Nyla looked down at the squirming bundle in her arms. A tiny hand came up and waved as if asking to be held. Nyla touched the hand and tiny fingers wrapped around her own. She looked into the eyes of her son and felt a lump begin to swell in her throat. She looked quickly away and pulled her finger from the tiny hand. She bent to avoid a branch, then sat on a rock in the clearing and waited.
She couldn’t seem to keep her eyes from her son, however hard she tried. He was so small, so perfect. His violet eyes so like her own widened as she looked at him and a smile curved his soft pink mouth. The baby cooed and waved his hands in the air, excited by the attention of his mother. She pushed the white curls back from his smooth forehead. She marveled that his hair should be so white when her own was so black.
A sound at the edge of the clearing startled her and a soft glow of light appeared. She stood and walked forward, shaking, her mouth so dry she knew she wouldn’t be able to speak.
A tall figure stepped from the light and it followed him as he walked towards her. He was radiant white from the top of his head to the heel of his soft kid boots. He was one of the most beautiful things Nyla had ever seen. He watched her, his piercing ice blue eyes never left her face. In his gloved hand, he held a long staff of iron that glowed with a white light. He stopped several paces from her and leaned on his staff.
“Nyla,” he said with a hint of a smile. Nyla was surprised by the softness of his voice. The welcoming sound of it and his half smile put her at ease. “I am glad you came of your own accord,” he said tilting his head slightly. His eyes fell on the blanketed bundle she held in her arms.
His words made her stiffen a bit. “Of course I came. I am no fool.”
He smiled at this and put out his hands to take the child. Nyla looked at her son one last time and placed a kiss on his tiny forehead. Reluctant to hand him over to a stranger she held him a moment longer but knew she had no choice. She placed the baby in the outstretched hands.The baby cooed and laughed, delighted by the brilliant white stranger. Nyla’s heart twisted. It was the first time she had heard him laugh.
The figure retreated to the edge of the clearing, “His name is Joshua!” she called after him.
The man stopped and said without turning, “That will be changed. It is not a Wahaland name.” He crossed the clearing, cast one last look at Nyla and the light went dark.
Retreating to the rock, Nyla sat heavily upon it, her knees wanting to buckle. Tears slowly made their way down her cheeks. She impatiently brushed them aside. Don’t give in, you’ll never stop.
Four glowing eyes watched her from the shadows and two dogs appeared on either side of her, one placing a paw on her knee.
“I will be alright, boy,” she said, rubbing the top of his head. “Let us go home, Wolf.”
Snow was starting to fall and the temperature was dropping rapidly. Nyla pulled her coat around her. She could feel the cold seeping into her bones. She stood and the dogs fell into step beside her one on each side, their keen eyes scanning the tree groves for any signs of danger.
Nyla pushed open the door to her cottage and the dogs went to sit by the fire. She set a pot of stew over the smoldering embers to warm. The rich aroma of seasoned deer meat and vegetables filled the cottage, but Nyla had no appetite, the stew turning to sawdust in her mouth. She stared into the fire thinking, how do I go on?
© 2018, Roxanna Andrews. All rights reserved.
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