Today's story takes us back to the Myth & Science universe a few days after Return to the Wood.
I do realize I changed the opening lines just a touch for grammatical reasons and to fit more with the nomenclature of the culture I'm working in. I hope you'll pardon the changes since the meaning is still more or less the same.
The fall had cost her more than she was willing to admit. She had a rip in her wing that would take months to heal, even if she managed to rustle up a healer.
Eralee pushed herself up off the ground and got to her feet. She gave her wings an experimental flutter. The regret was immediate. Although the tear had stopped bleeding, the edges were still tender, and the flow of cold, winter air over the injury burned. Allowing her wings to hang limp, Eralee went in search of her basket.
No matter the circumstances, she’d be in for it if she returned to the colony empty handed. The wing wither was approaching epidemic proportions, and she’d been one of only four healers in training fit to fly out that morning. It was a pity Eralee only noticed the telltale weakness after a couple hours in the air.
When a search of the general area turned up nothing, she turned her eyes upward. Her heart felt like it dropped into her stomach when Eralee realized the basket’s carrying straps got snagged on a tree branch several yards above the ground. While the height was nothing when she had use of her wings, the basket might as well sit at the top of a mountain without it.
On second thought, Eralee’s luck must be better than she’d believed. A fall from such a height had killed pixies weakened by wing wither, and she’d scraped by with a ripped membrane.
Eralee examined the tree. It was a species with a rough bark that could provide sufficient hand and foot holds for a proficient climber, but she wasn’t one. No, she was an under grown runt with a decidedly more cerebral skillset. She practically lived in the library for Mab’s sake!
Wringing her hands, Eralee dithered over whether or not she ought to try and climb for her basket. She was so focused on her conundrum, she didn’t notice the approaching footsteps until she’d been spotted.
“What are you doing out here alone?”
Squealing in surprise, Eralee jumped and spun around. A mostly grown human boy and a pair of aquatic fae of a species she’d never met before watched her with curiosity and concern, judging by the wary way they carried themselves. The human boy’s eyes were sunken, and his clothes hung off him.
“Medicine run,” Eralee answered, “for a wing wither epidemic.”
The boy crouched down and held out a hand, palm up. Eralee’s first instinct was to run away, but something in the boy’s eyes gave her pause. What did she have to lose at this point anyway? It wasn’t like she could outrun such a giant without the use of her wings, so she took a chance and stepped up onto the offered hand. The boy raised his thumb, and she wrapped her arms around it to steady herself as he lifted her to his eye level.
“Let me guess, you’ve got it too, don’t you?”
Each story in this series is 500 words or less and is prompted by a first line taken either from a random first line generator like this one or reader suggestions like "Don't Forget Me" and "Culture Shock." I much prefer working from reader suggestions over generators, but to do that, I need to hear from you.
If you have a prompt you'd like to see done, comment below, send it to my Tumblr asks, Tweet it at me, or leave a comment on any of the audio stories from this series. I'll screen shot it, write it, and post it for you.
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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