She came upon them at sunrise, as orange talons of dawn clawed at receding moon. Lost or misplaced, two children sat beneath a flowering hawthorn tree. A gust of wind brought snow-storm of petals swirling round them. Neither moved, as if statues frozen to the spot. As if opposite twins. One was dark – flinty obsidian eyes, raven hair, coppery skin. The other – deep summer afternoon blue eyes, flaxen curls, milky skin. Their hands entwined, dried blood and dirt on their boy’s clothes of jerkin, tunic, leggings and high boots. They stared at her in vague recognition of another human in this odd landscape.

She dismounted, hushing Standard to not paw the ground impatiently. Walking slowly towards the children, she stretched out her hand in friendship. Silent. Still. Not blink nor smile crossed either face. Perhaps mere statues, she thought. Designed by the hand of a master craftsperson, able to almost breathe life into such creations. Cast in the oranging light of dawn. Placed out in the world to amaze or trap those who happened by.

Sun won daily morning battle, breaking through the wall of stars and night. Streamers of mist mixed with the goldening light, enveloping the twinlings. “If I blink, they whilst be gone.”

Yet, she knew them to be real even in their unmoving stance. Eyes might deceive, but not her sense of smell. Unwashed be-tangled hair, disheveled clothing reeking of death, fear and loneliness. Ever the huntress, she knew them to be prey should she choose to mount arrow to bow. But she did not. “Good or evil, real or magical, these be children,” she thought. “No reason to kill at present.”

Within a fingertips reach, she spied traces of yet wet tears upon cheeks. “Be like the lake in the awakening vernal equinox,” she told them. “Shake off the freezing of the dark. I mean to spill no blood upon you.” As one, they stood. Shaking, they came to her, to be embraced, rocked and reassured. Uncertain as to how a mother might greet them, she took their small hands into hers. “Safe as the sun rises,” they murmured in tiny voices. “Safe as the night departs. Can we stay together then?”

As if one was day, the other night. By some magic then manifested themselves into this strange place as children – morning and evening tide, twilight and dawn. “Yes, together,” she replied, hoping she would not needs be take their place in the natural order of things. She blinked her mismatched eyes – one dark, one light – and wondered what song she should lilt to mark the occasion of their meeting.

© Lorraine

Risen up for mlmm Tale Weaver #118 Sunrise. Image: