Peri Takes herself Away
Peri had always imagined running away from home and living with wolves. Why wolves? She hadn’t the slightest idea.
Maybe because she knows that wolves are pack animals; she couldn’t imagine them abandoning their young. Not particularity the most practical of all fantasies, but certainly lovely.
Even as she shoves her belongings into an old mothy duffle, and the knock comes, her mind is half fixed on the woods.
The curt yell wouldn’t have made her jump if it wasn’t coming from Hadara. Suddenly, Peri’s blinking back hot, angry tears because the little girl sounds just like her mother.
she hears a series of creaks leading up to her room, which were actually built into the house intentionally when her sister turned three, so she could be found.
For a split second, she thinks Hadara’s going to open the door and let her see her, but she doesn’t. She still wouldn’t dare.
“Please come in.” Peri whispers half heartedly because she knows this will never work, but she needs to try. “I need to see you.
” she doesn’t even need to look through the keyhole to know her sister’s invisible. A long silence follows as Hadara considers this.
“The Elder Guard is here, come downstairs.”
Peri’s vision blurs and fixes on the doorknob, she doesn’t answer. Why wouldn’t Hadara just let her see her?
“Hadara, do you know where I’m going?”
“It doesn’t matter because you shouldn’t be here. Mother said so.” Perilynn wishes she would talk to her like she was her sister, not a distant friend who’s wronged her, stony and hesitant.
Peri only stands it because she loves her.
“Do you say so?” she asks, faking a level voice.
“You can only take a small bag.”
“Do you say so?”
However hard Perilynn tries to silently convince her otherwise, she knows Hadara’s answer. She’s known it since day one, and she still crumbles.
Now going numb, Peri releases the door handle, and let’s herself slide pitifully to the floor, choking to repress a sob.
Normally, she wouldn’t dare give herself the privilege of crying, but now she’s lost everything left to lose. Hadara listens, her aloof stance faltering slightly.
“It-it’s better this way... you belong with your kind.
” She stammers, conflicted and frustrated she hasn’t yet completed the task of escorting her prim sister out of her eve family, not sure if she wants to be entrusted with it any more.
Finally, Peri composes herself, and Hadara slips back into her mother’s skin
“If you don’t come down this instant, we’ll both be in trouble.”
“That’s a lie.” Peri wants to say but doesn’t. Every fault of her sister’s has always been the fault of Perilynn’s in her mother’s eyes, and the fault of her mother’s in Perilynn’s.
Hopelessly resigned, Peri straightens up and finishes calmly placing the last of her belongings into the duffel, an old dishcloth doll, and a pair of grey woolen stockings.
She lets her numb, leaden legs guide her towards the door where a nightmare waits on the other side, her heart in her stomach.
About to open the door, Peri finds herself listening to the deadening silence.
The tension, the asylum white lights, the unbearable numbness in absolutely everything capable of feeling, it’s always been too much.
Warm and calm, the darkness outside the girl’s window beckons her with loving arms as if the whole world has been leading up to this moment.
She thinks of life outside the house, running, giggling, sobbing, feeling… and screaming. Screaming and screaming and screaming and screaming.
“You’re right,” Peri whispers, “This will stop.”
Before she can wait for an answer, she dashes across the room, rips away the lock she’s been picking all day, and leaps into the adoring arms of the night.
It turns out the dark alone did a pretty dreadful job of breaking Peri’s fall.
“Mercy, mercy, mercy, mercy..” She winces, clutching her bleeding foot. Although she’s badly injured, Peri leaps up at the sound of her mother’s shrieking and the dogs baying.
Curiously, she doesn’t hear a word from Hadara. The cold realization creeps over her that she seems to now be on the business end of a man hunt.
Peri starts to run the best she can when she suddenly hears the hounds getting further away, which is strange because she’s barely left the back yard.
Confused, but suddenly compelled to stop, she turns around to catch one last glimpse of her bedroom window.
When Perilynn sees what’s there, her eyes well with fresh tears, and an unfamiliar voice all her own hisses in her ear, “Do not screw this up.
” A flash of blonde hair and defiant blue eyes, shorter than a lightning’s worth but enough. With that, Peri disappears into the night.
Not really sure where she’s going, Peri runs the best she can with her mangled foot.
Despite having an abundance of thick, bandage like ribbon at her disposal, she continues to painfully carry herself through the woods unchecked. She isn’t ready to unravel her ribbons, not yet.
Besides, stopping for even a moment would be throwing away the one gift Hadara has granted peri.
Peri is thankful for the cloak of darkness the new moon gives her but curses the warmth it fails to give.
By now, a thin layer of slushy snow has begun to form on the ground of the suburban back woods.
Any of her evolved neighbors can peer out of their brightly lit windows and see her pitifully stumbling through their shrubbery.
Peri knows well enough if a night seer was to live in one of those houses, they would see her tall, gangly frame as if it were broad daylight, and even more clearly,
the black ribbon noose around her neck that marks her as a primitive. Given the ribbons on her arms, a disobedient one. Peri knew a night seer once, a lovely woman.
Mrs. Sylvia would let me dust her mantel for shortbread. I was very small…
She thinks to herself, suddenly finding herself gazing longingly at the perfect rows of giant, warm homes she’s passing.
I… could go back there… she laughed at my silly dances, she loved me, she would help me...
She had no ribbon then.
Perilynn quickly whips her pale face back down with a lump in her throat.
“No… no… of course not… not…” she mutters out loud before almost laughing bitterly at the thought. Has she forgotten who she is?
Peri continues to hop and drag herself all the way out of her rich neighborhood and into the sprawling woods that border the upper class part of the Elder Kingdom.
She stumbles momentarily when the hem of her dusty pink dress snags a thick briar just on the edge of the woods.
Realizing the shrubs are rather thick and abundant, Peri takes this opportunity to crawl into their safety and take stock.
Foot.. my foot…
She’s still a bit in shock, but her foot is becoming alarmingly swollen. She knows this much.
Taking great care not to rustle the brush, Peri reaches into her duffel and pulls out the dirty dishrag doll.
she thinks absentmindedly, gingerly unraveling the rags used to dress it but leaving its frame alone. Peri wraps her bloody foot with it and puts on the grey woolen stockings.
Still not terribly warm and even less ease than warmth for her foot, she accepts it’s the best she’s gonna feel in a long time and doesn’t dwell on it.
She pick up her duffle handle and gingerly crawls the rest of the way through the brush before listening intently for any signs of danger and emerging to walk the rest of the way.
By now, she’s had time to get over the initial shock and starts to formulate a plan.
Who is she?
Perilynn Curtis, primitive, child of-. She stops there.
Where is she?
The forest between the Evolved Southside and the Evolved Northside.
Where is she going?