Fiction, longreads, short story

No Magic at All

The soft rays of the sun caressed the dawn skies, awakening it to the touch of morning and bathing it in a gentle light of flowing colors. The shadows stirred forth from their hiding places and the creatures of the day began to emerge from their own slumbers. A wash passed over the tops of the rows of trees, setting light to the dew mist upon their leaves, a starshine net cast upon their peaks.

The air was soon bathed in the warm glow, stretching to meet each thawing touch. A small form stirred from under one of the trees and stretched out her arms, then rubbed the sleep from her eyes with her curled fists. A tiny thing she was, far too small to have slept the night away alone in the orchard. She tugged at her bedraggled clothes, pressing the wrinkles down with the palms of her hands, then smoothing her hair with her fingers.

She looked around her, rose and began to wander through the trees, so neat in their rows, so sheltering under their welcoming branches. They sang her a lullaby last night, she remembered. Beckoned her to come lay at their base and laid their branches draped in leaves about her for warmth. The bruises she carried into the orchard with her the night before had been faded by their touch and she felt a smile slip across her face as she looked up at their peaks.

Small shining globes dangled from the hanging branches, pinks and yellows and creams. A beam of sunlight shot through the openings in the branches and lit upon a rowed cluster of them just over her head. The bright dart of light set the red apple in the center aglow, like liquid crimson. Tiny lingering drops of dew reflected back shimmering sparkles, begging her to come closer.

She stepped beneath the branch and looked up, trying to figure out how to reach the light temptation. She jumped, straining her hand to reach it and missed. Again and again she tried, never getting any closer. Finally, in frustration, she sat down on the ground and began to weep. She wept till the tears ran out and wiped her eyes and looked up. The branch had swayed downward, the apple barely dangling by its thin stem. Then a soft breeze floated through and cut through the thread still holding it to its mother, till the glowing orb fell just in front of her feet.

Slowly, she reached out and picked it up. She brought the apple to her mouth and took the first bite. Oh, so sweet it was! Greedily, she devoured the entire fruit, core and all. There was no magic in what happened, no magic at all. They fall naturally from the trees, they do. She thought these thoughts, her belly full of the gift and laid back down on the ground at the base of the tree. As her eyes closed, the branches slipped downward and covered her small body providing a blanket for warmth.

copyright 05/20/2011
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Short Story
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