Eleanor sat up and smoothed out her jacket for the sixth time that night. Around her, the sky was an inky blue, a sort of dark reminiscing black swirled with a deep blue. Like the ocean had accidentally leaked into the sky. It was striking, and as the gleaming stars dotted the colour, she couldn’t help but feel the burden of her troubles settle back on her shoulders.
A hanging silence filled the air, only broken by occasional bird song far off and the whistle of the swooping wind. Running began to take effect on them, their legs and arms ached, and their heads throbbed.
Michael knew this was his chance. It meant breaking the serene silence, which was actually quite beautiful, but the question was beginning to eat away at him. His mind screamed non-stop, asking why on earth was he lying here by this stranger he found practically melting away under the scorching sun? He had no answer.
“So,” started Michael, and Eleanor sat up, propping herself with her burnt arms, hands clawed into the fabric of her jacket.
“Why are you out here?” he asked and in response, Eleanor lied back down, letting her hands drop and her body to fall back against the texture of the cloth lying beneath her.
“You’ll be scared of me,” she whispered, and turned on her side to face Michael. He did the same and they lay staring at each other for a while.
“I won’t,” he managed to say, but his voice cracked and Eleanor shook her head slowly.
“Okay then. Back in my home town, I made this medicine out of herbs and things from my garden. There was this sick boy, so sick that the doctors couldn’t cure him, so he was dying. I couldn’t let him die, he was a grand little boy, so I gave him my home-made medicine. It worked, and he was so healthy, but the town police seemed suspicious. They marked me as a witch and assumed I had used magic to cure the little boy.
They locked me up for trial, but the bricks at the very bottom of the cell were loose. I knocked them away and ran. Now, now they’re after me.” Her voice trembled and Michael looked into her eyes. They were green, with specks of gold, and filled with fear. Fear, worry, anxiety. Everything he felt.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered, for that was all he could say. The gold burnt in her eyes, singed by the emotions she felt, until the pupils turned deathly black like poison.
“Sorry? Sorry! Why are you sorry? I’m the one that is being chased by the police! If they find me I’ll die.” Michael had no words. He just lay, mouth hanging open, trying to grab at the words floating around him. But every time he grabbed, they flew away. He couldn’t make a sentence, a phrase, a word. Nothing.
A single, clear tear slid down Eleanor’s pale skin. She tried to control her sobs, which shook her body, as she rolled over. Turned away from Michael, she let the waterfall of sadness flow and the collar of her dress was soon damp.
As much as he wanted to, Michael could do nothing. Instead he lay staring at Eleanor’s back until sleep crept along and slid his eyelids shut gently.