when one door closes, the other burns

POSTED: Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:21 pm

WC: 319

Father had always made the campfire. After it died out, Aerin hadn't known how to remake it and she found it more difficult to ask for help than it should have been. People came and went to visit her and give their respects. The kindest had rekindled her fire, gave her food, and made her eat in front of them. But after a month or two, even the kindest dwindled off.

Aerin learned to survive. The thought of her father looking down on her and seeing her wallowing in her own filth was shameful. It was shameful enough to make her get up and check his old traps. Trial and error taught her how to reset them one by one and trial and error honed her skill with the arrow. If only she knew how to shoot it.

The old tree beneath which her family's shrine lay shed its leaves over the makeshift graves of her parents. She'd had neither body to bury so a small cairn with a crude wooden wolf stood in place for each of them. As she had done every day, she bowed before them, praying to Nanin that he would watch over their spirits and in turn over her.

When she bowed her head, all had been well. When she raised it once more, the cloying smell of the fire filled her nostrils.

Thinking fast, Aerin grabbed the figurines of her parents and fled back to her hovel. The small pack that had been gifted to her was stuffed with the things most precious to her: a tarnished cloak pin, two hand-carved canines, and her mother's necklace. Still near empty, she slung it across her shoulders and gripped the old crooked bow in one hand.

Aerin only had time to whisper a quick goodbye to the only home she'd ever known. Her last glimpse of it was tinged with gray smoke and white ash and made all her senses burn in alarm.