Chapter 25:

Day spent underneath the red-painted sky

Your Heart has Meaning.

The grass underneath my feet was slippery. Wet against the furred-cloak I wore softly to protect my pink-painted flesh from the cold bite of autumn wind, I sat down and let out a heavy sigh against the chilled air.

Birds whistled wonderfully in the distance from a land I could not see, rather envisioning the beauty of the hillscape they chose to pour their song into as the echoes filled my ears from afar. An undertone against their carefully-composed melody was the quiet drone of the breeze that brushed past the grass, leaving each individual blade waving in a mimicked dance amidst their song.

I fell back against the softened blanket of emerald-green, letting out a quiet sigh as I stared up at the parchment clouds that passed through the cornflower-ocean sky so gorgeously. Too did a woman of euphoria fall against the grass beside me, holding the smile upon her face that taught me to mimic joy upon my own.

“Do you think I’ll ever be able to touch the sky, mother?” I spoke softly, knowing full well I had not legs like ladders, or wings like a butterfly.

Looking over towards me, the portraiture of her carefully-painted face became clear. The lines upon her cheeks were apparent in their concavity, and there was a small black dot beside her sandstone-lips. Her hair was faint in its spice-brown shades, tied softly and messily behind her head.

She was the model by which I was sketched.

“Do you wish to touch the sky, my dearest?” She smiled.

My face lit up bright, cinnabar-blush against my beaming respondent smile.

“I do!” I gleamed.

Looking back towards the sky, I reached a hand high, only to notice that my fingers in the foreground still felt so far away despite their size. Grasping at the clouds that rested against my palms, I pulled nothing back towards me. I was empty-handed with a mind occupied by dreams.

“Then, I think you’ll be able to do it.” My mother laughed softly. “You’ll see the entirety of the world someday, and when the sky in your mind has expanded to its fullest, then I’m sure you’ll be able to stand amongst the clouds.”

“But, I don’t think I can…” I muttered underneath my breath. “My legs are too short and my arms are too small to reach, I cannot jump high, and I have no wings to fly…”

“I didn’t give you life so you could let your dreams make you sad, did I darling?” She smiled simply. “If you want to do something, you should do it, regardless of whether you think it possible. That’s all that life owes you, is your freedom to make a choice for yourself.”

A gruffer, soothingly-sultry voice boomed from above, a darkened figure of shade enshrouding my already-furrowed eyes from the bright beams of tangerine-sunlight.

“You know, in your mother’s home country, there’s a mountain named Mulhacén that stretches high above the clouds.” The voice belonging to no face spoke. “If ever there were a place to stand within the sky, I’m sure it would be there.”

“So I don’t need wings?” I asked of him with widened eyes.

“You don’t need to dream of impossible when your dreams are wholly possible, son.”

I let out a softened laugh, my obvious joy shaded amber upon my cheeks.

“Then, someday… let’s go see it together.”


Even now did abandoned memories choose to sit at the forefront of my mind.

Given rise to the sky, I wondered if the ground was something I had always disliked.

The steps that Theresia led me up slowly were cracked and worn by time, rubble upon the staircase as if set perfectly to describe its aged aesthetic. Placing my free hand against it, I pulled my fingers away to find the dust of a thousand ages clinging to the spiraling etchings of my skin.

Holding tightly onto her hand as I followed her, I noticed well the cracks upon her fingers, calloused and worn like the steps beneath me. Unlike the building around me that had sat still, Theresia’s movement was a constant, her effort apparent upon even her hands.

We eventually came to a wooden door that had been chipped by the breeze, small bouts of sunlight peaking through the cracks in its splintered surface.

“Are you ready?” Theresia asked of me, turning towards me with a gentle smile.

“I am.” I spoke simply in response. “Rather, I’ll be able to face anything as long as you’re holding my hand.”

Her face lit up a bright garnet-red, and she turned away as if to spare me the sight of her flustered expression.

Stepping out onto the rooftop of a building that seemed to pierce through the smoggy sky, I felt an instant escape from the tight-lipped silence of the staircase that had led us towards the sunlight.

It was hot, fire upon my skin like a light-burning pain, a dull sensation that would not cease. The fog that concealed the light of the sun sat far below us, and its warmth was bare upon our flesh. However, the sight before my eyes made it all feel like a sweet pleasure.

Staring across the field of cotton-white set before me like tablecloth upon the sky, I felt an ache in my chest that wouldn’t seem to leave me behind. It clawed at my heart, desperate to find its way inside.

It was euphoria offered by beauty that felt so out of place to me.

Atop the blank canvas of clouds, shades of merlot, amber and vermillion swirled together in some sublime melody that filled my heart with rusted emotion. I had to notice and dry off my own aged and forgotten feelings before they felt normal sitting against my bones once more.

“This is my favourite place in Aethine.” Theresia smiled softly. “It is a place I presume is known only to me.”

“And now I…” I whispered, turning towards her with a widened expression. ‘Something so special to you, you would give me this much…?”

“I would, and I have.”

I put a hand to my mouth, trying desperately to cover up the inhumility of the fit of laughter that escaped my lips. In such a way, my abdomen began to hurt once more, leaving me crouched against the ground to avoid the pain of my humour.

“Then, could I be greedy in this moment and ask one more thing of you?” I smiled, wiping the collection of tearfall from my eyes as I looked up at her.

“And what would that be?” She grinned, as if half-expecting some sort of fantastic romantical gesture underneath the warmth of the bright-red sun.

Standing up, I simply reached a hand out, one that now held a gentle scar marked by effort.

“Will you help me fulfill an old dream?”

She took my hand without question, and I began to wonder how deep her trust of me ran to have been so quick with her draw.

I pulled her in close just as suddenly, marking the edge of her soft-cidered jaw with the dust upon my fingertips.


A devilish grin crossed my face in that moment, sweeping away the blush of my cheeks as I took a step towards the edge of the building. Leading her by the hand, I looked down towards the auburn-skyline and closed my eyes. Holding her close, I simply took a step off the side.

If I were not consumed in a vacuum of endless breeze in that moment, I surely would have heard Theresia’s endless cursing.

Or rather, that’s what I had immediately assumed.

Meeting her gaze, I could see that her face held nothing more than a softened smile.

“If your dream was to die, I could have helped you without you leading me along with you!” Theresia shouted with furrowed eyes as we freefalled through a section of clouds painted a pale-purple hue.

“You know me more than that!” I laughed out loud. “Why would I want to die before I’ve spent an entire life beside you!?”

I closed my eyes to all of the noisy portraiture that surrounded me, summoning thought of a singular figure within my mind.

“Help me as I have helped you, Demon Prince of Moonlight.” I whispered amidst the shouting of the breeze.

In an instant, a response echoed through my mind. They were words left imprinted upon the forefront of my thoughts.

“Truly, do you ask less of me than I of you.”

When I opened my eyes, the noise of the breeze around me had stopped, and beside Theresia, I was caught suspended within the air. A familiar cloud of softened light enveloped my body, and as I propped myself up to look around, the air within my lungs seemed to vanish.

I was sitting in the sky, without wings, long legs, or the ability to jump high.

A cloud marked by lilac paint cascaded past me, and with short, human arms, I reached out and touched it with softened fingertips. When I pulled my hand back, the warmth of moisture remained upon my skin. It was something other than nothing.

I had graced the skyline with my own hands.

Looking over at Theresia, I could see well that there was no fear in her expression. Rather, her eyes were widened with stunned demeanor, and her lips could not move, for there were no words to escape them regardless.

“Theresia, thank you!” I shouted out with a smile.

She could not hear me over the roaring breeze, but still did she smile gleefully in return.

For the first time in my life, I had touched the sky.

Theresia had given me that opportunity.

Looking back at the portraiture of a neverending sunset, I wondered where memories of long-forgotten faces lied.

I don’t think I despised my parents as I once thought.

I had come to know that they were a driving force within my heart.

“I wonder… which sky are you staring at from above?” I whispered. “Mother… father…”

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