Willow (Short Story)

Her name was Willow, named for the tree she was found under on a warm Summer evening. No one knew how she came to be there or who her family were. It was almost as if she were a creature of magic conjured into the world.

In the beginning she had blonde hair and blue eyes, then as she grew they became grey, her hair the color of winter skies and eyes of untamed thunderstorms. Her mood too was melancholy, her voice little more than a whisper, forgotten as soon as heard.

All who met her felt ill at ease, as though they were in the presence of something which shouldn’t exist, something not of this world. A feeling which was only strengthened by the rumors and whispers, of things done which should not be done.

It is said when she was four, she found a dead bird in the yard. She scooped it up, kissed it gently and let it go. Those who saw expected the lifeless thing to fall to the ground only to be shocked when it instead flew away as though nothing had happened. 

When she was twelve she did the same to a dog which had been hit by a passing car. It was a mangy looking thing, all knotted fur and milky eyes and it allowed her everywhere she went. Waiting outside of her window each morning and at the school gate everyday after classes. The kids nicknamed it “Ed”, short for “Dead.” Yet she called it nothing anyone ever heard and still it stayed with her loyally.

 

None of these things though, would mark her forever in people hearts as what happened the Summer she turned eighteen…

 

She spent day after day sitting beside the road in front of her home. Regardless of the weather she was there from dawn until dusk, often not seeming to move, to neither eat or drink. When asked what she was doing, she would simply reply.”Waiting.” 

Then the day came when a small white kitten was seen pacing on the other side. It would begin to cross only to run back to safety when a car approached. The pattern was repeated day after day. Soon people began to linger in the area waiting to see what would happen. Some even taking bets as to weather the cat would make it across or not. They speculated on how far it reach, what the make, model, and even color of the vehicle. It became a morbid affair indeed.

 

At last she stood up, stretched, and carelessly wondered across the asphalt, seemingly slipping between the speeding cars, careless of the blaring horns and screeching tires, until at last she stood over the kitten who looked up at her…

 

“It took you long enough.”

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