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Saturday, April 7, 2012

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Night Wanderings {4::4}

Maun sullenly asked her nurse if she could play outside. It was not pleasant; she still felt oppression towards her after remembering her horrifying neglect. Without looking up, she agreed. “Just do not get yourself lost like last time. All that time I spent worrying over your silly self,” she gripped. “Where were you anyway? The servants never said.”

“None of your business,” she spat. “And give me the warmest petticoat you have. I do not want to freeze my bones again,” Maun hissed.

Grumbling, the nurse rummaged through her dresses and retrieved the thickest one, scowling as she added, “It is out of fashion. You seemed to have always minded before.”

As hard feelings passed between them, Maun set outside, keeping far, far away from that forest. The girl sat near the frozen banks of the river. It was frosted over, and dazzled like cut quartz. The ultimate magnitude of the winter beauty struck her. Out here, the sparse trees were blanketed with some remaining patches of snow. The sky was a vivid lilac blue, without even a wisp of cloud, and only contained a soaring bird.

Maun watched attentively as the shape flew closer, revealing it to be a crow. Still it sped towards her, and she did not recognize who it was too late. “You again!” it groaned. “Have you been inside the entire time? Well, that makes my life easier, thanks a lot,” Crow rambled. “Do you know I’ve been searching for you for two days now?”

Maun rolled her eyes, even though she was secretly delighted. She had missed the sour crow…there was something about him that reminded her of herself. She just couldn’t tell what. “Well, I am glad to see you too. Why did you come searching for me?”

“Because I must warn you…Titalukia is no longer in the forest.”

Maun wanted to rejoice with glee. She’d never have to be afraid of going outside again!

Crow observed her, and said, “But it is not gone. It is ravaging your own village.”

***
She ran through street after street, leaping over the rubble. They were nowhere to be found. “Mother! Father! I am here!” she screamed. And still she was utterly alone. The child whimpered, and collapsed on the wood splints. It was going to be a long night.

The moon set on a desolate alley.

***
“What do you mean?” Maun demanded. “How can Titalukia leave the forest?”

Crow hesitated, then answered, “It has not happened in two thousand years, but it is possible.”

She stared at him, uncomprehending. “Then I have to get away from here!” she shrieked.
“Oh no you don’t,” he replied. “Wherever you go, it follows. Until it finally kills you. I did not fully understand the consequences of taking you to safety out of the forest. We should have left you and been rid of a problem."

“Excuse me?” Maun retorted, all greetings forgotten. “You must help me – and you will!”

“Fine, fine, but just one more time. If this doesn’t work out, you’re a lost cause.”

“Wait – what are we doing?”

“Yes, that’s the problem,” Crow mused. “We need a plan. And a brilliant one to get you out of this mess.”

Maun sighed, then asked, “Then what am I doing?”

“Nothing for now,” Crow replied. “I’ll come when I think of something. Assuming you’re still here.” On that happy note, he flew away.

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