Things weren’t the same when Mallory came back. But then again, she didn’t really ever come back. Not completely. Not whole. When she looked at things it was as if something was missing, that something was wrong. When she spoke (she rarely spoke) her voice fell flat, trailed off at the end. Her mind would wander to a place no one could reach her and she would have to find her own way back. Even that seemed to be getting harder. Her smile lost its infectious joy, her laugh no longer sounded like music, like wind chimes tinkling together. She never sang anymore. She forgot things.
She never spoke of what happened when she went away, though it was written in the blankness of her expression, in the way she startled so easily now. She flinched when Nadia touched her, tried to relax when she realised who it was but her muscles knotted on instinct, as if forever waiting for something to happen.
She never spoke of what happened or where she went, but that didn’t stop her waking in the night, scared, screaming. It didn’t stop the tears that fell from her eyes like waterfalls as Nadia wrapped her arms around her waist and drew her closer. Mallory said she felt safe in Nadia’s arms, but her body still quivered in the dark.
Nadia would kiss her; kiss her cheeks, her neck, her arms, hands, her lips. Mallory would kiss back, hungry, desperate, her hands clinging to Nadia as if she might be snatched away from her. Her pulse would race, her hands, lips, tongue would search out for things on Nadia’s body that only she knew. Comfort, she would say, Nadia brought her comfort. Nadia just liked those moments of normalcy. She liked how the two of them felt connected again, whole again. Nadia never wanted to lose her again. Thought maybe if she kissed gently enough, loved hard and deeply enough, that she could bring Mallory back. But when those moments passed, when their passion settled, she would slowly disappear again. Nadia would watch as the smile on her lips fell, faded away, as if realising something had been stolen from her. As if realising she’d never get it back. Nadia knew she was trying, fighting against whatever shadow clung to her heart.
Things were never the same when Mallory came back.
I’ll leave it to the imagination as to what happened to Mallory, whether magical or not who knows.
As always, feedback/ comments are welcome and appreciated!
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Published by Bethany Osguthorpe