trust her so readily? “I’d be ready to go today if someone hadn’t stabbed me,” he spit out bitterly, but she did not flinch. 

“You’d also be able to go today if someone had just listened to me in the first place, so quit your whining and move your feet.” She was right, of course. How many times had she asked him to leave them alone? He knew that she was right but the pain made it difficult to be civil. That she flounced around in Avery’s dress did not help. Every sight of her gave him a heavy heart. He tried to stare forward. With a scowl and a grimace, Alex put one foot in front of the other and allowed her to lead him out of the house. 

The End

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