AMELIE – PART I
© Tamsin L. Silver 2013
As I came to, I heard the sound of rushing water and felt the speed of it flowing past me, blanketing one of my arms, its cool temperature a caress to my skin. With conscious effort, I fought against the oppressive air that surrounded me, pushing up from where I lay. I barely rose three inches off the ground when pain like I’d never known shot through my being. I heard a gasp, followed by the clatter of stones knocking into one another as I dropped back down. The clicking of the stones ceased and the reverberation of the ground faded into the distance.
Unclear if the gasp came from me or someone nearby, I resisted the weight of my eyelids, and with a calming breath, lifted them. They fluttered against the sunlight before opening fully and adjusting, bringing the world around me into focus. I found that I was lying on the edge of a wide river that tumbled over smooth stones of black and silver, the water itself was clear but not blue, and surrounded by tall, old trees.
In this moment, three things were utterly clear to me. One, I was on Earth, hence the heaviness. Two, I had no memory of how I’d gotten here, which very likely was important. And three, I had no clue who I was. On the bright side, I knew what I was. Sadly, that wasn’t the bigger issue. Not in my book. How and why I was lying on Earth was a much scarier notion.
My gaze slid down my arm, pale as moonlight, which lay in the water, a striking contrast to the black stones of the river. Under the water, at the tip of my fingers, lay my sword. This both calmed and worried me. If I wasn’t in trouble, it wouldn’t have followed me here.
Once again, I attempted to pull myself to a sitting position. Succeeding on the third try, I wiped the sandy grit from where my face had lay at the edge of the water, fairly certain the imprints of rocks would have indented my face like pillowcase folds. I noted a small waterfall to my left and understood the loud rushing sound that had woken me. But what of the gasp? Had that been me? No one else was around so it had to be, right?
I cleared my throat and was astounded that it made noise. Testing a theory, I said, “Where am I?” aloud and heard myself not just in my mind, but through my ears. If I was on Earth, my kind didn’t tend to make sound here, unless of course—
I shuddered and I put that idea out of my mind.
Bending to the water, I sniffed. It was clean. Using my hands, I cupped some to drink. Leaning forward, the wide curls of my long, red hair cascaded about my face, getting in the way, as usual. Shoving the curls aside, I drank a few handfuls. Once satiated, I used my wet hands to shove and settle my hair out of my face before I began to examine my body.
Nothing felt broken but my blue gown was bloody and torn. There were bruises and cuts here and there, the two worst were a bang to my head and an immense gash on my side that had been lying on the stones. Both ached and wept blood still, which was a cause for some concern. If I was on Earth, they shouldn’t even still be there, let alone bleeding. Something was definitely wrong.
I knelt in the water and cleaned all of my wounds as best as I could without disrobing. I began to consider doing just that when I felt the reverberation of the ground again. This time, it was not fading into the distance. It was advancing upon my location. Fear gripped me. Humans couldn’t see my kind, but what if the person who gave me this gash was returning to finish me off?
I held onto my injured side with my one arm and snagged my sword from the water with the other. With a grunt, I stood up, and swayed slightly before finding my center. Turning to face my attackers, I extended my wings fully, five feet in each direction, to give me greater balance as well as the battle options. As they burst from the bushes coming toward me, I lifted my sword, a battle cry in my throat.