autumn was near, and it was becoming hard to walk. he didn’t seem to notice. when she would sigh and ask for a rest, his lower lip would jut and his brows would lower and he’d look over his shoulder toward the stream as if remembering something important…. she was pretty sure he knew by now that doing so spurred her to stagger to her feet and try to stumble a little further.
she could no longer see a piece of flesh without his markings. her body seemed one great tattoo of his odd words, sibilants and sighs that she still couldn’t say properly. his eyes more often than not looked disgusted when they landed on her. the weight of those blunt stares were almost as sharp as the metallic nails. almost.
he rarely smiled anymore. usually looking back only long enough to insure she was still staggering along. what glance he would spare accompanied by an impatient grunt and sometimes, a sotto vox grumble that he didn’t so much try to hide from her as didn’t care that she might or might not overhear, “i don’t even remember why i wanted you around.”
he didn’t want her to sit by him at the stream anymore. he was strangely jealous of that patch of ground nearest the water. she slept curled up against the roots of the old oak that hung out over the middle, and the small patch of smooth ground was a rusty color from the combination of pollen, blood, and quiet tears.
had she been permitted by the waters, been able to once more try to see what beckoned him so, she might have noticed her own pallor, and the way her eyes had gone flat. as it was, she didn’t, and most nights were spent crooning a soft, wordless melody to herself as she rocked slowly, imagining the tree cradled her in ways he never would… and the wind through its branches were words of care and compassion.
sometimes, she forgot he didn’t like to hear her humming. his head would snap around, angry eyes, interrupted from some fascination she never understood, “will you stop making that horrible noise?!?”
“i’m just trying to …” she stammered, face flushing and helplessly trying to placate, “i don’t CARE what you’re ‘just trying’…” his face twisted in a sneer, “i need quiet and you’re not giving it to me.”
“i… i’m sorry.” she murmured, going silent and turning her face into the rough bark of the tree. please don’t let him see her cry. please remember to swallow the sounds. please be silent so he doesn’t need to tell you all over again how pointless you are… please.