by Brianna G. Harte
The last stretches toward the branch were agonizing. My forearms were about to give out, and my fingers trembled. Each heartbeat rang in my head. Holding tight to the tree, I took several breaths. I heard tiny scratching sounds by my right foot and glanced down to find a couple of squirrels chasing each other. They circled the trunk with such ease. Moments later, I found them close to my face with their glossy black eyes staring at me.
“I’m trying, okay!”
They exchanged glances.
“I guess you don’t understand me.” But why can the snakes and the gryphon?
Were you talking to us?
I think she was.
Why can a human talk to us?
You think she’s human?
Well, she looks like it!
But the other one looks like her too.
“What are you talking about?” I asked. “And yes, I was talking to you.”
“Seems that you’re fairly comfortable doing so as well, despite not remembering anything from your past.” I peered upward to find a woman, clad in a green mesh fabric dress that reached her toes and reminded me of fresh moss, above on one of the close branches. Her dress was split from her upper thigh down to the hem, revealing loose cotton pants beneath. A pendant around her neck reflected the sun, making it difficult to see. I couldn’t make out her face because of the lighting through the leaves.
“Are you the one who has been talking to me in this reality? Did you send Torret to me?” I looked down toward the gryphon below, not daring to let go of the tree bark. I didn’t trust in the tree and my skills that much just yet.
The woman seemed to ponder the questions. “What do you think?”
“I have no idea what to think anymore,” I sighed. “These two realities I keep jumping back and forth from and the constant resistance to answering anything for me has not helped me form an idea of what could be. I don’t even know which of them is supposed to be real.”
“I don’t know why you would say that.” Not really wanting to continue with that conversation, I began to climb again although my arms were about to fall off. I was closing the gap. Seeing the distance dwindle down until I could touch the top of the branch was a relieving feeling. “How do I get on the branch?”
The woman chuckled. “Can you not figure that out?”
I tried a few times, but with my arms as exhausted as they were, I wasn’t sure how much longer I could even hold on.
“Just give me your hand then.” Her tone seemed rather light. Even when I could not see her face, I could swear she was smiling.
My heart fought with my mind. I wanted to trust her, believe that she would finally be someone who I could rely on. Despite this, everything I had ever known since I woke up on that table has been anything but kind. Distrust ran its course through my blood.
Copyright © 2017 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.