Whispers on the Shadow Wind — Daily Flash Story: Chapter 3

Each chapter will be written by improvisation and inspired by a random InspiroBot poster until we reach a natural end. I hope you enjoy it!

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Despite her apparent preoccupation with her mother’s rose bushes, Dawn listened intently to Lillian’s recounting of her experience in the college cafeteria. Her smooth and slender hands deftly clipped a branch here and there to cover the anger she felt over Lillian’s mistreatment. If she’d had Lillian’s tormentor at hand, it would’ve been them she’d clip instead.

“So, this force was unseen, only heard?” Dawn asked strictly to give her more time to consider. This was not the typical thing Lillian came to her for, though as the only practicing witch from their high school class, she wasn’t completely unfamiliar with the subject of otherworldly beings.

Lillian nodded frantically. Even two days after the incident, she still hadn’t calmed down. She was beginning to wonder if she ever would, or if she’d be consigned to the fate of being anxious from this point forward, always looking for moving shadows and listening for voices.

Dawn understood. For years she’d had a heightened connection to the spirit world. She’d seen many things, heard many others. All of that had occurred through carefully constructed ritual, however, but Lillian’s experience had happened without any apparent catalyst.

She wished she hadn’t put away all of her divination tools, and cursed the desire to reinvent herself which had taken over her life for the past two years. In high school she’d been known as the edgy counter-culture girl best to be avoided. One of her ex-girlfriends had referred to her as a harsh mistress, claiming that her obsession with magic and occultism had made her a hard person to be around, that she was rude and overbearing, controlling in every aspect of their relationship.

That wasn’t the way she wanted to be, but it seemed no matter where she went, she couldn’t escape the pull of magic. It sneaked into conversations, or sometimes old friends like Lillian would seek her out specifically for advice on strange occurrences.

Her thoughts were interrupted by movement in the bush beneath her. She peered into the shadows, catching sight of brown and yellow scales slithering through the darkness. A garden snake, harmless to humans but feared by those who didn’t know better. To some it would be a considered a pest, yet they defended the area from vermin.

Did not she also defend her friends? And, like a snake in the garden, her appearance should not be taken into account when considering her purpose. She had a duty to perform, and she knew Lillian had no one else to turn to. It was time to get back to work.

“Okay, let’s go inside. I’ll gather some supplies and we’ll get to the bottom of this,” Dawn said, rising from her crouch. She smiled warmly at Lillian and handed one of the clipped roses to her. “Don’t worry, we’re going to make sure you’re safe. I’ll make you a charm to protect you from otherworldly things, and then you’ll be able to rest easy, okay?”

Lillian smiled softly and rolled the rose through her fingers, then took it up to her nose, sniffing it. “This is pretty,” she said, casually. “You are, too.” She blushed a shade almost as dark as the rose. “Thank you, Dawn.”

Dawn didn’t blush at the compliment, but she felt it warm her all the same. It’d been a long time since she’d had a date. Perhaps this could be more than business after all?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thank you for reading! I write fiction for a living, and I’m currently trying make ends meet. If you like this short story and would like to read my other work, find out more at Patreon or email me at Samuel.D.Roe@gmail.com.

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