31 DaysDay 29: AROMATHERAPY {the prompt follows at the end of this post}

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The Magic of Soon

Anraí ebbed and flowed in the mist of the meadow. Dawn began etching its presence onto the night and Anraí retreated reluctantly into the shadows of the trees and their caressing leaves. He liked the way they smelled like rays of sunlight that had been hung to dry for several days, unlike the leaves further in the forest, that tended to smell more like the mud by the stream, damp and almost-rotting. How he preferred the lightness and the meadow, so much so that at the etching of dawn each morning he wished for a way to remain beyond the trees.

Most of the guests had said their good-byes and headed off into the night for their own homes, their own dreams and Henry breathed a long, contented sigh, relieved that the night’s entertaining and festivities were over and that Sophia remained, sitting beside him on the love seat-sized swing so that their hands almost touched. He savored the sense of electricity that seemed to jump wildly between their almost-touching fingertips. Sophia took a deep breath.

“I love the smell of fall,” she said. “The leaves, the wisping scent of first fires, the invitation to linger.”

Weaving his way through the deeper, cooler parts of the forest, Anraí sought the dwelling of Priya, the Keeper of Dreams and Visions. As he floated upon the breeze, shimmering through the now-lightening darkness, he caught wafts of honeysuckle and lilac mixed with the decaying leaves that mixed with mud along the well-trodden path. Each twinkle of lilac seized him with a sweet surge of hope and he pressed on.

“Will you share one more glass of wine with me?” Henry asked Sophia and she smiled.

“That would be lovely, thank you.”

Henry poured them each a glass and handed one to her, their fingers brushing and Henry felt a surge of surprise and longing stir his soul and he, too, smiled. He took a long sniff of the wine and enjoyed it’s subtle sweet chocolate aroma playing over the crisp night air. Together Henry and Sophia pushed the swing into motion and rocked gently on the lilting notes of the jazz vocals playing softly behind them in the house where Mia had long-since disappeared.

“So, I haven’t had a chance to talk to you and Mia about this, but I wanted to tell you that I’ll be moving,” Sophia said.

“Moving? Really?”

“Unfortunately, yes,” Sophia said and took a sip of her wine. “My mother isn’t doing well and I think I need to move back to be with her.”

“When will you leave?” Henry asked.

“Sometime soon, maybe the end of the month.”

The little girl, Sophia, had told him, “Soon,” and he had wondered how long soon would be. Was there enough time before soon ended? Humans were not like faeries or those in Anraí’s world. He had learned that soon sometimes did not always come, and did not come for him. Although he had continued to visit the meadow and the girl as she grew up, his invitation and her soon never came to pass. 

He still visited the meadow where Sophia’s mother remained, but Sophia had one day stopped appearing in the meadow. She had disappeared like a muted rainbow that fades after a rain. Her essence remained, but her presence was no more. Anraí could still smell the peppermint and freesia of her being. Even in winter, she smelled of freshness and the sweetness of the morning’s first dew. He’d let too many days pass and it was time to act. And so it was that he arrived to see the Keeper of Dreams and Visions.

Henry’s mind wandered through a maze of thoughts as he and Sophia glided back and forth in the night air. It’s funny how you think you have time to plan, that you have time to take time. And then, soon ricochets around your life and demands more than thoughts and plans.

“It’s late,” Sophia said, handing her glass back to Henry. “I should be going.”

“Right,” Henry said.

“It was a lovely night,” Sophia said. “I’ll miss living next door to you and Mia.”

A slight breeze shifted through the trees, catching the blue lanterns so that their lights danced upon the leaves and the bricks. Sophia watched the flitting lights and shadows for several moments and then looked up at Henry. “Do you believe in magic?” she asked with perfect seriousness.

As a wisp of freesia wrapped Henry lightly in its essence of hope, he looked into Sophia’s eyes and with equally perfect solemnity replied, “Absolutely.”

(This post is a link in a growing & continuing story about Sophia and Henry)

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{Just a reminder, we try to keep these writing exercises to 30 minutes maximum, but that’s not a hard and fast rule, especially with these exercises and this challenge. And I will say that in order to keep my writing within the 30 minute time, I create playlists on Spotify that allow me to put together songs that come close to 30 minutes. I also select music that fits with the story idea and help inspire the words I write. When the final note plays on the last song…I stop writing. Usually. But not lately.}

Writing Prompt: AROMATHERAPY – Describe a place by its smell, scent, odor, perfume, or stench. Don’t let the olfactory sense overwhelm your description, but use this sense the way it occurs in our everyday experience – as an unconscious trigger of memory. The odor would contain a secret message for one of the characters in the scene. {Exercise 114 from The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction by Brian Kiteley. Note, this is an affiliate link}

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