Asphyxiate is an interesting word. It comes from the back of your mouth and requires you to exhale, stealing your breath like its definition implies.
This week was supposed to be light and cheerful, I promise! However, I was having trouble implementing my first idea (a story about May and Emma), so I had to bump this vignette up on my schedule. I swear you will eventually get that story about May and Emilia, but I have to fix a bunch of things first.
Well, without further ado, meet the Lady of the Lake.
The Lady of the Lake
Asphyxiate (v): cut off from oxygen.
Breathing was like drowning.
Both ended in death, just one took longer.
Hana was sinking into it’s embrace.
The water was so cold.
It was like the first spoonful of ice cream.
The kiss of the winter wind on your cheek.
The numbness of your arm falling asleep when you rested your head on it for too long.
The feeling of bare feet in snow. Cold, but so soft.
Was Hana moving, or was it the world surging past her?
The moon was so wide and bright tonight, Hana could imagine being swallowed up by it.
She wanted to paint it.
She was floating.
She was falling.
Icy fingers clenched around her.
Her memories mapped out in front of her.
The paths she had taken.
The paths she hadn’t.
She had never been able to do anything great.
She had never saved people’s lives in court like her mother. She had never touched people’s hearts with art like her father.
Overall she was…
And that hurt the most.
She was never going to get the opportunity to be anything more than she was now.
It was both incredibly liberating and terribly disappointing.
For once, she didn’t have to constantly think about how she could be better. Better at art. Better at school. Better at keeping her parents together.
She was exactly as she was.
The ice above her looked like clouds. They blocked the moon’s light.
But hadn’t she seen the moon earlier?
It was day time now, wasn’t it?
She had wanted to see the frozen lake. Her father had taken her.
She felt heavy, her sodden clothes dragging her down.
She couldn’t move, though she had some vague notion that she was supposed to be thrashing and flailing right about now. Clinging to the thread of life she had been granted.
She saw the clouds scatter above her.
Would her hair freeze when exposed to the air? Like the time she had gone outside after her shower to see if snow felt as soft as it looked?
Her hair and eyelashes had been laced with frost and snowflakes. Her father had laughed and called her his ice princess. Her mother had yelled and bundled her up in a bajillion blankets, holding her close until Hana could feel her blood pumping again.
Her red muffler was floating through the water, flaring around her like a cloud of rose petals.
She felt an odd satisfaction at the sight.
She had finally seen something no one else would be able to see.
If only she could paint it one day.
The pale sky shattered above her, but she was already slipping away.
There were hands pulling her up, but there were so many more dragging her down.
That’s how it had always been.
She would always try to climb the mountain, but gravity was simply much too strong for a mere mortal to resist.
She felt the rush of water penetrate her heart, turning it into stone.