This story is an off-shoot from a novel I wrote years ago.
Gershwin traveled through a large endless orchard. He knew he shouldn’t have been there, but he was searching for something. He knew if he kept walking, he would find it. He did not know the orchard well, for it changed constantly. One minute the trees would be apple trees, then peach trees, or even pear trees, withered one moment, beautiful and full of life the next. Just like her….
His mind wandered off to his love. He missed her, he wanted her back. He was supposed to wait for her, but he did not, and now he had lost her. Ever since that day, he searched endlessly for her.
“Amaleen,” he spoke to the warm air around him. “I miss you.”
He remembered her golden hair that shone like the sun and her tawny, gentle eyes, the touch of her always warm skin and how her laugh sounded. He smiled just imaging her standing next to him, talking nonstop about the trees, or the birds or the grass. The woods where they lived had been her home, but it was lost. He could not recall where it was.
He was suddenly out of the orchard and in a field with a stream running through it. He knew what this place was. He remembered it vividly, the day she had vanished. It had been here. Perhaps she couldn’t find her way back to the woods either.
He didn’t give the stream his attention. It is what had took her from him, his Amaleen, his sweet, soft-
He heard her voice and spun in a circle to find the source, but he couldn’t find her. Instead, his surroundings changed rapidly. He was now standing in the center of Mirith, the town where they had come from, a town that once used to be his, Regilius and part of her woods.
Massive stone blocks towered over him. These stone pillars had once been part of Amaleen’s forest. The Mirith, Gershwin growled angrily, were the hatred-filled masked beings that took her away from him and defiled her memory. They had turned the once blue sky, red, the once lush trees into concrete pillars, the once green grass brown and stained with blood. The once peaceful woods were now a place of violence. Gershwin remembered Curar’s spiteful words.
“Once I have everything I want, once every part of Regilius is turned into a Mirith’s haven, I will find her and destroy her. We cannot have peace in this land.”
Gershwin swore he would kill Curar when he found him again after he killed Amaleen. He never did. Curar, as all Mirith, vanished after destroying every part of the region they found.
Gershwin stood and gazed into the red sky. Arms spread to his side palms facing the sky, he began to chant. He felt his powers flutter through him, but it was not enough. No matter how much he willed the land to go back to how he remembered it, it would not.
He knew where to go from that point. He traveled through and across the concrete jungle towards the edge, where Amaleen’s woods once stood. When he found it, he stopped to gaze into it. The trees were bare, the grass dead and no birds sang. Amaleen had not been there for many years. Gershwin could not even sense her presence any longer or feel her warmth upon him. He knew she wasn’t coming back.
He turned around to leave, but he felt the urge to walk among the woods to see if there was anything left of her. The wove in between dead trees for what seemed like ages to him. He found nothing but death.
He sat and began to cry. One tear after another flowed down his cheeks. He cried and chanted for her to return to him, begging her to forgive him for not waiting here for her. He knew it was his fault she was gone. He should have been there to save her from the Mirith. It was too late.
He heard her voice once more and he looked up from where he sat to see a green shoot coming up from out of the dead ground. Slowly and gently it pushed its way out of the dirt and through the brown grass and began to sprout green leaves. It soon grew taller and taller until it was the size of a tree only inches short than he. It soon spread life to everything around it. The grass grew green, more trees formed and white flowers sprung up from the ground. Gershwin ever heard the sound of birds around him. He then saw her.
She walked towards him, smiling just how he remembered her. He long golden hair giving light to the grass and trees around her, tawny eyes sparkling at him. She was the woods.
He could barely breathe. He rose from the ground and started after her, but she held out her hand.
Perplexed by her, he ceased going after her and waited.
“What took you so long?” she asked.
He found a frown etched into her face now. Dread filled him. “I could not find the woods. I tried. I’ve been searching, but-.”
She smiled. “I, too, have been looking for you. Now that I found you…”
She ran to him and held out her arms to him. He took her in his own and felt the warmth and happiness radiate from her.
“Amaleen,” he spoke. He wanted to say more to her, but she quieted him.
“I cannot stay long, Gershwin,” she said. “I have waited so long to find you again, but this time I cannot stay as long as I have previously.”
“No, Amaleen. I can’t let you leave again.”
She put her hand on his and pulled him to the soft emerald grass. “Sing to me, Gershwin. I’ve missed you.”
He sang to her then as she had asked. The music lifted her spirits, carried her away to far off places she could only dream about, to places where they could be forever. She then stopped him and put her hand on his cheek. He marveled at how warm she felt, like a spring evening or a summer morning. He held her, wanting to keep a hold of her forever. He knew soon, she would have to leave.
It began to snow. The snowflakes softly floated down onto their shoulders, their hair and onto their noses as they kissed one another gently and tenderly, eyes closed but still able to see one another through their other senses. They grasped at each other, and when it was over, they opened their eyes to see that the trees had lost their leaves and the lush green grass and flowers were beginning to wither as the snow fell beautifully upon them.
As Gershwin looked from Amaleen’s tender tawny eyes, he gazed around him at the scene. His heart leaped suddenly and he took Amaleen’s hand in his.
“It’s snowing,” he spoke.
Amaleen smiled. “It’s beautiful.”
She did not speak, but she looked at Gershwin simply and let go of his hand.
“You can’t leave yet. I just got you back,” he whispered at her, reaching out his hand to take hers again.
She shook her head. “But I have to. I’ll come back in the spring, you know that.”
Gershwin felt his eyes watering much like how they did when he lost her the first time. “Amaleen.”
Her eyes smiled at him. “Wait for me.”
He watched her start walking backwards, never looking away from his eyes, walking through the now heavily falling snow, leaving only her footsteps that he knew would vanish just like she was. He knew she would return to him if he waited for her when they snow ceased to fall. He would come back, like every spring and stay with her in the forest until she had to leave again.
He finally saw her disappear far away from him, into the snow. He looked up into the sky and began to sing a song and a single tear froze onto his eyelash.