Title: I'm Free
Summary: Everyone could hear it; the wind was whispering.
Everyone could hear it; the wind was whispering. At first they thought it to be their imaginations, that working all day with the hot sun beating down on them was causing them to hear things that weren't there. But even those who did not work outside, such as the women, could hear it, and babies would laugh in amusement when the wind swept by, tickling their ears and whispering its message.
They were afraid of it, at first, and when the last of the demon exterminators walked through their village, they begged her to find and destroy it. She would not, however, for when the wind blew by and danced around her, whispering the same thing it had to all the villagers-
-she just smiled as though listening to an old friend, and told them they had nothing to fear before continuing on her way.
They were skeptical, at first, and for a while their backs would stiffen and their hearts would beat faster whenever the wind would blow, afraid that the exterminator was wrong. But after a few months had gone by without anything attacking them, they began to notice that the wind seemed almost…playful. It would blow by the villagers, always sure to twirl around them, before taking off, picking up leaves and throwing them to the air as if in celebration, always whispering the same thing over and over.
During the winter season, the villagers noticed that the wind didn't howl as though in anger anymore, would no longer destroy their houses or their crops when a storm raged outside. It would only whisper its solitary message.
After a while, the villagers began to think of their wind spirit as a protector, and would give thanks for every storm in which the wind didn't cause damage. The wind, as though in reply, would brush by them and sigh:
Now, whenever they pause their work on a hot day to rest, the wind will dance around them, cooling their skin and drying the sweat from their foreheads, and they will always listen when it whispers.