"Yes, Papa." Penny chose her steps carefully, treading over the moss-covered stones. She trotted along, nearly running in a effort to keep up with her father's long stride. Penny paused here and there to inspect a delicate flower or swath of new green moss and then jogged ahead, falling into the wake of her father's steps.
Listening to the chatter of the boys behind her, she smiled to herself. They're always talking about wild beasts and curious creatures, about how brave they would be in a hunt. But I would bet my grandma's opal pendant that they would turn tail and run at the first sight of a Daonna. Then we'd know who it is that carries true courage in their hearts. Penny was stirred from her thoughts by a rustling in the brush somewhere along the path and she froze, clutching her father's hand.
"It's just a rabbit, Penny. See there, it's headed back into the bushes. Perhaps back to her babies." Papa smiled and squeezed her hand before continuing down the trail. Penny peered into the darkness under the verdant bush and was startled by two glowing orbs staring back at her. The eyes blinked causing Penny to stumble back and land in the dirt. Jumping to her feet, she dusted off her backside and, with a final look at the rabbit's warren, ran to catch up with the group as they passed around a bend.
The mist closed in around Penny as she scurried along. The trees loomed high over her head, disappearing into the low-lying clouds that hung heavy in the air, blocking out the faltering rays of the summer sun. Shivering, Penny climbed up on a mossy log and squinted, trying to make out the silhouettes of her traveling partners. They had disappeared.
Penny blinked, tears burning her eyes. They're just up ahead. If you stay to the path, you will find them. Jumping off the log, she darted along the trail, straining her ears for her father's voice but she heard only her pounding heart. Suddenly she skidded to a stop and turned around.
Coming through the mist a giant shadow towered over her. A Daonna trod along the path, his boots thudding on the dirt path, twigs snapping under his heavy tread. Dashing out of his way, Penny took refuge under a leaf of a trailing ivy plant that had taken root in a boulder's fissure. Her pixie wings quivered and then, chancing discovery, she took flight, zipping between the trees, searching for her father and brothers.
"Daonna! Daonna!" she squeaked as she tumbled at their feet, pointing behind them. The traveling party ducked into the safety of a hollow log just as the giant lumbered past.
"My courageous, lucky Penny," her father whispered, smoothing her tussled hair. "Those humans can be dangerous."
|Image courtesy of Unsplash.|
“Why is summer mist romantic and autumn mist just sad?”
― Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle
500 words inspired by the above picture and the words "summer mist" from the quote above. I was also inspired by a hike we took last spring along a similar path. As we stopped for a water break, my eyes caught sight of miniature pixie homes hidden among the mossy logs, delicate flowers and tall grasses. No pixies, though...they're excellent hiders.