A/N: My 1000 word Project Pull post for the Friday fortnight- you know the drill. Using a new word programme at the moment, so format may be a bit funny... unfortunately, my own laptop is gone for good. May it rest in pieces. (Quite literally.) First chapter's inspired by the Nerina Pallot song, Everything's Illuminated- it turned out a lot darker than I'd intended!
Chapter One- Make Me A Hurricane
The sedate February day that whispered the heralding notes of spring was the warmest we'd had in a while. The buds on the trees of Mallin's Wood had began to resurface, dotting the lethargic forest with flickers of life that promised to burst into a sudden crescendo of emerald canopies and vibrant berries as the year wore on. For the first time in what seemed like years, I did not feel the crunch of ice underneath my custom-made wellies, and my cashmere scarf gradually made my neck feel constricted and stuffy. I unwound it contemplatively and tied it in a loose knot around my waist, the cream colour a stark contrast to the soft navy wool of my coat.
A sleepy-looking hedgehog that looked like it could have been a sloth in a previous life blearily emerged from a pile of leaves, its heavy, snuffling gait and half-lidded round, shiny eyes indicating that it was recovering from the hangover-like effect of its hibernation. I plucked a late holly berry from a sapling, and tossed it towards the creature, and the hedgehog began to investigate it thoroughly. It gave a polite, customary lick, before turning its nose up at it. I didn't really blame it; it didn't look too appetizing. Small patches of mildew had started to attack these lingering traces of winter. Their time was long up- it was time to let spring have its day in the sun.
Everything was awakening- every crevice, every tree hollow was coming to life, but nothing could fully penetrate the calm, resolute atmosphere breathed out by ancient trees that had stood here for a thousand years, and if the great and mighty Universal Trustee and Co. had anything to do with it, would stand here for a thousand more.
In a sudden, not entirely uncommon stab of resentment, I wanted nothing more than to destroy it. The still, hushed feeling of peace that cloaked Hescombe was entirely unsuited to my present frame of mind- I would have given anything for a good hurricane, or tsunami, or thunderstorm... anything to alleviate the anger, to numb the fury and jealousy, twin evils that raised their ugly heads every time she slipped her hand into his, and every time he raised his hand to lovingly brush her cheek with his fingers. Oh, it wasn't him I was hurting for- I had gotten over that years ago.
No... it was something much more simple than that. More difficult in a way, I suppose. At least if it had been him, I would have some semblance of blaming it on the fact that, for the moment, he was just too focused on somebody else to notice me- some sort of hope.
All I want... is the same thing that they had. It's the only thing I want any more. I'd trade every designer dress in my wardrobe (heck, the shoes, as well!) if I could experience that kind of love. Just for a moment. I can't afford to be greedy- not any more.
After that day- the one time I lost my control- nobody trusted me any more. Even up at the headquarters in London, everybody knew. I felt their cold stares burning into me when my back was turned, as I pretended to run a listless finger over meaningless words in a meaningless volume in the vast library. I had made my decision, and there was no going back on it now. How are you supposed to find anybody to love you after that?
After what I had done, I stood no chance.
I turned to the horizon, giving a soft flutter of my hand as if I was about to begin conducting an orchestra- the calm before the storm, before the music hits you. Today, it was undoubtedly going to play in a minor key. I snapped a twig from a nearby birch and began to use it as an impromptu baton. A sharp gust of wind sprang from nothing, tossing the debris that littered the forest floor around me into fluid waves of earth, wavering, yet ready, to obey my slightest command.
The pile of rotting leaves that had been sheltering the hedgehog suddenly sprang into the air to join the dance, sending the hedgehog flying. It rapidly scuttled into a sheltered tree hollow, regarding me with betrayed, hurt-filled eyes. I didn't care. I was already caught up in the beautiful, destructive music, more addictive than any narcotic, more numbing than any painkiller, more compelling than any fantasy.
I gave my wrist a sharp flick and the wind crested rapidly, spinning my dance partners into the tumbling chasm of a miniature cyclone. In the eye of the storm, I had an unobstructed view of the startling chaos. I loved it- the wild, turbulent passion of the elements was the only love open to me, and I'll be damned if I didn't make the most of it. I wanted more.
I clenched my hand into a fist around my branch, the dry, papery bark indenting white calluses into my hand, before flicking my wrist again. The sky burst open, the sharp daggers of icy rain tearing away at the remaining semblance of peace that the morning was desperately trying to grasp onto. I threw my head back and let the rain pelt furiously at my unprotected face, sending a black stream of black mascara coursing down my cheeks. My blonde hair, so carefully arranged into ringlets earlier this morning, now lay flat, soaked and poker-straight down my back. I knew I was more powerful- why should I bend to time's will? Lightning flashed dangerously across my vision, and I painted my thoughts onto my blank canvas of the sky with deep, sweeping brushstrokes of dark purples, charcoal greys, midnight blues and coal black.
The clouds flashed, giving warning that the symphony was about to approach its loudest crescendo yet. I threw both arms open unflinchingly, recklessly, inviting my lightning to wreak havoc on the landscape.
Do your worst, I challenged.
It accepted my challenge instantly, and flew down towards me, striking the holly sapling, sending splinters of charred wood in every directions. The bush burst into flames, and I laughed, revelling in the chaos.
I didn't see the next bolt of lightning coming. My last conscious thought of that moment was how beautiful the sky looked... the way that I had made it.