I Will Build

By: Miss Raye

The sound of children playing woke him in the morning. There had been too many days that had passed since Noah… since he had been hurt.

Without even opening his eyes he knew that Ivy was gone from the room. He did not have to see to know it. He could feel her presence whenever she was near and when she was not… he felt her absence as though Noah had carved out that part of him that was good and warm.

Reaching his fingers along the edge of the bed he felt the tips of his fingers come in contact with a smooth piece of wood.

Little Abigail Atwood had brought it to him sometime while Ivy had been gone. While the adults and others his age had always been so uncomfortable around him, the children… they knew they had nothing to fear from him.

The Abigail had stood in the door, watching him with curiosity. He could feel it in her gaze even though he was not awake. He could feel her much as Ivy said she could see color. He felt energy while his spirit lacked it.

His mother had turned to shush her out of the room, but the little girl would have none of it. She braved his mother and the wrath of her own to step into the room, traverse the worn floor boards and set this piece of wood beside him.

She leaned over the edge of the bed and had whispered into his ear. "I brought this for you." Her hair had fallen against his cheek and the silk of it was still a physical memory for him. "I found it… in the river where the water makes things smooth."

He wanted to warn her from going into the water. Warn her that someone her size could easily be swept away, but Noah had taken his voice from him… Noah had taken his voice and hopefully would not take his life.

Abigail had brought him this wood.

He lifted it in his hand and held it to the light, finally opening his eyes on the room where he had waited… and saw the smooth curves and planes as though honed by a master carpenter. The wood had been through the swirling, desperate waters and had not been broken by the forces pushing against it. The wood was more than just a piece of something… it held within itself the strength to survive.

"Lucius?" She felt to him as a breath of Spring air touching his heart with life as the wind touched the fields and the creatures of the woods. "Are you awake?"

He lifted his free hand from the bed and gave a silent shout of triumph as his fingers motioned for her to come closer and she answered his call.

He felt her kneel down beside the bed and he looked at her with all the love and longing that a man could feel welling up inside him and he showed her the piece of wood he'd been given. He watched as she smoothed her fingers over the length of it, exploring not only its surface, but its heart.

She smiled and he found himself echoing her joy. "It is a strong piece of wood, Lucius." He felt her smile more than he saw it for Ivy was gifted with a truly radiant spirit. "What will you use it for?"

Reaching out she met his hand halfway without the need to 'see' him and he touched her fingers to his lips. "I will build you a new cane, Ivy… a new cane, for I believe it is a piece of wood worthy of you."

"And you," she whispered humbled by his words, "worthy of you."

"Yes," he answered and sagged back against the cushions his strength played out for the moment, "I will build."