"Things do not change; we change."
-Henry David Thoreau
My mind was fuzzy and half awake when I saw him. He was in this room and he found me. My throat felt constricted and I started to feel very warm. I couldn't scream or even talk. Alpheus was here. I struggled to sit up but hands were on my shoulders, keeping me down. I scratched and scratched at whatever was keeping me constricted. My throat cleared and I screamed. I screamed until my mind left its fuzz.
I blinked my eyes open and gasped for breath, looking at Niall's frantic face. "Niall?" I breathed. I sat up and wiped at m face. It was a dream. A sick, twisted, dream.
"Arethusa?" I heard Maura's voice. I looked around the room to see Niall next to me, Greg on his bed with wide eyes and Maura with her hand on her chest.
"I'm sorry," I whispered, tears brimming in my eyes. "I'm sorry."
I clumsily got out of the bed and ran out. I burst through the front door and out into the brisk air. I ran through the field and back into the trees where Niall first found me. I hugged a tree. I hugged a freakin' tree.
I whispered to it. I was talking to it and in its low murmuring wisps answered back. They told me it'd be okay and when it was blooming time they'll come for me and protect me.
The blooming time was when I regained my natural strength. My friends, the trees, embraced me but I've been running for so long that they couldn't get a hold of me.
"Why can't you come now?" I know the question was stupid but no one would understand the need I have for these creatures. I am the only surviving Tree Nymph and it's a struggle to keep it that way.
"Are you okay?" I turned to see Niall standing there with his guitar at hand. I nodded and wiped at my eyes. "You seem to like this so I brought it along to help you a bit." He sat against a tree and beckoned me him. I sat beside him and waited. "What's your favorite song?" he asked me.
I shook my head, "I don't know much."
"No favorites, huh? Any favorite artists?"
I shook my head again. "What about you?"
"Uh...I kind of like Justin Bieber." His cheeks turned red and I wondered what that meant. My cheeks turned that color when I was embarrassed or shy. Did he not want me to know about his like for this beaver person?
"Can you sing me one of his songs?"
"Oh I-I don't know. I just thought I'd play, not sing."
"I'd like to hear you sing. Where I'm from the people sing all the time."
"Where exactly is that?"
"Nowhere of importance. Now sing, please. I'd like a song."
He sighed and started playing the chords.
Everybody's laughing in my mind
Rumours spreading about this other guy
Do you do what you did when you did with me,
Does he love you the way I can?
Did you forget all the mem's that you made with me
Cause baby I didn't That should be me holding your hand
That should be me making you laugh
That should be me this is so sad
That should be me that should be me
That should be me feeling your kiss
That should be me buying you gifts
This is so wrong
I can't go on
'Til you believe that
That should be me
That should be me
"That's a really...sad song. Did someone break your heart?" "What? No. That's just the one I know best by guitar." "You also have a beautiful voice." "You think so?" "Yes. I would love to hear another song." "Okay now you're pushing it. How about I teach you something instead?" "Yes, that would be lovely. Teach me."
He gave me the guitar and told me about the neck and the body of it. He showed me how to hold it and when I wouldn't conform he'd adjust the guitar or my position. It was nice to actually enjoy something without worries. When he taught me keys and his fingers brushed mine...I burned. My cheeks did along with the inside of my chest. He taught me a simple tune he told me was Twinkle Little Star. I'd get frustrated when I'd mess up but he encouraged me to keep going.
Once I played the song all the way through with no mistakes, I grinned widely and giggled with glee. "I did it!"
"I heard," he chuckled.
"You think it was good?"
"The best," he smiled.
"Oh, thank you, Niall!" I gladly twisted my body and wrapped my arms around his shoulders. It sounded as if he chocked on his own words as he said, "Uh...No problem."
"So, outside, who were you talking to?"
I was half asleep on the couch when Niall, who was beside me, asked me this.
"I went after you and I saw you talking to a...to a tree." His face was the picture of confusion but I couldn't blame him. Not many mortals see that every day.
"Do you have a plant? A living plant?"
"Go get it."
He got up and left the living room for a few seconds before returning with a rather small bushel of violets. He set it on the small table in front of me. "They haven't bloomed yet," I whispered, softly brushing my fingers over the buds.
"Those are a bit slow compared to our others."
"I see." I bent forward and slowly blew over the buds while supporting them with my pointer finger. They slowly bloomed as I've seen thousands of times before and when they were fully formed, popped. I smiled and sat back, turning to Niall. My expression faltered once I saw his. "What's wrong?"
"What's wrong? What do you mean 'what's wrong'? What the hell was that?" He scrambled away from me as if I were an incurable sickness.
"No, don't-" I reached out for him but he flinched away, standing up and going across the room. "Niall, I don't mean to frighten you. I'm harmless."
A whimper escaped me. "Uh...Uh...Goodnight."
He just shook his head and walked away.
My lip trembled as I covered my face and started to cry. I looked up to the plants to see them instantly wilt.
"Good morning, dear."
I shyly took my seat at the table. The food looked nice but I couldn't eat. My stomach was protesting to my own saliva so food was irrelevant right now.
"You look so pale, love."
"Oh, um, I just haven't been feeling well."
"Do you need any medicine?"
"No, thank you."
I continued to pick around my plate. It seems to be a distraction until I start to cough. My throat is so dry. I take my water and take a few sips but it doesn't work.
"Arethusa, are you alright?"
I push my chair back and try to leave the table but my body folds. I fall onto my hands and knees, unable to breathe. I hear the frantic movements and screech of chairs like an echo. I feel something rising and what spews onto the tiles floor is something of a nightmare.
My goodness it's blood. I've never seen blood like this before. I start to shake violently and my eyes roll back before I collapse completely.
Somewhere in my subconscious state I hear Alpheus' voice. His damned voice.
I've found you my love.
A/n: It's been a while, readers! Can you blame me? It's winter break! I hope you guys have enjoyed yourself like I have. I also hope you liked this chapter. Til next time.