by V Rose Dahrke
There was light. She reached out her hands to touch the white line. The wood was rough and half rotten but she pressed her fingertips against it, wanting to somehow push the first ray of dawn back through the crack, make time stop, make it night again. Other beams came through other splits in the wood; she closed her eyes and saw the sun rising over the trees, burning and watchful. There was no hiding now.
After today he would watch them a little less each day. His light would grow dim. The world would grow lean, and they must have enough to last through the cold until the Winter Maiden called him back. Things must be done–as they had always been done–to ensure the Life-Giver blessed them with enough to survive. She understood this.
But in the dark of the old hut she wondered how many long mornings like this the sun had seen, how many Summer Maidens had waited for him here, how many had tried hard to be brave. How many had blocked the light and shut their eyes, hating him. How many had been this afraid.
Through the cracks, distant, came the sound of a spear being sharpened on a stone. She did not open her eyes.
A Note: Written for Trifecta: Week Eighty-Six.