It was a dream, I knew, one I had had many times, but something was different this time. The mist was the same, shimmery dew drops suspended in the air all around me, and like all dreams, I couldn't feel what I knew were warm floating dew drops that wet my bare skin. The mist never scared me for I knew I was alone. It was a comforting blanket that protected me that I knew I could escape from at any time. Nothing could appear from the mist to frighten me. This was a dream I escaped to when I had had a bad day. Nothing could harm me while these warm dew drops protected me.
Until the Child in the Mist found me.
I thought I would have seen her coming, but she stepped out of the mist hardly a yard from me without any warning. She smiled up at me. She was a charming child, two perfect blonde braids, large granny smith apple green eyes, a knowing cheerful smile.
"I know what you want,"she said tauntingly.
My jaw dropped. That had been my dilemma for months. "Tell me,"I cried out, falling to my knees and taking her hands. "please tell me."
She shook her head playfully. "No."
"What do I want?"I pleaded with her.
"It will hurt you,"she cautioned teasingly.
"Tell me, little girl."
"You will die."
"I don't care."
The girl took one hand from mine and brushed hair from my forehead. "I don't want you to die, Daddy."
I didn't have a daughter. I didn't have a wife. I didn't have any family to speak of except for a distant cousin. This little girl couldn't be mine.
"But I am yours, Daddy,"she insisted. "If you did, I will never be."
"I'm sorry, Ann."
Her eyes lit up. "See Daddy! You do know me! You know my name!"
It was true. She had never said her name before.
"You can't have what you want now, Daddy! Or else you can never have me!"
I shook my head at her. "But I'm not happy now, Ann. I need to know what I want."
Her face fell into deep sadness. "Don't Daddy,"she said with thick tears threatening to emerge. "I want to be."
"Please tell me what I want, Ann."
She suddenly pulled away from me angrily. "It doesn't matter anymore, Daddy!" she screamed, stamping her foot down. "You don't want me!"
"Ann!" I cried out as she turned and ran. I ran after her, but she had already disappeared into the mist.
I searched for her until I woke. I searched for her every time I dreamed of that mist. After that, the mist held no comfort. It was a reminder of what I could have had.
I wasn't happy.
I married once, a woman with green eyes, but she died in child birth, giving life to an already dead son. I would never have my Ann. I would never have my child from the mist.
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