Summer Breeze Summer Breeze
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Perhaps 'thoughts of abandonment' raced through her mind.

Summer Breeze Summer Breeze
Recommendations: 19

I would reverse 'howling scream' and say 'screaming howl' instead.

Jennifer Killby Jennifer Killby
Recommendations: 6

That one has given me trouble.

Summer Breeze Summer Breeze
Recommendations: 19

Another option: Moving onto her stomach, with one arm in front of the other and her now heavy and useless legs drsgging behind her, Willow slowly pulled her unwilling body across the flat surface.

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Jennifer Killby Jennifer Killby
Recommendations: 6

The Legend of The Travelers: Willow's Journey


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The Legend of the Travelers: Willow Journey
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Under the Double Star -Chapter Two

Willow is attacked and left for dead. Her mother is missing and she doesn't remember anything. Now she has to piece together a world and her life before it is too late.


Pain raged through her body. Willow’s hand trembled as she ran fingertips over her face. Her skin felt sticky. Blood? She couldn’t tell. A hard cold surface pressed against her back as she peered up at a wood-beamed ceiling. She tried to focus on something, anything familiar. A shiver ran across her and she clenched her teeth to keep them from chattering. She squinted, trying to make out details in the dark room. She tried to rise, but when she pushed against the floor, her movement hurt.      


What happened? Someone help.


She brought her arms up. Long, dark gashes crisscrossed her skin. She placed her hands on her chest and abdomen. When she removed them, something dark blanketed her palms. The strong copper smell of blood filled her nose. To quell the fear, she grabbed the sleeve of her shirt and wiped her eyes.


Unable to sit up, she craned her neck to view her surroundings. Damaged furniture lay scattered about the floor gainst the background of charred walls. The scent of burnt wood and paint hung thick in the air. She closed her eyes again. When she opened them, nothing had changed. The nightmare was real. This was all real.
      
Willow raised her head. A wave of dizziness overcame her and her stomach lurched. A rotten taste filled her mouth.


Mom. Where is she? Why isn’t she here?


Uncertainty and abandonment raced through her mind. She looked around. Blood. She sat in a pool of it. Her heart throbbed in her throat. Tears welled in her eyes. Her hands quaked. Her own body fought against her. 2 comments


Stop! Focus. Just focus. Calm down. Breathe. I need help.


A howling scream came from far away. Her own voice escaped her parched throat. She lifted an arm, leaned over, and lost her balance. The smack of the hard floor against her back made her shudder with pain. 2 comments


An open door. Her heart quickened. Moving onto her stomach, one arm in front of the other, she slowly pulled her unwilling body across the flat surface. Her legs, heavy and useless, dragged behind her. Her arms shook in the struggle to move closer. 2 comments


Just a little bit more. No use.
      
The room deepened into a tunnel as life slipped away. Sleep. Just a little sleep. It would be over then. Her eyelids drooped, too heavy to keep open. She succumbed. Darkness carried her away.


Far away.


A warm, peaceful sensation washed through her. Did I die? She floated. The air changed, no longer the coppery smell of blood, burnt wood, and paint, but now an outdoor smell. Her labored breath fell quiet to a gentle breeze.
      
Willow opened her eyes to a sunlit meadow and raised a hand to subdue the bright light and struggled to understand where she was. Heaven? Could this be my heaven? This is so beautiful. What I always imagined it to be. She ran her hands over her body. No pain. No gashes. No blood.  
      
Flowers danced and rolled with every flicker of the wind, reminding her of the waves of the ocean. An indigo sky hung above. Smiling, she glanced up. A large gnarled trunk twisted and turned high over her. She rubbed her fingers on the aged bark. It felt familiar, like home. A wave of sadness swept over her. I’ll never see home again. She leaned her forehead against the tree.
      
The limbs danced and tossed in the wind’s grip. Every sway contributed to an entrancing melody, like a sweet lullaby. The leafy tendrils wrapped around her and their gentle embrace comforted her. The branches lifted her into the heart of the tree and cradled her.


“Willow,” a female voice called.


Willow’s breathing quickened as she searched for the source.


“Willow, my darling.”      


“Hello. Who’s there?” A cool breeze wafted through the leaves and Willow’s senses reeled when she realized how high she perched.


“Be not concerned with who I am. Be more concerned with who you are,” the voice said with a soft tone.


“I’m Willow.” Her arm shook as she balanced herself against the trunk.


“Yes, you are.” The voice floated closer to her.


Willow shifted her weight, hunting for the voice’s owner.


“Whom do you seek?” the voice asked.


“You. I want to see you. I just want to know what’s going on.”


“Me.” The voice paused. “I see.” A small laugh filtered down. “You’re not ready to know me, let alone see me.”


The truth of her death became clearer and tears welled in her eyes. “Am I in heaven?”


“No darling, you’re not in heaven. Are those tears?”


A cold touch, like a finger, swiped across Willow’s face.


Willow touched her face where she felt the sensation. “What is this place? I’m frightened. I want to go home.”


“You’re in a safe place. Nothing can harm you here.” The voice paused. “Sometimes when the body suffers great pain, the soul escapes for a while. It’s a way of protecting the essence of a person.” She gave a sigh. “It comes at a great cost.”


“So . . . I’m in limbo? My body is somewhere else? How will I get back?”


“When it’s time.” The voice hesitated. “Willow!”


“Yes.”


“Breathe!”


“Willow, breathe!” a male voice said.


Something pressed down on her chest.


The branches loosened their grip. She fell. Fear and pain collided in a thunderous rush and a tunnel of wind swept her up and back into her painful body.


Flashing lights pierced the darkness around her. Shadowy figures drifted in and out of focus.


“Did you find anyone else around?” a man asked.


“I just found her. She was alone,” a woman answered. “Who do you think did this? I mean, why would anyone be this cruel?”


“Hang in there. We’re gonna get you help,” a second woman said as she came closer.


Willow blinked a couple times and saw beautiful blue eyes staring back at her. She allowed herself to inhale deeply and loosen tight muscles.


“I can’t believe this has happened . . . here. It’s starting,” the second woman said. “It’s too early. What will we do?”


Talk to me. Please. Can’t you hear me? Help me, please. Just take my pain away.


“We need to think about helping Willow first,” the man said.


“You’re right.” The first woman placed her hand on Willow’s forehead and pushed the hair from Willow’s face.


The man bent close and pressed his fingers against Willow’s neck. “I feel a heartbeat, but we have to get her out of here.”


Her stomach roiled and lurched toward her mouth. She turned her head and vomited. A moan escaped her lips.


“Stay with us, Willow,” the man said.


Let me go! Just let me go. The pain is unbearable. I don’t have the strength.


She heard the concern in the voices surrounding her. She closed her eyes and felt the darkness pulling her in. Willow shuddered as the cold grip of death crept through her veins.


This must be it. This must be how it feels when your body decides it can no longer sustain life.


A warm hand touched her shoulder and she glanced up at a young man. His golden eyes were moist with tears. She stared at him. Someone this beautiful regarded her with caring and empathy. Then he stepped back into the shadows and disappeared.


A man with long black hair placed his hand on her shoulder. “We’ll be there soon. Hang on.”


A jerk. Then a forward movement.


Just stop. No more. Please. I can’t take it.


A voice infiltrated her thoughts. “We’re here,” the older man said.  Mass confusion filled the next few minutes as people rushed around. Muffled voices. Gasps.


Everything became a blur.


Willow let her thoughts roam through the darkness of her mind. Around some imaginary corner, the young man appeared in front of her. He’s back. Why? She stared at him for a long period, unsure of what to do or say. He was silent, still. An invisible light source silhouetted his muscular body.


“Who are you? Where am I?” Willow asked.


“This is the Shadow Land between life and death. I’m Jack and I’m here to help you get out.”


He stepped to one side, motioning her past him. She eased one foot forward, paused . . . then followed his direction.


What could this mean anyhow? Why is he here? In this place? With me?


Willow stepped out into a large meadow. The same one. She raised a hand to shade her eyes from the sun and turned to look at the young man. A fierce growl made her swirl around. Near the center of the meadow, two large wolves, one white, one black, stood face to face.
She knew she should fear them, but didn’t.


“Why are they here?” she asked him, unable to remove her gaze from the beasts.


He slid next to her and glanced at the animals and then her. “Because of the struggle that lies within you.”


“What struggle?”


“The struggle of your heritage . . . your family . . . you. You’ve come from a long line of protectors, which means you must finish the task your forefathers began. It’s not an easy one. Because in doing so, you will lose the very essence of who you are.” Jack took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “But your sacrifice will mean the birth of a new hope for the people.”


“I know nothing of this. What you’re saying can’t be right.”


Jack sharpened his stare. “A battle rages inside of you. That began there.” He pointed to the meadow.


“If it’s inside of me, then why are those wolves out there?”


He surveyed the meadow. “This is where it began and this is where it will end.”


“I don’t understand,” she said.


“Something happened that caused your soul great strife. It will be up to you to figure it out.”


“I don’t remember what happened. How can I figure it out? Will the wolves fight?” Willow asked.


Jack remained behind her. “It depends.”


“Depends on what?”


“Your choice . . . Willow.”


“What choice? Which one will win?”


“Whichever one you allow to win.”


“Why is this happening?” She clenched her fists and tightened her jaw.


The wolves clashed; fur on fur, claws ripped and teeth tore at one another, saliva dripped. Willow moved forward. Adrenaline rushed through her as each sound pulled her closer.


“Stop!” Jack shouted.


Willow halted, startled by his sudden outburst. “Why did they fight?”


“They sensed your anger. Your thoughts.”


The wolves ceased fighting and turned to her. For each step she retreated, they followed. The boy placed his hand against her back to keep her from moving away. The wolves crept toward her.


“They’re coming. We should leave,” Willow whispered.


“No, you must face your struggle,” he said.


“They’re going to attack.” Her hands trembled and her legs weakened. The wolves lowered their bodies close to the ground, preparing to pounce. “Please, let me go.”


The wolves gathered strength in their haunches and lunged forward. The sudden rush of death came straight at her face. Willow felt their crushing weight on her chest. Then nothing


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