Strength- Short Story

My eyes struggle to focus on my surroundings. Things blur in and out, eventually I see I’m standing outside. The grass is bright green. The patches of sky between the white cotton puffs are a brilliant blue. The air is so crisp; it seems like you could take a bite out of it and it would snap, like a ripe apple. I feel a tingle on my bare arm as an iridescent purple butterfly comes to rest. It flutters its wings a few times. It rubs its feet together, tasting my skin. I blink, and it’s in the air again. Flitting its wings, it rises into the cool air. It flies away towards a lone beam of sunlight not too far away from where I stand. The moment it comes into contact with the light, it turns black and brittle, then a gust of wind whisks away the ashes. Horrified, I stand motionless. How could something so delicate and full of life become nothing in the blink of an eye? How could something so strong yet so fragile become nothing but drifting ashes? Having lived in the dark for so long, the butterfly couldn't survive in the light; It crumbled, and died. I turn on my heels and run. The tall grass lashes my bare shins. The wind starts to pick up, whipping my hair onto my face, stinging my cheeks. I smell the familiar scent of an oncoming storm. I look up just as the skies open. Sheets of rain plummet to the earth, soaking all that is around within seconds. The torrential downpour creates a thundering symphony as it collides with the soft ground. I search for cover, but its only grass as far as I can see. Spinning in circles, I am completely disoriented. Drenched, freezing, and lost, I feel hopeless. I see a familiar shimmer in the air, and the purple butterfly is back; but this time it looks different. Its wings wilt, and it looks battered and tired. It flies sloppily, weighed down by the rain. It lands on my upturned wrist, light as a feather. As it ventures across my arm, its feet leave a thin trail of blood. The blood appears in dots, like its coming from within me. The butterfly walks over my arm a couple times, leaving skinny streaks of red. I stare in wonder. I can tell that the butterfly is hurting me, but yet I feel no pain. The rain keeps a steady river of pale red water running off both sides of my forearm. I stand there, frozen, wet, and dazed. My eyes close for just a moment, and upon opening, I gasp. There are red slashes up and down, crisscrosses of blood mar my arm. The rain continues to pound, and the water running off my arms goes from a pale red to a deep, rich scarlet. My vision my blurs, and head spins. My attention returns to the butterfly, and though my head is reeling and I can barely see, I watch as it takes flight from my hand. As it rises, it fights the droplets trying to weigh it down. It battles it's way higher and higher, until it's purple shimmer disappears. My legs give out beneath me as I sink into the wet earth. I bow my head, hopeless. Blood streaming from my arm, the downpour doesn't let up. Rain continues to crash onto me, flowing down my back. Then as quickly as it started, the rain stops. I finally have the strength to stand up and look up into the sky; my vision clearing. The ominous clouds seem to run from the light of the sun, shining brighter than ever. Remembering what happened to the butterfly when it touched the light of the sun, I jump up and try to find shade. I'm used to the dark, it's my sanctuary. As I am gazing into the vast emptiness of the grassy field, I feel all alone. The feeling of exposure and vulnerability overwhelms me. The sun finally breaks through, and I feel it's warmth radiating down, drying me almost instantaneously. I watch in wonder as the beams of light hit the skin of my scarred arm. The blood turns to ink; it drips from the thin lines and falls upon a lone pebble. I drop to my knees and watch in amazement as the ink glides off my arm and onto the pebble. Most of the ink slithers right off and onto the ground. The ink that stays seems to slide into an invisible inscription, in perfect scripture. Strength, it reads. As soon as I pick up the pebble and turn it over in my hand, the ink flowing from my arm stops. The marks on my arm disappear, as if they were never there. I look back to the stone; perfectly smooth, mottled gray, and just the right size to fit in the palm of my hand. I gaze up one last time, the butterfly appears. It's purple wings glimmer in the sun. I smile. It learned how to adapt to the light. As it flies closer to me, I notice thin black designs on its wings. Now, with the perfect combination of dark and light, the butterfly is adaptable to any environment. As I lay down, embraced by the sun's warmth, I place the inscribed stone on my chest. As I close my eyes, I see the purple butterfly land on the stone. It opens and closes its wings a few times as if saying goodbye, then takes off into the atmosphere. Suddenly, everything goes white. I feel safe and warm. I open my eyes and find myself home in my bed. I stand up and walk to my dresser and open the top drawer, searching for the familiar silver glint of metal. There is nothing there except a smooth gray pebble with a single word on it. Strength.

I appreciate all comments and criticism. Thanks for reading!
HaleyDara HaleyDara
18-21, F
Nov 28, 2012